Friday, August 30, 2013

Counter-Trayvonism, Yeah or Nay?

In last few weeks we've seen multiple instances of Negroes Blacks, African Americans committing grievous, or in some simply egregious attacks on Caucasians, Whites European Americans (and in one case, Aussie European Australian).  Often mentioned is the Trayvon trial, as in, where are the black leaders willing to address the issue of the outrageous rate of violence in the African American community as a whole?

Liberals are generally outraged by the comparison, and they should be.  There's simply no fair comparison to a white hispanic killing a black teenage who was sitting on top of him and bashing his head on the concrete simply because he thought he was being dissed to cases where the victims appear to have been chosen for death at random because they were the wrong color and vulnerable.

Ann Althouse, liberal and yet libertarian blogger thinks that this trumpeting of the random racial attacks by blacks is wrong, and counterproductive:

 The conservatives' high ground on race is colorblindness, and they'd be fools to abandon it. 
Conservatives have rested on the principle of colorblindness for a long time, and they've taken abuse for it. Look at how left liberals abuse Chief Justice Roberts for writing, "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." They consider that kind of talk naive (at best). They push the perceived sophistication of what Justice Blackmun said back in the first affirmative action case: "In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way."
To stir hearts counter-Trayvonistically is to nurture feelings that white people are oppressed by black people. This alternative to colorblindness is profoundly stupid. 1. It abandons the easy to express, principled position that many people perceive as the high ground. 2. It steps into the arena of taking account of race, where the left liberals would love to take you on. And 3. It gives air to the white supremacists among us. These people have been outcasts for a long time, but they exist, perhaps not quite yet recognizing what they are.
While I have stepped lightly onto the counter-Trayvon movement, I haven't leaped onto it with both feet as I share some perhaps less well layed out misgivings.

James Tarantos of the Wall Street Journal considers these arguments, accepts the first, but rejects the second and third: The Harms Race
Our first reaction on reading this a few days ago was to agree enthusiastically, particularly with that first point. We are an exponent of the colorblind view and are no more comfortable with counter-Trayvonism than with Trayvonism.

But on further reflection, we have some doubts about points 2 and 3. To begin at the end, we'd say worries about "white supremacists among us" are overblown. The impulse behind counter-Trayvonism seems quite the opposite of a supremacist one. It imagines whites to be in an inferior position to blacks--"that white people are oppressed by black people," as Althouse herself puts it.
What troubles Marshall, of course, is counter-Trayvonism--or, as he puts it, the "jagging about the 'double standard' when the same thing happens and the races are reversed." He observes accurately that the Martin and Lane cases are actually quite different: Whereas Zimmerman was interviewed and released after shooting Martin, the suspects in the Lane murder were promptly arrested and charged with murder. Marshall does not note the other obvious difference: that unlike Zimmerman, Lane's alleged killers do not appear to have any basis to claim self-defense.

Anyway, although Marshall makes some reasonable points, his tone is not a reasoned one; clearly he is agitated by the comparison. So is Brian Beutler, who wrote a similar piece the same day for We read this as evidence that the counter-Trayvonists have struck at a weakness, not a strength, of the left.
Saul Alinsky's fourth rule was: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules." The counter-Trayvonists may ultimately be wrongheaded, but if they can provoke as conventional a liberal as Josh Marshall into disparaging "the racial victimization bus"--a colorblind sentiment if ever there was one--then perhaps they serve a dialectical purpose.
And finally, last, but not, Stacy McCain follows both articles (Hmm. @JamesTaranto Mildly Disagrees With @AnnAlthouse? Let Me Try That.), but says:

The correct conservative argument is that liberal media hyped up and deliberately distorted the Trayvon Martin case because it was an election year and an apparently juicy story about racism and gun control was a nice way to exploit black grievances against whitey. Let’s be honest: If you’re a black person who thinks The Man is keepin’ you down, you’re not going to vote for Mitt Romney, and so Trayvon Martin became a Democrat Party voter-turnout poster child.

There, I said it: This was just Democrats playing ugly partisan politics.

Democrats have never recognized any standard of decorum, civility, decency or honesty in political rhetoric, and the fact that they would exploit a shooting in Florida this way surprises no one who has paid attention to American politics. (Fact: In 1916, Woodrow Wilson’s re-election slogan was, “He Kept Us Out of War”; less than a year after he was re-elected, America went to war.)

Democrats are just goddamned liars. The fact that one of their more politically useful falsehoods nowadays is telling black people that their problems are caused by white racism should not require us to treat that lie any more seriously than we do any other Democrat lie.

When Democrats say we need “a conversation on race,” what they really mean is they want to have a monologue, a tedious lecture about all the evils perpetrated against black people by those evil racist Republicans. Your part of the “conversation” is, shut up.
Yep, sometimes these things can be over-analyzed.  The reality is that most political thinking is gut level, and agonizing over the fine points is pointless.  Keep your guns pointed in the direction of the enemy, not your friends.

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