Winning minority votes: Racist condescension posing as support

Published 17 years ago -  - 17y ago 18


My advice to candidates running for office in such lily-white states as New Hampshire and Montana: Praise the courage of the two thugs who attacked the Kansas City Royals’ first base coach in Chicago and say it was all a misunderstanding. Argue that the government discriminated against Timothy McVeigh. Defend everyone from corrupt corporate executives to street criminals as long as they happen to be white.

A preposterous suggestion? Obscene and offensive even? Of course it is. But it is precisely the sort of strategy perfectly respectable people – indeed, the voices of conventional wisdom – recommend for winning minority votes. Many people adhere to the condescending and wrong-headed idea that the best way to demonstrate support for minorities is to defend the interests of the criminals among them.

If you think this is wild hyperbole, consider the old argument that “law and order” was a secret code for racism. Leaving aside for a moment the racist presuppositions of those making this claim, what exactly does this mean? It is true that blacks have a disproportionately high crime rate. It is also true that blacks are disproportionately likely to be victims of crime. In some cities, homicide is the leading cause of death among young black males. Incarcerating violent criminals helps to make predominantly black neighborhoods a better place to live, yet even many self-appointed civil rights leaders behave as if the interests of the black community are better served by protecting the criminals.

The latest manifestation of this illogic may be seen in the discussions of immigration policy. Recently, the Denver Post ran a sympathetic story about a young honor student who could not afford to attend college because his status as an illegal immigrant rendered him ineligible for financial aid or in-state tuition rates. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) called up the INS to ask what they planned on doing about such a public disregard for the nation’s immigration laws. Now the Post and other publications are reporting that the national Republican Party is distancing itself from Tancredo’s stance because they are concerned that it will derail efforts to increase the party’s share of the Hispanic vote.

Certainly, a student with a 3.93 grade point average and a desire to obtain a college education isn’t the best example of what is wrong with the U.S. immigration system, although you do have to wonder why people would behave as if there is no difference between legal and illegal immigration. Former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm is probably right that singling out a particular family rather than focusing on the overall problem with immigration policy “violates people’s sense of fairness.”

But a lot of the criticism of Tancredo goes beyond the particulars of this case and appears to suggest that curtailing illegal immigration itself is somehow an illegitimate issue. What makes these GOP politicos think that the best way to win Hispanic votes is to turn a blind eye to illegal immigration? Many Hispanics have lived in this country for generations. Others waited years to come to this country legally and went through a lengthy naturalization process to obtain American citizenship. Yet the cornerstone of GOP Hispanic outreach efforts is aimed at people who are breaking the law, namely an amnesty for illegal aliens.

Clearly Congressman Tancredo speaks for himself and the people in his district. He certainly doesn’t speak for the Republican Party at a national level (on immigration), and he doesn’t speak for the president,” intoned Sharon Castillo, deputy communications director for the RNC. Robert de Posada of the California-based Latino Coalition, a GOP-friendly Hispanic group, alleged that Tancredo “has created a problem for Republicans at a national level.”

Really? When did the American people, Hispanic or otherwise, vote to abolish this country’s borders? Isn’t that really the issue? De Posada may claim, “When you have a president who is friendly on immigration, immigration becomes a non-issue. Now by changing the issue back to immigration, I think it is nothing but helpful to Democrats.” But there isn’t a scintilla of evidence that a majority of Americans – or even a majority of Hispanics – favor open borders.

And for good reason. Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies observed in National Review On-Line that around this time the federal government arrested “dozens of illegal aliens at Denver International Airport for using fake documents to gain access to restricted areas.”

Michelle Malkin’s compelling new book Invasion catalogs the grisly violent crimes and serious national security risks created by lax border security and immigration enforcement – all with her patented blunt style backed by solid investigative reporting. When the government agencies charged with protecting our borders have no idea who is coming through them, we are left vulnerable to cop-killers and terrorists.

Malkin is outraged by the debasement of American citizenship and borders that have spun out of control. She is a first-generation American whose parents emigrated from the Philippines. Many Hispanic Americans can identify with her background. Why assume they don’t share her patriotic indignation?

It is always the people who are fastest to denounce the “racism” of their opponents who end up making these assumptions. It is time to stop insulting minorities by pretending that the best way to defend their interests and earn their votes is to coddle lawbreakers. Our priority ought to be the protection of all law-abiding Americans equally.

Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”

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