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December 14, 2003


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Lester Spence

I think you should re-read the black commentator piece. The poverty stuff? That isn't Dean at all...that's JOHNSON'S HOWARD GRADUATION SPEECH OF 1965!

What is Dean's central argument? That the Southern Strategy is racist...and should be fought head on. My feelings about Dean "getting it" and Dean "having soul" are straightforward and outlined for all to see.

But the rise of the republican party in the modern era is largely due to racial demogoguery by the republicans and to the lack of heart of the democrats. Dean's speech on this issue should be regarded as a positive step forward. And while your point about the democratic party not doing anything unique for blacks is well taken, I'm not sure that's actually the point here. The point is to create a discursive framework by which candidates can honestly talk about the ISSUES rather than scapegoating (or being afraid to defend) black people.


I disagree that the Republicans get paid to be racist, or that the white electorate will either. Taxes are an overplayed but tangible pocketbook issue, and if Republicans weren't offering this chicken in every pot, they wouldn't and couldn't get elected consistently on racial platforms.

Even if it were the case, I've already discounted it. So, if all the racists are in the Republican Party what is the single most odious thing they have done and why has no Democrat seen that and attacked it directly? They can't because the defacto racist agenda of the Republican Party is neglectful campaigning. So what? All that ends on the floor of Congress.

Those things that are most materially significant in institutional racism are primarily inertial. Neither party is ready to make it a priority to go after these things.

I knew that wasn't Dean's statement, I simply took it as BC's position. So that Johnson said it is not directly material - it's squishy and it conflates economics and racial history anywhay. That's my point. Unless you are talking about Hardball Zero-Sum Affirmative Action, there are not 'black jobs' out there to be offered by either party. So either the economic policy is coherent and race-blind, as we know everyone believes anyway, or it is straight out racial pork, which no candidate not even Sharpton is going to offer. So why the conflation of the issues? It serves the purpose of warm and fuzzy.

Neither Johnson, nor Dean is talking about enabling Black Capitalism. There's no beef.

Lester Spence

I'm trying to get a handle on this statement but it is very difficult. The backward approach:

Who exactly supports "black capitalism?" IIRC Nixon was the bc king, and he discarded the idea in favor of the Southern Strategy. The Democratic Party supports it by fiat I suppose, but I can't remember the last time I heard the GOP talking about it. There is an interesting mirror to crony capitalism in both Sharpton and Jackson's attempt to make loot off of legitimate black middle class suffering...and the people who tend to support this are Democratic elites--who benefit in a couple of problematic ways. Oh. The liquor companies support black capitalism too...but here I'm talking about the superpromoters.

"The defacto racist agenda of the Republican Party is neglectful campaigning." So the GOP's agenda is problematic not because they actively demonize black voters, but because they don't take the time to actively recruit them? I am probably misunderstanding this statement... but it appears to me that the Republicans do both. They don't take time to actively recruit african americans and they actively demonize them in order to recruit working class whites. The DNC plays the punk role by not standing up (until Dean).

"The republicans don't get paid to be racist... neither does the white electorate." I actually didn't say they were racist. I can't tell. I do know that they have effectively used race in order to convince voters that government is wasteful, criminals should be severely punished, and that poverty has a black face and will not be solved by "throwing money at the problem."

Even given all this, I do believe it is incumbent upon African Americans to get in where they fit in. I've even figured out how state's rights can be used to help rather than harm African American life chances. But we can't go into this project blindly.

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