Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Racism of Howard Dean

I am thinking now of the day after election day with an open mind. I might be heavy hearted at the defeat of my candidate. Or I might heave a sigh of relief at Obama's defeat. It will be my duty and that of millions of Americans to accept the voice of the people.
Howard Dean has opened his mouth again. He has called the Republican Party the party of white people. He should try to explain away Martin Luther King's status as a registered Republican . He should explain away how the party of Lincoln produced judges in the American South who eviscerated Jim Crow with judicial rulings. It was Republican judges who supported desegregation from the bench. It was in Republican administrations that Condoleeza Rice served as Secretary of State . Who was the first African American to serve in that position once held by a white guy on the ten dollar bill? It was Colin Powell appointed by a Republican President. Prior to that he was the first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also appointed by a Republican president.

So Howard Dean a member of the party of Lester Maddox , George_Wallace and J.B. Stoner, (who once referred to Hitler as "too moderate") see article has now called the Republicans the "white party". Aside from his rampant contempt for the record of history and recent events, Dean has attempted to attach pejorative connotations to white skin. The ideal adopted by the majority of Americans is that race and ethnicity are morally neutral. The majority of Americans believe that whatever cultural tradition you may choose to perpetuate that others deserve respect and tolerance. Perhaps Dean is of the American minority that does not share these values. His recent and most divisive comments seem to indicate that.

Supposedly, the Democrats want to get beyond race, but it is they who harp on it, hoping to translate white guilt and African American pride in a black candidate into an electoral victory. Many Americans have ancestry from countries that were racked by civil war. Indians, Pakistanis, Serbs, Croats and Albanians all have bloody conflicts in the fairly recent past that make the relative peace of America most attractive to them. The Balkanisation and partition of America into ethnic subgroups with mutually exclusive historical narratives is an anathema to most Americans.

Most Americans want equality of opportunity. They even want extra help for those whose personal struggles are hampered by poverty and personal adversity. Howard Dean's remarks attach pejorative connotations to white ethnicity. He has imputed ugliness to some of the tiles in the American mosaic. Lastly, he has banished shades and nuance from his vision of America. My neighbours are not just black. They are of Jamaican, Haitian Grenadian, Trinidadian Northern and Southern American ancestry. My neighbours are not just white. They are Italian, Croatian, Irish, Cuban, Argentinian, Norwegian, German and an alphabet soup of different nationalities. My neighbours are Jewish, Mormon, Protestant, Catholic and Muslim as well as a rainbow of Eastern Orthodox denominations. They have mutually exclusive theologies that do not preclude professional and personal relationships. America sinned and America erred in reaching this enviable manner of coexistence. And America continues to err in its ongoing search for truth and perfection. We are a work in progress.

My father used to have a darkroom in which he developed black and white photographs. He worked hard to render as faithfully as possible the range of shade in his pictures. A picture in which only black and white were to be seen appeared as a surrealistic jumble. It was meaningless. Hundreds of shades went into a well developed picture.

Mr. Dean, your vision of America is like a photo with no shades of gray. It bears no relationship to reality. Your picture of America would not hang in my father's dark room. It would lie in his waste basket.


CKAinRedStateUSA said...

Abortionist and socialist Howard Dean is the perfect contemporary spokesman for the Demockacrat Party.

And if his recent tripe about the Republican Party being the part of white people doesn't awaken black America to the plantation masters that the Demockacrats have been to them, then nothing will.

After all, to what, really, can black America point, other than the enslaving welfare system, that the Demockacrats have really done for them?

Let them trace the history of racsism of the Demockacrats against blacks back to 1854 to the present.

The Dems even filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

And now they, white Dean and black Obama, play the race card without conscience and apparent consequence.

This will backfire at the polls in November and thereafter.

Anonymous said...


When Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he reportedly told one of his advisors that he had just "handed the South to the Republicans for the next fifty years." As you well know, the parties at that time underwent an ideological shift; the southern "Dixiecrats," appalled at the idea of civil rights for all races, abandoned the Democratic party and became members in very good standing with the Republicans. Today, the division is just as clear. Minorities overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party, and the South has not voted Democratic since 1964.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., may or may not have been a Republican; that much is disputed, even by his family. He most certainly supported the Civil Rights Act, which Republicans adamantly opposed.

Which party, I ask, has fought for higher standards of living for minorities? Which has fought for legislation toughening the penalties on hate crimes? Which has consistently supported, not challenged, minorities' right to simply cast a vote? Which holds the vast majority of elected representatives of color and of women? Which has nominated an African American for the Presidency?

The party of Lincoln abandoned the higher angels of its nature in 1964, and has not looked back. The men in Texas who dragged a black man to his death behind a pickup truck: do you think they voted for John Kerry? How about those rural voters south of Mobile, AL, who proudly fly Confederate flags outside their homes and businesses, not as a tribute to history (then the US flag would be properly displayed, as well) but as a message?

As a young, multiracial man, I have been most unimpressed with the Republican Party's record on issues of race, which still, unfortunately, dominate our politics. I invite you to prove me wrong, but throwing out Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell (who, by the way, is a moderate Republican and considers himself so mainly because of military issues..I've actually spoken to him personally about this) are no proof of enlightenment. Our politics are more than a little racially tinged, and your party's voters and policies have consistently been on the wrong side of history.

Don't feign outrage when someone dares to point this out, or attempt to revise history. If you can explain why, in the 1960's, the south's voting pattern changed from Democratic to Republican, I welcome the explanation.

Otherwise, own what's yours.

Magdeburger Joe said...

Dear Mike,
I appreciate your response. You raise interesting questions.
First, race is only one dimension of the political landscape.It should not be assumed that through the shifts of party allegiance, that no personal and ideological evolution occurred. Today, affirmative action and fair ways of extending help to the disadvantaged of any race are legitimate issues.
Secondly,the question of whether King was a Republican is a cut and dried fact. You can argue about the evolution of that party designation means now and back then, but you should be precise about that.
Thirdly, I believe that both parties have strived for extending America's opportunities to all ethnicities. There are major tactical and philosophical differences between the two parties that should be debated without acrimony.
Your statement about the higher angels of nature is metaphysical. It does not belong in this discussion.
Felons are not allowed to vote. I am not interested in the political leanings of white or black racists. I feel confident that your abhorrence of racism extends to racists of all ethnicities
I welcome the change of heart in the American people that made the election of an African American possible. I also welcome the freedom to judge him by his record, which I find sorely wanting.
You can not deny or trivialise the advances of African Americans in Republican administrations. We have reached a point in the evolution of the American people where racism is truly disgraceful. I feel confident that the debates that have surrounded the tactics and philosophy in this evolution will shape interesting and promising developments in our future.
If you could please explain to me the meaning and relevance of the phrase "Own what's yours." I would be most appreciative. While I await yor reply, I wi;; google the phrase