Friday, January 16, 2004

Aunt Jemima has left the building

Blogger and new mother Dawn Olsen is perturbed about a poster of presidential advisor Condoleezza Rice being circulated in liberal circles. Dawn believes the poster communicates contempt for black conservatives.

"Oh, I think I understand what's going on. See, if you are a person of color AND conservative then clearly your race can be used against you, because heaven forbid you not follow the stereotypical party-line of liberalism. If you are a conservative and also a minority in this country, then you have CLEARLY sold your soul to the "white devil" and have made a mockery of your race. It couldn't possibly be that you have educated yourself to the various political paths and ideologies and chosen the one that you feel best represents your values, beliefs and faith.

. . .There seems to be a vast left-wing conspiracy going on here. It seems that certain liberals are trying to keep conservative, free thinking individuals, who happen to also be of a different race than whites, DOWN. Why is that?

Maybe it's just me, but I find it kind of duplicitous to call into question someone's race in a derogatory way just because their philosophy differs from your own, but then use that same race as a benefit when it suits your agenda.

It's no secret that Liberals traditionally have championed the dignity of minorities and their right to equal treatment, and then when some members of those minorities turn conservative they turn around and make slave jokes."

My initial response to Dawn's entry was as a civil libertarian: Rice is a public official. She is helping make decisions that impact millions of lives, both in America and abroad. People have the right to criticize public officials and public figures because of the power such persons hold. Indeed people should criticize the powerful, since that is one of the few forms of accountability they are subject to.

After more thought, I decided Dawn may have a point regarding the 'fighting for whitey' language. I believe what Rice is actually doing is helping the oligarchy that runs the country. It does not include or concern itself with most of the citizenry, including most white people. So, accuracy has been sacrificed to catchiness in the slogan on the poster. Do read the rest of Dawn's entry.

Note: This entry also appeared in a column at Mac-a-ro-nies.

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