This couldn’t be more wrong.
Marcus H. Johnson
123

Calling a person or argument “bigoted,” racist, etc., is usually what people do when they have no substantive response to offer. With that said, each of your points is flat wrong. I’ll offer my responses to each in turn:

Black people never “turned” from class to race. That choice was made for them by slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, redlining, police brutality, etc. We focus on race because don’t have a choice to ignore it. We don’t have the privilege.

This is completely ahistorical. The message of the civil rights movement was that race SHOULDN’T matter, which is why the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s most resonant sound byte was “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” This was the core of the mainstream civil rights movement through the 60s, 70s and 80s, and it’s only more extreme black nationalists who had a more race-centered message. What happened, however, is that in the early 90s, we transitioned from a model of our society as a “melting pot,” where everyone was expected to make an effort to blend in and assume a broadly “American” identity to a “salad bowl,” where people were now being taught to be proud of and emphasize their differences. The result was creeping balkanization. Literary and other cultural canons came under attack and “representation” replaced merit as the governing aesthetic criterion. At the same time, African-American studies and culture studies departments formed at universities and birthed a whole self-perpetuating industry focusing on black particularity, with academics and writers at major publications focused full-time on race issues. With time, these ideas infiltrated mainstream black culture, turning the earlier focus on race-blindness into our modern focus on race-race-race, so that people were even being absurdly accused of racism for defending the age-old ideal of race blindness. So, yes, there was a definitive turn by black people from race-blindness to race-consciousness that began in the early 90s and is approaching a fever pitch in our 24/7 race-obsessed culture today.

On to your next point:

Working class whites are a rapidly shrinking demographic, and one Democrats haven’t won since they fled the party after the Civil Rights Act. Focus on them, and like Sanders, you will lose.

Whites are still 63% of America, and the working class is 40% of those. In addition, 9% of whites are poor. Although, as you say, some whites did certainly flee the Democratic Party in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Act, the reality is a lot more complex. As Robert Reich explains here (http://robertreich.org/post/137631700920), many whites fled the Democrats simply because neoliberals like Bill Clinton and Obama (and now Ms. Corporate Clinton) kept doing things to screw them over in order to dole out a bit of corporate welfare. Here is what Reich writes:

Democrats have occupied the White House for sixteen of the last twenty-four years, and in that time scored some important victories for working families — the Affordable Care Act, an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Family and Medical Leave Act, for example.
But they’ve done nothing to change the vicious cycle of wealth and power that has rigged the economy for the benefit of those at the top, and undermined the working class. In some respects, Democrats have been complicit in it.
Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama ardently pushed for free trade agreements, for example, without providing the millions of blue-collar workers who thereby lost their jobs any means of getting new ones that paid at least as well.
They also stood by as corporations hammered trade unions, the backbone of the white working class. Clinton and Obama failed to reform labor laws to impose meaningful penalties on companies that violated them, or enable workers to form unions with a simple up-or-down votes.

In addition, contrary to the narrative that these whites are just racists who all fled the left because of civil rights issues, as I describe in my article I linked to in my last post, which explains white support for Trump (http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/why-democrat-refugees-are-swelling-trumps-support/17816), a majority of whites actually voted for Obama in 2008. But, in the intervening years, more and more whites started to flee the Democratic fold, and started identifying as independents or, in some cases, Republicans. The bulk of Trump’s support comes from these whites. The reason — and I think this is more our culture than Obama himself — is the incredible uptick in race-baiting on the left that has made these whites feel unwelcome in the Democratic Party. They feel like they are constantly under attack as privileged oppressors, etc., even though many of them are also struggling. In other words, the narrative is precisely what I suggested: these people are being alienated by our obsessive focus on race these last few years.

And this feeds directly into your next two points, which I’ll tackle together:

If talking about racism alienates working class whites, so be it. It isn’t about hurt feelings. Black people are dying from racism right now, in the “civilized” world. We can achieve lots of things without working class white support — ie the Civil Rights Act

The Civil Rights Act was passed with the support of many working-class whites, despite the opposition of many others. Think about it: black people in America are some 12% to 13% of the population. They have to forge alliances with others to get things done, and whites still constitute the majority of the U.S. population. If an aggressive race-conscious politics alienates those whites and sends them fleeing out of the Democratic Party, the result will be gridlock, a shifting of the center to the right and/or outright right-wing domination. That’s not exactly productive if your goal is to achieve racial justice of any sort.

On to the next point:

You want poor Black people to be in a coalition with poor whites while ignoring that poor whites often terrorized poor Blacks throughout American history.

I’m fond of this quote from the writer Celine: “Poor people never, or hardly ever, ask for an explanation of all they have to put up with. They hate one another, and content themselves with that.” And, yes, that’s depressingly true. When you’re at the bottom of the economic ladder, you try to make yourself feel better by finding someone else who is even lower down than you are, and if you can’t find anyone, then you do your best to make sure there’s someone down there you can pick on and feel superior to. That’s what poor whites did to poor blacks, historically speaking. And, ironically enough, that’s what poor blacks are trying to do to poor whites now (though, of course, on a much smaller scale). They’re having a fun time demonizing those poor whites, calling them racist rednecks, privileged oppressors, unreconstructed bigots, etc. And you know what the result of all of this is? Not a whole lot, either economically speaking or in terms of the prevalence of racism. Those poor whites who oppressed poor blacks were still poor and struggling, and the poor blacks that are trying to stick it to poor whites in retribution now are in exactly the same position. The only way out of this stupid and self-destructive cycle that accomplishes nothing is to see the common class interest that’s there and realize that racism and, now, race-consciousness is something the powers-that-be stoke in order to keep the working-class divided in order to prevent it from unifying against the wealthy and corporate class. This is precisely what Ms. Corporate Clinton is now doing, as she panders to blacks by talking about race as much as possible in order to keep them away from the column of the one truly progressive candidate in the race. Of course, if elected, her priorities will be precisely what they’ve always been. Increasing corporate welfare, furthering corporate profits at the expense of the working class through deregulation, harmful trade deals, etc., unifying the nation through costly and unnecessary wars that cause suffering and stoke extremism and unrest throughout the world and otherwise keeping the status quo firmly in place. When she gets elected, as I suspect she will, the bulk of black voters will have no one but themselves to blame for the outcome. And I’m also predicting that, just like you are now doing for the tough-on-crime measures you’ve blamed on racism despite overwhelming black support for such measures back in the day, you’ll turn around and blame the harmful-to-blacks policies she’ll undoubtedly enact on racism as well.

On to your final point:

The War on Drugs was clearly an attempt to hurt Black Americans, and Republicans rode those attacks on Blacks to electoral success. Nixon’s own aides admitted what Blacks have known for decades.

Again, quoting one Nixon aide isn’t enough to make the case that the whole War on Drugs — which was significantly furthered by Reagan and Clinton, among others — was “clearly an attempt to hurt Black Americans.” Likewise your suggestion that “Republicans rode those attacks on Blacks to electoral success” doesn’t explain the fact that the crime bill that’s now the subject of such controversy came from Clinton, a Democrat, and one whose like-minded spouse you’re now supporting. Was he also motivated by racism? The reality is that people’s motivations are much more complicated than a single issue. Maybe you are obsessed with race, but that doesn’t hold for most people, and many of the people supporting these tough-on-crime measures, including the many black people who supported them, just wanted safer neighborhoods in which to live, work and play.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.