Today, on the editorial pages on The New York Times, Professor Adolph L. Reed, Jr. was allowed to launch a racialist attack against Republican Rep. Tim Scott, the black Republican recently named as Jim DeMint’s replacement in the U.S. Senate. Reed clearly wants to make the case that, because of his politics, Scott isn’t black, nor is his appointment historic.
Obviously, this is all about keeping blacks “in line,” condemning blacks for straying from how they’re expected to think, and ensuring they keep voting for the right people (Democrats).
Hmm, that sounds kinda familiar:
But this “first black” rhetoric tends to interpret African-American political successes — including that of President Obama — as part of a morality play that dramatizes “how far we have come.” It obscures the fact that modern black Republicans have been more tokens than signs of progress.
Mr. Scott’s background is also striking: raised by a poor single mother, he defeated, with Tea Party backing, two white men in a 2010 Republican primary: a son of Thurmond and a son of former Gov. Carroll A. Campbell Jr. But his politics, like those of the archconservative Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, are utterly at odds with the preferences of most black Americans. Mr. Scott has been staunchly anti-tax, anti-union and anti-abortion.
The trope of the black conservative has retained a man-bites-dog newsworthiness that is long past its shelf life. Clichés about fallen barriers are increasingly meaningless; symbols don’t make for coherent policies. Republicans will not gain significant black support unless they take policy positions that advance black interests. No number of Tim Scotts — or other cynical tokens — will change that.
Yes, Reed uses the word “token” twice.
Obviously, the goal of Reed and the Times here is two-fold: First and foremost, it’s to send a message to keep blacks from straying intellectually. To have your very identity questioned based on your politics, to be called a “token” and portrayed as a sell-out, is an old but effective tactic the Left has been using to keep blacks in line going all the way back to when Democrats ran the segregated South.
Secondly, the media and left will never allow the GOP to lose its “white guy” image, even when you have a female Indian GOP governor appointing a black Republican to the United States Senate. If conservativism itself is deemed a “white guy” belief-system by the media and left, then all conservatives are white guys — even female Indian governors and black Republicans appointed to the U.S. Senate.
Reed and the editors at the Times just aren’t good people, but they are playing for keeps. Identity politics have won the last two major elections for them, and they’re not about to let that go — even if it means recreating the kind of tactics we thought died with Jim Crow.
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