Another columnist I've read for years in that newspaper is Bill Maxwell. Some of Bill's opinions are pretty good. Sometimes not. He's not as consistent as Blumner, in other words.
This week's column by Maxwell touched on a sore point regarding race. The column talked about Barack Obama and how race plays in his political ascendancy, comparing Obama to Colin Powell in some ways.
Blacks such as Powell and Obama defy all of the negative black stereotypes. Powell is the child of Caribbean immigrants, and Obama is the child of a white Kansan and a black Kenyan. Neither has the tragic baggage of American slavery in their pedigree. Both are light-skinned and have what we blacks refer to as "good hair." They are physically pleasing to most whites.
Both succeeded in bastions of white power. Obama earned degrees from Ivy League universities and serves in the U.S. Senate, a white man's club. Powell rose to the highest position for a commissioned officer in the U.S. military.
And, for sure, neither Powell nor Obama is ideologically black.
Ideologically black. How's that for being whacked on the head with the iron skillet of identity politics?
It never ceases to amaze me how some activists have apparently completely abandoned the colorblind dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in favor of identifying specific types of thinking as racial. How will the nation ever realize Dr. King's dream if an ideology is identified with a specific race?
Maxwell ends his column with a call for honesty regarding the role of race in politics. OK, then, here's some honesty about the role of race in politics. President Johnson risked the ire of Southern Democrats by pushing civil rights legislation, necessarily getting it passed using a coalition of Northern Democrats and Republicans--most blacks had been politically Republican up through that time, it being the party of Lincoln and the party of emancipation.
LBJ's move paid huge dividends politically. Blacks repaid LBJ by almost monolithically supporting the Democratic Party ever since. It apparently didn't matter that they were supporting the party whose tent included Democrats who had fought hard to maintain racial segregation.
LBJ's "Great Society" set up entitlement programs for the poor, including public housing projects--policies that probably sped the disintegration of black social culture (breaking down family structure and eroding the work ethic), though that effect certainly wasn't limited only to blacks.
The type of opinion Maxwell expressed in effect forbids a black person from disagreeing with "Great Society"-type policies. Regardless of how sincerely one may think the policies are bad for blacks, demagogues like Maxwell would apparently have you believe that that a certain public policy (the one to which Maxwell subscribes, perhaps?) is authentically black. Dissent from that apparently makes blacks traitors to their race to one degree or another.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.