Friday, January 25, 2013

Why White Ain't Right

Michael Tomasky points and laughs at Republican efforts to make inroads with non-whites:
All that is a bunch of rot, I’m afraid, and the rank and file’s racism is just a plain fact. Ever read some of those Fox News website comment threads on race stories, like this rather fascinating thread when Whitney Houston died, or certain Obama articles? It’s like reading Bull Connor’s diary. No, this doesn’t mean every conservative is a racist. But it does mean that if you find yourself at a table with five conservatives and try to break the ice with a watermelon joke, you’re very likely to get somewhere between two and three laughs.
A party with that kind of base is not going to be changing positions on affirmative action anytime in the next, oh, millennium. No—I really can’t predict a meeting of the minds here in any remotely foreseeable future. Remember, the conservative, Republican-appointed Supreme Court is (presumably) about to undo affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act. It’ll be another decade fighting to win those back at least.
The GOP base doesn’t appear to boil with the same depth of contempt for Latinos. To Republicans, Latinos are the people who at least, you know, mow people’s lawns and such. But I think conservatives misunderstand Latinos. It’s true that they are a quite heterogeneous admixture of people from a broad range of cultures and historical traditions. But to the extent that they can be lumped together, as we do for electoral-demographic purposes, we find that they are alas a pretty liberal outfit.
Conservatives always say, “Latinos are conservative; they are our natural allies!” It’s not really true. Exit polls last year found Latinos supporting abortion rights in quite large numbers, and ditto same-sex marriage (to a lesser degree, but still a healthy majority). The conservative misunderstanding, of course, is in assuming that personal conservatism equates with political conservatism. Sometimes it does, but a lot of the time it does not.
The watermelon joke example is a good point.  Around here, you will probably get four laughs.  It is nearly impossible for anyone to miss the hostility in the Republican base toward minorities.  They start with the assumption that all blacks and Hispanics are on welfare, and get more offensive from there.  It is a sad state of affairs, but watching these assholes waste time lying about how they will convince these folks they don't hate them should be at least mildly entertaining.

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