Or am I missing something?


A criticism of Barack Obama that cannot be called "racist":

Barack Obama is truly a phenomenon of our time-- a presidential candidate who cannot cite a single serious accomplishment in his entire career, besides advancing his own career with rhetoric.

He has a rhetorical answer for everything. Those of us who talk about the threat of Iran are just engaging in "the politics of fear" according to Obama, something to distract us from "the real issues," such as raising taxes and handing out largesse with the proceeds.

It's a very insightful piece, and its author, Thomas Sowell, cannot be charged with racism for writing it.

Or can he? I don't think so, because Sowell is black. And according to the standards of identity politics, when a member of a racial minority group criticizes another member of the same minority, that is not racism.

Not only that, but according to the crazed identitarian rules that prevail today, Thomas Sowell is arguably "blacker" than is Barack Obama. Unlike Obama -- who is "not descended from slaves, nor was his childhood marked by poverty, segregated schooling or social deprivation" -- Sowell grew up in poverty in the South:

He grew up in poverty in the South when black folks were still on the fringes of society. As a kid he visited the home of some white folks, for the first time saw the taps for both hot water and cold water, and thought that the "rich" people "drank a lot of water" because they had two taps. He did not even know that blond was a possible color for hair until he was older. His family moved to New York City when he was still a child. When he enrolled in the schools, he had to fight the Southern stereotypes because everyone knew that "Southern kids were dumb."
So, while I am not personally impressed by identitarian arguments based on race, at least they can't apply them to Sowell's criticisms of Obama. Unless I'm missing something.

Maybe I am. I've been wracking my brains over the bizarre assertion that Sarah Palin is "not a woman." The idea is that she's "a Republican, conservative man who just happens to be in a woman's body." Assume that's the case. There's nothing suddenly wrong with being transgendered, is there? Or am I missing something else?

Maybe I am.

Perhaps the rule is that you can't be what you are unless you agree with what they tell you you have to think in order to be what you are.

It sounds simple, until you discover that you're not allowed to disagree, because you'd be disagreeing with your missing self, which is not yours.

MORE: According to the comments below, what I've been missing is that conservatism is racism.

Does that mean that as a small l libertarian, I'm off the hook?

posted by Eric on 09.16.08 at 12:59 PM


Yes, you're missing something. A conservative criticizing a liberal is always racist regardless of the skin color the liberal or conservative might have. So Sowell criticizing Obama is racist. In fact, Sowell criticizing, say, John Kerry is an example of anti-black racism.

Just how it is, I don't make the rules...

Tom   ·  September 16, 2008 1:25 PM

Bull. Thomas Sowell is no more Black than Sarah Palin is female.

It's all a construct, right? If post modernism teaches us anything at all (a dubious proposition) it's that everything means whatever one wishes it to mean, at any given moment.

Steve Skubinna   ·  September 16, 2008 2:54 PM

Actually Sowell once asked, "What's the definition of a racist?" His answer, "A conservative winning an argument with a liberal."

So, yeah. Racist + Uncle Tom.

Amos   ·  September 16, 2008 3:06 PM

Right, the constructs "Black" and "female" are totally separate from an individual's physiology. See Condoleeza Rice or Clarence Thomas. (After spending most of my adult life being told I'm not a real woman because I've never been pregnant, it's kind of refreshing/confusing to see a woman who completed the process five times get the same treatment....)

Heather   ·  September 16, 2008 3:14 PM

This touches on a pet peeve. If you can be whatever gender you want, why can't you be whatever RACE you want?



And if "black" and "woman" are constructs, then "gay" is certainly a construct. So if gay conservatives are said not to be gay because they are conservative, then what are they? Straight? If so, then how can they be "outed"?

If these people are playing Red Queen games and claiming the exclusive right to define words for themselves, then what happened to the rule that "everything means whatever one wishes it to mean, at any given moment"?

Or does that rule not apply to conservatives either?

Eric Scheie   ·  September 16, 2008 4:45 PM

All conservstives are gay, we're just self-hating and repressed, tormenting (oppressing) our wives with our feeble feigned interest.

Fir instance:

tim maguire   ·  September 16, 2008 4:52 PM

Here's a better link. It contains something of a logical proof:


tim maguire   ·  September 16, 2008 4:55 PM

"Why can't you be whatever RACE you want?"

You can. Ask Obama.

amos   ·  September 16, 2008 5:27 PM

(Jewish World Review is a thousand times better for columnists, without the insane popups and light-dimming ad loading of townhall.com sowell)

Ron Hardin   ·  September 16, 2008 8:19 PM

Hmmm, this means that "Blademonkey" is a mere construct, or I'm truly a hybrid of an edged weapon and a simian.

I think we need Ward "Quasi-native" Churchill's expertise on this one.

Blademonkey   ·  September 17, 2008 2:29 AM

Post a comment

April 2011
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30


Search the Site


Classics To Go

Classical Values PDA Link


Recent Entries


Site Credits