Friday, September 30, 2005

Racism in the Party

Today's news brings to us yet another indication
that SOME in the Republican Party, and its
Conservative figure-heads, just do not GET IT
when it comes to Racism:

A prominent figure in the Party, Bill Bennett, had
this to say on his weekly radio program recently:

"If you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that
were your sole purpose -- you could abort every
black baby in this country and your crime rate
would go down... That would be an impossibly
ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do,
but your crime rate would go down," he said.
-- quoted from a piece on today's

OK, if anybody actually needs to EXPLAIN to
Mr. Bennett why this kind of comment is profoundly
and deeply Racist, then he is nowhere near as
smart as I used to think he was...

The fact that he's right now trying to spin it as "taken
out of context" further undermines his credibility.
A public apology from Bennett, and a quick termination
by the radio station of this person, needs to happen
immediately, to make a statement to African-Americans
everywhere that this kind of obvious Racism simply
will not be tolerated.


Tobin said...

We all wince at the harshness of Bennett's comments. But he clearly is condemns abortion generally and makes clear that he is not encouraging the abortion of black babies.

That being so, exactly what is it about his comments that offends us? Is it the suggestion that blacks disproportionately contribute to crime in our country? Is the particular suggestion that blacks born from unwanted pregnancies seem destined to become crime statistics?

Most certainly, these are unpleasant suggestions. They may, in fact, be wrong. But why don't we ask whether there is some truth to Bennett's unpleasant suggestions, rather than immediately villify him as "racist?" What's wrong with someone having the guts to say "Hey, you know what, if you look at the statistics, it sure seems like there is a crime problem in the young, black (especially male) culture. What can we do about it?" Maybe Bennett could have put it differently, more gently perhaps, but let's face up to the fact that he is raising a legitimate issue.

One more thought: I don't understand why the Bush administration feels the need to publicly condemn Bennett. Bennett is not even in Government anymore, for crying out loud. To me, it's like the President making an announcement that he totally disagrees with Howard Stern's comments on his television program. Why does the President of the United States need to comment on what a private citizen has said, however whacky it might be? Some private citizens have a bigger megaphone than others - that doesn't mean the President needs to weigh in.


Greg said...

The heart and soul of Racism centers on the idea that JUST BECAUSE some particular human being is of "THAT" particular race or ethnic origin, he or she is automatically destined to do or say or be certain things...

Statistics can say just about anything you choose to make them say; even IF, generally, Crime statistics might seem to suggest that African Americans commit the majority of crimes in this country (and that's a very very big IF, and would require all kinds of definitions and qualifiers), that would STILL not provide grounds to make the completely ludicrous, RACIST comment that Bill Bennett made... Every human being should be given the opportunity to demonstrate what sort of person they want to be, and should be shown compassion when they make poor choices...pigeon-holing any human being simply on the basis of Ethnicity is nothing short of immoral (and not very "virtuous").

And the extremity of Bennett's comment that added a particularly nasty tone: ABORT? Seems to me that Bennett spoke contrary to "virtues" on Race AND on ProLife concerns...

As for the President speaking out, the motivation to do so is pretty clear: Bennett has been assoicated with the Republican party, in one way or another, for years; it's not a stretch to see him as "representative" of the party, and, given an opportunity to make a statement on Racism, Bush wisely put out a statement condemning the remarks... Very appropriate, I think...

Greg said...

One more comment about Bennett's comment:

A friend posted a great thought on his own blog, recently, about Bennett's remark: "Does a clearly Racist *remark* make one a 'Racist'?" He went on to say that Bennett's record seemt to indicate, quite to the contrary, that he has a much more cosmopolitan, even philanthropic attitude toward ALL ethnicities...

So I would agree that this individual comment does not make Bennett a "racist", per se (though I do think it *could* indicate some hidden attitudes... rats only scamper for cover when the lights are turned on...)...

But it clearly was a racist comment, and while unfortunate, should be accompanied by consequences...