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December 23, 2002

The [Im]materiality of [Lott's] Racism

there is a simple litmus test here which could begin to uncover whether or not a candidate is principally racist. yet so many folks, including lott himself, have weighed in on the matter of the significance of comments and apologies spun this way or that, that the underlying principles are fundamentally ignored. furthermore, few things annoy me more than the lazy excuse to elide to black popular opinion on matters of principle.. but more on that later.

one should indeed consider whether or not lott and his constituency are racist. such determinations are possible. we can take it as a given that they lean towards that way, simply because the ccc are fairly unreconstructed, and as several people have astutely pointed out, lott has brought legitimacy to them and other such organizations by dignifying their agendas, en passant. but given that some significant fraction of lott's constituency is racist and that lott, like byrd, wallace, thurmond, helms and dozens of others like them in past as well as contemporary politics, faithfully represent their interests, should such people remain in office and/or have leadership positions? (what do i mean by 'significant fraction'?)

gwbush has, for principles unknown, made the proper decision. in essence, lott is a racist and as a racist, should not lead the party in the senate, but should remain on as a senator and continue to represent his constituency. i think that is a simple enough decision, but this is all anybody seems to care about, which ultimately evades the substance of what racists do, or a racist constituency would have beholden politicians do. 

instead it is at this point that we consider the merits of affirmative action, census categories, and other politically fungible proxies for non-white political interests. the false axiom being replicated is that a satisfied or silent minority electorate is consistent with a principally anti-racist republic. this is the fog of a self-induced colorblindness and other fuzzy thinking which is placated by BET programming and the relative silence of minister farrakhan. 

who would dare look deeper than the spectre of a theoretical dixiecrat presidency? 'special interests' of course. those hardcore civil libertarians forged in the only part of recent american history in which people actually fought and died for their political beliefs.

a lot of congratulation goes around, but the harsh reality is that it has taken almost two generations for the country to muster the political will to knock over someone like lott, a mere cheerleader. too little too late. after all, everybody was actually celebrating strom thurmond. it does say something profound that such a man lives to be 100 years old making laws in the most powerful deliberative body in the free world and someone like medgar evers is shot down in his prime.

Posted by mbowen at December 23, 2002 11:47 AM

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