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June 09, 2004


Not long ago I was talking about rhetorical patronage. Here's an example of the kind of reaction to a failure to get rhetorical patronage.

"Politically, African-Americans can hardly get past that he started his campaign in Philadelphia, Miss.," said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), referring to the area where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964. "It was such a strong statement that the KKK endorsed him on the same day."

"You can't forget that," Jackson added.

Well, he's right. You can't forget it if you never knew it. Jackson's failed Rainbow Coalition still stakes its claim over the memories of African Americans, and here he's claiming to represent us by saying we never got over Reagan vis a vis this. Granted, I wasn't paying attention to Reagan at the time, I supported Anderson. But I also wasn't out looking for ways to be offended, much less trying to establish that large swaths of African Americans are offended in retrospect.

Somebody send the Rev a Hallmark card and a box of tissue.

Posted by mbowen at June 9, 2004 08:49 PM

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Can't go there with you here, Cobb. It was FOUL for Reagan to kick off his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi. The ONLY thing it's known for are the murders of those civil rights workers. While there, then Reagan talks about how he supports "states' rights." Especially down South (where I grew up) that means keeping black folks in their place. I was a child then so I don't remember it, but it's something we shouldn't forget either when we discuss Reagan's activities. And yes, the vast majority of black folks who I know were and remain offended by that stunt.

Posted by: shay at June 9, 2004 09:17 PM

Come on Mike. The passage you quote is from JR...NOT sr.

Posted by: Lester Spence at June 9, 2004 09:18 PM

whoops. Sorry Mr. Jackson.

So what exactly did Reagan do for 'States Rights', and how did the Klan benefit?

Posted by: cobb at June 9, 2004 10:22 PM

"So what exactly did Reagan do for 'States Rights', and how did the Klan benefit?"

Pretty much nothing. But he never planned on doing anything other than getting their votes. They were, and are, a means to an end. The end being power. Its the game of electoral politics since the days of ancient Athens.

Posted by: walter at June 10, 2004 12:06 AM

Perhaps useful: Jack White's Time article "Lott, Reagan and Republican Racism," Steven Hayward's National Review article Reagan, Lott, and Race Baiting" and Kevin Baker's Harper's review "The magic Reagan: more misguided arguments for his greatness"

Posted by: George at June 10, 2004 01:34 AM

What did Reagan do? He significantly reduced revenue sharing with cities, believing that cities are creations of the state and that it was up to the states to take care of them. States rights. He was the first President to pick opponents of civil rights to head civil rights agencies. Clarence Thomas at the EEOC for example. Remember that most civil rights legislation is based on fed oversight. We know how many cases Thomas sees under his watch, and how high the burden becomes. Reagan also appoints a significant number of ultra-conservative judges to the federal bench, judges who, in sum, were loathe to acknowledge the existence of racism...largely because of their support for states rights and the individualist ideology that comes with it.

How did the Klan benefit? Indirectly, I'm thinking that members of the Klan felt more "American" and didn't feel as subjugated because of their race. Directly David Duke rides to power on a wave of Reaganesque sentiment.

Posted by: lks at June 10, 2004 06:32 AM