Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Why do we allow Race Baiting?

I was going to blog today about Rep. Akin not getting out of the race after his remarks on "illegitimate rape" but I found this article: http://www.theroot.com/blogs/paul-ryan/does-paul-ryans-black-girlfriend-matter

Keli Goff goes down an interesting path with this article in determining if the fact that Rep. Ryan dated a black girl or the fact that he has black sister-in-law. I understand bringing up race, to some, is no place for a white middle class male living in the Midwest since that equates to a life of privilege and open doors. Yet, I will do it anyway because it's important to discuss race in most contexts.

Ms. Goff does raise a valid point if ones views or belief accurately reflect their actions. Now, I have always been told that actions speak louder than words but that aside. The article goes right up to the edge of calling Rep. Ryan a racist since his minority friends are the exceptions to the rule. Ms. Goff writes, "Research has shown that those who hold stereotypes about a particular group of people are unlikely to have those stereotypes altered merely by encountering someone who defies that stereotype. Instead, they are likely to view that individual defying said stereotype as an exception." Here is the research: http://www.faculty.umb.edu/lawrence_blum/publications/publications/A48.pdf

When did stereotypes become racist? Everyone generalizes to a point until they do encounter people from said group. The media loves to paint with the broad brush and so do many on the blogsphere; I will admit I do it from time to time as well. Ms. Goff ends with, "No, I am not calling Ryan a racist, I am saying, however, that if you want to know where a politician's heart lies when it comes to a particular community, it may be best to look at that person's polices..." I.E. voting record.

To this point I completely agree with Ms. Goff that we need to vet our candidates for higher office instead of focusing on stereotypes. Race shouldn't be a factor for anyone casting a vote but we all know that it is unfortunately - both for or against. Trouble is that if one uses race to vote against a candidate its racism but if they vote for the candidate based on race alone it's historic. They both are example of racism. To Ms. Goff's question - What do you think? - No, we should be talking about the race of one's girlfriend or wife or husband or candidate. The focus should be on the issues and if one disagrees with another it can be because of a difference of opinion on how to solve the issues of the day and not the color of the skin of the other person. Ms. Goff says that white folks use "I have black friends" as a cover for racist action if that is really the case then it is equally the case that calling another black an "Uncle Tom" is also a cover for racist action.