Jb's Blog

views on current events

Rangle’s Race Rant

with 6 comments

From September 3, 2009 New York Post

CHARLIE UPS THE RACE-CARD ANTE
By CARL CAMPANILE

Rep. Charles Rangel said Tuesday that “bias” and “prejudice” toward Obama are fueling opposition to health-care reform.

“Some Americans have not gotten over the fact that Obama is president of the United States. They go to sleep wondering, ‘How did this happen?’ ” Rangel (D-Manhattan) said Tuesday.

Speaking at a health-care forum in Washington Heights, Rangel said that when critics complain that Obama is “trying to interfere” with their lives by pushing for health-care reform, “then you know there’s just a misunderstanding, a bias, a prejudice, an emotional feeling.”

Rangel then likened the battle over health-care expansion for the uninsured to the fight for civil rights.

“Why do we have to wait for the right to vote? Why can’t we get what God has given us? That is the right to live as human beings and not negotiate with white southerners and not count the votes. Just do the right thing,” he said.

Charlie, why does everything end up being about race, with you?

True, some Americans “go to sleep wondering, ‘How did this happen?'” I go to sleep wondering, “How did this happen?” But it’s certainly not because of a misunderstanding, a bias, or a prejudice over the fact that we now have a President who is black (which seems to be what your comments suggest).

Charlie, why can’t you accept that some Americans simply disagree with what they feel are bad ideas? Without any regard whatsoever to the race of those with whom they disagree?

In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. powerfully described his Dream that one day Americans would not be driven by issues of race, but where all of us would live and work together without regard to the color of our skin. And while the country has made much progress toward that end, some people simply will not allow us to get there. Representative Rangle, with comments (and attitudes) such as those quoted above, is one of those people.

Ostensibly in the effort to fulfilling that Dream, our Government also makes it difficult (if not impossible), in so many ways, to achieve it. Just one example: I’ve often wondered, if it is illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, then why does our Government require them to ask employment applicants to indicate their race as part of the application process? That doesn’t make sense. Employers are not only required to ask applicants for racial information, they are also required to report that information to the Government (who is also restricted from using racial information to discriminate). Because race-based discrimination in employment is illegal, shouldn’t it also be illegal for employers to ask for racial information from applicants? Since it is illegal for anyone to discriminate along racial lines, wouldn’t it make more sense for us to have a “Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell” policy on race? That one leaves me scratching my head. As do people like Congressman Rangle.

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Written by jb

September 4, 2009 at 12:08 pm

6 Responses

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  1. good one.

    Mark

    September 4, 2009 at 7:47 pm

  2. This is the United States of America, with its evil and dark past of slavery and its criminal and treacherous dealings with the tribal peoples of this land. Go back to Thomas Jefferson, the most brilliant of the Founders (one who, I believe, would be shocked at the general ignorance in this country), and you’ll find serious thought about racial conflict on his mind: “Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people [slaves] are to be free. Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them.” All this to say that in the good ol’ USA, if an issue can be made to be about race, it will be made to be about race. Race is the inescapable shadow of American “freedom.”

    Michael

    September 6, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    • Great point. And I agree that the past treatment of certain people groups (i.e. slavery and the tribal peoples) in our country are indeed reprehensible. Unforgivable. A genuine travesty, and something for which history must hold the country accountable.

      However, while I have great respect for Thomas Jefferson, and while I consider myself not at all qualified to debate him, I respectfully disagree with his assertion that “the two races cannot live in the same government.” Perhaps that stance was understandable in his day and from the political environment while under the active policies of government-approved slavery, but I think maybe Mr. Jefferson was not placing enough faith in what he called the “progress of the human mind.” Granted, I don’t believe human nature or our propensity to do evil-instead-of-good changes or ever goes away. But I think that from all our country has gone through since the end of slavery, and especially given the changes we’ve seen in our own generation (Civil Rights Movement, etc.), most people I know (both white and black) are perfectly willing (and even eager) to share and live equally in this country.

      Some people, however, seem not to want to allow that to happen, proving Jefferson right. And to that end, people with attitudes like Mr. Rangle’s (eager to make everything out to be about race, even when race isn’t at all a part of the issue) certainly don’t help make that possible to achieve. Perhaps Jefferson was prophetically envisioning people like Charlie when he came to his conclusion?

      jb

      September 7, 2009 at 8:13 am

  3. Jefferson wrote out of what he believed about race over 200 years ago, which was, from our vantage point, about as ignorant as he ever got. To be honest, I don’t really care what he thought about race, because it was based on false assumption and misinterpreted observations. I believe as you do on this. I mean only to say that the United States might collapse before it comes to a point where it rises above its past evils. For example, I notice in what we’ve written that, after our first sentences, the tribal peoples drop out of what we have to say, and the issue becomes black and white. What was done to tribal peoples in the “New World” is just as great a travesty as what was done to African slaves. Perhaps today it actually remains the greater travesty because it is forgotten.

    Michael

    September 7, 2009 at 9:04 am

  4. PS — I find your fixation on the Dems and race to undermine that portion of your argument, given the similar references to Obama and race in the Reps’ media. 😉

    Michael

    September 7, 2009 at 9:13 am

    • I’m not sure what you mean by my “fixation on the Dems and race.” I think I’ve used the word “dems” only once in my comments, haven’t I? If I do have a “fixation on the Dems and race,” I think it probably comes from some valid observations over the years (my observations). I mean, most black people I know who are not dems just want to be considered “equal,” not “more-than-equal.” While lots of dems I know (both black and white) want to demand a “more-than-equal” version of equality for people groups who have been suppressed in our history.

      jb

      September 7, 2009 at 3:03 pm


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