It's not that white guys shouldn't be allowed to engage in discussions on race in America. But there's nothing more exhausting than white male liberals' dogmatisms on race that were clearly formed during a conversation they had with that one black guy they met back in college.
Frank Rich's all too typical pablum on Barack Obama from Sunday's New York Times is a prime exemplar.
Frank's piece begins mundanely enough by delivering the newsflash that the presidential election is not yet over and anyone could potentially take the nomination including some fellow named Obama who's apparently been flying under the radar.
Thanks for the update, Frank.
The piece could have ended there -- in a perfect world -- but Frank couldn't let go without bringing to bare some paternalistic liberalism as the column inexplicably -- or should I say predictably -- turned to the topic of race. And like a great, white father compelled to protect the black man, Frank veers from the subject at hand to note skin color hasn't really been a factor in the primaries to this point. It is, as he puts it, "the dog that hasn't barked." And there by he interjects into the dialogue that which he claims is not part of the election. And to prove how much a non-factor race is, Frank then goes on to use the qualifiers race, racist, racial, white, black and African-American 18 times in the next 13 sentences.
Sounds like a lot of barking to me.
As with most faux liberals who pretend to be race-transcended, when dealing with a person of color, color is all Frank really sees. He reminds me of the type I meet at cocktail parties who proudly declare they are color blind. However, by their third apple martini the topics of conversation haven't much strayed beyond Tiger Woods, Lebron James and my opinions on OJ.
Or Jayson Blair.
In his Sunday piece Frank brings up the non-barking dog purely to bash the Republicans who are "out of touch" with black America. As I've previously noted both here and here, the Republicans certainly have a diversity issue they need to deal with.
But Frank selectively uses the lack of black Republicans in Congress as "proof" that unless the Right is exchanging fire with Al Sharpton and hip-hop moguls they are strangers to the mainstream multiracial and multicultural America exemplified by an Obama or an Oprah.
This statement is, of course, in total disregard of the likes of Condi Rice and Colin Powell, Rod Paige and Clarence Thomas. Or perhaps Frank believes -- as far too many of the left do -- that if a person of color doesn't subscribe to a hard liberal ideology they aren't truly black anymore. I can't speak to the mindset of other softly bigoted liberals, but the fact that Frank's perception of "multicultural America" is apparently shaped by his takeaway from watching Oprah on afternoon TV speaks to the depth of his contact with blacks.
And yet it's Frank who says that unless Republicans are hectoring old school activists and rappers "they don't know how to speak to or about them." This implies that there is nothing within the standard message of any Republican candidate that would resonate with people of color.
How odd that a liberal cannot conceive that a candidate speaking about foreign policy, jobs, immigration, tax cuts, or the loan crisis isn't really speaking to us. How odd that a liberal believes that there is a secret language that must be used when speaking to or about "them."
If faux liberal white guys want to support and defend Obama, by all means please do so. But I would suggest they try to limit that support to matters of policy and not perspectives on race. When the likes of Frank Rich bring forth their ham-fisted liberalism all they tend to do is trip over it.