January 27, 2009

What blacks are really celebrating

With due respect to Jack Hunter, it seems a bit na?ve to attribute the joy shown by blacks over Barack Obama?s good fortune exclusively to racial pride. But unlike Mr. Hunter, I am not a Southerner; nor do I have any memories of how blacks used to be treated in a segregated or formerly segregated society. My own memories run back to different experiences, having watched the city I grew up in turn to rubble as a result of black crime and other forms of black dysfunctional behavior, and rampant black political corruption. Perhaps this is why I am enthusing less than my fellow-Takimag contributor over the happiness of blacks in having elected someone with whom they identify ethnically.

My knowledge of black voters in Pennsylvania, moreover, suggests that their massive support for Obama reflects ideology more than racial solidarity. In our state, for example, a black Republican ran for governor and lost the black vote to a white Democrat, Ed Rendell, by about a margin of 9 to 1. If black racial pride were what it is cracked up to be, then blacks would have voted for Lynn Swann, a religiously conservative, very black Republican, with the hope that he might become Pennsylvania?s first black governor. And black voters would have supported the Bush Republican black candidate for governor of Maryland, Michael Steele, against his white Democratic opponent. In Maryland as well as Pennsylvania, blacks could have enjoyed the pleasure of seeing a governor sprung from their race.

Instead they rejected Steele?s candidacy in massive numbers. Some of the leaders of the NAACP in Maryland even went so far as to mock Steel as an ?Oreo,? for having dared to run for elected office as a Republican. In Pennsylvania, Maryland, and elsewhere in the USA, the black vote is determined by ideology and party affiliation?and far, far less by race. Even if Obama were white, he would have received, on the basis of the available data from the last four presidential elections, almost as many black votes as he obtained this November. And as a right-of-center black, as opposed to the most leftist Democrat in the U.S. Senate, he would have lost the black vote by the same kind of margin as Swann and Steele. What Mr. Hunter should have said is that blacks are rejoicing that their kind of Democratic leftist black is now in the White House. If he were any other kind of black, his fellow-blacks really wouldn?t have voted for him. Nor would the media be slobbering over our great racial transcender.

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