The Washington Post's Kathleen Parker congratulates herself this morning for having the courage to "go, tippy toe" into "the race fray":
The race cards have been flying so fast and furious lately, one can hardly tell the kings from the queens.
She is upset first of all by an Alabama politician, state representative Alvin Holmes, who has, among many other provocations, called black conservatives "Uncle Toms" and has inaccurately accused white Alabamans of being unwilling to adopt black babies.
No one denies that there are racists roaming the byways of Alabama — as elsewhere. But this doesn't translate to all whites being racists, as Holmes implied, nor does it justify slinging racial slurs at African Americans who don't toe the party line. What can be more racist than insisting that all blacks think only a certain way?
Holmes, Parker writes, represents
what might be called "establishment blacks"—people whose identities have become so entrenched in past grievance that they can't or won't see that they have become what they loathed. History is littered with episodes of anti-establishment protesters becoming the new bureaucrats, victims the new oppressors.
From this she moves on to more prominent black politicians in Washington, D.C., President Obama and attorney general Eric Holder, who have hurtfully and irresponsibly noted—or in Holder's case, merely implied—that there is a racial component to their political opposition. And but so what if there is?
Do some Americans dislike Holder and/or Obama because they're African American? Undoubtedly. Does this explain why the president and the attorney general have been criticized? No.
So it's not that racism has been banished. It's just that racism, according to Kathleen Parker, who is white, does not matter. It's "crazy" for an Alabama politician to harp on race, and it's "cognitively dissonant" for a national politician to do it.
Given that most blacks are Democrats, it is hardly surprising that they support the president. Likewise, it is hardly surprising that Republicans do not. But the latter cannot be construed as evidence that whites are racist or that their opposition to the current administration is race-based.
It is striking that during what many had hoped would be a post-racial America, racial division has been amplified, owing not least to sustained media attention. Then again, maybe we're experiencing the final death rattle of our racist past. Perhaps all those suppressed thoughts and feelings of anger, hurt and frustration had to rise to the surface before they finally could be eradicated.
Maybe so! Maybe all that divides this country is old feelings, being manipulated by the "new oppressors" to take advantage of white people. Let's go back to Alabama for a moment, for more racial grievance-mongering, this time from the Alabama Department of Public Health:
Disparities by race persist in pregnancy outcomes. The 2012 infant mortality rate for black mothers was 14.4, an increase over the 2011 infant mortality rate of 13.0 per 1,000 live births. For white mothers, infant mortality also increased from a rate of 6.1 to 6.6.
So being born white in Alabama is roughly equivalent to being born in Lithuania, while being born black in Alabama is like being born in Libya. A black infant in Alabama is more than two and a half times as likely to die as the average American infant.
These are not complaints dredged up from our terrible but now abandoned past. They are the most recent data available. What could account for this misfortune, besides of course a media-driven culture that encourages black babies to embrace their status as victims for the sake of bullying white people? The state health department notes:
By method of payment, women without insurance coverage experienced far higher infant mortality. The rates are as follows: private insurance, 6.8; Medicaid, 9.7; and self pay, 22.7 per thousand live births.
If only there had been some way to make sure that more of the uninsured people in Alabama had medical coverage:
Alabama's rejection of Medicaid expansion under Obamacare leaves Birmingham's low-income and uninsured adults with a weak safety net, according to a study out today.
Alabama is one of about two dozen states choosing so far not to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid. As many as 300,000 Alabamians would likely be covered under such an expansion, according to one study.
The white Republican governor of Alabama may be the inheritor and caretaker of a political and economic system that was explicitly designed "to establish white supremacy in this State," under a constitution that still preserves its federally unconstitutional text calling for poll taxes and segregated schools. But he is not being racist by refusing federal funds for medical coverage of his state's poor black population. There are principles involved:
"And under Obamacare, Medicaid would grow even larger – bringing millions more people to a state of dependency on government, and saddling our state and our nation – the taxpayers – with the enormous expense," said the governor.
As Kathleen Parker assures us, the opposition to the Obama administration is not race-based. It merely, in this case, involves letting black babies die to make an ideological point. When will people stop playing those race cards?
[Photos via Getty]