Friday, July 31, 2009

Something to Consider

Linda Chavez's latest article takes on the question of how her race impacts her work, and whether some of the criticisms she's received for being a Latina conservative are fair. Unsurprisingly she says they aren't.
We rightly condemn stereotyping when it maligns whole groups of people. We know that it's bigoted to use terms like shiftless or lazy or greedy to describe racial or ethnic groups.

. . . We ought to relegate terms like Uncle Tom, sell-out, and traitor-to-your-race (or sex) to the same category we do racial and sexual epithets. They reflect the same root prejudices. Anytime we assume that we know something fundamental about how a person behaves or thinks based on race, ethnicity, or sex, we're exhibiting our own biases. People aren't good or bad, hard-working or irresponsible, smart or dull, liberal or conservative based on the amount of melanin in their skin or the number of X-chromosomes in their DNA.
Fair enough as far as it goes. But let's be honest. A certain amount of Chavez's marketability comes from her Latina status. A white male saying the same things that Chavez says would not be quite as valuable to those who employ Chavez. You see most conservatives, like most people, don't want to think of themselves as racist. And Democrats have occasionally been too free with accusations of Conservative racism. And at other times they have accurately pointed out Conservative Racists. So it is obviously very comforting for Conservatives to listen to or read Latinos, blacks, women and so on who largely agree with them.

That said, I, being a white male, may not be the best person to write on this.

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