Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

April 18, 2014

Finding a way to erase race card

WASHINGTON — One approaches the race fray with trepidation, but here we go, tippy-toe.

The race cards have been flying so fast and furious lately, one can hardly tell the kings from the queens.

Leading the weird lately has been Democratic Alabama state Rep. Alvin Holmes, who called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina “Uncle Toms.” Holmes, who has also said that it’s fine by him if men want to marry mules and, while we’re exorcising demons, that white people are only pro-life until their daughter gets pregnant by a black man.

When Mark Childress wrote “Crazy in Alabama,” he wasn’t just whistling Dixie!

Holmes is a one-man book of quotes, but a particular statement got him in trouble. Not the Uncle Tom reference, but his offer of $100,000 to anyone who could show him that “a bunch of whites” had adopted black babies in Alabama.

His offer, which subsequently had to be modified, produced hundreds of mixed-race family photos posted to a website, “Faces of Families,” from Alabama and several other states. A statehouse rally of mixed-race, adoptive families also ensued. Holmes apparently has not been moved to retract his original statements.

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?

That Scott and Thomas are conservatives who happen to be black earns them only contempt from 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.

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