Sunday, November 05, 2006

Does it, or doesn't it?

Something's been bothering me about the punditry surrounding the race this year.

I mean, besides all of it.

There's been a lot of talk about black Republicans running for office, how they're labeled "race traitors," how people expect blacks to vote lock-step with the Democrats, blah blah blah.

Here's the thing that I find funny. There's this wide-spread attitude that black people are going to vote for the black politician, no matter what. I find it strange and bothersome.

If a black person votes only for the black politician because he is black, then we're right back to the identity politics, regardless of the party affiliation. For Republicans like Michael Steele, it's a travesty that they'd stoop to such pandering.

But if a black person votes only for the Democratic politician because he's a Democrat, is he being true to his ideals or is it a sign of the "Who else will you turn to?" style of politicking Democrats do with black voters?

I can't say either way. But for black voters, it's an ugly situation. You're a race traitor if you vote for the Republican . . . unless he's black . . . but then it's hard to say . . . but you're too stupid to show ID at the polls, so you may as well vote for both and spare your conscience, right?

Ugh. How soon to Wednesday?


meera said...

but you're too stupid to show ID at the polls, so you may as well vote for both and spare your conscience, right

um...are you calling black people stupid?

i'm actually pretty confused by most of your post, but i'm also on painkillers (yay surgery) which could be to blame. i just felt this line needed attention first.

Hal said...

What, me write an incoherent post? That's unpossible!

Seriously, yeah, I had trouble coalescing my thoughts for this post, but I still wanted to write it.

And no, I'm not calling black people stupid. But I feel like their leadership is when they rail against voter ID laws.

Drivers' licenses and state IDs are not expensive, and you are pretty much expected to have one for participation in society. There's a lot of things that require photo ID.

So when politicians say, "But you can't expect black people to show ID at the polls, that's racist!" I don't know. It strikes me as being, well, condescending, treating them like they're stupid children.

The major point of this post, overall, was two-fold: To criticize the state of identity politics in expecting a "block vote" for the "black vote," and to criticize conservatives for criticizing the identity politics but then buying into it anyhow.