Did you read Micheal Eric Dyson in the NY Times today? If not, please read it. And sorry, no links, you can find it on your own.
Here is a tidbit:
"From the start of his 2016 presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders was prickly about race, uncomfortable with an outspoken, demanding blackness, resistant to letting go of his preference for discussing class over race. He made efforts to improve the way he spoke about the realities of racial discrimination. But Mr. Sanders seemed to remain at heart a man of the people, especially if those people were the white working class.
Since the election, Mr. Sanders has sounded an increasingly familiar theme among liberals that they should “go beyond identity politics.” He warned that “to think of diversity purely in racial and gender terms is not sufficient,” and that we need candidates “to be fighters for the working class and stand up to the corporate powers who have so much power over our economic lives.”
His point here (he made many points in a rambling essay) was to say that efforts at pushing diversity don’t hurt America.
But Bernie did not say that they did!
During the primary campaign, I remember a brief flurry of articles about both Bernie and Elizabeth Warren citing their indifference to the needs of black Americans. Then we had protests from Black Lives Matter at Bernie’s rallies.
Bernie and Liz Warren were 2 strong voices who spoke on economic issues, and both were told in essence that in the progressive world, you must always add something about race.
Such ideas may work in Salon or Huffington Post, but they don’t work in the small towns across America where the reaction to Black Lives Matter has been to place a blue stripe between the parallel yellow lines mark the center of many local roads.
Black Lives Matter has an important agenda - but not one that was an easy sell to the very voters the Democrats had to win over to win the presidency. Remember, most whites live in largely white towns, and when they hear of a black man killed fleeing from cops they invariably ask, “why did he run.” There may be good reasons why the man ran, and as anyone who has been to traffic court can tell you, white folks flee too. But for now, whites still don’t accept that police are often in the wrong.
Hillary was a lousy candidate, and the Comey nonsense didn’t help. But when we learned that white counties in swing states switched to Trump this year, we cannot discount the influence of the Black Lives Matter protest. Let’s remember that outside of cities and the old “black belt” blacks are a distinct minority. And even when we count urban blacks, African Americans are but 13% of all Americans.
At our workplaces, we may have black Americans in senior positions, but never a majority of them. Thus when “black lives matters” brought the race issue up at Bernie’s rallies - to many, it sounded like an off key note. As if they were saying that you must talk about race all the time. But many don’t want to speak about race. Period.
It is ok for any interest group to force the agenda. But it is also prudent to recognize the need to win in a nation that has Alabama and Mississippi as well and California and Massachusetts. There are lots of problems in governing a nation so vast as our nation is. A successful presidential candidate must win the hearts and minds of Coloradans, Californians, New Englanders and even Alabamians.
So for Dyson and anyone else who wants to present to us an argument that Black Lives Matter did not gum up the works, sorry to tell you this, but maybe we can never agree on this issue, difficult as it may be for you to hear. Yes, keep working on reducing police abuse of blacks, but please don’t interrupt the next Democrat who gets cheers talking to white voters. White voters, it turns out, DO hold the key.