We should mark July 16, 2009, as a day when white progressives — from an elitist lady senator to our mixed-race president — revealed their true racist colors.
On that day, Senator (not “Ma’am”) Barbara Boxer chided Harry Alford of the National Black Chamber of Commerce during his testimony before the Senate Public Works Committee, and President (not descendant of slaves) Barack Obama, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the NAACP, lectured parents about making sure their children do their homework and bragged about his “administration.”
While school children are taught that the Progressive Era from the 1890s to the 1920s was one of reforms, historians have noted its eugenicist, racist, xenophobic, fascist, and elitist traits. Today’s progressives, like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, continue the tradition.
Like Jane Addams’ ladies of the settlement house movement who swooshed into the homes of immigrants, feeling it incumbent on themselves to show the unwashed masses how to live, Madame Senator Boxer felt that she could instruct Mr. Alford on “diversity,” a term used interchangeably with “black,” “African-American,” or “minority” by progressives. And Boxer was using that definition when she cited both the NAACP and the 100 Black Men of Atlanta to counter the skepticism of Alford’s group on her position that clean energy will “jump-start” the economy. Because Alford did not fit into her and other progressives’ larger agenda, she, by citing these organizations, challenged Alford’s legitimacy as a black man.
She also used the racist strategy of pitting one black group against another. Alford rightfully challenged Boxer for not treating him as an individual capable of forming his own opinions, but as needing her leadership and guidance toward the appropriate organization. NAACP, yes. Black Chamber, no. In this, she is like the Progressive Era educators who decided that offering academic curricula to all students was an old-fashioned relic of a bygone era. Like the progressive educators who decided that an academic curriculum that included higher and abstract thinking (Latin, mathematics, literature, history) was beyond the needs and abilities of certain groups, Boxer was telling Alford that he was not smart enough to study the issues and make his own decisions.
When he challenged her on the relevance of the NAACP “resolution” and cited the studies he had brought and the Black Chamber’s experience with the issue (since 1996), she realized that she had been called out on her use of “diversity.” So backpedaling and adopting a more conciliatory tone, she cited a study by the progressive Pew Charitable Trust.
Understandably, the mainstream media has failed to note the racism of this progressive senator. The New York Times consigned the item to a blog post. The Huffington Post denied any racism on Boxer’s part.