Paul Ryan’s Black Ex and the Art of Race Baiting

At the top of our list of “8 Ways Blacks Perpetuate Racism” was a particularly devious trick which black identity activists employ. That is the elevation of civil rights above individual rights.

Contrary to its sacrosanct place in our political lexicon, the term “civil rights” does not refer to an inherent good. A civil right is granted by the state, as opposed to individual rights which are derived objectively from the facts of reality. There is nothing preventing civil rights from conflicting with individual rights. When they do, it is immoral. Civil rights are only proper when they serve to protect individual rights. That fundamental ethical truth is all but absent from our political discourse.

Helping obscure it is The Root’s political correspondent Keli Goff, whose job entails processing news through the distorting prism of race. Upon learning that Representative Paul Ryan was the presumptive GOP nominee for vice president, Goff crafted a piece titled “What We Know About Paul Ryan and Blacks.” What we know, as Goff presents it, isn’t much. But we do learn quite a bit about how Goff and her ideological allies perceive both race and racism.

In an effort to process the fact that Paul Ryan once dated a black woman, Goff asks “the million-dollar question”:

Is the fact that Ryan has dated interracially a noteworthy detail to consider when analyzing his politics and policies?

This is a tactful way of framing an unsaid question: Is the fact that Ryan has dated interracially a noteworthy detail to consider when judging whether he is a racist? We know that this is the question Goff is implying because of the context she provides. Of what possible relevance could Ryan’s premarital dating habits be to his policy positions? Goff tells us:

Here's a well-known phrase that has virtually become a punch line: When someone finds himself on the ropes facing an allegation of racism, the go-to reflex defense is usually something along the lines of "But some of my best friends are black!" Translation: "I can't possibly be racist or racially insensitive because there are black people I like and they like me. So there."

This is the context in which Goff asks us to consider whether Ryan’s black ex-girlfriend matters. Does that former relationship immunize him from allegations of racism?