'The Good, Racist People' of Manhattan
Most of the items we link to here are bread and butter examples of media bias, misguided energy policy, or Obama, Biden or another member of the left putting his proverbial John Lobb wingtip in his mouth and twisting.
But every once in a while, something that a prominent “liberal” says, when he or she believes he’s making a Profound Statement on the State of Mankind, just jumps out as being remarkably misanthropic. Even more so because it's not a hit piece on conservatives (we've become increasingly inured to those, if only out of their sheer volume), but an attack on the writer's fellow liberals.
(As they colloquially define themselves. Or at least used to, from around the 1930s, when Progressivism became a dirty word after the excesses of the original Progressives, particularly during WWI, until about five or six years ago, when Liberal had become a dirty word, after the excesses of the previous 50 years, when they decided to be called “Progressives” again.)
We saw it in 2008, when the late Nora Ephron, kicking back with some light blogging at the Huffington Post in between, we assume, crafting screenplays or lining up the next directing gig, decided to play wannabe pundit and wrote:
This is an election about whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women. And when I say people, I don't mean people, I mean white men. How ironic is this? After all this time, after all these stupid articles about how powerless white men are and how they can't even get into college because of overachieving women and affirmative action and mean lady teachers who expected them to sit still in the third grade even though they were all suffering from terminal attention deficit disorder -- after all this, they turn out (surprise!) to have all the power. (As they always did, by the way; I hope you didn't believe any of those articles.)
To put it bluntly, the next president will be elected by them: the outcome of Tuesday's primary will depend on whether they go for Hillary or Obama, and the outcome of the general election will depend on whether enough of them vote for McCain. A lot of them will: white men cannot be relied on, as all of us know who have spent a lifetime dating them. And McCain is a compelling candidate, particularly because of the Torture Thing. As for the Democratic hope that McCain's temper will be a problem, don't bet on it. A lot of white men have terrible tempers, and what's more, they think it's normal.
If Hillary pulls it out in Pennsylvania, and she could, and if she follows it up in Indiana, she can make a credible case that she deserves to be the candidate; these last primaries will show which of the two Democratic candidates is better at overcoming the bias of a vast chunk of the population that has never in its history had to vote for anyone but a candidate who could have been their father or their brother or their son, and who has never had to think of the president of the United States as anyone other than someone they might have been had circumstances been just slightly different.
Hillary's case is not an attractive one, because what she'll essentially be saying (and has been saying, although very carefully) is that she can attract more racist white male voters than Obama can.
As Jennifer Rubin noted at the time, this was an example of leftist slagging her fellow Democrats as stone cold racists, because a majority were backing Hillary Clinton in the Pennsylvania primary, instead of the anointed Barack Obama. It couldn’t be because Hillary had more name recognition from eight years as first lady, or they trusted her (slightly longer) experience as senator in neighboring New York state over senatorial newcomer Barack Obama, whose policies and worldview were still largely unknown. (Recall our post yesterday referencing Charlie Rose and Tom Brokaw claiming they didn’t know anything about Obama, either, in a segment videotaped about five minutes before Election Tuesday in November of 2008.)
Yesterday, Glenn Reynolds linked to Ann Althouse linking to liberal journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article in the New York Times. Like Ephron, he manages to take an event for which there might… be… mitigating… circumstances, and accuses his fellow New York leftists of being full-on Neanderthal racists. Veteran character actor Forest Whitaker wasn't recognized as Veteran Character Actor Forest Whitaker by a clerk in a Manhattan deli, who accused him of shoplifting. Somehow, all New Yorkers are suddenly guilty of collective racism by a moment of stupidity by someone probably making minimum wage, prompting Coates to write:
The idea that racism lives in the heart of particularly evil individuals, as opposed to the heart of a democratic society, is reinforcing to anyone who might, from time to time, find their tongue sprinting ahead of their discretion. We can forgive Whitaker’s assailant. Much harder to forgive is all that makes Whitaker stand out in the first place. New York is a city, like most in America, that bears the scars of redlining, blockbusting and urban renewal. The ghost of those policies haunts us in a wealth gap between blacks and whites that has actually gotten worse over the past 20 years.
Read the whole thing, as Glenn would say.
So just to add up the comments by Times contributors over the past couple of years: if you live in the big blank space between Manhattan and L.A. in the New Yorker cartoon, you’re a participant in “the dance of the low-sloping foreheads.” If you actually live in the Times’ backyard, you’re a potential Progressive racist. (Woodrow Wilson, call your office.) When the Weekly Standard noted recently that in the eyes of the MSM, the customer is always wrong, they had no idea how much he was truly loathed by those hoping that he'll part with a note featuring Abraham Lincoln’s face and some change for a copy of the Sunday edition.
Of course, as one of the commenters at Ann Althouse’s blog notes, there’s no proof that the clerk who lit the fuse on what Coates dubs "the Whitaker affair" of shoplifting was white. Blogger Steve Sailer quotes an email from a reader who claims:
Oferrcrissakes.Coates never mentions the name of the place. I had to find that out somewhere else.It's the Milano Market. Too pricey for me. Everyone who works there is either Hispanic, or Muslim - or perhaps, African. But that's true of ALL the small markets in all of Manhattan, not just the UWS. There are no white deli help, cashiers, stockers, etc.If he was stopped, it was not by a white person.
Also, as another commenter at Althouse's blog adds, actors have been accused of shoplifting before, such as Lindsay Lohan and Winona Ryder, without causing international incidents. I don't recall critic Rex Reed being arrested on shoplifting charges in early 2000 as being the catalyst for any Grand Statements on the State of Manhattan at the Dawn of a New Millennium.
(Much more after the page break.)