Opinion

No more dialogue on race

ElectionsCrime, Law and JusticePoliticsMinority GroupsGeorge W. Bush

This election is not about race. I repeat, this election is not about race.

This election is about the worst president in U.S. history: George W. Bush.

A week ago, the New York Times published an editorial titled "Mr. Obama and Rev. Wright,” asserting "this country needs a healthy and open discussion of race." The Times followed suit with "The Wright Choice,” declaring race "is something the candidates should be discussing."

No. Candidates should be discussing the war, healthcare, schools and the catastrophic failure of President Bush's so-called conservatism. When people first started saying "let's have a conversation about race," I blogged that this was a bad idea. My post was a reaction to Uzodinma Iweala's Los Angeles Times Op-Ed, "Racism in ‘post-racial’ America” (with 'post racial' sarcastically written in quotes), criticizing the "media-concocted fiction" that "not speaking about race is the equivalent of making progress."

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Recall all the times when we've been told we "need a dialogue" about race:

* 1992, after the L.A. riots

* 1994, during the debate over anti-immigrant Proposition 187

* the mid-1990s, during the O.J. Simpson case

* 1996, over the anti-affirmative action Proposition 209

* 1997, when Bill Clinton asked for a conversation on race

* 1999, after the murder of unarmed innocent Amadou Diallo by 41 shots from New York police, and during the Rampart scandal

* 2000, over black-voter disenfranchisement

* 2001, after 9/11

* 2005, when Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans

* 2006, over immigration issues that drew tens of thousands into the streets

* 2007, during the Tennie Pierce case, and the MacArthur Park police violence.

Each "dialogue" follows a script. First, "liberals" allow victims of racism a few minutes to summarize years of grievances and ignored petitions. Then black separatists with weird names, dreadlocks and gray beards are temporarily allowed on television to rage against "white folks." After these clowns alienate and frighten nearly everybody, the mainstream media throws 'em back off-air and brings on slick, reasonable-sounding "conservatives" in business suits. They hail from "institutes" and declare collective white innocence and collective black/Latino guilt in the name of "color-blind" individualism.

The climax is a grim recitation of the alleged pathology and general inferiority of "minorities," thus producing a net gain for conservatives by reminding Reagan Democrats why they abandoned the party of Franklin Roosevelt and California Gov. Pat Brown for the party of George Bush and crooks from San Diego and Orange County.

If I am the only African American progressive opposing this farce, so be it. Today's media-certified "radicals" are personally quite content with their niche under the current regime and are eager to get on Fox News. One reason I left the Democrats and joined the California Green Party was because I am one African American who is sick and tired of the race games of old politics. If Barack Obama sincerely wants to transform U.S. politics, it's already clear Democratic and Republican politicians and our race-obsessed intelligentsia won't let him. The Boston Globe editorial was more honest than most: "The Illinois senator has made a career ... of promoting common understanding. ... To see those efforts bogging down in the same old swamp is just depressing."

Alex Walker is a contributor to Green Commons, a site dedicated to promoting the Green Party.

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