Where does Barack Obama really stand on racial issues? Is he the post-racial bipartisan conciliator of his campaign image, or is he the black racial activist depicted in his autobiography?
On this issue, for once, Obama's stance is quite clear.
Acolytes in the Obama Cult are taught that, when proselytizing over the phone for new converts, they should not answer direct questions about what Obama stands for, other than "hope" and "change," but instead should tell the inquirer to go look up the candidate's policy positions on BarackObama.com.
So let's look carefully at Obama's "Civil Rights" webpage.
(In case you are wondering, all three surviving candidates' websites have an "Issues" page, but only Obama's has a "Civil Rights" subpage. In contrast, on Hillary's website, one of the "Issues" sections is entitled "A Champion for Women," but none of the "issues" she chooses to feature is specifically devoted to race. And McCain's website doesn't give civil rights prominent play.)
Obama's Civil Rights page also links to a more explicit "Plan" handed out by Obama's team when the Senator spoke at black Howard University in 2007.
Here are excerpts (in italics) from these two civil rights documents on the official Obama website:
"Barack Obama's Record
"Record of Advocacy: Obama has worked to promote civil rights and fairness in the criminal justice system throughout his career. As a community organizer, Obama helped 150,000 African Americans register to vote."
Notice that the document doesn't say "150,000 American citizens." It says, "150,000 African Americans." That's not a typo or an oversight. Obama got into the voter registration business not out of some general commitment to democracy but to boost the political muscle of blacks.
Swell. But keep in mind that the more the Obama Administration tries to carry out Obama's personal passion for crushing residual examples of discrimination against blacks, the more false positive errors it will make and unjustly accuse whites.
In statistics, that's called the Type I Error vs. Type II Error tradeoff.
As I wrote in VDARE in 2003, the unfortunate reality is that racial quotas are the inevitable by-products of our anti-discrimination laws. These laws place the burden of proof on the employer to justify any deviation from equal outcomes in hiring and promotions. Lawsuits can be won. But the cost can be so crushing that most firms will do just about anything to stay out of court. So they use quotas.
Lots of pundits don't understand this logic. But Obama is a very smart guy. He gets it. That he chose to sacrifice income in order to, in effect, push for more quotas for legally protected minorities is not something that I, as a legally non-protected non-minority, find reassuring.
"As a State Senator, Obama passed one of the country's first racial profiling laws."
He cracked down on the police using racial profiling—great! As I wrote in VDARE.COM in 2003, despite the War On Crime, there are still roughly five 9-11's worth of Americans murdered each year. And that could easily go back up if the cops are constrained.
Simply put, the police can use either of two alternative strategies:
They can sit around eating donuts and wait for bad guys to commit crimes.
Or they can get in the face of potential bad guys and prevent crimes.
To do the latter, though, they have to use the brains God gave them to figure out who is more likely to cause trouble.
And that's when they get blamed for profiling.
Obama's website goes on:
"…and helped reform a broken death penalty system."
To give credit where it's due: Obama's leadership on getting police interrogations in Illinois videotaped was an excellent piece of good government work to clean up a horrific situation where cops were torturing suspects.
On the other hand, would Obama have invested so much effort in this worthy reform if it didn't primarily benefit blacks?
At first glance, prison rape might seem like a violation of civil rights. Yet you're forgetting that the words "civil rights" are used solely in a "Who? Whom?" sense these days. If whites are violating the rights of blacks, that is a civil rights issue. If blacks are violating (literally) whites, as typically happens in cases of prison rape, well, that's not a civil rights issue. That's just something the cool cops on TV shows make jokes about when arresting the Great White Defendant.
"And in the U.S. Senate, Obama has been a leading advocate for protecting the right to vote, helping to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act and leading the opposition against discriminatory barriers to voting."
The "discriminatory barriers to voting" that Obama's against are photo-ID laws that would keep urban political machines (like, oh, say, Mayor Daley's Cook County machine that helped him win big in this year's Illinois primary) from cheating and would keep illegal immigrants from voting
I believe that the original 1965 Voting Rights Act was necessary and hugely successful. But subsequent reauthorizations have featured a cynical bargain between Republicans and minority politicians to corral black and Hispanic voters in gerrymandered "majority-minority" districts. This guarantees black and Hispanic politicians a lot of seats in state legislatures and the House of Representatives. But it's also a major reason why blacks more authentically African American than the preppie from paradise have had so much trouble moving up to statewide office. They have to start their careers out as "race men" to get elected. But unlike the preternaturally politically gifted Obama, however, most of them aren't talented enough to backtrack rhetorically later and win the votes of whites in races for Senator or President.
Let's read through the rest of Obama's "Civil Rights" policy platform:
"Pay Inequity Continues: For every $1.00 earned by a man, the average woman receives only 77 cents, while African American women only get 67 cents and Latinas receive only 57 cents."
Is this a civil rights problem or a human capital problem? That sounds academic, but the distinction is crucial. Calling it a civil rights inequity automatically suggests a particular solution: even more quotas.
"Hate Crimes on the Rise: The number of hate crimes increased nearly 8 percent to 7,700 incidents in 2006."
Obama's speech deploring the prosecution of the six black football players in Jena, LA who stomped a white youth unconscious suggests that the candidate has an awfully Who? Whom? view of what comprises a hate crime. Obama orated:
"Fifty years after the events in Little Rock, we have the recent events in Jena, Louisiana—with nooses hanging on a tree in a schoolyard and the overcharging of African American teens for a schoolyard fight."
In reality, it's unlikely that the September noose incident had anything to do with the December six-on-one stomping, but if Obama is right that the black star athletes' assault was racially motivated, then the blacks should have also been charged with a hate crime.
"Efforts Continue to Suppress the Vote: A recent study discovered numerous organized efforts to intimidate, mislead and suppress minority voters."
More of the black leftist paranoia you'd expect from a follower of Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.
The biggest problem black voters face, as shown by Florida in 2000, is that they tend to botch up their ballots more often than other groups—because they have weaker average ability to follow directions. If Florida blacks had managed to fill out their ballots in a usable fashion at the same rate as Florida whites, Al Gore would have become President. But black incompetence is not a civil rights issue, it's a human capital issue. Incompetence also affects lots of people, like all the elderly Jews in Florida who accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan.
This could be turned into a nonracial good government issue by a call for the use of voting machines with error checking technology. But Obama would never admit that black voters, on average, have a harder time following simple instructions. It's so much easier to call it a civil rights issue.
"Disparities Continue to Plague Criminal Justice System: African Americans and Hispanics are more than twice as likely as whites to be searched, arrested, or subdued with force when stopped by police. Disparities in drug sentencing laws, like the differential treatment of crack as opposed to powder cocaine, are unfair."
Which shows African Americans and Hispanics aren't being stopped enough.
Think about it for a moment. If Non-Asian Minorities (NAMs) were being arrested per stop only half as much as whites, that would show NAMs were being stopped too much, and thus were victims of unfair racial profiling. But, instead, the opposite is happening. Simple logic shows that cops should be stopping them more and stopping whites less. Then the stop/arrest ratio would be the same. (It's like the mortgage default rate scam—which is now a factor in the subprime mortgage mess.)
Of course, Obama is proud to have passed a law to make this worse.
"Barack Obama's Plan
"Strengthen Civil Rights Enforcement
"Obama will reverse the politicization that has occurred in the Bush Administration's Department of Justice. He will put an end to the ideological litmus tests used to fill positions within the Civil Rights Division."
Bottom line: More quotas, ahoy!
"Moreover, the House Judiciary Committee, under Congressman John Conyers's lead, has been investigating allegations that the Criminal Section has failed to hire a single African American attorney since 2003 to replace those who have left – leaving this important Section with only 2 African American lawyers out of fifty."
More jobs for the boys!
"Combat Employment Discrimination
"Obama will work to overturn the Supreme Court's recent ruling that curtails racial minorities' and women's ability to challenge pay discrimination. Obama will also pass the Fair Pay Act to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work."
Even more quotas, ahoy!
By the way, in 2006 the Illinois Senator went out of his way to record a radio ad opposing Ward Connerly's Michigan initiative outlawing racial preferences in state government. But Connerly triumphed over Obama 58 percent to 42 percent.
"Expand Hate Crimes Statutes
"Obama will strengthen federal hate crimes legislation and reinvigorate enforcement at the Department of Justice's Criminal Section."
That's pretty scary-sounding. (To Obama's credit, however, he once did quietly send a letter to a constituent saying he approved of an independent inquiry into the notorious prosecutor Mike Nifong in the Duke Lacrosse hoax case. Granted, he was a year behind VDARE.com, but by the very low standards to which Presidential candidates are held, that's not bad.)
"End Deceptive Voting Practices
"Obama will sign into law his legislation that establishes harsh penalties for those who have engaged in voter fraud and provides voters who have been misinformed with accurate and full information so they can vote."
Hmmm. Do you think Obama's Justice Department will go after voter fraud in Obama's own Cook County?
Do you think he'll crack down on illegal immigrants voting?
Do you think he's really going to go after all the black ministers who take "walking around money" from political parties? By the way, did you notice that Obama's Rev. Wright is moving to a 10,000 square foot mansion on a golf course in a gated community in a 93% white suburb? Do you think President Obama will have the Justice Dept. look into his own church's finances?
"End Racial Profiling
"Obama will ban racial profiling by federal law enforcement agencies and provide federal incentives to state and local police departments to prohibit the practice."
More 9/11s, ahoy!
George W. Bush's fight against profiling Arabs by airport security contributed to the climate in which Mohammed Atta and his 19 friends freely boarded four jetliners. Do you think Barack Hussein Obama is going to do anything to make us safer from people with, say, Muslim middle names?
"Reduce Crime Recidivism by Providing Ex-Offender Support
"Obama will provide job training, substance abuse and mental health counseling to ex-offenders, so that they are successfully re-integrated into society. Obama will also create a prison-to-work incentive program to improve ex-offender employment and job retention rates."
Not necessarily a bad idea, but mostly a state duty. Ron Paul would say it's time for the Feds to get out of the way of states experimenting with criminal justice systems.
Anyway, there are already lots and lots of programs for ex-cons. Unless Obama has identified a few that actually work, this is just a call for more money for his social worker constituency.
"Eliminate Sentencing Disparities
"Obama believes the disparity between sentencing crack and powder-based cocaine is wrong and should be completely eliminated."
Perhaps a good idea, but calling it a civil rights issue just shows Obama's racial tendentiousness. Keep in mind that the increased penalties for crack were demanded in the 1980s primarily by black leaders such as Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rep. Charlie Rangel. Back then, crack was cool and was sweeping across the black community, with disastrous effect. Today, everybody knows it's the devil's own drug, so it's less of a threat.
Also, it's a myth that large numbers of NAMs are being sentenced to prison who are mere drug users. In truth, as Sam Quinones pointed out in the LA Times recently, [A familial mean street, March 30, 2008] it's hard to convict gang-affiliated crack dealers of trafficking in drugs or perpetrating violence because their gangs threaten witnesses with death. So, they often get put away on drug possession charges, because those require only physical evidence.
Anyway, this is another example of where federalization, such as determining the length of prison sentences, which was reserved in the Constitution for the states, just gets in the way of good government. If drug sentencing had been allowed to remain a state prerogative, then supporters of change could point to how, say, Idaho, had reduced sentencing for crack down to the same level as powder cocaine with good results. But, since this law was passed at the federal level, experimentation can only take place at the all or nothing federal level, which, reasonably enough, makes people wary of experimenting with laws that, at great cost, have helped reduce the crime rate.
A better approach would be for the federal government to pass a law allowing state governments to vote to change the law in their state. But that would be … States Rights, which, by definition, is evil.
"Expand Use of Drug Courts
"Obama will give first-time, non-violent offenders a chance to serve their sentence, where appropriate, in the type of drug rehabilitation programs that have proven to work better than a prison term in changing bad behavior."
Once again, from a non-racialist's perspective, shouldn't this be a state criminal justice issue, not a federal civil rights issue?
"Restore Professionalism to the Civil Rights Division: Barack Obama will reverse the politicization that has occurred in the Bush Administration's DOJ. He will put an end to the ideological litmus tests used to fill nonpolitical positions within the Division and ensure that the nation's civil rights lawyers are just that – civil rights lawyers."
In other words, Obama will banish anybody who has any principled doubts about racial preferences and put the Department of Justice firmly back in the hands of people who make their living off quotas.
And then there's this doozy:
"Fight Pay Discrimination …
"Obama is also a cosponsor of Senator Tom Harkin's (D-IA) Fair Pay Act. As president, Obama will support legislation to promote paycheck equity – the right of women to receive equal compensation to that provided comparably qualified men."
In other words: comparable worth, which was such a incredibly stupid idea that it never passed even back in the Stupid Seventies when feminists dreamed it up. This doctrine says that the federal government should oversee the wages of everybody in private industry to make sure that mostly male occupations, such as truck driver, don't get paid more than mostly female occupations, such as librarian. It's basically equity-driven socialism.
Harvard economist Greg Mankiw, author of the best-selling economics textbook, blogged last year when he heard about what Harkin and Obama were up to:
"In the first edition of my favorite economics textbook, there was a section on comparable worth.' Eventually, my editor suggested I take it out, on the grounds that economic logic had finally killed off this bad idea. But like Lord Voldemort in the first Harry Potter book the idea was weakened, but not dead."
Or at least that's the impression he tried to give. How much benefit he actually did for blacks is another question altogether.
All that we can say with confidence is that Barack Obama's career has been very, very good for Barack Obama.
But will it be good for America?