Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Black Caucus: Whites Not Allowed

Black Caucus: Whites Not Allowed

When I first heard this story (I think it was on Tucker Carlson, God help me), I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I wanted more info about who was saying what. But aside the news article above, just about all I could find was commentary from the rightwing perspective. (Needless to say, they're thrilled that there's a group of black Democrats, several of whom were leading advocates in the civil rights movement, restricting membership to their group on the basis of race.)

The only website for the Congressional Black Caucus I could find was from the 108th Congress, and defunct. (I'm not going to bother providing that link. Anyone who feels the need to go to a dead site can do their own search... In fact, I wonder why I'm even writing this... If you're that curious, go google it. If you're ok with trusting me on the fact that there's really nothing there, stay here. But either way, it's time to quit reading this paragraph. Go. Look somewhere else. Right now. I mean it. Go.)

But then I stumbled on this site. I didn't notice the name of the place on the way in, but I liked what I was reading. Very thoughtful stuff...

I hit a post about a quarter of the way down that started:

"Black empowerment and unity does not require white interloping. Just look at what happens when whites intrude into The Blackprof: manipulation, division and out right lying."

I started thinkin' "BlackProf? What the heck is The BlackProf?" It was then I realized I was reading a site that was primarily by & for black college professors. It didn't matter... The ideas and arguments were far too good to leave (& far, far more cogent than the ones I found on the RW sites), even if that one poster did think I was intruding. After reading the rest of the thoughtful comments, I even decided to post my own...

First off, I'm white liberal male, so any who feel I don't deserve a place at this table can skip this comment. (Judging by some of the comments above, there are some who feel that I have no more business being here than Cohen does being in the CBC.)

I'm troubled by any organization that rejects membership based on the criteria that is usually cited as discriminatory. (age, gender, race, sexual orientation, class) The fact that the folks doing the accepting/rejecting are lawmakers who are otherwise charged with creating laws that protect minority rights makes the situation even worse.

It would be one thing if it was a matter of self-selection, where no one except blacks / or women/ or homosexuals wanted to join the Black / Women's / Gay & Lesbian caucus, but once someone outside that group pledges support for the goals & methods of the organization & wants to join... ...well, it gets troubling.

As some said above, it really is a question of whether the caucus is about the politicians themselves or about the people they represent & the causes they wish to champion during their time in office.

I can appreciate the need for folks who define themselves by their religion/race/gender/sexual orientation/age/??? to want to congregate together and set their own agenda on their own terms, without imput from those who do not share their unique social/cultural experience. While it is discriminatory (& sometimes illegal) to do so, perhaps it is right and necessary, like the discrimination one needs to tell the black letters from the white page, and therefore read. There are some things that have to be lived to really be understood, and cannot be taught.

I also believe it is necessary for folks with shared goals to join together without regard for age/gender/race/etc., even when their goals concern a particular "discriminatory" group.

The CBC wants to be both kind of groups at once. They have the goals of helping all black americans in their mission statement, but they don't seem to believe that anyone who isn't black has the ___ (heart?, social/cultural experiences?, right?) to help achieve those goals.

Perhaps their ought to be a group for those who care about _______ people, as well as one for those who are _______ people...

For what it's worth...

Posted by: repsac3 | January 26, 2007 05:10 PM

Tom Tancredo wants to ban minority caucuses, saying that they promote racism. Considering the number of nutty caucuses & whatnot there are in Congress, (here's a list of 'em), I'm not in favor of that, but I would like to see an end to membership restrictions that concern anything aside one's ideological position on the issue the caucus is about. I wouldn't want anyone on the shellfish caucus that doesn't give a damned about mollusks anymore than anyone else would, but as long as they do care, a black lesban baptist who likes peanut-butter is as fit to be in that caucus as a heterosexual white atheist who doesn't.

Keep the caucuses, lose the restrictions...

One more bit about racism, having nothing to do with congress. Two links:
YouTube - A Girl Like Me Black Doll Bad, White Doll Good

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