I don’t do Racial Politics
Which is to say I’m not opposed to whatever could be referred to as “racial politics” and I’m never offended that someone else is “making it about race” whatever that possibly means. Which is to say that at this point in my life I find Racial Politics absolutely fascinating and if someone relevant, intelligent and interesting has something of value to say on politics and race, be that individual a black progressive, black Republican, La Raza member, et al, I deliberately take it in.
This is to say that as I read political philosophy and of policy I absolutely enjoy listening to people like Thomas Sowell and Malcolm X.
So I have to say that I am a political mercenary and volunteer so when I fully engage on a project there is actually work being done with my own hands, feet, and voice. Political engagement on racial matters is something I, at present, choose to avoid.
I love hearing what others have to say. I roll my eyes occasionally at what some white guys believe they have to say, from their earnest attempt at objectivity borne from distance. Distance is often good when observing, judging, and opining. Isolation from the consequences of your words and actions, on other hand, often leads to disaster at worst while the hurt feelings you get in the best case scenario should not simply be dismissed.
The last time, as I recall, that I engaged in anything that could be called racial policy action, was when I worked on ballot access for the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative. I wasn’t wrong. My work was good, honest, and the proposal was just. It’s just a coincidence I was underpaid by $700 and the people that ultimately bear the responsibility for the project bear the responsibility for that. These sour grapes are irrespective of my engagement on racial politics but not irrespective of how I view other humans, so-called professionals in any field. A white guy from rural Michigan certainly has as much right to speak on matters of race and equality as any individual of any heritage in any location yet certainly the words would be less relevant and carry less weight because the experience is false if not nonexistent. The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative was similarly correct in all the ways. I don’t regret being involved in either project at different levels yet at the time I only saw things in terms of cold philosophy and government, without a view towards the slightest nuance of actual humans’ respective history or feelings. It wasn’t a lack of empathy; myself at the time dismissed the idea that anyone’s feelings matter.
Given all of this I’m not going to be a White Knight (ethnic pun unintended) for other human beings who already possess at least as much agency as I. Everyone has an opinion and there genuine reasons why some well-thought -out notions from individuals carry less weight than others, just as there is a cause and effect to the fact that some individuals’ expressions come with a weight disproportionate to their own personal backgrounds. I’ve seen the Michigan Conservative Union give Antrim GOP Chairman Randy Bishop a platform to speak on outreach to the young; people take all of that seriously despite that none of them actually bother asking the young what they want.
So whatever it means to be a black nationalist or a member of the Nation of Islam or a black conservative I’m just as happy to read that and re-present that set of ideas as I am anything from Alexis de Tocqueville and Adam Smith or Christopher Hitchens. I even occasionally have ideas of my own on the matter, synthesized from what I have learned from history and philosophy; yet while I insist my words should carry weight as insightful in numerous fields you shouldn’t take me as an authority on race in America any more than you would take me as an authority on math.
Which is to explain why I’m not going to pose as someone that personally knows what it means to do “ethnic outreach” as my own Party labels it. I cannot lead that sort of campaign or help organize it or speak as if my words ought to matter more than they do, especially considering that we’re othering people by using the title, at least in my opinion. There’s more on that later.
The short version is this that learning new things is why I look at Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr and others in their own words, because their words are important in the sociopolitical and cultural tapestry of our country. That I’m not telling black people why they should be Republicans as I am a Republican is because humans ought to listen to others well before they foist upon them the product or service. A view that Democrats aren’t any better as a political coalition should be axiomatic as a follow-up concern.
Obviously there are caveats:
- This blog is a format for me to express and stage my own ideas as well as others, both casual ideas and ideas casually voiced.
- No one should imply that someone whose words or experiences are less meaningful on a subject should be de-platformed otherwise silenced.
So-called attempts at deliberately color-blind politics are usually laced with good intentions for universal benefit while devoid of empathy. A practical approach to political action takes into account that different people come from different places and lived under different circumstances. Political histories naturally reflect that when honest. How a political philosophy reflects personal human diversity likely depends on the intended distance from practical circumstance.
I honestly cannot tell if this is an apologia or an exploration or an introduction. It certainly felt like something I had to say: “look at me I have nothing to say”