My more alert readers will already have noticed that we got us a colored boy running for president. And having done so, they're probably wondering how Obama's chances would look to a hidebound, provincial Edwardian teenager who was suckled on G.A. Henty and Herbert Spencer.
We may not have the time machine we'd need to collect a specimen like that, but we do have John Derbyshire. And we should be glad of it. For the same sharp eye that allows him to detect incipient sagging in the breasts of 22-year-old crones may yet help us to cut the Gordian Knot of American race relations.
Obama has a few things going for him, according to Derbyshire. First, "blacks and guilty white liberals" will vote for him. So far, so good!
Second, Morgan Freeman has a certain...numinous quality in some of his films. Like Shaquille O'Neal's athleticism, Duke Ellington's sense of rhythm, and Nat Turner's thirst for blood, this is bound to rub off on Obama, on account of he's black too.
Third, we're probably gonna be stuck with a black president eventually, and some people may want to get it over with ASAP. Fourth, and weirdest, Americans believe that people in other countries will admire us if we elect a black guy, and of course nothing matters more to us than the approval of furriners. That's just how we are, y'see.
Don't take Derbyshire's word for this last bit. Consult your own soul, and see if you can find it within yourself to disagree. I'll bet the Devil John Derbyshire's head that you can't manage it.
Anyway, Obama's four positives can be condensed into the proposition that Americans are stupid and shallow. Now, on to the negatives!
First, some Americans don't care much for black folk. (Such is life!) Second, Obama's supported by a gaggle of elitist snobs (and not the good kind, like John "I Weep for teh Vanished Splendor of teh Raj" Derbyshire).
Whites simply don’t care that much about blacks one way or t’other. Whites don’t regard blacks as consequential. White/black conflict is often annoying and occasionally scary, but it’s never existentially acute.Whites don't regard blacks as consequential! You heard it here first (or maybe you didn't, come to think of it). Either way, what else can this mean but that white racism will play a negligible role, at best, in this election?
A much bigger factor, I believe, will be voters who reject Obama as a way of working off resentment against other whites.
White resentment of blacks is a molehill; white resentment of media, academic, and political types — most of them white — who (as people see it) cover up for minorities, is the mountain.So white racism scarcely exists, and white resentment of blacks is a mere molehill...but if you try to "cover up" for these goddamn murdering mongrels and their dysfunctional culture, you'd better believe you'll get your head handed to you right quick by White America. Quod non erat demonstrandum!
The sad thing is, Derbyshire's not entirely mistaken. People will indeed vote against Obama to spite white liberals. Sure, the basic impetus here is still racism, and the classic conservatarian scare-figure of white liberalism was created in part to provide exactly this sort of alibi for it. But the fact remains that we're drifting into an age where you can't be called a racist unless you hate people for no good reason. Disliking blacks because they have dark skin is frowned upon, by and large. Disliking them 'cause they're lying, thieving, drug-addled welfare cheats is at least defensible, in many circles (though you might want to phrase it a bit more delicately, and throw in some statistics to make things seem properly scientific).
But hating a bunch of effete ivory-tower academics who fawn over ghetto culture, and make excuses for its criminality, and are in secret accord with the average black's ever-smoldering dream of Bloody Revenge...why, that's not racism at all! It's perfectly rational anger at white elitists, so you can indulge in as much of it as you like with a clear conscience.
This kind of thing generates widespread resentment — not so much against minorities, whom white Americans think about as little as they can get away with, but against the whites who cover up for minority misbehavior, and pretend that it is something to do with “us"....This is, in its own warped way, somewhat insightful. You can indeed "get away with" thinking less about minorities if you deflect your rage onto white people who defend them. And a certain amount of people who vote against Obama will undoubtedly do so out of resentment and mistrust that they've simply shifted from race to some other, more respectable issue. Which not only allows them to avoid thinking of themselves as racists, but -- much more important -- allows them to launch racially negative discussions almost anywhere, under the agreeable fiction that they're simply talking about "white elitism."
Not a bad little racket, all in all.