Identity politics devolves into a joke

Here’s a bad, almost cruel, joke, but nevertheless a pointed and important one:

Two men met on the street.  One looked very angry.

“What’s the problem?” asked the first man of his friend.

“I’m r-r-really a-a-ngry,” he stuttered.  “I app-ap-applied for a j-j-job as an an-an-announcer at the-the-the r-r-r-radio s-s-station and they t-t-turned me-me-me d-d-d-own.”

This statement was followed by a long pause, after which the stutter reached his own conclusions about what had happened:

“D-d-d-damned an-an-antisemites!”

With this joke in mind, please read Dennis Prager’s column today.  He talks about the racial identity politics that led to Biden’s presence at the WH beerfest.  Contrary to what you and I might have thought (I thought that the ever congenial Joe wasn’t going to be left out of a party), his presence there was a deliberate effort to ensure that the white guy (Crowley) was not unbalanced photographically by two black guys.  Joe was a prop.  (As an aside, that’s probably Joe’s best role.)

From there, Prager riffs into the liberal obsession with prejudice that it believes permeates every aspect of American.  He then relates an anecdote he tells black callers who assure him that chronic racism exists, yet are unable to provide examples of its appearance in their own lives.  Prager’s true story uncannily tracks my 50 year old joke:

Years ago driving home from synagogue, both my sons and I were wearing yarmulkes, or skull caps. A convertible car filled with young boys sped past me and yelled into the car “F— you” and called my wife a “b—ch.”

I then said to my family, “I have finally experienced anti-Semitism in America.”

I decided to follow the car and, to my shock, they screamed the same obscenities at other cars, none of whose occupants were discernibly Jewish.

It turned out that the event was not what I was certain, and had every reason to believe, was an example of anti-Semitism, but just an example of young thugs acting thuggish.

So here’s the teachable moment: Harvard historian Louis Gates talked back to a police officer because he was treated as a suspect when he felt he should not be, given his fame as a Harvard professor. The professor was certain that the only possible explanation for such treatment was that he, Gates, was a black and the officer just another racist white policeman. The professor was wrong. The president was wrong. The press is wrong. Liberals are wrong. Even most blacks are wrong.

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  • suek

    We’re all afflicted to some extent with the “it’s all about me” thing. Human nature.

    I wonder though…is it better for us to automatically think “it’s all because I’m black/white/jewish/irish/whatever” or is it better to _automatically_ think – “gee s/he’s a jerk”? The latter is a “it’s not my fault” sort of thing. I guess the answer may be somewhere in the middle – but balance is hard to establish!

    Never thought about the black/white number balance thing, for example. It does point up the fact that in their minds, being a victim gives an advantage, and being outnumbered 2-1 automatically makes Crowley the victim. Interesting.

  • Charles Martel

    I think it’s time to start hammering the Democrats for their institutional racism. We should start loudly asking:

    —Why do you think it isn’t necessary for blacks to get married?

    —Why are you not concerned or, to use your favorite word, “outraged,” at the 70% rate of bastardy among blacks?

    —Why do you encourage and abet a 35% abortion rate among blacks?

    —Why, after trillions of tax dollars spent, can’t your great teachers’ unions elevate blacks’ educational achievements in public schools?

    —Why are you not outraged at the filth and misogyny of rap music?

    —If you’re not racist, how come you don’t go after the anti-homosexual sentiment in the black community as hard as you do when you’re denigrating Catholics, Mormons, Evangelicals and conservative whites who oppose same-sex marriage?

    —Why do you sneer at Clarence Thomas and accuse him of leveraging affirmative action to get onto the Supreme Court but never breathe a word about the greatest affirmative action baby of all time, Barry Sotero Obama?

    —How come you subscribe to the racist, Jim Crow notion that a man is black if he has one drop of black blood but can’t be white if he has one drop of white blood? Why do you insist on maintaining your white-skin privilege of being the only ones who can name and bestow the race of another man?

  • Gringo

    I heard the first joke decades ago in a slightly different form, from my high school history teacher, who was Jewish. While I didn’t agree with many of his teaching approaches, he was a kindly person who knew his subject , with a sense of humor who was not afraid to laugh at himself- as shown by the joke.

    I worked as a substitute teacher for several years before I got my teaching certificate. I no longer teach. I discovered as a substitute teacher that it was not unknown for students to play the race card on me when I tried to get them to do their work. But not on a daily basis. I ignored the race card- you can’t win by denying “racism”- and repeated my directions to get to work. Most misbehaving students did not play the race card.

    One time in a middle school, a Hispanic female student asked me at the beginning of class if I hated Mexicans. I replied in Spanish : “Por supuesto. ¿Me crees tonto?” (Of course. Do you think I’m stupid?) Fortunately, she and the class took it in the jocular sense I intended. (On occasion US-born Spanish speaking Hispanic students who were fluent in English referred to my Spanish as “Chino” – Chinese, which referred to my velocity in Spanish.)

    As a regular teacher, where I saw the same students every day, no student tried to play the race card on me. They saw me in action every day, and knew it wouldn’t fly.

  • expat

    James Taranto at WSJ offers a possible reason for including Biden in the beer summit: Obama wanted Crowley to remind him of his right to remain silent.

  • George Bruce

    BW wrote

    “Joe was a prop. (As an aside, that’s probably Joe’s best role.)”

    Ding! That made a bell go off for me. Joe Biden, the Ed McMahan of the Obama administration.

  • SGT Dave

    Actually, I was considering “Joe was a prop” as a correct definition – something stiff, wooden, and unthinking that supports an item that is preparing to fall flat.

    SSG Dave
    “I’d say he’s an idiot, but that would imply that he’s functional at some level.”

  • Ymarsakar

    Joe’s more like the threat, in case some people think removing Obama is a good idea.

  • suek

    I love the line that Joe was selected as VP in order to serve as a deterrent against the possibility of O getting assassinated.

    Or maybe to keep the birthers from getting too energetic?

    Not wanting to get back into that, but nobody has answered even the most basic questions of what will happen if it _could_ be shown that O was ineligible for the presidency…

    Would Biden become president? Or would the entire ticket be eliminated on the basis that the party had presented an ineligible candidate? in which case, would McCain be president? Or would the entire election be thrown out and rerun? I suspect there nothing nowhere that addresses the practical problems – so the discussion is completely up for grabs!

  • Ymarsakar

    Not wanting to get back into that, but nobody has answered even the most basic questions of what will happen if it _could_ be shown that O was ineligible for the presidency…

    This is the Age of Obama. The only thing that matters is power, not truth.

    Well, fine. There are ways to get power. Some of them even involve utilizing the truth.

  • Ymarsakar

    What would happen is what happened after the Fall of Saigon when all those ‘good intentioned’ fake liberals approved the execution, torture, and enforced starvation of millions of Cambodians and Vietnamese. Pride. Their pride in their actions. That they voted in the Black Man to erase the White Privilege of property rights, proper english, and ‘merit’.

    When you demonstrate the consequences of their actions, the truth, they won’t believe you. They’ll point to the mass graves and say, ‘how do you scoff at the Utopia we created’.

    The truth isn’t going to force them out. The Constitution isn’t going to force them out. Reasoned appeals to the King of England was going to do a damn thing. Political and diplomatic compromises weren’t going to do a damn thing to the Barbary Pirates.

    Cold, hard, steel will, however.

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