January 18, 2005

But there are no racist liberals...

Dean Esmay recently linked to this article by Michelle Malkin, about some of the issues that minority conservatives uniquely have deal with, as conservatives.

Some of the comments at Dean's World display a remarkable lack of sympathy for Ms. Malkin, including the observation that

freedom also includes the right to not be locked up in a cage simply because you belong to a certain race. That's something Malkin doesn't understand.
not to mention the discussion of Ms. Malkin's "narcissistic rambling." apparently "supposed to make liberals look bad."

My reaction started life as a response in that thread, but I decided to put it up here as well.

Well, you can see how open-minded those two are; even suggesting the possibility that the FDR administration might have had some non-racial motivations inspires vicious scorn.

Some specifics: Mr. Knapp displays a significant historical deficiency (or, perhaps, a reading problem); no one was "locked in a cage" soley due to race. Alex, if you honestly think that's what happened, please read some factual history before exposing your ignorance in public again.

The displaced Japanese-Americans were on the west coast, in near proximity to the major ports supporting the Pacific War. One of the motivations involved was concern about providing easy access for Japanese (or Japanese-American) saboteurs. Another concern was that many young men (even born in the US) still looked to Japan as their primary loyalty. Many, when asked to swear exclusive loyalty to the US (re: "question 27 & 28") refused to do so.. Also note that Imperial Japan was fairly liberal in funding political parties in America who might look upon them with favor, later. Some of the parties recieving such funds are still classified to this day, because those revelations could kick up a serious ruckus, even now.

Yet another point was that no one was "locked up;" the camps were to provide housing for the detainees until they could find more permanent residences. They were free to leave the camps. Alas, it didn't happen that way.

Please note that Italian-Americans and German-Americans were also on the recieving end of significant abuses during World War 1 and World War 2; some of it worse than anything done to the Japanese-Americans.

My own belief is that while the administration might have had good arguments for moving at least some people from the west coast, the actual implementation was so broad, and heavy-handed that serious injustices occured. For example, those who owned property would -in theory- be fairly compensated. This did not occur. Another failing point was the utter lack of discrimination (in the alternate sense): everyone had to leave.

The housing situation was a similar pooch-screw. Terrible, cheap housing which took no consideration for the culture of the internees. Even the nisei weren't as assimilated to the same degree 2nd-generation immigrants would be today. One example would be the lack of privacy for personal hygiene. On the other hand, calling relocation areas "concentration camps" cheapens the terms' actual meaning, not to mention blurring the very significant differences between the two systems. This is similar to the current habit of labelling even mild treatments such as sleep deprivation as "torture."

In summary, the treatment of Japanese-Americans was, in fact, a terrible injustice which was barely recognized by the later court-ordered compensation. What many people fail to see is that the relocation was not just rabid racism, even though that was certainly present.

Too many people -correspondents Knapp and Vogel in evidence- insist on portraying relocation as study in black and white, with no grey involved. Their position puts them, oddly enough, on the "good" side. Pleasant coincidence, that. Convenient, too.

As for Mr. Vogel's claim of "narcissistic rambling," he reads Malkin neither thouroughly nor well. The point of that article was that certain types (again, one is tempted to point to Mssrs Knapp and Vogel) would use that scandal as a brush to tar all minority conservaties. She merely cited specifics from her personal experience relating to "liberals" who disagreed with her in an especially vulgar way.

Mr. Vogel seems to be deliberately ignoring the way liberal commentators, cartoonists, and public figures (Harry Belafonte, for example) have vilified black conservative Americans. The editorial cartoons about Condolezza Rice are particularly offensive, but (hey!) these are liberals we're talking about. Everyone knows liberals are always kind, considerate, and respectful of others' opinions, and never, ever descend to race-baiting. And yes, I'm being sarcastic.

There's a lot of racist liberals out there. The difference is that racist conservatives are (justly) called out on their bad habits while the racist liberals are (usually) ignored. I cite in evidence the above-mentioned Belafonte, the wide variety of vulgar cartoons re: Ms. Rice, and catty comments ("skeeza" Condolezza, etc) regarding same. I can see why people such as Ms. Malkin hold a jaundiced view this hypocrisy.

Conservatives are more forthcoming about "their" bigotry these days, as evidenced by the Trent Lott fiasco. The left would do well to pursue the racists in their own ranks as vigorously.

And, if Mr. Vogel had read Malkin more regularly, he would have seen her column with a compare & contrast between her and Margaret Cho. Both are women; both Asian-American, both outspoken, and so on. The difference, of course, is that Cho is definitely liberal while Malkin is definitely conservative. In fact Ms. Malkin expresses some sympathy for Cho, since they both no doubt are on the recieving end of many of the same bigoted insults.

Another difference is that Michelle Malkin is -as a conservative- regularly pilloried as a "race traitor" and is reminded that she "isn't white." Only minority conservatives face this particular burden. Since when have Cho or (say) Russell Simmons been branded "race traitors," or (in Simmons' case) "not really black?"

That, my friends, is the point.

Posted by Casey at January 18, 2005 6:11 AM | TrackBack

Casey, I've long since given up even attempting to argue with the liberal/Left types who take it for granted that a liberal can never be a racist, even when that liberal is behaving in a racist manner; and that a conservative is always a racist, even when that conservative behaves in a nonracist and indeed antiracist manner.

As if nonracism somehow inhered in liberal/Leftists on some metaphysical level, entirely independent of liberal/Leftists' actual behavior in this world of mere appearances; and as if racism somehow inhered metaphysically in conservatives, entirely independent of their actual behavior.

I don't know about you, but I'm thoroughly sick and tired of the attitude that I'm supposed to accept someone's bad behavior as good behavior, simply because he considers himself to be on the "correct" side of the issue. As if being on the "correct" side of things somehow renders one's actual outward behavior immune to criticism.

Unfortunately, it seems that such folks are disproportionately common in the blogosphere. And (unlike some of the campus Marxists I used to know back in the stone age) they don't even have the balls to come out and say explicitly what they are always insinuating: namely, that anything done in the name of their cause is right, on the sole grounds that it furthers their cause; and that anything done in the name of causes they oppose is wrong, on the sole grounds that it hinders their cause.

I can argue with a good old-fashioned Marxist who asserts clearly that being a revolutionary means rejecting naive rule-bound bourgeois morality in favor of the ever-shifting opportunistic duplicity of revolutionary morality. I neither can nor will argue with liberal/Leftists who are in such a fog of intellectual confusion, that they don't even realize what they themselves are insinuating.

This is one of many reasons why, on my blog, I tend to stick to feuilletons such as the recent photos from Titan versus comic strips about Saturn which I drew as a kid.

Posted by: Paul Burgess at January 18, 2005 12:35 PM

I liked the comic. :) I think I still have one very ancient (hardback) copy of Tom Corbett lying around over here. It was my older brothers'.

Thanks for the link to the sounds, but -dude- get some real blogging 'ware! Heh.

Posted by: Casey Tompkins at January 18, 2005 3:11 PM