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Sun May 25, 2014, 08:53 PM

Imagine a White People's Party ---Gene Nichol / Point of View / Raleigh News and Observer

In the months ahead, every Tar Heel will be forced to choose whether to re-embrace racial supremacy and exclusion.

By Gene Nichol

Last month, Sen. Rand Paul mentioned that which must not be named. “You go to a Republican event, and it’s all white people,” he said at a gathering at Harvard’s Kennedy School. He had earlier chided fellow Republicans, saying: “If we want to be a party of white people, we’re winning.” A few days ago, he added for good measure that Republicans have “gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” insulting African-Americans. Man. Good thing he’s not a Democrat.
I thought Paul’s candor would provoke an intra-party firestorm – with fellow Republicans either lambasting the accuracy of the “white people’s party” claim or berating him for poking at the elephant in the room that other Republicans ignore. Neither occurred – suggesting Paul’s statements were both true and untroubling. Think on that.
The North Carolina Republican Party holds impressive super-majorities in both houses of the General Assembly. Though our state is 23 percent African-American, the Republican caucuses in the House and Senate have no black members.
So when they retire to craft our policies – repealing the Racial Justice Act, passing voting restrictions largely aimed at African-Americans, packing black voters into gerrymandered legislative districts, rejecting the paid-for Medicaid expansion, crushing unemployment compensation, limiting welfare benefits – no black member rises to address the issues. A white Republican governor and an all-white Cabinet round out the sweep. Some will say this is impolite to mention. Accurate, but impolite.
The racial lineup frequently triggers an appalling aesthetic. Dismissive white legislative and executive officials call Moral Monday protesters “morons” and “outside” agitators – evoking images of the desegregation era. State representatives treat “NAACP” as a tacitly assumed epithet rather than the historic champion of American promise it is.

Incumbent legislators run campaign commercials disparaging the Rev. William Barber – moving beyond “dog-whistle” to overt, racialized politics. It calls to mind the stunning 2012 Republican National Convention when a huge, almost entirely white sea of delegates listened to speaker after speaker denounce a young black president for “dividing the nation.”
But operating the N.C. Republican Party as a white persons’ assemblage violates more than notions of aesthetics. Given our foundational aspirations, given our history and struggle, and given the moving and inspired premises of our national undertaking, operating as a white people’s party in 2014 is both stunningly immoral and overtly dismissive of our defining constitutive societal purpose. It shames us as a people.
Imagine that under a strange, somehow enforceable, truth-in-labeling demand, our Republican Party were forced to rename itself the White People’s Party. Would a young, tech-driven libertarian explain: “I don’t like capital gains taxes, so I joined the White People’s Party”? Would an accomplished and respected investment banker declare: “I’m committed to the carried interest exception, so I vote for the White People’s Party”? Would a devout, patriotic evangelical forthrightly proclaim: “We need prayer in our classrooms, so I’m with the White Party”?

Of course not. Such justifications and protestations would immediately and conclusively be dismissed out of hand. No set of allegiances or commonalities would work to validate association with an overtly race-based political party. Admitted exclusion trumps the bartering of normal politics. It rejects the foundation of our polity.
But is the reach of moral responsibility so thin it can be escaped by the transparent tool of branding? Is it acceptable to operate as a white person’s party as long as you never admit it? Does the fact of exclusion fade before the disingenuous assertion of brotherhood? Can one, without blame, aid and abet the repudiation of equality? Is the labeling all that matters? Too much blood has been spilled, too many life chances crushed, to settle for pretense.
It can be comforting to assume the choices we face are less astounding than they are. In the months ahead, every Tar Heel will be forced to choose whether she will, eyes wide, re-embrace racial supremacy and exclusion. We are children of the American South. Our leaders may seek to ignore our history, but they can’t escape its shadow.
It makes no difference if the proponents of exclusion wear genial smiles and speak, oddly, of American values and Christian tenets. It has happened before. We all lose – not just African-Americans and other citizens of color – if we retreat to a white people’s politics. And we lose badly, perhaps irreparably. Who would have guessed we’d mark the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education this month by deciding whether to embrace or reject its inclusionary premise?

Gene Nichol is Boyd Tinsley Distinguished Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill. He doesn’t speak for UNC.

http://www.law.unc.edu/faculty/directory/nicholgener/

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Reply Imagine a White People's Party ---Gene Nichol / Point of View / Raleigh News and Observer (Original post)
Mira May 2014 OP
DonCoquixote May 2014 #1
xfundy May 2014 #2
blkmusclmachine May 2014 #3
CRK7376 May 2014 #4
Mira May 2014 #5
CRK7376 May 2014 #6
Mira May 2014 #7
Doctor_J May 2014 #8

Response to Mira (Original post)

Sun May 25, 2014, 09:08 PM

1. would

"Would a young, tech-driven libertarian explain: “I don’t like capital gains taxes, so I joined the White People’s Party”?

Yes, because a lot of tech libertarians are WHITE, or those that wish to be considered WHITE (a la Dinesh D Souza)

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Response to Mira (Original post)

Sun May 25, 2014, 09:50 PM

2. Perhaps a better name would be

"white elephants." Cuz that has several meanings.

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Response to Mira (Original post)

Sun May 25, 2014, 11:41 PM

3. The GOP <<IS>> a "white person's party." Yeah, they've got a few token browns & blacks, but when you

 

are 98.5% white, I think that pretty much classifies you as "whites only."

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Response to Mira (Original post)

Tue May 27, 2014, 11:49 AM

4. Anything coming out of UNC

I always grit my teeth and growl...as a Die Hard Demon Deacon we usually get thumped by UNC in sports, but in this case, a Distinguished Professor made a very accurate statement about current NC politics. My road is a classic example of current NC mentality. We have no minorites that live on our road, and of the 17-18 families that call our stretch of pavement home, only 3, amybe 4 families are democrats. The rest a rabidly, froth at the mouth hatred for our President and the Democrat party. I like what the Professor said, how true in Tobaccoville, NC...We are represented by the Queen of NC Craziness, Madame Virginia Foxx.....

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Response to CRK7376 (Reply #4)

Tue May 27, 2014, 12:05 PM

5. You are my neighbor, I see.

I have in-laws in Knob City AKA Pilot Mountain, and live in the City of Arts and Innovation - Winston-Salem - a city that no longer smells of sweet curing tobacco.
I know the folks you talk about, many of their relatives live around me, just not as concentrated. I live very close to UNCSA - in a samll nest of mostly Democrats.

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Response to Mira (Reply #5)

Thu May 29, 2014, 10:09 AM

6. Our eldest

earned his BA and MA in Music Performance at UNCSA. Great area. We are fairly rural and know Pilot Mtn well. Unfortunately being out of the urban footprint of W-S we are deep into Red GOP land. No Tea Party on our road, but plenty nearby.

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Response to CRK7376 (Reply #6)

Thu May 29, 2014, 10:51 AM

7. Congrats on the achievement of your eldest.

Both my son and grandson are UNCSA grad/ and student in Visual Arts.
Have gone to a T-party gathering in Pilot that was hosted by Virginia Foxx, took lots of photos, and clapped and cheered to the words of country/flag/etc. so I would not be scalped.

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Response to Mira (Original post)

Thu May 29, 2014, 07:05 PM

8. Two things. 1 - Republicans have no shame, and haven't had for at least 30 years

 

2. They get away with it

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