Carol Platt Liebau: The Race Bait

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Race Bait

Jesse Jackson has accused Barack Obama -- who he's endorsed -- of acting "too white." Of course, Barack Obama's refusal to follow Jesse Jackson into the land of racial politics, all the time may explain why he's being taken seriously as a presidential candidate in a way that Jackson never was.

Even so, the problem with efforts to politicize race in this country leads to inconsistency on the part of everyone who tries to do so. Despite the fact that Obama has refused to play the race card with Jackson's lack of subtlety, his supporters are complaining that the Congressional Black Caucus is trying to help Hillary Clinton. So race apparently does matter -- at least in some contexts -- to the Obama supporters.

Wouldn't it be better to eliminate these contradictions by just encouraging black Americans not to make electoral decisions on the basis of race?

Don't count on it any time soon. The Democrats will continue to inject race into American politics, and here's why. The black vote is the base of their electoral strategy, and they'll say and do whatever it takes to keep that vote solidly in their corner.


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