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« Michael Schmidt (and his editor) should be fired. Period. | Main | Update to NetRoots-Sanders update »

July 25, 2015



No, it's not, PM. Race goes deeper than class-- period. You wear it on you at all times, whereas class is changeable (even if it doesn't happen all that much these days). Whites instinctively mark blacks as "the other," and this happens as much at a subconscious level as anything else. Study after study has shown that racist thinking happens when people aren't aware of it, including times when class simply does not factor in at all.

Black is still seen as less ideal than white, and sometimes actively bad. Those are black have this on them at all times and cannot escape it, unlike someone born in a lower class. Blacks must deal with people's instinctive fears and wildly inaccurate ideas about them. Surely you've seen research that shows that blacks are perceived to be much stronger than average and that black children are perceived to be much older than they actually are. I could go on and on.

All these things must be brought out into the open and directly challenged. When these things are actively talked about, they may lose some of their potency. As it is, millions of white people think they are good folks who aren't at all racist, when in fact they are. That racism directly harms minorities in general and blacks in particular.


The benefits of democratic socialism should be obvious to any honest person who even reads newspaper articles in publications from the rest of the advanced world, and the old excuse that Commonwealth or European countries are more ethnically homogenous than the US doesn't stand up anymore. Bernie's philosophy is definitely what we need more of in the US. The leftist types unaware of Bernie's good works should be more considerate. He should not be expected to be a slogan spout or play to the cheap seats. However, in the interest of his cause, and I assume ours, he should be careful not to antagonize potential allies. It seems this would be a basic skill for a politician. He didn't have to chant along with the crowd at Netroots, but instead of being so visibly annoyed and defensive he could have simply agreed that black lives matter - period - then waited for the crowd to settle down. O'Mally could have done the same without giving conservatives something to make fun of or stepping on the sentiment. For all his other faults, Bill Clinton probably would have handled the crowd without the mistake.

The incident isn't even a big deal. We all make mistakes, I know personally how much easier it is with age to be cranky when challenged, and Bernie has already wised up. But I'll insist there would be nothing difficult about having someone attached to his campaign check the issues important to the crowd he's about to speak to and try to get some insight into their particulars. Possibly someone tried and just didn't manage it well. When the campaign really heats up Hillary will have the benefit of two of the best political minds of our time to lean on. By then Bernie will have gotten his word out to the best of his ability.


If what you're saying is true, there's no political solution to the problem. What is Bernie Sanders supposed to do, wave a magic wand that alters the way whites think at a subconscious level?

Let's deal in the world of political possibilities. Sanders can agitate for an equitable redistribution of wealth, for health care, education, a fairer tax code, whatever. He can't crawl into the subconscious of white people and eradicate hundreds of years of conditioning.

What possible political end is served by sandbagging him and making him look bad? This does nothing but feed every right wing caricature about the left: They are screeching, immature radicals who are not serious political players. Score one for Jeb and the Donald. (Will that help black lives and solve the problem of racism in America?)


Exactly, I must say that PM's white privilege is showing...still. Reducing the BLM movement as sloganeering just shows how he isn't understanding that the threat is existential and a higher paycheck won't solve it.

Really wealthy black people have to be hyper-aware of how they're perceived by police, store detectives, Neighborhood Watch, etc.

Reducing every problem to an economic system, even if it's democratic socialism, is falling into the same trap as free markets solve everything. Structural, institutional and individual racism must be addressed. Any dem. candidate who doesn't realize that will not win the nomination.


I still think we will have candidates who win the nomination who don't realise the need for this to be addressed. Even in 15 years time. But you're absolutely right, it does need to be addressed. Racial profiling is an issue. Class has nothing to do with it. Middle/upper class (economically speaking) blacks suffer the same profile as poor blacks when they're walking the streets or DWB. It is real. And that's why Josh and I have been arguing #Black Lives Matter does not mean they matter more, but actually less. That's all. And yes, #AllLivesMatter !! Before we head down that rabbit hole again ! LOL !


This is more a social rather than political solution where "one day people will be judged by the content of their character and not the colour of their skin" to paraphrase. Maybe sandbagging Mr. Sanders was crass, but it may be that this is now something that is in the forefront of his mind besides the social democratic change he advocates, and he can think about other ways to address the issue. And he may well speak to it in the future. Sometimes a little crassness is required to bring about the necessary change. Peaceful revolution and all that.


Great read. I think the other thing we may all be missing is that Netroots chose Bernie as the most likely candidate to hear them out - their approach may not have been right but the intent was. Mr. Sanders is the most likely candidate to address this rather than a Hilary and that's why he was "approached" in a rather unskillful way.


I agree with most of what you say, Bob. I do believe that democratic socialism provides the mot benefits for the mot people. I also think the NetRoots brouhaha not that big of a deal.

Sorry, Bob. I want to respond more in full but I'm constantly interrupted as we're having friends over for a swim and cook out. Will finish this manana.

Over and out


OMG, my "s" doesn't seem to be working. Most and most.


LOL ! why aren't we invited to the cook out !! Enjoy !

David & Son of Duff

"America's race issue is, under all of it, an issue of class."


It's human nature, pure and simple - or to be precise, impure and complicated!


Allow me to return the embarrassment of agreeing with you, David. Class does play a role, but it's nearly insignificant compared to human nature and, especially in the US, history.


I'm looking forward to it.


Thanks, Monty. Bernie is definitely more approachable. Maybe Hillary's people have good reasons, like her not being a great politician, but limiting her exposure so much might not end up working in her favor. She could at least let herself be interviewed by someone like Chauncey Devega.

Hillary has been a long time advocate for all children:

David & Son of Duff

'Class', 'race', 'religion', etc, are all useful labels for meddlers to use usually for their own purposes. However, in my opinion the origins lie deep in human nature which instinctively distrusts strangers, or 'strange' people, that is, those who look and behave differently. This is a very sensible instinct because it will certainly be present in your opposite number and the first law of survival is - survive!

I will add another thought. Is it always wrong to dislike other groups of people? I, personally, dislike the southern Irish as a group. Decades ago I used dislike Germans. And I absolutely loathe and despise all those people who keep telling me that I mustn't ever say I dislike other people!

But you can relax, I've always liked Americans, although sometimes I wonder why!


David. You're funny ! I am not sure about disliking groups of people - there may be more southern Irish people you don't like than you do but I am sure even you have a southern Irish friend ? I could be wrong. And it looks as if you've found a love for the Germans ! So, there is hope for you yet with the Irish ! You will have a new focus for your dislike.


BTW isn't Duff an Irish name ?

Peter G

You do realize that white is a race right? Every single word you've written is completely reversible. You want to say all whites are racist? Fine. But you have realize that very statement is every bit as racist as anything you object to. You yourself seem to accept that white is somehow the neutral against which race is measured? Why is that?

The Dark Avenger

These days, it's synonymous with a certain kind of beer.:

The beer's official slogan is "Can't Get Enough of That Wonderful Duff", though there are others. In "Duffless", parking lot signs at the Duff brewery have the slogans "It's Always Time For Duff" and "Now Leaving Duff Country". In "Homer's Odyssey", Duff is described as "The beer that makes the days fly by".

Their spokesperson is Duffman, a parody of Budweiser's '70s-era mascot Bud Man. He is a muscular, bleach-blond, well-tanned man with whitened teeth who wears a blue leotard and cape, red Duff Beer ballcap, mirror sunglasses, and a utility belt full of cans of Duff Beer. He speaks in a loud and overly-enthusiastic staccato voice (like a radio DJ or beer commercial pitchman) and does a lot of exaggerated physical movements like a male exotic dancer - like dancing in place, groin-thrusting, hip shaking, and rubbing his butt with a towel. There are apparently many identical Duffmen; however, like mall Santas they never appear at the same place at the same time (to not disillusion the kids). One retired Duffman in Alcoholics Anonymous referred to himself as "Barry Duffman", indicating that he had to assume the identity of Duffman as part of the job. Some of the actors who play him have actually died (presumably from alcohol-related causes); their demise was never acknowledged because the character of Duffman is unaging and immortal. At public appearances he is often flanked by a random pair of beautiful, scantily-clad women who act as arm-candy, backup dancers, and assistants.


@ David - I generally like Brits. My girlfriend was cute and wicked smart with a sense of humor that never quit. She was extremely liberal, maybe even a little Marxist, and could make fun of Thatcher in streaks. She taught me to think of Maggie as Attila the Hen. I've also worked with several engineers based in Liverpool. One of them sounded exactly like Ringo Starr and liked to walk around singing 'Yellow Submarine'. He's one of the best-natured guys I ever met. I also knew a small group that lived on Grand Cayman where I had a friend who was a dive boat captain. One of them I didn't much care for. He was something like a poor man's Sting; an overly self-confident, really good-looking guy with a drop-dead gorgeous girlfriend, also British. I think I understand the Brit sense of humor including the affected pomposity, but with this guy it wasn't an affect. But hey, that's only one out of a few dozen, and at least he was a good diver.

And BTW, you're perfectly within your rights to not like huge groups of people. You may also rest assured that none of them gives a rat's ass.


Thanks Dark Avenger, learn something new every day !

Peter G

What are Southern Irish? Everybody who doesn't live in Northern Ireland?

priscianus jr

If Bernie Sanders is the most likely candidate to hear them out — and I believe he is — then that means the confrontational, disruptive approach was completely unnecessary. It also means they thought it was a good idea to demonstrate disrespect to their most likely supporters.

The real reason they did this is that they knew they were least likely to suffer serious consequences from people who (as hey knew) were already on their side. So again, wrong place, wrong people.

David & Son of Duff

Gosh, Peter, I thought that with you being a scientific swot and all that your powers of logic would be a little better than:

"What are Southern Irish? Everybody who doesn't live in Northern Ireland?"

I won't point out your error but you will hand in 50 lines by teatime!

@ DA: I rather like the sound of that 'Duffman'. But does he pull the birds?

@ Monty: Yes indeed, I like some southern Irish as *individuals*, I served with some of them in the army. But, and this is the crucial point ignored by the 'Peace 'n' Love' soppies, that in each of us there is a difference in feeling towards individuals and groups.

@ Bob: I trust you "ditched the bitch"! Just joking - honestly! (Oh God, and please don't tell me you married her!) My advice is never judge a people by their pop 'stars' and 'slebs'. Ours are mostly rubbish and yours ... well ... words fail me - for once!

Peter G

I noticed that you didn't answer the question.


@ David: Actually she ditched me. At the time San Diego was conservative and relatively uncultured, I told her about how different Chicago was and one day she decided to move to New York City. This did not bother me overly much. After heroic resistance I was captured by a Chicago area woman.

I forgot, because it now seems to have been in another lifetime, that I also grew up with a best pal who was born in England and had moved to the US as an infant with his parents and grandmother shortly after the war. The family name was Irwin. Welsh?

As far as celebrity is concerned, our artist Andy Warhol predicted that someday everyone in America would be famous for 15 minutes. It has come true.

Peter G

Hmm. Me too. There's something about those Chicago women. And as a bonus for marrying one you get frequent excuses to go to Chicago if you are not fortunate enough to live there.


In general, Chicago people seem more down-to-Earth than those from other big cities. It has a long history of being a blue collar kind of place despite its variety and sophistication. I haven't visited the city proper for a few years. Compared to what I was used to it now seems insanely crowded and chaotic. I love the music scene, especially the jazz clubs and CSO.


It's just a watery beer on The Simpsons...

David & Son of Duff

Nothing personal, Peter and Bob, but Chicagoan women and you two? Sounds to me as though they should have gone to Specsavers!


I'm fairly sure my wife has never confused me with a fuzzy hat, though I am warm and cuddly.

David & Son of Duff

@ Bob:
"You might say that, I couldn't possibly comment."

(A line often repeated by a smooth, reptilian politician in a TV series 'over here' based on Westminster and its devious doings. Sort of an Anglo prequel to your "West Wing".)

The Dark Avenger

West wing wasn't based on devious doings, Duff. It was written by unabashed liberals, and since you think that's all we liberals do, the confusion is understandable.

David & Son of Duff

@ DA: "Calm down, dear!"

I never saw any of it but I gather it was concerned with politicians and, if you would only open your other eye, you would see that *all* politicians are devious. And usually, it's a good thing, too!

The Dark Avenger

Ah, the old both sides do it routine. I don't take that seriously, Duff. The old deceive the populace for the own good goes back to Plato, but as Madison said in the Federalist, #51

But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

Hope you can make it through the above without moving your lips.

Cheers, old bean!

David & Son of Duff

@ DA:

Hmmmmn! A nice enough ramble but what it has to do with the *fact* that all politicians are from time to time devious, I cannot tell. However, not being knowledgeable on the subject of President Madison it took me about 2 minutes to find this:

" Like Jefferson, Madison chose to retain [Gen.] Wilkinson for political reasons, as Wilkinson had influence as a Pennsylvania Republican. By retaining Wilkinson, both Jefferson and Madison supported military leaders in both the Army and Navy for political reasons rather than competence."

Gen. Wilkinson, needless to say, was a total incompetent who allowed his men to perish by insisting they remain camped in a disease-ridden area.

Obviously it never bothered Madison who was probably too busy running the several hundred slaves he owned!

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