So yesterday after posting a potpourri of political thoughts I came across a blogpost at Redmassgroup titled Five Things You Should Know Today, July 12, 2012. The first item noted that Gov. Deval Patrick had traveled to Chicago for Jesse Jackson’s annual conference and began in this manner: “Leave now (sic) mistake about it, Deval Patrick knows where his post gubernatorial bread is buttered. That’s in the race hustling industry.” The first comment under the post reads thus: “Deval has always been a workhorse for the race pimps…”
When I spotted this I tucked it on to the end of my Thursday posting Political Odds and Ends with the comment “Wow.”
Then I tweeted the updated post. Soon I received on Twitter a response from Rob Eno of RMG, the substance of which you will find below, reading from the bottom up. (It is the substance copied and paste in and not a very good looking representation. It also looks somewhat out of order to my memory, but I think the substance is enough for the reader to get the gist. One day I will master these forms and become a better blogger).
I’ll summarize. Rob Eno responded with two tweets, one including a link from adversity.net and one from a posting at Bluemassgroup that turned out to be six years old (I know this because the BMG editors tweeted that information, also below). I tweeted back that issues conflict is always good, “race hustling industry” and “race pimps” rhetoric is not good. Mr. Eno tweeted back “what would you call repeatedly profiting off of racism that is real or sometimes perceived then?” I answered that I would like to know the definition of racism but that the rhetoric is disturbing.
As I reflect I think my last response was hampered by the 140 character format on Twitter. I would say that if a responsible political commentator (which I consider Mr. Eno to be) is going to introduce race in the incendiary manner RMG has published, it would be nice to know what definition he employs when he accuses the governor of “profiting off racism.” Race has been the central social problem of American democracy since our Founding. Academic library stacks groan with thoughtful treatments of the subject. Race politics is not my field of study but I would be surprised if any respectable and measured definition of the word racism would support accusing Massachusetts’ first African-American governor of aspiring to a place in the “race hustling industry.” (By the way I wrote a book entitled Maximization, Whatever the Cost: Race, Redistricting, and the Department of Justice which was generally regarded, certainly by liberals, as pretty conservative).
So I invite Mr. Eno to use his blog site to inform us of the definition of racism he employs and to defend the rhetoric he used in the post, and that of the commentator as well.
Here is the twitter trail (with apologies for the mess).
@Robeno I think I would have to know the definition of racism first. I know enough about racial politics to find the rhetoric disturbing.