Being polite to virulent reactionaries by mattsteinglass
July 25, 2009, 12:17 pm
Filed under: race

Conor Friedersdorf is, as I’ve had occasion to experience, polite to a fault. But in this case I mean that literally: he’s being much too polite to this piece of garbage written by one of the National Review’s indistinguishable hackbots, this one apparently labeled “Jack Dunphy”. Dunphy generated the following bit of hatethink:

The real tragedy of [the Gates arrest] episode is that the genuine danger faced by blacks in America is not posed by racist police officers but rather by other blacks, particularly blacks armed with guns and lacking any moral constraints on using them….But such facts just aren’t “box office” for Mr. Gates, who feigns indignation at his arrest but must be inwardly gleeful that his victim ticket has now been punched, courtesy of the Cambridge Police Department.

Friedersdorf points out politely and accurately that there is no reason on earth why Skip Gates, angry at being, on his view, wrongfully arrested on his own property, should suddenly decide to decry the irrelevant issue of the relatively high rate of violence between black Americans. And to stay polite, Friedersdorf pretends not to understand why Dunphy raises the issue.

But obviously Friedersdorf knows why Dunphy raises the issue. French conservatives, criticized for their country’s colonialist record in Africa, will reliably raise the irrelevant issue of poor post-colonial governance by black African regimes; Russian conservatives, criticized for their country’s behavior in Georgia or Chechnya, will raise the irrelevant issues of Georgian mafias or Chechnyan religious fundamentalists; Serbians, criticized for oppressing Kosovar Albanians, will find all sorts of irrelevant things to say about how awful Kosovar Albanians are; Chinese will talk about the barbaric feudalism of pre-invasion Tibet or the ignorance and sexual rapaciousness of Uighurs; Israelis will point to Palestinian factional fighting; and so on. This is a rhetorical strategy for perpetuating ethnic in-group solidarity and dominance and for deflecting any accusations against one’s own group: “Those awful (blacks, Palestinians, Tibetans, Kosovars, Georgians etc.) have only themselves to blame.” It’s a disgusting form of ethnically divisive discourse, and people who engage in it deserve scorn and vilification. In fact, Friedersdorf’s modest and polite bafflement is probably a more effective response, but I’m choosing not to restrain myself.


1 Comment so far
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The only thing that surprises me about this NRO piece is that it didn’t come from Jonah.

Comment by The Grand Panjandrum

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