Webb’s Op-Ed

I think a lot of people are missing where Jim Webb is coming from in his op-ed. I’m not going to defend the entire thing, but I think you need to understand that Webb comes from a portion of Appalachia where poverty is so deep, so ingrained, that the idea in those regions that there is some sort of “white privilege” is in fact laughable. To them, the privilege of chronic unemployment, life in a tarpaper shack with no medical care, food stamps but no grocery store, and not much of a future doesn’t look like that great of a deal. And you need to understand, there are a LOT of people in this situation. I regret the way the piece read, and I hate the title, but Webb is talking about addressing the deep-rooted poverty he’s seen his entire life in the back hills of VA, WVA, Kentucky, and elsewhere. I don’t find that message to be much different from the lesson Shirley Sherrod was trying to pass on regarding class v. race. In many regards, I bet Sherrod and Webb would agree.

When a lot of people said the Democratic party “left them” in this region, we’re talking about dirt poor folks who have basically given up on the government. These were the folks that embraced the Democratic party of FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt (Eleanor is particularly beloved to this day in rural WV), to them, the Democrats of today really are no different than Republicans in their indifference toward the poor and working poor, and they end up voting on social issues. Tom Franks said a thing or two about this. There really is no one fighting for unions any more. Show me a Democrat that is different from a Republican on coal in WV and I’ll show you an unelected Democrat.

Again, I think the way the piece read will rub a lot of people the wrong way, and that is was in the WSJ makes it a hard pill to swallow for a lot of us, but I don’t think for a minute Webb meant to claim that minorities have not suffered.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit






202 replies
  1. 1
    Mayur says:

    It’s not a bad piece insofar as his points about blacks vs. poor whites go; it’s, er, odd where Asians are concerned because, AFAIK, we haven’t ever been beneficiaries of affirmative action policy. I have never been considered a “minority” for purposes of university or graduate or professional school admissions or any activity related thereto, and in fact there’s plenty of evidence (cf. California university system) to the effect that Asians are *disadvantaged* by such policies.

  2. 2

    There really is no one fighting for unions any more.

    And what have unions done for themselves? I’m not trying to bash them, just asking, especially in a case like WV where both the unions and the Chamber of Commerce seem to love Manchin. Why? You can’t please both groups.

  3. 3
    joe from Lowell says:

    Webb’s message – that affirmative action should reorient itself more towards class than race now that the historically-tight relationship between those two factors is increasingly unwinding, is fine.

    I second your notion that Ms. Sherrod – the one who wisely said “It’s not about black and white, it’s about rich and poor,” – would agree.

    However, Webb’s language here is completely inappropriate, and just backs up right-wing frames.

    For instance, he opens up with this bald-face lie: The NAACP believes the tea party is racist.

    The NAACP specifically stated that the Tea Party movement is not a racist movement, but a movement about issues having nothing to do with race, and that the majority of tea baggers have done nothing to suggest racism.

  4. 4

    These were the folks that embraced the Democratic party of FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt (Eleanor is particularly beloved to this day in rural WV), to them, the Democrats of today really are no different than Republicans in their indifference toward the poor and working poor, and they end up voting on social issues.

    And some of us have been advocating progressive populism for a long time now. Except too many people are afraid of pissing off Big Business, not realizing those fuckers will squeal no matter what you do.

  5. 5
    liberty60 says:

    “White priviledge” is one of those unfortunate terms that maybe is intended to address what sociologists like to call “structural racism” but as you point out, rankles many for whom being white isn’t any priviledge at all.

    It also quite conveniently plays into the hands of the truly powerful and priviledged who don’t mind turning poor whites against poor blacks and everyone else. Take a read on the Wingnut blogosphere and you will read messages from underemployed white people furious at the Democrats for screwing the economy by forcing bankers to give loans to black people. And then proudly call for elimination of the estate tax, locking arms in solidarity with Jamie Dimon.

  6. 6
    Zandar says:

    I’m not going to defend the entire thing, but I think you need to understand that Webb comes from a portion of Appalachia where poverty is so deep, so ingrained, that the idea in those regions that there is some sort of “white privilege” is in fact laughable.

    And yet my current home Kentucky remains a state that has never elected any minority — black or otherwise — to a major statewide office or to Congress.

    Ever.

    Webb has a point about rural white poverty in Appalachia, but they’re still light years ahead of rural minority poverty here.

  7. 7
    matoko_chan says:

    Webb is right about a whole lot.
    We liberals don’t give a shit about cruelly impoverished ignorant racists.
    The GOP at least gives them the dignity of pretending to care inorder to scam their votes.
    That is why im a Quellist…..all the tribe of homo sap. have embedded demodynamic nanotech.

  8. 8
    Napoleon says:

    @Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle:

    That is hardly something new. Sometimes there are 2 less then ideal candidates, but still one is a whole lot better for the union then the other.

    Also keep in mind if the filibuster is weekend or scrapped having a half dozen Senators who vote with you half the time will get you a whole bunch of wins over a half dozen who never vote with you.

  9. 9
    jfxgillis says:

    John:

    Wholly agreed on Webb’s intent. Coincidently, I was just reading “Born Fighting” yesterday. Them’s his peeps he’s talking about, and he has every right and duty to do so.

    However, the mistake Webb made was apparently believing that the key obstruction to his position would be to his left. He was hippie-punching again.

    Let him propose a program that BOTH addresses problems of endemic poverty AND does so in race-neutral way and let’s see which hippies need punching and which dittoheads need punching to get the proposal enacted.

  10. 10
    Mike from Philly says:

    Is this the same Jim Webb that voted against overturning the military ban against gays? Who voted yes on carrying concealed weapons (for protection, naturally)? Who listed himself as undecided on Healthcare reform as teabagging morons (sorry, disenfranchised poor white people) gleefully spewed nonsense all last summer?

    This is the guy that now has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal talking about how white people are being oppressed.

    Didn’t see that coming….

  11. 11
    matoko_chan says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    The NAACP specifically stated that the Tea Party movement is not a racist movement, but a movement about issues having nothing to do with race, and that the majority of tea baggers have done nothing to suggest racism.

    But the NAACP just said expell the racists WITHIN the TPM or forget about our votes……And then Williams PROVED there are racist leaders in the TPM and got expelled.
    So the NAACP was right!
    There are racists in the TPM.

  12. 12
    matoko_chan says:

    @jfxgillis:

    Them’s his peeps he’s talking about

    yup, and he’s trying to give them a little dignity cover.

  13. 13
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @jfxgillis:

    However, the mistake Webb made was apparently believing that the key obstruction to his position would be to his left. He was hippie-punching again.

    I couldn’t agree more. The problem most people are having with this piece is not with the substance of his argument (most liberals I know are pretty supportive of programs that help the poor regardless of race), its with the language he uses, the tone of the piece, the explicit adoption of right-wing frames on race and affirmative action, and the fact that he decided to lecture the Left about helping the poor when we’re not really the ones preventing help to the poor.

  14. 14
    Michael says:

    The poor white in the South could look at his lot in the past, and know that at least he wasn’t a ni55er. With equality, the field has done been leveled. Where he used to be able to scratch out an existence as a company thug or a janitor or a maintenance man, now he has to compete for those slots, and thats hard when momma and daddy and them done told him that he really didn’t need to worry about that schoolin’ or nothin’.

    And now, the cops’ll kick yore ass just like they would a ni55er, so that’s no good either.

    And yore boss expects you to put in a full day’s work for a day’s pay, elsewise he’ll just go out and hire a ni55er, and that’s hard, plus you can’t tell him to kiss yore ass no more.

    Now, to speak in a more normal tone now that everybody is enraged, understand that there is no person on earth that is more put upon, aggrieved, stomped on or persecuted than poor white trash. They’ve got an entitlement mentality that would shame your most brazen urban welfare Cadillac mom and her t-bone devouring strapping young bucks.

  15. 15
    stuckinred says:

    @Mike from Philly: It’s also the same Jim Webb that insists that I have something to apologize for as a Vietnam Vet who spoke out against that war. Fuck him and his homeboy Ollie.

  16. 16
    Zach says:

    I know there’s a kernel of truth here, especially as it applies to Appalachia. However, the whole thing is riddled with, frankly, racist statements:

    “It has also lessened the focus on assisting African-Americans, who despite a veneer of successful people at the very top still experience high rates of poverty, drug abuse, incarceration and family breakup.” Read: the black middle class doesn’t exist? Has he not lived in DC long enough to visit PG County or look around every Federal office in the District?

    It also hinges on an impression of how affirmative action works that’s totally out of step with reality. He also doesn’t acknowledge antipoverty programs of the last 50 years or so that were blind to race and are largely responsible for the relative well being of the downtrodden white folks he’s defending.

    He’s also talking about the marginalization of white workers in Federal hiring practices. How in the world does that relate to destitution in isolated communities in Appalachia? Not to mention that our Latino, Asian, etc communities, while not enslaved per se, didn’t exactly get a fair shake. The whole thing hinges on the myth that colored folks are rushing our country to exploit welfare programs while we fail to take care of our own or whatever.

  17. 17
    BR says:

    Here’s the one difference that Webb misses. A poor white guy from WV, if given a nice suit and haircut and a plane ticket to someplace else, can “pass”. A poor minority can’t.

  18. 18
    wmsheppa says:

    My Dad’s side of the family is from (and largely still lives in) rural south east Ohio, and having spent a lot of time in the small towns there growing up, I can tell you that these people are as poor and neglected by the rest of society as anyone I have ever seen.

    When disaster strikes them, no one comes to help. When their homes get flooded out, everyone is too busy somewhere else. They don’t get money, they don’t get volunteers from around the country streaming in when thousands of people get displaced. There’s just a bitterness towards life, the government, and aid sent to others that’s almost impossible to understand unless you’ve spent time there. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to articulate. I think that’s what Webb was trying to do, he just screwed it up.

  19. 19
    gnomedad says:

    There really is no one fighting for unions any more. Show me a Democrat that is different from a Republican on coal in WV and I’ll show you an unelected Democrat.

    You seems to be saying that the Dems should grow a pair and take the side of the poor, then suggest that this is politically suicidal. Therefore … ?

  20. 20

    @Napoleon: But will the filibuster be weakened? Do you see Mark Pryor giving up any leverage? Warner and Webb?

  21. 21
    shortstop says:

    When a lot of people said the Democratic party “left them” in this region, we’re talking about dirt poor folks who have basically given up on the government.

    Okay. But they’re mostly not talking about how the government has failed them and advocating for a stronger role for government. They’re complaining about how government does everything wrong while availing themselves of every government service they can still get and meanwhile bitching loudly about black people getting help from government.

    What is that but white privilege — albeit at a far lower level of benefit than is usually meant by the term?

    Webb may actually see this in class terms (I’m not quite convinced of that), and we may see this in class terms, and Shirley Sherrod may see this in class terms. But until people stop seeing being white as an automatic class marker, this kind of takes-us-only-halfway-there op-ed does more harm than good, IMO.

  22. 22
    Lyrebird says:

    @joe from Lowell: Rock on!

    Thanks to JC bc without your recommendation, I might not have pushed past either the misinformed* title or the easily-avoided misrepresentation of what the NAACP charged. And there’s lots of material worth reading when you get the body of the piece.

    *misinformed? Well, I tend to feel that all this privilege-based analysis on university campuses (where I work) gets overdone and tiresome, but the fact remains that if you show (earnest and well-intentioned) cops images of pretend-criminals, they’re much quicker to pretend-shoot the black ones. Sen. Webb and I enjoy our white privilege every day, esp if he goes shopping in any DC/MD/NoVA stores! (You get 1/10th the hostility from security guards, etc.) No myth.

    And yes, enough with the hippie-punching. When I start my new job I’m gonna join the NAACP!

  23. 23
    PTirebiter says:

    Yep. Unfortunately his point about the government’s monolithic approach to white privilege and the resentments that it spawned among poor whites got a little lost.
    It takes guts for any Democrat to even broach the subject.

  24. 24
    wmsheppa says:

    @BR: Maybe so, but nobody’s helping them get those things, and they sure as hell can’t afford it themselves.

  25. 25
    fasteddie9318 says:

    When a lot of people said the Democratic party “left them” in this region, we’re talking about dirt poor folks who have basically given up on the government. These were the folks that embraced the Democratic party of FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt (Eleanor is particularly beloved to this day in rural WV), to them, the Democrats of today really are no different than Republicans in their indifference toward the poor and working poor, and they end up voting on social issues. Tom Franks said a thing or two about this. There really is no one fighting for unions any more. Show me a Democrat that is different from a Republican on coal in WV and I’ll show you an unelected Democrat.

    John, do you think these folks that desperately want pro-union leaders should stop not electing pro-union candidates then?

  26. 26
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    life in a tarpaper shack with no medical care, food stamps but no grocery store, and not much of a future doesn’t look like that great of a deal.

    I haven’t read the op/ed, and I cringed when I saw the title. and along the lines of everything you say about the poor whites of the Appalachian region, and Eleanor Roosevelt: I can’t think of few less-Rooseveltian (Eleanor, Franklin or even Teddy) Democrats than Jim Webb. He helped cut the stimulus bill, was threatening to go bolting with Blanche on HCR.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    shortstop says:

    And this dude’s populist presidential ambitions are really starting to piss me off.

  29. 29
    wmsheppa says:

    @shortstop: If you’d spent any time in Appalachia you’d know just how absurd that comment is. These people have been ignored and screwed by the federal government ever since LBJ left office. They can’t get any government aid, that’s the problem.

  30. 30
    K. Grant says:

    Has someone asked Senator Webb about the actual effect of diversity based employment decisions on the white working poor versus the basic amorality of rich business owners squeezing every last penny of profits out of their ‘workers’? This is about rich vs. poor.

    It also behooves us to note the ethnic background of the ‘rich’ throughout American history – we simply cannot escape the impact of racism on the system.

  31. 31
    Paris says:

    1) Webb’s phrasing is immature. His whining is not convincing.
    2) Affirmative action applies to immigrants? That’s news to me and the numbers don’t make sense.
    3) Federal assistance for the poor is not available for whites? That’s news to me.
    4) The southern states have shitty education systems because they choose to. I live in NY and ~2/3 of my local property taxes that everyone complains about are for the schools. We clearly made the decision that education is a priority.

    He outlines a serious problem of poverty but offers no serious analysis or solutions. Affirmative action does not cause poverty. A diverse economy that values vocations and manufacturing and not just finance would help to create jobs for everybody.

  32. 32
    Cat says:

    Maybe its rubbing people the wrong way because he never mentions the racism blacks suffered at the hands of the average white southerner not just the slave owners and the people with direct economic interests in slavery. He does mention several times that the government discriminated against blacks. Funny that.

    And then this:

    At the height of slavery, in 1860, less than 5% of whites in the South owned slaves. The eminent black historian John Hope Franklin wrote that “fully three-fourths of the white people in the South had neither slaves nor an immediate economic interest in the maintenance of slavery.”

    The “They didn’t own slaves” so they must not be racist defense. Its funny how so few people were racist, but only the racists ended up in positions of authority. Talk about a statistical fluke!

    Just because rich whites are trying to screw over poor whites and poor blacks doesn’t mean poor whites weren’t screwing over poor blacks. There is a giant leap of reasoning thats missing in the reasoning that says ‘poor whites have it just as bad as poor blacks and so we should remove the protections blacks and give it to poor whites also’.

  33. 33
    Cat says:

    @matoko_chan:

    That is why im a Quellist

    One day in my old age I’m going to go through all the novels and try and piece together her whole philosophy.

    Its so intoxicatingly populist I’d worry I’d turn in to a raving nut.

  34. 34
    Tom Hilton says:

    @Mayur: I had exactly the same response. Including Asians as affirmative action recipients made no sense at all to me.

  35. 35
    wmsheppa says:

    @Cat: There’s also a giant leap of reasoning in saying that “poor whites have been screwing over poor blacks, so they should just go screw off while we help only the poor blacks.” I think that’s what Webb was really trying to get at, and if you can see a reason why poor whites shouldn’t also be helped in equivalent ways (a lot of these folks have never had a family member make it to college, and have been living in poverty for generations too) I’d love to hear it.

  36. 36
    Josie says:

    From my reading of his piece, he is saying that we should still use affirmative action to help those blacks who descended from the people who were enslaved, but other programs that benefit newly arrived people of color for the sake of diversity should be jettisoned. He is making a contrast between people who were actually harmed by the history of slavery and people who have come into the country more recently. As the mother of three WASP sons who have been affected by such programs in college and law school admissions and hiring practices, I can see his point. I’m not sure, however, how the government could put such a contrast into action as a practical matter.

  37. 37
    fasteddie9318 says:

    There’s also this:

    Generations of such deficiencies do not disappear overnight, and they affect the momentum of a culture. In 1974, a National Opinion Research Center (NORC) study of white ethnic groups showed that white Baptists nationwide averaged only 10.7 years of education, a level almost identical to blacks’ average of 10.6 years, and well below that of most other white groups.

    He compares the education level of a notably poor/uneducated sub-set of white America against the education level for the entire black community, finds that the notably poor/uneducated whites have only a slightly higher level of education than blacks as a whole, and concludes that race is no longer an issue in educational attainment. WTF? Try comparing education levels for poor blacks against those for poor whites (apples to apples, that sort of thing), then get back to me.

  38. 38
    Anya says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Webb’s message – that affirmative action should reorient itself more towards class than race now that the historically-tight relationship between those two factors is increasingly unwinding, is fine.

    You know who else agrees with that message, Barack Obama. That’s what his “Bitter Gate” message was all about. He said many times that AC needs to be re-oriented toward class. I don’t remember where but in an answer to a question about Affirmative Action he used his daughters as an example of a black privilege class that should not who would use affirmative action. My problem with Web’s argument about “white privilege” is it does not acknowledge the reality of racism. You could be a CEO of a Fortune 500 and yet be at risk of being profiled by racist cops or refused service and other racism. That’s what people talk about when they talk about white privilege, not only about access to resources. The idea that a poor white hick believes that he is still better than a Harvard graduate and he can call him uppity and arrogant is part of the white privilege.

    My last point, Jim Web should not shit on the NAACP because he needs those not too real American Northern Virginians to win his re-election.

  39. 39
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Cat:

    At the height of slavery, in 1860, less than 5% of whites in the South owned slaves.

    Jesus, that’ll make your head spin. What percentage of whites voted for Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, Orval Faubus, George Wallace….

  40. 40
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Having just read it I frankly don’t know what to think about it. There is nothing resembling specifics or documentation of any of the points he is trying to make. It’s a bland political speech and if Webb has some specific proposals I’m more than willing to read them.

  41. 41
    dms says:

    “Fairness will happen, and bitterness will fade away.”

    Yeah, just like the memory of that “War of Northern Aggression”.

    You have just witnessed the Shirley Sherrod debacle, and you can honestly think this statement is anything but laughable?

    ‘Cause it sounds a lot like the ole Reason panacea that the market will sort things out…you just have to wait for however long it takes–a theory you ridicule weekly.

  42. 42
    wmsheppa says:

    Just a thought guys, but a lot of what I’m reading here is basically saying “they shouldn’t receive help because they’re poor, white, racist, and stupid enough to vote for republicans.” Sub in black/hispanic for white and democrats for republicans, and you’ve just made a tea party argument! Good job.

    The level of bias/disgust/prejudice against poor whites in the south and appalachia from people who live elsewhere never ceases to amaze and disgust me.

  43. 43
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @wmsheppa:

    but a lot of what I’m reading here is basically saying “they shouldn’t receive help because they’re poor, white, racist, and stupid enough to vote for republicans.”

    Don’t generalize; what comments in this thread have “basically said” that?

  44. 44
    Cat says:

    @wmsheppa:

    Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to articulate. I think that’s what Webb was trying to do, he just screwed it up.

    Its not impossible to articulate, he’s just an idiot and ,giving the benefit of the doubt, a recovering racist.

    The message that the middle class is shrinking, that good jobs are leaving the US, and that the rich are prospering at the expense of everyone else has been around since forever. It doesn’t need to be couched in look there are poor white people too so blacks don’t need protections.

    Even consent decree’s governing almost every single state run southern university the minority graduation rates are still under white graduation rates I believe.

  45. 45
    wmsheppa says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    among others:

    “We liberals don’t give a shit about cruelly impoverished ignorant racists.
    The GOP at least gives them the dignity of pretending to care inorder to scam their votes.”

    “Now, to speak in a more normal tone now that everybody is enraged, understand that there is no person on earth that is more put upon, aggrieved, stomped on or persecuted than poor white trash. They’ve got an entitlement mentality that would shame your most brazen urban welfare Cadillac mom and her t-bone devouring strapping young bucks.”

    “Just because rich whites are trying to screw over poor whites and poor blacks doesn’t mean poor whites weren’t screwing over poor blacks. There is a giant leap of reasoning thats missing in the reasoning that says ‘poor whites have it just as bad as poor blacks and so we should remove the protections blacks and give it to poor whites also’.”

  46. 46
    PTirebiter says:

    @shortstop:

    But until people stop seeing white as a class…

    I think Webb’s point was that the government has been seeing white as a class, and a privileged class at that. that’s part of the problem. Because of this monolithic view, it has effectively ignored the searing generational poverty of a significant number of Americans.

  47. 47
    kay says:

    @Mike from Philly:

    It is. Same guy. He also opposed trying detainees in federal court. With McCain and Leiberman.

    But, he raised and is pursuing prison reform, so that’s worth a lot.

    That has to be pure, because there is no political reward there. Whatsoever.

  48. 48
    maus says:

    @Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle:

    And what have unions done for themselves? I’m not trying to bash them, just asking

    I wouldn’t say the unions have changed so much as the workplaces that utilize them. Walmartization, manufacturing, outsourcing, the rise of IT, and the slow slide into a nation of underemployed contractors, not fulltime employees?

    Wouldn’t the nature of American/world business affect their ability to recruit and organize?

  49. 49
    Mike in NC says:

    Webb probably qualifies as “center-right” on most issues. But I was happy enough to campaign for him, contribute to him, and vote for him.

    The alternative was George Allen, an empty headed moron and true neo-Confederate with presidential aspirations. Even many fellow Republicans thought he made George W. Bush look like a deep thinker.

  50. 50
    wmsheppa says:

    @Cat: There is a world of a difference between ‘the south’ and appalachia, which is a point that is being largely missed here I think. I also think that once you add in poor/first generation college student whites as opposed to blacks who fit the same criteria that number would be a hell of a lot closer than you’d think.

    For me the takeaway isn’t that we need to strip these things from poor minorities but that we need to extend them to poor whites as well. If that makes me a ‘racist’ then all I can do in response is laugh and shake my head.

  51. 51
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @wmsheppa:

    a lot of what I’m reading here is basically saying “they shouldn’t receive help because they’re poor, white, racist, and stupid enough to vote for republicans.”

    “We liberals don’t give a shit about cruelly impoverished ignorant racists.
    The GOP at least gives them the dignity of pretending to care inorder to scam their votes.”

    That seems more like a commentary on liberals than any statement about whether or not poor whites should get help.

    “Now, to speak in a more normal tone now that everybody is enraged, understand that there is no person on earth that is more put upon, aggrieved, stomped on or persecuted than poor white trash. They’ve got an entitlement mentality that would shame your most brazen urban welfare Cadillac mom and her t-bone devouring strapping young bucks.”

    Nope, nothing in there about whether or not those poor whites should or shouldn’t receive assistance.

    “Just because rich whites are trying to screw over poor whites and poor blacks doesn’t mean poor whites weren’t screwing over poor blacks. There is a giant leap of reasoning thats missing in the reasoning that says ‘poor whites have it just as bad as poor blacks and so we should remove the protections blacks and give it to poor whites also’.”

    …and we’re 0 for 3.

  52. 52
    Cat says:

    @wmsheppa:

    Nobody is going to buy the poor white southerners aren’t racist meme.

    When I lived in Alabama for 5 years in the late 90’s I had many friends who were decent people, but I was also the only place I’ve ever lived in the US where I saw blatant racist acts on a regular basis by whites against blacks.

  53. 53
    Alex S. says:

    I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Webb. He certainly knows his stuff and I find a lot to agree with in this article. However, I think that he is missing, or at least neglecting, the continuity of discrimination especially in the South. The Civil War devastated the South. As a consequence, the South was poorer than the North. And the tragedy is that this poverty enabled discrimination against blacks. It made Southerners more receptive to the dog whistles from Southern Democrats, Dixiecrats and Southern Republicans.
    And the continued discrimination has created this mindset that has crippled the southern economy for the whole last 150 years. Unionization is lowest in the South. Wealth is very concentrated. The infrastructure is in worse shape. And now we’re in a situation where every attempt to help is seen as covert affirmative action. Mr. Webb would be right in a perfect world, but the world isn’t perfect.

  54. 54
    suzanne says:

    Wow, it’s almost like he sorta-kinda learned about the concept of intersectionality. You mean the patriarchy views being rich as better than being poor, and actively protects its interests? Hoocoodanode.

    Where I think Webb shows his true colors, tho, is that he refuses to acknowledge that, while poverty sucks no matter who you are, there are *far* more whites than blacks at the top. Hell, there’s far more whites than blacks in the middle. And while this might not be much comfort to someone who’s white and poor and uneducated, it suggests that a white person who’s poor only has the class issue to overcome, while poor blacks have both class and race to deal with. Webb’s refusal to acknowledge this and to draw false equivalency is ignorant at best and racist at worst.

  55. 55
    DonkeyKong says:

    Under the 5% logic, nazism wasnt abount the extermination of jews because only a small percentage of germans participated in the holocaust.

    The other 95% were just “good” germans.

  56. 56
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    it’s a form of lying with statistics. Fully half of all families in SC and Mississippi owned at least one slave. Since women and children had few property rights, it’s absurd to count them among the slave-owning population. The numbers get lower when you toss in the loyal border states. For example, less than 5% of families in Delaware owned slaves.

    to be fair to Webb, slave ownership was lowest in the mountain areas that he talks about. It’s no coincidence that those areas also had the least support for the Confederacy.

  57. 57
    lamh32 says:

    the Dems “left them behind” for who exactly? The answer of course, or the part of the “left behind” thing that some people don’t wanna admit, is that the Dems left them behind for “Afr Americans and other minorities”. So how is that different than the what the GOP/teabaggers/FOX news, etc are feeding the “left behinders”.

  58. 58
    wmsheppa says:

    @Cat: Where in the hell did I say that poor white southerners aren’t racist? Of course some are. Some poor white Appalachians are as well. Does that mean that we shouldn’t be trying to get them the hell out of those circumstances?

    @fasteddie9318 The first comment is saying that the GOP treats them with utter contempt in order to get them to vote for them, ergo they’re stupid. The second comment says that they’re welfare queens, and frankly I haven’t heard too many arguments that begin with calling somebody a welfare queen that don’t end with saying they shouldn’t be getting aid. The third says that the poor whites are being discriminatory, so we shouldn’t help them. Something tells me that if someone said the same thing about black welfare queens no one would be making the claim it wasn’t a blatant, discriminatory attack on poor blacks.

  59. 59
    Cat says:

    @wmsheppa:

    For me the takeaway isn’t that we need to strip these things from poor minorities but that we need to extend them to poor whites as well. If that makes me a ‘racist’ then all I can do in response is laugh and shake my head.

    I don’t think you are racist, but I do think you might not be thinking it through to all the way.

    If you give the same protections to poor whites that are the same protections that are given to minorities you effectively have removed the protections from the minorities.

    Poor whites should have access to all the same gov’t assistance programs poor blacks do, but an Affirmative Action like program based on economic need would hurt minorities as they are on average poorer then Whites yet by number there are more poor white people. You would effect lower minorities participation in any program like that.

  60. 60
    PTirebiter says:

    I’m guessing you missed:

    The injustices endured by black Americans at the hands of their own government have no parallel in our history, not only during the period of slavery but also in the Jim Crow era that followed.

    And it’s probably worth mentioning that that racism was hardly the sole province of the average white southerner. Think Roxbury Boston, East St. Louis, Chicago’s South Side, etc.

  61. 61
    Woodrowfan says:

    FYI, here are the percentage of families that owned slaves in 1860 in the slave states.

    Miss: 49%
    SC: 46%
    GA: 37%
    AL: 35%
    FL: 34%
    LA: 29%
    TX: 28%
    NC: 28%
    VA: 26%*
    TN: 25%
    KY: 23%
    AK: 20%
    MO: 13%
    MD: 12%
    DE: 3%

    Virginia’s number would be higher once the counties that became WV in 1863 were subtracted.

  62. 62
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @wmsheppa:

    The first comment is saying that the GOP treats them with utter contempt in order to get them to vote for them, ergo they’re stupid. The second comment says that they’re welfare queens, and frankly I haven’t heard too many arguments that begin with calling somebody a welfare queen that don’t end with saying they shouldn’t be getting aid. The third says that the poor whites are being discriminatory, so we shouldn’t help them. Something tells me that if someone said the same thing about black welfare queens no one would be making the claim it wasn’t a blatant, discriminatory attack on poor blacks.

    Wow, those are a lot of inferences to draw. To the first: the Democratic Party frequently treats liberals like me with utter contempt to get us to vote for them. I don’t consider myself to be stupid, just uninformed as to their true intentions.

    To the second: that comment was calling them hypocrites, not welfare queens. No reference to any poor white trash welfare cases driving luxury cars with big-screen TVs in them, and certainly nothing about cutting off aid to them.

    To the third: well, this gets repetitious. It says that poor whites are often discriminatory. You infer that the writer thus means that those poor whites shouldn’t get help. Nowhere in the comment does it say that.

  63. 63
    Cat says:

    @wmsheppa:

    Where in the hell did I say that poor white southerners aren’t racist? Of course some are. Some poor white Appalachians are as well. Does that mean that we shouldn’t be trying to get them the hell out of those circumstances?

    Sorry that remark was poorly written, I was referring to Web’s article and Web’s attempt at reframing the souths history. I did not mean to suggest you personally are trying to claim that.

  64. 64
    wobbly says:

    That 300 ship Navy he was so set on in his Reagan phase could have paid for a whole lot of schoolteachers in them there hills.

    And how does he come from “Appalachia”? He was born in St. Joseph, Missouri-surely closer to “Ozarkia”-and was dragged from place to place as an Air Force brat. Not an enlisted man’s Air Force brat, a career military officer’s brat, and a long way from the “peeps” he now pretends to care about.

    There are many, many red flags in Jim Webb’s record.

    My favorite is the scene in one of his Viet Nam war novels where the protagonist goes to console the widow of one of his buddies and she greets him wearing an ao daiwithout the pants that really NEED to go underneath. The widow explains that the pants spoil the look for her.

    What look? Webb apparently spent his tour in Viet Nam without realizing that the ao dai is slit to ABOVE the the waist on two sides. Any woman wearing one without the pants…is clearly not interested in chaste conversation. But that’s what happens in the novel!!!

    No doubt Webb’s third wife, Le Hong has since set him straight about the niceties of Vietnamese underwear.
    But you can’t unwrite a paperback, can you?

    Now that he’s railing against “Asian immigrants” taking advantage of affirmative action…(like his wife, perhaps?)

    I sense another divorce coming on.

    And he totally pulled the rug out from under Obama on the Guantanamo issue too.

    I’m not missing where he’s coming from, John.

    You are.

  65. 65
    lamh32 says:

    @wmsheppa:

    are you arguing that that they can’t get aid because the government is busy giving it all to who exactly…minorities, mostly Afr Am, I gather.

    Also are you saying that New Orleans got better treatment by the government cause it was mostly Afr Am, and other places didn’t.

    I contend, that the reason Katrina go so much attention, may have also been because, it was the WORST natural-disaster related incident in our country in some time, and it wasn’t handled well by the government. The fact that yes NOLA was predominently Afr Am added the extra racial element to Katrina.

  66. 66
    Cat says:

    @PTirebiter: No I read it and I stand by how it doesn’t address the average southerner’s past racism.

  67. 67
    cfaller96 says:

    I tried to give Webb the benefit of the doubt on this editorial. I tried. In the end, though, I think that Jim Webb is too inartful a writer to tackle the sensitive subjects of race and diversity. He’s too clumsy to say something without it appearing inflammatory. A man’s got to know his limitations, and it seems Webb is a little blind here.

    I could fisk the whole thing, but really I’d rather focus on what his suggestions are:

    Where should we go from here? Beyond our continuing obligation to assist those African-Americans still in need, government-directed diversity programs should end. Nondiscrimination laws should be applied equally among all citizens, including those who happen to be white. The need for inclusiveness in our society is undeniable and irreversible, both in our markets and in our communities. Our government should be in the business of enabling opportunity for all, not in picking winners. It can do so by ensuring that artificial distinctions such as race do not determine outcomes.

    This seems like a bundle of contradictions. We should continue helping African-Americans, but we shouldn’t favor people based on their race. Diversity programs should end, but diversity is good. I don’t know what he’s trying to say, and worse I don’t think he does either.

    He probably shouldn’t have written this thing to begin with. He’s not good enough to pull this off.

  68. 68
    Zifnab says:

    @DonkeyKong: More like, under Nazism, only 5% of the population enjoyed the benefits of the Aryan Nation. Everyone else – full blooded German and immigration alike – got drafted to die in Russia or left behind to scrape by in the streets all the same.

    The Nazi regime was particularly cruel to a host of minorities, but it wasn’t particularly kind to the farmers or the miners or the craftsmen or the grunt soldiers that kept the wheels of society turning. They got votes by in turn scaring the underclass with their own guns and scaring them with the phantom guns of the Soviets and the immigrants.

    Likewise, the civil war era South did a great job of repressing white southerners economically, then blaming blacks and northerners for all their problems. Propaganda is continuously the chief weapon of oppression because it works so damn good.

  69. 69
    daveNYC says:

    The “They didn’t own slaves” so they must not be racist defense. Its funny how so few people were racist, but only the racists ended up in positions of authority. Talk about a statistical fluke!

    Nice job leaving out the first sentence of that paragraph:
    “The old South was a three-tiered society, with blacks and hard-put whites both dominated by white elites who manipulated racial tensions in order to retain power.”

    Not owning slaves didn’t mean they weren’t racist, it meant that they were dirt poor and being screwed by the Southern elite.

  70. 70
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @wmsheppa:

    Just a thought guys, but a lot of what I’m reading here is basically saying “they shouldn’t receive help because they’re poor, white, racist, and stupid enough to vote for republicans.” Sub in black/hispanic for white and democrats for republicans, and you’ve just made a tea party argument! Good job.

    That’s not the impression I’m getting at all. The impression I get from most of the criticism is that while Webb makes some legitimate points, he does so at the expense of specious comparisons and overlooking just how monumentally significant racial polarization is as a driving factor in the policies of this country’s history. White privilege isn’t just about having more access to more resources; it’s simply about the fact that when you are born in to the world, you literally have less resistance facing you on the whole in any given situation, because your forebears were in a position to create such an advantage for you. That hasn’t existed in any kind of meaningful fashion for minorities in this country for a sustained period of time, especially considering that black Americans only became official first-class citizens less than 60 years ago.

    @Cat:

    Maybe its rubbing people the wrong way because he never mentions the racism blacks suffered at the hands of the average white southerner not just the slave owners and the people with direct economic interests in slavery.

    Exactly. I was in an argument with a conservative friend of mine who is way far gone down the Fox News rabbit hole. This was how he described the Civil War to me:

    “Now let’s get the confederate position understood. The south was a society run by rich landowning, slave owning people and the rest of society, including whites were poor. The rich wanted to keep slaves and they were running the government and writing the Confederate rationale. The poor whites simply wanted to keep their livelihoods at a reasonable wage. The poor whites didn’t care about the right to have slaves as much as they feared that freed blacks would drive their wages down, like todays mexican immigration. There was also a legitimate issue about the rights of states do determine their own laws.”

    It’s all bullshit, of course, because those poor whites were fighting to maintain a system of white supremacy that benefited them and only them at the expense of everyone else. That’s what Jim Webb leaves out. No one disputes that the rampant poverty and hopelessness in Appalachia is anything but tragic. But man, you have to reach an incredibly rarified level of obtuseness to write something like this:

    The old South was a three-tiered society, with blacks and hard-put whites both dominated by white elites who manipulated racial tensions in order to retain power.

    Seriously, do you think the citizens of Mississippi were somehow outraged when the following statements snuck into a document entitled “Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union”:

    It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction.
    __
    It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.
    __
    It tramples the original equality of the South under foot.
    __
    It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain.
    __
    It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst.
    __
    It has enlisted its press, its pulpit and its schools against us, until the whole popular mind of the North is excited and inflamed with prejudice.
    __
    It has made combinations and formed associations to carry out its schemes of emancipation in the States and wherever else slavery exists.
    __
    It seeks not to elevate or to support the slave, but to destroy his present condition without providing a better.

    The fucking Civil War revisionism is just flat out disgusting.

  71. 71
    shortstop says:

    @PTirebiter: Yes, I get that, but I’m saying that strongly economically challenged whites very frequently put their complaints about governmental treachery in racial rather than class terms.

    I have no problem with the argument that much government assistance should focus more broadly on economic need (although I think Webb and one or two people here are significantly overestimating how much is targeted to recipients by race), but it would be helpful to the success of that effort if the potential poor white recipients of that aid would be willing to start coming to the conversation on the same terms.

  72. 72
    kay says:

    The regional differences Webb likes to talk about are real.

    I think he romanticizes the whole Scotch-Irish Appalachian idea, but that’s just because I’m not crazy about viewing individuals as members of a tribe.

    If he wants to advocate for (or explain his view) on that group of people I don’t think that’s any less legitimate than working on behalf of any other region or group or class.

    I hate the idea of excluding or diminishing the importance of the real or perceived interests of whole sections of the country.

    To me, it’s just the flip side of conservatives sneering at “San Francisco liberals” and such.

  73. 73
    Michael says:

    @wmsheppa:

    The level of bias/disgust/prejudice against poor whites in the south and appalachia from people who live elsewhere never ceases to amaze and disgust me.

    My poor white trash credentials on my maternal side are spotless. When it comes to hooking up and bearing fruit with kin and living in a shit rate trailer on a rented plot of scrubby, wasted ground, I can trace my maternal roots better than those who lay claim to the Mayflower.

    Hell, just last week, I was terrified that I’d be unknowingly appointed to rep some of my meth-abusing, kid screwing not-distant-enough cousins in child abuse court. There was no mistaking the name or the trail of places they’d been. To top it off, I noticed from a distance that my cousin’s wife had no front teeth.

    Now, do you want to continue with the charade that we don’t know who and where we spring from?

  74. 74
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    It’s all bullshit, of course, because those poor whites were fighting to maintain a system of white supremacy that benefited them and only them at the expense of everyone else.

    Yeah, I’m not sure what your friend imagines is the qualitative difference between “poor southern whites supported slavery” and “poor southern whites supported the socio-economic conditions created as a direct result of slavery.” It’s still supporting slavery.

  75. 75
    Cat says:

    @daveNYC:

    I’m not sure what you mean?

    The rich whites dump as much crap on the poor blacks as they do the poor blacks.

    The poor whites dump crap on the poor blacks.

    The poor blacks dump crap on no one.

    And you are saying the poor whites have as much crap dumped on them as poor blacks????

    Huh?

  76. 76
    eemom says:

    haven’t read this particular piece, but a few general observations about Webb, who is my senator, and as someone noted above narrowly defeated George “Bush without the brains” Allen in 2006, thereby offering us the first glimmer of hope in this state before “hope and change” was cool.

    He’s a complex guy. I do believe he is absolutely sincere about the causes he fights for, including most notably speaking out against the Iraq war in 2003. I also believe it was heartfelt conviction that prompted him to run for the Senate as a Democrat — he was making a very nice living as an author and was hopelessly — hopelessly — outpolled and outmoneyed by Allen before the fuckwad had his infamous “macaca” moment.

    But he really doesn’t fit under any ideological label. To a non-military person like me he seems to have some of the biases of the “old soldier,” which I assume is why he opposed women in the military back in the 1970s. So I can see why some of his attitudes piss people off, but I still think the good about him outweighs the bad.

    Hell, he’s just not a POLITICIAN. What greater praise can there be?

  77. 77
    Zifnab says:

    @cfaller96: The short of it is pretty simple. We should maintain a defense against racism – prohibitions against Jim Crow and the like – but we should take the emphasis off offering benefits to a specific ethnicity.

    Unfortunately, I also think Webb comes up short. What he really wants to call for here is a new Great Society and another War on Poverty. If you want to help the working poor and the underemployed, you need to increase the aggressiveness of jobs programs and spread the wealth of the nation around to every backwater, rather than simply concentrating it in the hands of a few elites. Webb wants all the citizens of his state to benefit from government aid and reforms.

    But he can’t say that. Why? Because then he’s a big dirty socialist. And so long as you can brand any program that benefits a single minority as “racism” and every program that benefits the community as a whole “socialism” we’re always going to be trapped in this rhetorical quagmire, playing to the myth of the self-made man and equality of opportunity.

    That’s the thing Webb is dodging. He wants to benefit the community as a whole, but he can’t actually extol community benefits.

  78. 78
    Brachiator says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Webb’s message – that affirmative action should reorient itself more towards class than race now that the historically-tight relationship between those two factors is increasingly unwinding, is fine.

    I just ran across this op-ed piece, after reading a WSJ piece about amazon’s Kindle. I didn’t realize that it had already gained at lot of attention.

    Of course, Webb largely gets much wrong. Apartheid, whether in South Africa or The United States, is as much about caste as it is about class. American racism originally defined blacks as a kind of property, to be bought, sold, inherited or otherwise disposed. Jim Crow laws sought not only to keep blacks in poverty, but to insure that no black would ever be allowed to exist at a level of equality, or superiority, with respect to any white person in America, no matter what level of wealth the black person aspired to or obtained.

    Webb offers an odd, but typically incomplete, and grammatically incorrect statistic:

    At the height of slavery, in 1860, less than 5% of whites in the South owned slaves.

    Apart from whites who may have worked on plantations, slave owners quickly realized that it was in their best interests to make sure that as many whites as possible helped to maintain the slave order. One of the ways that this was accomplished was through slave patrols.

    Beginning in 1704 in South Carolina, slave patrols were established and the idea spread throughout the southern states….
    __
    Slave patrols consisted of white men from all social classes. This caused trouble for both enslaved and free black people as it restricted their movement. Black people were subjected to question, searches, and other forms of harassment, often leading to whippings and beatings for people who may not have broken any law.

    “Deputized” whites could in effect act like junior slave masters and get a taste of power to be wielded over blacks.

    And by the way, it’s fewer than, not less than…

    Not surprisingly, in opposing Reconstruction, Southern elites decided that they would rather see poor whites mired in poverty (opposing public education, for example) rather than allow blacks to get a leg up. And here Webb gets it wrong again, since originally there were attempts at class-based affirmative action to go along with the Reconstruction Amendment remedies.

  79. 79
    Zifnab says:

    @cfaller96: The short of it is pretty simple. We should maintain a defense against racism – prohibitions against Jim Crow and the like – but we should take the emphasis off offering benefits to a specific ethnicity.

    Unfortunately, I also think Webb comes up short. What he really wants to call for here is a new Great Society and another War on Poverty. If you want to help the working poor and the underemployed, you need to increase the aggressiveness of jobs programs and spread the wealth of the nation around to every backwater, rather than simply concentrating it in the hands of a few elites. Webb wants all the citizens of his state to benefit from government aid and reforms.

    But he can’t say that. Why? Because then he’s a big dirty soci alist. And so long as you can brand any program that benefits a single minority as “racism” and every program that benefits the community as a whole “socia lism” we’re always going to be trapped in this rhetorical quagmire, playing to the myth of the self-made man and equality of opportunity.

    That’s the thing Webb is dodging. He wants to benefit the community as a whole, but he can’t actually extol community benefits.

  80. 80
    Svensker says:

    I’m not getting the argument here. Are some of you saying that because some of these poor white crackers are racist folks who don’t act, talk or think in a very appealing way that they deserve everything they (don’t) get, including hard scrabble poverty? And basically, fuck them, let them fester?

    Maybe I’m not hearing (reading) correctly.

  81. 81
    eemom says:

    @Brachiator:

    And by the way, it’s fewer than, not less than…

    as someone who routinely tears her hair out over the inability of so many people to master the difference between “its” and “it’s”, I gotta quibble with that one.

    It would be “fewer than” if it were a number, e.g., “fewer than 5,000.” As a percentage I believe it is properly “less than.”

  82. 82
    PTirebiter says:

    @shortstop: Absolutely, just as the religious right project their personal failings and discontent on “others.”

    if the potential poor white recipients of that aid would be willing to start coming to the conversation on the same terms.

    No doubt, but that’s kind of a chicken or the egg proposition. So far, the road to political power has been kind to those willing to exploit that conversation and deadly to those looking to redirect it. It’s a bitch of a problem.

  83. 83
    And Another Thing... says:

    @Woodrowfan: That’s very interesting data. Have you gotta link?

  84. 84
    cfaller96 says:

    @Zifnab:

    Well, Webb previously wrote an op-ed decrying the horrendous economic inequality that has arisen since the dawn of Reagonomics. He doesn’t strike me as a guy unwilling to talk about the dangers of unfettered greed and/or economic justice. This op-ed seems to be another stab at that.

    But…this whole “we can defeat racism without acknowledging race” idea seems like a childish fantasy. Further, if he acknowledges that diversity in society and the workplace is valuable, then he should also know damn well that without government intrusion diversity would never happen. Thus, his argument doesn’t really make much sense.

    He shouldn’t have tried this. Once his argument- whatever it was- was muddied, then all you see is a bunch of racially tinged phrases tilted towards rolling back Affirmative Action and cutting diversity programs. Which, like, really?

  85. 85

    It’s too brave and well-thought out for American political discourse, circa 2010.

    The American establishment (government, media, entertainment, marketing, etc) wants a full-on block-burning race war to distract people from the real issues. They want burning cars, screaming men with no shirts, and panic so that we will consume defensive goods, monitor their web sites with religious fervor, and stockpile even more ammunition than we have already stockpiled.

    Kudos to Webb for trying to move the discussion from Race to Class, but that’s not what anyone wants to hear right now. Populism truly died when John Edwards couldn’t win a primary, but he could win the heart of a skanky videographer.

  86. 86
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Svensker:

    Maybe I’m not hearing (reading) correctly.

    Yes, maybe you’re not.

  87. 87
    Brachiator says:

    @eemom:
    Ahh. Grammar Wars.

    It would be “fewer than” if it were a number, e.g., “fewer than 5,000.” As a percentage I believe it is properly “less than.”

    A percentage is a number.

    The general rule (Fewer vs Less) is

    Less is used for uncountable, usually abstract nouns: money, happiness, snow, idealism.

    But this is a quibble. And the rule is so regularly violated that it doesn’t much matter.

  88. 88
    PTirebiter says:

    @Cat:
    I’d suggest you reread it for what’s there and not for what you think should be. The history of racism in the south is well documented. It should be a given that Webb understands it and is appalled by it as the rest of us. Why would another recitation and condemnation be a prerequisite for his observations?

  89. 89
    Nick says:

    @Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle:

    And what have unions done for themselves? I’m not trying to bash them, just asking, especially in a case like WV where both the unions and the Chamber of Commerce seem to love Manchin. Why? You can’t please both groups.

    unions protect the coal industry in WV.

  90. 90
    dms says:

    @PTirebiter:

    The point being, of course, that those injustices didn’t end with the Civil Rights Act, nor with the election of a black President.

  91. 91
    Nick says:

    I think this unearths the general issue with the Democratic Party, in that the party is basically a loose coalition of interest groups who believe in a progressive policy, but their other beliefs are the anthesis of progressive, which puts them in conflict with another group.

    I mean the Democrats try to be the party of rich socially liberal fiscally conservative city folk who want strong police, poor rural racist socially conservative union folk, poor urban minorities who think police have too much power, and immigrants. These four groups see eye to eye on little.

    How else can we explain people like Marcy Kaptur, who despite being pro-single payer, held up the healthcare bill because she wanted the Stupak Amendment? Or someone like Stupak who is desperate to come down on a women’s right to choose, but beats the shit out of oil companies, or Jerry Nadler, who despite wanting to repeal DOMA, is Israel’s bitch, or Nick Rahall whom you couldn’t get to ever repeal DOMA, but he’d love to cut off some, or all, aid to Israel.

  92. 92
    Corner Stone says:

    @And Another Thing…: The most interesting part of that data is that 20% of the families in Alaska apparently owned slaves.

  93. 93
  94. 94
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @PTirebiter:

    I’d suggest you reread it for what’s there and not for what you think should be. The history of racism in the south is well documented. It should be a given that Webb understands it and is appalled by it as the rest of us. Why would another recitation and condemnation be a prerequisite for his observations?

    Because of exactly what cfaller96 says in this post:

    But…this whole “we can defeat racism without acknowledging race” idea seems like a childish fantasy. Further, if he acknowledges that diversity in society and the workplace is valuable, then he should also know damn well that without government intrusion diversity would never happen. Thus, his argument doesn’t really make much sense.

    It’s not that it seems like a childlike fantasy; it is. You can’t in one breath talk about the value of diversity and the need for society to overcome institutional racism in its foundation, and then make inane comments like this “Nondiscrimination laws should be applied equally among all citizens, including those who happen to be white.” Not only does that not mean anything, but the entire framing of the sentence dismisses the very conditions that precipitated such nondiscrimination laws in the first place.

    He is attempting to argue that the historical balance of inequality between the races in this country are level with each other, and that is in no way supported by reality.

  95. 95
    Nick says:

    @wmsheppa:

    but a lot of what I’m reading here is basically saying “they shouldn’t receive help because they’re poor, white, racist, and stupid enough to vote for republicans.”

    you know, I would love to give them help, and a lot of Democrats run in favor of given them that help, but they lose, because these peope don’t want help.

  96. 96
    Nick says:

    When a lot of people said the Democratic party “left them” in this region, we’re talking about dirt poor folks who have basically given up on the government. These were the folks that embraced the Democratic party of FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt (Eleanor is particularly beloved to this day in rural WV), to them, the Democrats of today really are no different than Republicans in their indifference toward the poor and working poor, and they end up voting on social issues.</blockquote

    it's notable that this started right around the Civil Rights Act.

    I've always seen it as "the Democrats only care about minorities and the dirt poor in the cities"

    this forced the Democrats to form coalitions with rich urban and suburban socially liberal fiscal conservatives and use them to win, which alienated them even further from rural Democrats.

    Explain how Hillary Clinton was doing a lot better than Obama in West Virginia polls despite not being all that much different policywise from him?

  97. 97
    Zifnab says:

    @cfaller96:

    But…this whole “we can defeat racism without acknowledging race” idea seems like a childish fantasy. Further, if he acknowledges that diversity in society and the workplace is valuable, then he should also know damn well that without government intrusion diversity would never happen. Thus, his argument doesn’t really make much sense.

    To the first bit, you apparently can’t defeat racism by focusing on it either. Racism is, and always has been, a facet of the class war. And Webb highlights how he has constituents that continue to suffer lives no more privileged for being black or white.

    As for diversity in the workplace. I work in an office with a fairly well diversified workforce. This was not due to government incentives or diversity-centric policies. We needed employees and these guys had the resumes that fit the bill. Keep in mind that southern segregation was state mandated before the 60s. This wasn’t just a handful of private businesses choosing to only take blacks through the back door. State laws required a division of the races from grade school to graveyard.

    Workplaces continue to practice whatever internal racist / diversity-ist policies they wish to implement with very little in the way of oversight. The notion that a business will default to racist practices without government intervention is simply mistaken. Some businesses continue the policy despite prohibitions against the practice. Other businesses don’t need an incentive greater than “he’s got the skills I need” to hire outside the racial barrier.

  98. 98
    thefncrow says:

    @Cat: Precisely, and this is why Webb’s column is such a train wreck.

    White privilege is not a myth, it’s quite real. However, that doesn’t mean that there do not exist poor whites. Of course there are. But poor whites still have a leg up on poor blacks, even if their “leg up” is that they they’re only buried under 5 pounds of bullshit instead of 10.

    The solution isn’t to shift the focus of race-based non-discrimination and social equality programs to turn them into class-based programs. The solution is to run both race-based and class-based programs. Poor whites who need a hand up should get one, middle-class blacks who are disadvantaged compared to similarly-situated whites should get one as well, and poor blacks who suffer from both should get the benefits of both.

    But instead of actually making a strong argument in favor of class-based programs to address the real issue at hand, he decides to engage in Tea Party Wingnuttery and pretend that hurtful racial discrimination against minorities is a thing of the past. Not only that, but he manages to throw in the favored chestnut of the teabaggers, the “reverse racism” card. And for that, Jim Webb can go fuck himself.

  99. 99
    Corner Stone says:

    @Nick:

    you know, I would love to give them help, and a lot of Democrats run in favor of given them that help, but they lose, because these peope don’t want help.

    I find you to be hilarious, in all your forms.

  100. 100
    eemom says:

    @Brachiator:

    ok then, I sit corrected.

    The fact that the rule is often violated is neither there nor here to we grammatical purists. Because it’s the frequent violation that leads to the linguistic PTB giving up and allowing dictionaries to accept bastardizations like “access” and “incentivize” as verbs. Talk about yer spineless pussies…..

  101. 101
    Sly says:

    There is a counter to Webb’s argument in that, from a cultural perspective, there are aspects of “Whiteness” that will basically leave a person with one less thing to worry about in terms of institutionalized racial discrimination. Even poor white folks in Appalachia aren’t facing the hurdles in securing affordable housing or building wealth that black folks in other parts of the country are. If you want to have a discussion about equality nationwide, this matters.

    The problem with this argument is that it won’t sell in Appalachia. That doesn’t make it less true, but it has relevance with respect to local politics, because poverty is associated there with region and not with race. People are poor in Appalachia not because they’re white (or, in non-relative terms, not white), but because they live in Appalachia, a region of the country that has been neglected in terms of economic development for the better part of a century. That’s the argument Democrats have to make: “You’re poor because most people outside of this region don’t think you matter. We do, and we’ll prove it to you.”

  102. 102
    eemom says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Actually the two of you together are rather hilarious. A sort of blogospheric version of Beavis and Butthead.

  103. 103
    suzanne says:

    @thefncrow: THIS. Thanks.

  104. 104
    Svensker says:

    @Nick:

    you know, I would love to give them help, and a lot of Democrats run in favor of given them that help, but they lose, because these peope don’t want help.

    And you know “these people” voted against those Dems for those reasons, how? I’m not being snarky, just curious how you know these things.

  105. 105

    White privilege is a funny kind of thing.

    I just saw Alter over at Newsweek opine that Ms. Sherrod worked through the “complex racial preconceptions we all carry around in our heads”. See, her father was murdered, and the murderer wasn’t even indicted in spite of there being witnesses to the killing – that’s just one of those complex racial preconceptions we all carry in our head, right?

    That’s white privilege. That’s thinking that racial issues can be thought of as “complex preconceptions we all carry in our head”. That’s forgetting that there was a time when, if your skin was the right color, and you lived in certain places, you could be shot down like a dog, and the law wouldn’t give a damn.

    There are times not to discuss white privilege, and poverty relief is one of them. Poverty relief *should* be color blind.

    But having seen the daughter of a man who could be murdered over a minor property dispute vilified for saying she had a hard time helping out a white farmer – not that she *wouldn’t* help him, just that she wasn’t sure how much to do – I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to forget how incredibly fucking privileged I can be.

  106. 106
    Nick says:

    @Svensker:

    And you know “these people” voted against those Dems for those reasons, how?

    You got a better explanation?

  107. 107
    Nick says:

    @Corner Stone: Corner, what did I say about interrupting the grown ups when they’re trying to talk to each other?

  108. 108
    Zifnab says:

    @thefncrow:

    But poor whites still have a leg up on poor blacks, even if their “leg up” is that they they’re only buried under 5 pounds of bullshit instead of 10.

    That’s meaningless. Saying, “Hey you’re dirt poor, miserable, and starving but not as poor, miserable, and starving as the guy over there so we’re going to help him first,” is a great way to lose a vote.

    Webb wants aid for the folks in his state that he believes need it. He wants the social safety net spread more evenly and he wants government attention given to rural areas, not just racial areas.

    His article highlights the group of white voters that the Democrats should be picking up year after year, but continue to leave on the floor. The rural white voter should be just as blue as the black urbanite voter.

    Saying, “Blacks still have it worse” isn’t going to fix the poor white guy’s problems or get the poor white guy’s vote.

  109. 109
    shortstop says:

    The history of racism in the south is well documented. It should be a given that Webb understands it and is appalled by it as the rest of us. Why would another recitation and condemnation be a prerequisite for his observations?

    Um, maybe because the right has spent the entire Obama presidency, most notably this entire week, flogging a “White people are the real victims!” narrative and having quite a bit of success with it, and this op-ed directly or indirectly provides sustenance to those who find that assertion attractive? I’d think he’d want to explicitly ensure that he isn’t misunderstood by those folks, today of all days.

  110. 110
    Nick says:

    @Zifnab:

    Webb wants aid for the folks in his state that he believes need it. He wants the social safety net spread more evenly and he wants government attention given to rural areas, not just racial areas.

    and I agree with Webb, but why, when given the choice of voting for someone who will do just that, do they reject that person?

  111. 111
    Corner Stone says:

    @Nick: I’m sure you blathered on something about there’s no reason for the Jew controlled media to help the poor white people who didn’t want it. Or something else completely ridiculous.
    What’s next? Women are poor at science?

  112. 112
    Svensker says:

    @Nick:

    You got a better explanation?

    They could have voted against a Dem because he was a “homo lover”. They could have voted against a Dem because of her position on gun control. They could have voted against a Dem because they happen to know the nice Republican guy down the street and his daddy helped my daddy back ‘er in 64. They could have voted against the Dem because he seemed too slick and citified. They could have voted against the Dem because she was against the local water project and that was more important to folks than her other positions.

    People vote for all kinda reasons, often opaque to outsiders. Claiming to know what “those people” think and do without really knowing anything at all about it could be one reason that “those people” wouldn’t vote for a Dem like you.

  113. 113
    And Another Thing... says:

    @Zifnab: My experience is that even though there are rarely direct government interventions into hiring, disciplining, promoting, compensation practices it is extremely useful to have the legal hammer sitting out there. I’m glad that your company is pragmatically diverse. But I’m just not sure how common that is. I’m white and spent my last decade of employment in human resources in senior positions, and I can tell you that there is still a lot of vocal racism within the executive suites. Things are definitely better than they were 20+ years ago, but look at organizational charts and see how many of the deciders are women or people of color. People still tend to hire and promote in their own image.

  114. 114
    Svensker says:

    @Zifnab:

    Thank you.

  115. 115
    Sly says:

    @Nick:

    Because they don’t deliver. It’s a cycle that can only be broken, really, by the party. Not the voters. Among sections of the electorate that are perpetually skeptical about help from the Feds (and with good reason), the best course of action is to give the help first.

  116. 116
    Mayur says:

    @Zifnab: True, but the reverse has held true for decades (centuries, even):

    Faces at the Bottom of the Well

  117. 117
    Nick says:

    @Sly: they have to vote them in first before they can deliver.

  118. 118
    Nick says:

    @Svensker: Th

    ey could have voted against a Dem because he was a “homo lover”. They could have voted against a Dem because of her position on gun control. They could have voted against a Dem because they happen to know the nice Republican guy down the street and his daddy helped my daddy back ‘er in 64. They could have voted against the Dem because he seemed too slick and citified. They could have voted against the Dem because she was against the local water project and that was more important to folks than her other positions.

    Yes, but as John said, these issues become prelevant because they don’t feel like Dems want to help them, but when they do, they vote against them because of these issues.

    It’s either just a sick cycle in which voters in rural areas vote on gays, God and guns because Democrats don’t deliver, but they don’t deliver because they can’t get elected because of gays, God and guns.

    or they just truly would rather have someone protecting Christian doctrine and white supremecy than someone bringing them affordable healthcare.

  119. 119
    Cacti says:

    @cfaller96:

    But…this whole “we can defeat racism without acknowledging race” idea seems like a childish fantasy. Further, if he acknowledges that diversity in society and the workplace is valuable, then he should also know damn well that without government intrusion diversity would never happen. Thus, his argument doesn’t really make much sense.

    White privilege/structurally ingrained racism is so deep in our society, affirmative action programs would actually need to go much further than they do to really make a dent in the problem.

    Stepping out of the poor vs. poor for a moment and looking at the more well to do, in the present economy, college-educated blacks have a 60% higher unemployment rate than college-educated whites.

    The argument that race is not a barrier to success in this day and age is either made from ignorance, or is patently dishonest.

  120. 120
    Brachiator says:

    @eemom:

    ok then, I sit corrected.

    Glad to have led you to the path of grammatical righteousness on this one.

    The fact that the rule is often violated is neither there nor here to we grammatical purists. Because it’s the frequent violation that leads to the linguistic PTB giving up and allowing dictionaries to accept bastardizations like “access” and “incentivize” as verbs. Talk about yer spineless pussies…..

    One of the great problems is a kind of wordy illiteracy that is becoming part of our culture. A lot of folks talk and write, but no longer read widely, and so don’t realize that their vocabulary and grammar skills are declining.

    The other day, I read a post where someone referred to a WILCO window where tickets would be waiting. I had to pause a moment before I realized that the person was referring to a WILL CALL window. But if you don’t regularly go to the theater or maybe even read about the theater, it appears to make some sense.

  121. 121
    shortstop says:

    @Brachiator: But I’ve picked up tickets to Wilco concerts at Will Call windows more than once, Jeff Tweedy being a local boy and all, so now I don’t know what to do.

  122. 122
    Cacti says:

    @Zifnab:

    Webb wants aid for the folks in his state that he believes need it. He wants the social safety net spread more evenly and he wants government attention given to rural areas, not just racial areas.

    The current social welfare programs are income, not race based. Nor are they based in any way shape or form determined by whether one is a country or a city dweller.

    Strawman argument.

  123. 123
    Sly says:

    @Nick:

    Not if the party itself, beyond the boundaries of that constituency, agrees to help. And sidestepping whatever Republican infrastructure exists in those states, and buttresses the withering Democratic infrastructure that is there. This is how the party grew in the 1930s and the 1960s, especially in voting blocs that they saw as perpetually out of reach.

    The hang-up is that Democrats with power are, by and large, looking after their own constituencies rather than looking to expand them. Then, when they perennially lose those votes they think they are somehow entitled to, they wring their hands and wonder why.

  124. 124
    Cacti says:

    @Sly:

    Because they don’t deliver. It’s a cycle that can only be broken, really, by the party. Not the voters. Among sections of the electorate that are perpetually skeptical about help from the Feds (and with good reason), the best course of action is to give the help first.

    I’ll call BS on this too.

    From 1932-1968, the Democratic Party delivered all manner of beneficial and life-improving legislation to poor, rural whites.

    Then they collectively jumped ship for the party that hated them some “lazy welfare queens”. Now what might have motivated that?

    Loss of the feeling that “I may be poor, but I still get to sit at the front of the bus”?

  125. 125
    adam freeman says:

    I would like to give Webb the benefit of the doubt. As I’m a black person I’m willing to sacrifice any and all government affirmative action programs if they can be replace by programs that will reduce poverty and help poor people move up the social latter.

    I’m willing to do this not because I’m very noble, but because there are actually very few government run programs that exists that actually target poor blacks that improve social standings. There are many private clubs like the NAACP, The Urban League that target minorities but these aren’t government run programs. If any commenters know of any please let me know.

  126. 126
    HoneyBearKelly says:

    @Norman Rogers:

    Tragically correct.

  127. 127
    Brachiator says:

    @shortstop:

    But I’ve picked up tickets to Wilco concerts at Will Call windows more than once, Jeff Tweedy being a local boy and all, so now I don’t know what to do.

    Good one. By the way, here is the post that caught my eye.

    Congratulations, please pick up your free internet at the WILCO desk and remember, friends don’t let friends blog drunk.

    Roger Wilco. Over.

  128. 128
    Nick says:

    @Sly:

    The hang-up is that Democrats with power are, by and large, looking after their own constituencies rather than looking to expand them.

    Yes, well, it’s not easy for an urban state legislator to go to his or her constituents and say “hey, we need to cut our Medicaid reinbursment and school aid and raise taxes so that the rural folk will like us” and win.

    In places where we did do that (New York), it hasn’t helped

    why do you suppose that is?

  129. 129
    And Another Thing... says:

    So who does Jim Webb think is standing in the way of programs to help poor whites or chronically disadvantaged areas of the country?

    There is a lot of wonderful upthread sentiment about helping people who need help. Gee, I agree with that, but WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO GET THE VOTES TO PASS ANYTHING?

    I (have) liked Webb a lot but I’d be more confident of his good faith on these issues if he hadn’t published his letter in the WSJ where he’s preaching to the choir. “The Myth of White Privilege” Who’s he kidding. He’s not looking for converts at the Journal, he’s looking for money.

    And yes he is light years better than Allen.

  130. 130
    Svensker says:

    @Brachiator:

    Congratulations, please pick up your free internet at the WILCO desk and remember, friends don’t let friends blog drunk.

    Wallah!

  131. 131
    Cacti says:

    I mark this as Webb’s equivalent of Hillary’s “we need hard-working Americans, white Americans” speech.

    Blow that dogwhistle Jim.

  132. 132
    Sly says:

    @Cacti:

    They collectively jumped ship after being deluged with propaganda designed to inflame white resentment. They were told that the world was some giant zero-sum game and so long as the Federal government started helping out other people, they would lose out. And, miracle of miracles, once Appalachia cut itself out of the Democratic majority, the party’s commitment to them fell apart.

    You either counter that, or you don’t. You either want to win the votes, or you don’t. Sitting around and pondering “Why won’t these racist yokels vote for us?” will not get you to there. The party has to either work to win the region back, or they can expect nothing more than Jim Webbs from here on out.

  133. 133
    Nick says:

    @Sly:

    You either counter that, or you don’t. You either want to win the votes, or you don’t. Sitting around and pondering “Why won’t these racist yokels vote for us?” will not get you to there. The party has to either work to win the region back, or they can expect nothing more than Jim Webbs from here on out.

    working to win the region back, which is something we were doing with much success before Obama, requires us to sell out on social issues like abortion, LGBT rights and guns.

    The end result is the election of Kathy Dahlkempers, Chris Carneys, Brad Ellsworths and Steve Dreihauses.

  134. 134
    wilfred says:

    There really is no one fighting for unions any more

    Nafta killed organized labor as a political force in the United States, and with it whatever could be called the American Left.

    I mark this as Webb’s equivalent of Hillary’s “we need hard-working Americans, white Americans” speech.

    Didn’t hurt her career, did it?

  135. 135
    dms says:

    You know what I think is missing from this conversation: something called the Civil Rights Movement.

    Rosa Parks refused to move. People, a lot of blacks, marched. People, a lot of blacks, were killed. MLK, Jr. anyone? Medgar Evers?

    The Civil Rights Act didn’t just come about because some “enlightened” Texan suddenly decided to push it through.

    Now I’m not saying the Civil Rights movement wasn’t in part funded by wealthy, somewhat powerful whites and/or wealthy, somewhat powerful Blacks.

    But sitting around thinking merely because you’re white, you shouldn’t be subjected to being poor is ridiculous. And thinking, merely because you’re white, you have a right to a better life than others is ridiculous. And thinking merely because you’re white, you shouldn’t have to fight for your rights is ridiculous.

    So, in reality, it’s time for all of us to march for the poor, of whatever color–some of us wealthier whites to champion and FIGHT for the rights of poor whites. But we’re all too busy making money and trying, while buying everything in sight, to stay ahead of the creditors. And really, which of us white liberals is going to spend some time on the poor whites? Because, deep in our liberal hearts, we really do think that whites lower than we on the economic scale are wastrels, stupid, and guilty of making wrong decisions.

    Every movement, every minority, that has gained rights has fought: women, the Blacks, gays. But we’re beyond fighting…that’s just so 60’s.

    Quite frankly, I have little compassion for the poor whites in Appalachia. Shit, when I was in high school in Illinois during the early seventies, for two consecutive years , we sent bundles of clothes and food to them–this from not a flourishing town of 20,000. They haven’t gotten it together in 40 years? Or “we liberals” haven’t gotten it together to help them?

    My point is, they should get off their skinny white asses and fight for their rights without blaming the n!!!ers for their plight, and we should start FIGHTING for them rather than finding David Brooksian excuses for why things aren’t happening.

  136. 136
    Sly says:

    @Nick:

    It doesn’t happen precisely because writing off the votes of poor, rural whites is the easiest option available. The Democratic Party can do it because they essentially have the voting blocs elsewhere to create a larger coalition than the GOP, and demographic shifts in the coming decades will only make this easier. Poor, rural whites are doubly hurt by this because they won’t have any advocates at all with any power (not that the GOP has served them well in any appreciable respect).

    Which, from the perspective of cold political calculus, is fine with me. As a sissified northeastern coastal elitist, I’m rather comfortable with slowly dragging the rest of the country, kicking and screaming, into economic modernity. But because I’m a sissified northeastern coastal elitist, I’d also like to not see endemic poverty in other parts of the country get worse before it gets better.

    There are two ways of doing this, as I see it. You either use the dogwhistles of white resentment, as Webb is doing (and I would argue most rural Democrats do), or you play a different game whereby you give concrete proof of a commitment to sustained economic development that trumps white resentment. If no one wants to do the latter, you really can’t complain that everyone is doing the former.

  137. 137
    Mayur says:

    Sly: I normally never do this, but:

    This.

  138. 138
    MTiffany says:

    “There really is no one fighting for unions any more. Show me a Democrat that is different from a Republican on coal in WV and I’ll show you an unelected Democrat.”

    So union members don’t vote? Or did I just miss the part of the Citizens United decision where the Supreme Court also gave corporations the right to vote and have that vote weighted by the number of people they employ?

  139. 139
    Nick says:

    @wilfred:

    Nafta killed organized labor as a political force in the United States, and with it whatever could be called the American Left.

    I think it was dead long before that. NAFTA was a consequence of labor no longer being a force in the US. The failure of labor to effectively counter Reagan killed them.

  140. 140
    Sly says:

    @Nick:

    working to win the region back, which is something we were doing with much success before Obama, requires us to sell out on social issues like abortion, LGBT rights and guns.

    Just so we’re not talking past each other, I would lump all those issues in with white resentment.

  141. 141
    Nick says:

    @Sly: @Sly:

    Poor, rural whites are doubly hurt by this because they won’t have any advocates at all with any power

    but they do have advocates, the same people advocating for poor urban blacks are also advocating for them, they just don’t realize it.

    you give concrete proof of a commitment to sustained economic development that trumps white resentment.

    to do this requries pissing off sissified coastal elites.

  142. 142
    Cacti says:

    @Sly:

    whereby you give concrete proof of a commitment to sustained economic development that trumps white resentment.

    Concrete proof of commitment to sustained economic development doesn’t trump white resentment.

    The idea that it does was put to rest when the biggest beneficiaries of New Deal and Great Society legislation leaped into the arms of Ronald Reagan over an opportunity to stick it to the darkies and DFHs.

  143. 143
    Nick says:

    @Sly:

    I would lump all those issues in with white resentment.

    do you really believe those issues would go away if Democrats just tied themselves to sustained economic development in these areas?
    the end result is Jimmy Carter…someone who both ticks off the coastal social liberals and the poor white rural folks. Democrats can’t play both hands. One of the two need to be expendable.
    During the FDR-LBJ era, the southern Democrats still had to toe the racist line, look at J. William Fulbright.

  144. 144
    Nick says:

    @Cacti:

    Then they collectively jumped ship for the party that hated them some “lazy welfare queens”. Now what might have motivated that?

    “We have lost the south nation for a generation until whites are no longer relevant”

  145. 145
    Cacti says:

    @Nick:

    the end result is Jimmy Carter…someone who both ticks off the coastal social liberals and the poor white rural folks. Democrats can’t play both hands. One of the two need to be expendable.

    And if the election of Obama is a portent for the future, the new Democratic coalition is being built with a focus on the changing demographics of the United States.

    Obama lost the white vote by double digits and sailed to victory. The rural white vote has passed its apex as a political force. They’ve picked their side, and it looks to be the losing one for the foreseeable future. Consequently, the resentment factor will be increasing exponentially. Hence the Teabaggers.

  146. 146
    LCohen says:

    @Tom Hilton: I suggest you look up the Magnuson Act or the Chinese Exclusion act. For more than 100 years Asians in this country were denied citizenship and all the attendant rights. They were brought here to be cheap exploited labor is conditions one step above slavery and subjected to legalized segregation. While the African American freedom struggle has better know the discrimination of and civil rights struggles by Asians and Latinos in this country are sadly absent from most peoples awareness. This is one of the most troubling aspects of Webb’s piece.

  147. 147
    Sly says:

    @Cacti:

    The idea that it does was put to rest when the biggest beneficiaries of New Deal and Great Society legislation leaped into the arms of Ronald Reagan over an opportunity to stick it to the darkies and DFHs.

    Yet this does not explain how, after FDR took local development programs out of the hands of Democratic bosses in the south who refused to give aid to blacks and essentially Federalized them, rural whites did not jump ship in 1935.

    The difference between then and 1980 (or you could even go back to 1968/70) was that, in the former era, there was not an opposition party willing to stoke white resentment in order to win votes. In 1980 there was, and the Democratic Party did very little about it. This kind of stuff isn’t birthed in a vacuum.

    @Nick:

    do you really believe those issues would go away if Democrats just tied themselves to sustained economic development in these areas?

    Go away? No. Mitigated? Yes. And that’s good enough for me.

    to do this requries pissing off sissified coastal elites.

    What are we gonna do? Vote Republican?

  148. 148
    LCohen says:

    @thefncrow: This is exactly it. What makes Webb’s column so problemtatic is he insists on pitting the two against each other. Affirmative action frequently benefits middle and upper class people of color and that’s appropriate because despite their economic attainment they are frequently discriminated against on the basis of their “color.”

  149. 149
    thefncrow says:

    @Zifnab: There should be help for the poor, period. What’s counterproductive, though, is lying to the public that the era of racial prejudice is over, and that race-based social justice programs should be transformed into class-based programs.

    There should be help for the poor white people in Webb’s state, but it doesn’t have to be at odds with the help for disadvantaged minorities. Webb’s trying to create a false choice here, as though it’s impossible to help both the poor and disadvantaged minorities, and worse yet, he’s trying to make his case for helping the poor not by showing why it is that they need help, but by showing why it is that disadvantaged minorities don’t.

    Basically, Webb’s supposedly advocating on behalf of class-based aid, except that he’s forgotten to advance an argument as to why we need class-based aid. Instead, he’s adapted the strategy of Hippie Punching into Minority Punching, and figures that, somehow, someway, if he punches the minorities hard enough he’ll get aid for the poor.

    If Webb’s arguement were to prevail, the poor black community will end up completely screwed. They might get some assistance based on being poor, but they’re still going to be screwed in terms of being black, except now, Webb’s convinced everyone that there is no disadvantage in being black, and that no further help is warranted. Instead, he should be advocating for help for the poor, and he shouldn’t be presenting it as an either-or choice pitted against race-based social justice programs.

    Well, unless what’s he’s digging for is the votes of poor racist whites in particular, and not just poor whites. In which case his argument makes a lot of sense, even if it makes him a race-baiting sack of shit.

  150. 150
    LCohen says:

    @Zifnab: Yes but implying that your suffering is because the immigrants, or asian americans and latinos are getting over on you ‘t seems to be a pretty dangerous way of addressing their needs.

  151. 151
    PTirebiter says:

    @Midnight Marauder:
    Okay, as I think I said, it’s a flawed article. I just found some of the criticism to be kneejerk and its an important and ignored topic.

    He is attempting to argue that the historical balance of inequality between the races in this country are level with each other, and that is in no way supported by reality.

    I agree, that would be an inarguable position. But I didn’t get the impression that he was arguing that at all.
    My take away was that in its attempts to promote social and economic justice, the government has viewed whites as a monolithic group and that view hasn’t served us well. I don’t think Webb was suggesting affirmative action was a bad idea, but rather that it became unfocused and hasn’t worked as well for African Americans as it was intended to. I also think he was saying that this unfocused evolution has enabled a lot of money and energy to been diverted away from African Americans to the benefit of other minorities and that happened without much examination. As evidenced by the comments, it can be a pretty toxic conversation that most politicians would rather leave alone.
    That Webb pointed out the how the generational poverty of some whites has been ignored while questioning affirmative writ large set off a fire storm. I think in the mind’s of many, affirmative action and African Americans is synonymous, Webb was pointing out that they’re not but that got quickly lost.
    It’s pretty clear that white women have garnered the greatest benefit from affirmative action and few would argue that that wasn’t a good outcome, but it wasn’t part of the plan. The plan was ameliorate the effects of the centuries of institutional racism we inflicted on African Americans. That the benefits seemed to go to everyone that could categorized as a minority except poor whites has been exploited relentlessly by some to fuel the resentments of the folks.
    Like I said, Webb deserves some credit for even broaching the elephant in the room. Maybe more artful writers will be encouraged by his attempt.

  152. 152
    Cacti says:

    The difference between then and 1980 (or you could even go back to 1968/70) was that, in the former era, there was not an opposition party willing to stoke white resentment in order to win votes.

    Speaking of 1980. John McCain captured the exact same percentage of the white vote in 2008 that Reagan did in 1980.

    Reagan won in a landslide, McCain lost in the same. The writing is on the wall. Capturing the rural white vote is no longer vital to electoral success.

    Let the party that accomodates their prejudices have them, as they slide off into the electoral abyss together.

  153. 153
    And Another Thing... says:

    Webb’s column just bugs me. As pointed out up thread, his analysis of white v black education is seriously flawed. I’m not suggesting that he was trying to deceive, just that it’s really sloppy.

    His discussion of white ownership of slaves appears to be very deceptive and under-reports the actual prevalence of owning slaves.

    One of his last sentences is:

    “It can do so by ensuring that artificial distinctions such as race do not determine outcomes.”

    Republicans claim all the time that liberals & Democrats want equal outcomes. There may be libs & Dems somewhere who want that, but I have personally never met anyone who wanted that or thought that that was even possible, and I’ve been politically involved for 40 years.

    And this is likely to start a fight, but I don’t think the devastation & privation that the South has suffered is a result of the Civil War. I think the Civil War & the economic deprivation are a result of a set of attitudes about power, race & class. The region spent too much of it’s energy on maintaining the status quo of power relationships (whites v black, women v men, elites v everybody else) while the rest of the country got on with building the future.

    Thankfully, things have changed a lot in the last 20 years. I feel compassion for individuals caught in it, but not for the region.

    His column is a significant disappointment.

  154. 154
    Nick says:

    @Sly:

    What are we gonna do? Vote Republican?

    Why not? Massachusetts did. Socially liberal Republicans have had some scary successes in NY State legislative races (most recently winning a longtime Democratic seat in White Plains). Flushing, Queens elected a Republican to the New York City Council in a district that gave Obama 70% of the vote.

    All you need is one pro-choice, pro-gay, anti-union GOP movement and we’re back to 1984.

    Granted the tea party could help mitigate that, but they haven’t had much luck in the Northeast and on the left coast.

  155. 155
    Cacti says:

    @PTirebiter:

    Like I said, Webb deserves some credit for even broaching the elephant in the room.

    Yeah, big Kudos to Webb.

    I’m sure all of the poor whites who read the Wall Street Journal will appreciate his candor.

  156. 156
    Anya says:

    @Sly: Are you advancing the rightwingers’ argument that welfare is for blacks only? Social programs are based on income not race.

  157. 157
    Nick says:

    @Anya:

    Social programs are based on income not race.

    poor rural whites don’t know that, nor do they take lightly to be explained it by the “elites”

    Actually, this is sorta ironic. Conservative governments in states like Kentucky and West Virginia have stripped social programs so much over the years that poor whites are led to believe erroneously that they’re being screwed for big city minorities.

    And guess who we elected president? A big city minority.

  158. 158
    PTirebiter says:

    @shortstop:

    I’d think he’d want to explicitly ensure that he isn’t misunderstood by those folks, today of all days.

    I understand your point in political terms but should Webb self censor himself for anything the right-wing might use out context?

    I think this statement by was pretty explicit.

    The injustices endured by black Americans at the hands of their own government have no parallel in our history, not only during the period of slavery but also in the Jim Crow era that followed.

    But you’re right, it could certainly be ignored, misconstrued or misrepresented by the wing nuts. It was ignored or misconstrued by a few folks here.

    After seeing how the right flipped on a dime to change the Breibart narrative maybe we should avoid even trying./

  159. 159
    And Another Thing... says:

    @PTirebiter: From your post:

    “…It’s pretty clear that white women have garnered the greatest benefit from affirmative action and few would argue that that wasn’t a good outcome, but it wasn’t part of the plan.”

    Say what? Firstly, it was indeed part of the plan. It’s in the law. And of course white women benefited the most, cause, duh, there are a whole lot more of them.

    Second, the public policy initiatives being discussed were NOT intended just for African Americans. Hispanics have historically been treated horribly. There wasn’t the same Jim Crow structure to control them but they were definitely oppressed. I’d argue that it’s more socially accepted to hate them these days than to hate blacks. Does anybody really believe that if it were blond, blue eyed Swedes coming over the border there would such a surge of racism?

    You know, all institutions have to do to be free of scrutiny under the various civil rights & anti-discrimination laws is to NOT DISCRIMINATE, If the demographics of your institution are roughly par with your community you’re going to be OK unless some supervisor says/does something overtly in violation of the law. It really is that simple.

  160. 160
    xian says:

    @eemom:
    When you write “to we grammatical purists,” is that an intentional error or is it an accidental “between you and I”-type overcompensation?

  161. 161
    PTirebiter says:

    @Cacti:
    WTF? Dog whistles, illiterate whites?

    Seriously?
    You casually condemn large groups of people as inferior (in your case, them poor, dumb white folks) and then call out Webb as racist?
    And you do it with a certitude usually reserved for Republicans.

  162. 162
    Woodrowfan says:

    @And Another Thing…:

    It’s from a website that’s now defunct. The data came from the 1860 census and I believe it’s reliable…

    And yes, that should be Arkansas, not Alaska! LOL

  163. 163
    Woodrowfan says:

    LBJ spent a fortune trying to help those areas, but they started voting republican as soon as Nixon and Reagan started yelling “NI**ER!”

  164. 164
    Cacti says:

    @PTirebiter:

    Hmm…

    Southern white democrat goes to Murdoch-owned paper to opine about the “Myth of White Privilege” in a publication primarily read by middle to upper class whites. Okay, so which part isn’t the dogwhistle?

    Speaking of sounding Republican. I never called anyone inferior. That’s you putting words in my mouth then attacking what I didn’t say.

    Anymore bullshit you’d like to fling my way?

  165. 165
    Cacti says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    LBJ spent a fortune trying to help those areas, but they started voting republican as soon as Nixon and Reagan started yelling “NI**ER!”

    And we won the last Presidential election quite handily without their support.

    But we should fruitlessly chase after them because…

    Well, they’re white and white votes count for 1.5 of every non-white vote.

  166. 166
    PTirebiter says:

    @And Another Thing…:

    Fair enough, part of the plan but certainly not the plans impetus or focus.
    Surely you’re not arguing that educated, middle class white women becoming the group that garnered the greatest benefit was intended? And surely you’re not finding some parity in the experiences?
    No one is arguing for the tolerance of any oppression, but all things are not equal here. Unfortunately, the resources are finite and some have been in line a lot longer than others.
    I’d argue that it’s more socially accepted to hate them these days than to hate blacks.\
    I’d say that’s BS and the kind of resentment that shouldn’t be encouraged.

  167. 167
    Slocum says:

    @PTirebiter:

    You casually condemn large groups of people as inferior (in your case, them poor, dumb white folks) and then call out Webb as racist?

    Poor and dumb (or uneducated) is a perfect description of many white Appalacians. How is that controversial? Does saying so imply inferiority? I don’t see why it must. Why do you think poverity and lack of intellectual prowess is synonymous with inferiority of persons?

    As for Webb, he’s surely concerned about poverty, but knows little about race.

  168. 168
    Kiril says:

    For what it’s worth, I spent the entire month of May helping to get Federal money to families in very rural areas of middle Tennessee that were affected by the floods. Only four of my applicants were black.
    My friend was in Kentucky. Out of over 500 families, 1 was black.
    BTW, we went to their homes. This wasn’t office work.

  169. 169
    Slocum says:

    Yes, I remember the good old days when we in the Philosophy Club would go into town and and savagely beat the first laborer who could not quote Laurie Anderson. They took away Jim Crow, but we sure had those poor whites to enjoy oppressing and intimidating.

  170. 170
    d.s. says:

    The truth is that affirmative action at its height in the 1970s was never as big as people made it out to be, and in the past 30 years it’s been drastically scaled back by the courts and legislatures to the point where they might as well scrap it entirely.

    Elite private universities practice a pretty extreme voluntary version of affirmative action, where being black or Hispanic is worth about 200 SAT points.

    But actual governmental affirmative action programs are extremely modest in scale, and mostly involve generating paperwork. They only occasionally boost minority employees and minority-owned contractors.

  171. 171
    Paris says:

    Webb conflates affirmative action with ‘poverty reduction’. They’re two separate things. To my knowledge food stamps, welfare, etc are not provided based on race. Plenty of poor whites receive these services where I live. Affirmative action attempts to correct for institutionalized racism. Nobody looking for a technician or engineer is hiring a minority that doesn’t meet the requirements. Poverty in Appalachia is not due to affirmative action.

  172. 172
    And Another Thing... says:

    @PTirebiter: First, I am of course not arguing for discriminating against hispanics. period, full stop. There is wide spread popular support for what is going on in Ariz, which in addition to the carry papers or get a felony law, eliminating cultural studies and want to get rid of teachers who speak with accents.

    The law is about equal opportunity and regardless of a womans income level, women were clearly denied the opportunity to rise to the level of their talents because of discrimination in hiring, promotion & compensation.The law was written to protect classes of people because they had historically been systematically discriminated against. I guess that it’s hard for some people to believe that a number of groups of people were deliberately discriminated against…you know like, some Asian groups, Jews, Catholics, Hispanics, Native Americans.

    Of course resources are finite, but do you really think that it costs extra to hire a person from a group that was being discriminated against?

    It’s unclear what you mean by “some parity of the experience”. Do you mean that because one group’s experienced lynching that the grievances of other groups should be overlooked?

    That idea’s been used in the past & still is to set abused groups against each other to split the coalitions for change.

    Are you arguing that a middle class woman should be limited to lower levels in an organization, or denied credit, and paid less than a male counterpart because she’s middle class?

    And yes, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with white women benefiting numerically from the anti discrimination laws. There are more white women and non-white women.

  173. 173
    PTirebiter says:

    @Cacti:

    Southern white democrat goes to Murdoch-owned paper to opine about the “Myth of White Privilege” in a publication primarily read by middle to upper class whites. Okay, so which part isn’t the dogwhistle?

    I suppose that would depend on accepting your premise that “southern whites” by definition, are racists.
    It would also depend on rejecting all the opinions about Jim Webb that run contrary to your accusation.

    I suppose that if someone had a sincere but misguided policy concern and wanted to open a dialogue with people that might be in a position to affect a change, middle to upper class whites might make some sense to someone without your rapier like instincts.

    Disagreeing with Webb’s opinion or his choice of forum is one thing, categorically declaring it as evidence of his racism is quite another.

    I never called anyone inferior. That’s you putting words in my mouth then attacking what I didn’t say.

    Let’s see,

    “I’m sure all of the poor whites who read the Wall Street Journal will appreciate his candor.”

    “Let the party that accomodates their prejudices have them, as they slide off into the electoral abyss together.”

    “Then they collectively jumped ship for the party that hated them some “lazy welfare queens”. Now what might have motivated that?”

    “Loss of the feeling that “I may be poor, but I still get to sit at the front of the bus?”

    I’m sorry, did I somehow confuse your thoughtful empathy with someone else’s ugly condescension?

    Anymore bullshit you’d like to fling my way?

    Again, the kind of ignorant certitude I generally associate with GOP, but I’m sure you’re special.

  174. 174
    And Another Thing... says:

    @d.s.: You’re absolutely right about affirmative action. In many settings it meant being more creative about your hiring practices. For example instead of relying on newspaper ads exclusively, you did outreach to community groups, etc to advertize.

    Another big reform was that there had to be a reasonable relationship between the skills necessary for a job and the job requirements. For example, if you were going to to require a high school or college degree for a job, that had to be necessary to the actual work. Setting unnecessarily high education requirements was an easy way to eliminate lots of minority candidates.

    Lots of jobs would say male as shorthand for certain assumed physical requirements, like strength or size. Minimum hight requirements were routinely used to disqualify minority & women candidates. You could still have requirements, but they had to be demonstrably necessary for the job.

  175. 175
    PTirebiter says:

    @And Another Thing…:
    I’m afraid I haven’t made myself clear. I don’t in any way discount the pernicious affect of discrimination across the board.
    My reason for pointing out the irony of middle class, educated, white women being the major beneficiaries of affirmative action was to underline Webb’s point. I think most people would be surprised by the fact. It’s a group that’s not generally considered as a minority. Remember, I was talking specifically about educated, middle class white women.
    You injected a number of minorities into my point.
    So we know this group wasn’t systematically denied education or otherwise subjected to the obstacles that are part and parcel of poverty.
    As to your finite resources response: No it didn’t cost any more when one of these women took an, otherwise unavailable slot, but that slot was then no longer available to any of those who had long had far fewer advantages, opportunities and options.
    I hope I’ve made myself a little clearer about the fairly narrow point I was trying to make.

  176. 176
    NobodySpecial says:

    Is this not the West Virginia of Robert Byrd, the Republican anointed King of Pork? Doesn’t everyone in that state after 50 years of his guiding hand drive Cadillacs and drink Glenfiddich from their Flinstone jelly jars? Hell, the only West Virginian I know at all is the one who runs this blog, and he seems to be living a life of ease amidst all that government spending.

    (Note: The above is snark, for those who will be outraged that I’ve made Cole into a strapping young cracker with his steak and liberal vegetables.)

    In all seriousness, though, is anyone surprised? This is nothing new for Jim Webb to write junk like this in the WSJ, as a quick look at his Wiki will tell you.

  177. 177
    Honus says:

    @stuckinred: Um, Webb hates Ollie from way back.

  178. 178
    And Another Thing... says:

    I’m sorry if you didn’t understand my point. The anti-discrimination laws, were not based on being a minority. They were based on eliminating discrimination that was due to ones being a part of some group that has/is been discriminated against. Being a minority in the sense of race is only one part of it. One could be a part of a majority group & still be discriminated against. The law covered religion, national origin, sex, race and some other categories I don’t recall. For the most part, affirmative action came about because some organizations’ demographics were significantly skewed and were a technique to remedy historical and ongoing discrimination. Additionally, affirmative action is a wide spectrum of activities of varying intensities. Sometimes it’s as simple as training for supervisors or tracking hiring & promotion data. Some places it became hiring quotas or intense intervention.

    When I was living in NYC I had a recurring fantasy about applying for a job at the Duane Reade across the street. Everyone who worked there was Indian (subcontinent). My guess was that they were engaging in discriminatory hiring.

    As for your category being white middle-class women being the most benefited. I’d like to see the data on that. My observation is that reducing discrimination against women has resulted in higher income. Compare the options and income available to women now to what was available in the 60’s when I was in college.

    If the issue is discrimination it would be ridiculous to say you can discriminate against a candidate/employee because they’re too affluent/middle class but not able to discriminate against an economically poorer candidate. Or are you saying that other things (resume, education, personality, etc) being equal, the job should go to the economically poorer candidate? If we’re going to hire & fire on the basis of economic need, then we should compensate on that basis. How many dependents do you have, does your spouse work, what’s your net worth?

    However, if you’re talking about programs that intervene to give extra assistance, cash, points, extra training etc to aid individuals then income should be considered. In those cases you do have finite resources and those should go to the most disadvantaged and economics is a good proxy.

    I haven’t read the law in years, but IIRC is discrimination on the basis of gender. Men can and have been discriminated against. It’s harder at this point for a man to win a case unless someone overtly says and does something really dumb, because when you analyze an organization generally men are still more highly paid, even for the same jobs, and when you analyze the hierarchy most organizations are still run by white men.

    Apologies for the length.

  179. 179
    Sly says:

    @Anya:

    Are you advancing the rightwingers’ argument that welfare is for blacks only? Social programs are based on income not race.

    No, I am not. Economic development does not equal welfare. I’m largely referring to financial and transportation/energy/communications infrastructure investment. The same thing that is needed in poor communities across the country.

  180. 180
    Cacti says:

    @PTirebiter:

    Again, the kind of ignorant certitude I generally associate with GOP, but I’m sure you’re special.

    So, where was the word inferior?

    Or illiterate?

    Go find some other strawman to flail at.

  181. 181
    someguy says:

    Shorter Webb: “I’m an ex-Republican, the Teabaggers are on the rise in Virginia, and if I’m going to get re-elected I need to pick on somebody the Teabaggers hate… hey, I got it. I’ll float an argument that lets them pick on the uppity negros!”

  182. 182
    Corner Stone says:

    @someguy: Honestly? I can’t determine what Webb was doing here. I will say he’s never come across as very bright in the public speaking arenas I’ve seen him in.
    Just seems like a complete tool to me.

    Can’t say I argue with your take on it though.

  183. 183
    Cacti says:

    @someguy:

    It’s very Republican of you to assume that a white southern Senator would have anything other than the noblest of intentions when penning an anti-affirmative action op-ed for right wing paper.

  184. 184
    someguy says:

    @Cacti:

    Yeah, I’m probably being too mean to the Hon. Sen. Webb. Why, there’s no way he’s race baiting here. Blue dogs are above that kind of thing. Plus I bet some of his best friends are coloreds. Er, they like to be called negroes now, right?

  185. 185
    apocalipstick says:

    @PTirebiter:

    Forget East St. Louis. St. Louis proper is one of the most racist cities in the US. Institutionalized and subsidized white flight, boundary-drawing and annexation schemes, almost every trick that a city/county government can do to promote white privilege is par for the course.

  186. 186
    JMY says:

    I don’t think Webb truly understands what is meant by white privilege.

  187. 187
    PTirebiter says:

    @And Another Thing…:
    Thanks and I under stand your point. But still, the comment I made originally, and you seemed to take exception to, was meant to be narrow and specific to an idea that Webb was attempting to present. That being that some of the benefits originally envisioned for African Americans had been diverted as the program grew.
    I probably should have noted that the act signed by JFK in 1961
    didn’t actually prohibit discriminating against women. Sex wasn’t added until 1967. Again, I hope you don’t read too much into what, at the time, I believed to be a fairly innocuous point I was attempting to make.

  188. 188
    Cacti says:

    @JMY:

    I don’t think Webb truly understands what is meant by white privilege.

    Which would be evidence in and of itself that it still exists.

  189. 189
    JMY says:

    @Cacti:

    I agree that the government should provide aid for the poor whether black or white, but I think this op-ed is so misguided. If affirmative action polices weren’t not in place I don’t think minorities or women (especially white women) would have the opportunities in which we have now (I’m an African American male).

  190. 190
    PTirebiter says:

    @Cacti: Are you serious?
    I suppose I should ask you where I referenced or pictured this straw man guy?
    Deflect, dodge and deny. All attributes of GOP hacks. I’ll leave you and your ignorance to entertain each other in privacy.

  191. 191
    PTirebiter says:

    @apocalipstick: Yea, that’s the less obvious and perhaps more pernicious kind that can be found most anywhere.

  192. 192
    Cacti says:

    @PTirebiter:

    Thanks O’Reilly.

    Now just call me a pinhead and be done with it.

  193. 193
    Nellcote says:

    No matter how nuanced Webb thought he was being, the take away for the MSM will be “Webb calls for the end of affirmative action programs. And we’ll have to leave it there…”

  194. 194
    Cacti says:

    So, what we know about Webb…

    Opposes affirmative action

    Supports don’t ask/don’t tell

    Believes in equal rights for all…

    white heterosexuals.

  195. 195
    asiangrrlMN says:

    Have not read all the comments, so forgive if this is a duplicate. I read most of the piece, and while I agree with many of his points, I stopped reading when he said that those who came from Asia, Latin America, and Africa in the recent decades have never been discriminated against by the government. That’s pure and utter bullshit and nearly negates all his good points. He’s playing either/or, which does not sit well with me at all.

  196. 196
    Gian says:

    we seemed doomed to refight the 1960s over and over again.
    it’s been a solid 35 years that univeristies have had race based affirmative action if not longer, the hard form of it – the quota based stuff has been by and large gone away, left over is the softer versions, which focus on outreach and in some cases extra points on an application to get in to the school/get the job.
    the school based stuff, especially in CA tends to screw over kids of asian decent, and I’m not one of them, but I fail to see the decendant of someone interred during WWII in Manzanar being denied a spot in a UC school because of race as anything resembling just.

    at some point the system really needs a look at what exactly the goal is, and how it can do a better job.

    As to Webb’s point, I think what he may be trying to say is something which is less race based than it sounds. FDR and the TVA controlled flooding, created jobs and provided power to rural america, we’ve rightly spent fortunes on urban renewal, but since that big project what have the feds done for rural populations (who may tend to be white, poor, racist and cling to guns)
    but when you think of how people complain about “flyover country” and so on, sure they collect the federal check, but they don’t see a massive federal program, and their kids have a harder time going to college, and we’re a nation of immigrants, plenty had families who didn’t move here until after WWII, if you can realize that they have real reasons for feeling like they are disposable which are easily turned to racism, you’re on the path to getting a better policy

    But AA policies have changed, and changed much even after Bakke was decided some 32 years ago, and as the bussing fight in the south this week shows, the victories aren’t complete, but it is a far different world than 1964 when it comes to race in america.

    yeah, it’s late, I’m on vacation, and just put the kids to bed and have had a little, so I could easily be rambling senselessly.

  197. 197
    Ee Snoyl says:

    @cfaller96: Webb should have spent more time on re-writes. Poor at best, rambling, disconnected, inaccurate and sadly ‘whining’ op-ed. He might indeed have valid points but he fails to make them in any well thought out intelligent manner.

  198. 198
    Ee Snoyl says:

    @cfaller96: Webb should have spent more time on a re-write. Poor at best, rambling, disconnected, inaccurate and sadly ‘whining’ op-ed. He might indeed have valid points but he fails to make them in any well thought out intelligent manner.

  199. 199
    Jay says:

    Might find it laughable but even the poorest Whites enjoy some White Privilege. Whether it be the CJS, an easier out than a minority growing up in deep poverty, etc..

  200. 200
    BrianM says:

    If we’d only apply the same serious, consistent, and well-funded attention to white poverty as we have to black poverty, we could eliminate the former, as we have the latter.

  201. 201
    Tanzarian says:

    I think the editorial might have exposed a bit of a point, though as a whole it was full of some pretty awful stuff. I mean, its first sentence equivocated the NAACP and the Tea Party on racism.

    Many people who are white don’t feel particularly lucky, they feel shit on. You shouldn’t tell people who feel marginalized and exploited that they are, in fact, privileged. Though they are, in many ways. I guess my point is that when it is raining shit, you shouldn’t lecture those wearing hats about how lucky they are to have them.

  202. 202
    BrainGuy says:

    @eemom: Actually, you were correct. You use “fewer” in the case of things that are counted in whole integers: “fewer than 5 people”.

    You use “less” in cases that don’t require whole numbers, which is the case here given that we are speaking about a percentage: “less than 5.27325%”.

Comments are closed.