I have said previously that one of the reasons I consider Sen. John Edwards (pictured) an asset to the Democratic ticket is that he is a person who does not evade the issues of civil rights. Unfortunately, not many white people like him exist, especially in high profile positions. The more common behavior is to make vague noises that sound supportive of equal rights for all American citizens, without being specific. The fear of squarely opposing the day-to-day racial discrimination that is still the norm is that by doing so a leader will alienate some, perhaps most, white people.
The New York Times reports that at last week’s Democratic National Convention, Edwards reiterated his staunch support for racial equality.
Mr. Edwards got some of his loudest applause when he declared that it was appropriate to talk about the problems of race, equality and civil rights “everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.” Echoing the theme of unity that Barack Obama, the Senate nominee from Illinois, struck the night before in his keynote address, Mr. Edwards declared, “This is not an African-American issue, this is not a Latino issue, this is not an Asian-American issue, this is an American issue.”
The audience responded with its own chant, “Everywhere! Everywhere! Everywhere!”
If only more people really believed that civil rights issues should be discussed everywhere. One of the places that they believe “problems of race, equality and civil rights” should not be discussed is in the blogosphere. It would be wonderful if I could say that only conservatives attempt to repress discussion of civil rights issues here. But, if I did, I would be lying. Many people who call themselves liberals or progressives have deep problems with bigotry and that is reflected by their behavior in the blogosphere. There are bloggers who simultaneously aid and abet the ‘scientific racists’ at Gene Expression and claim not to be bigots themselves. A few weeks ago a blogger who is deluded enough to believe himself a progressive literally ordered an African-American blogger not to say he takes pride in the achievements of black Americans. Another white blogger follows a blogger of color around in the comments of a group blog harassing her. He says there’s nothing wrong with that because he is a liberal. The conclusion I must reach is that Edwards’ dedication to dealing honestly with issues of race and discrimination is not shared by much of the white electorate, including some who call themselves Democrats. Their representatives in the blogosphere have done a fine job of communicating that message.
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