diet coke for breakfast

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Posted by Jake
Yo, Howard! Why did Dean have to embrace the Confederate flag? -- by Shelby Steele

Steele gets to the core of Dean's ironic statement.

White guilt--the need to win enough moral authority around race to prove that one is not a racist--is the price whites today pay for this history. Political correctness is a language that enables whites to show by wildly exaggerated courtesy that they are not racist; diversity does this for institutions. But white guilt's greatest taboo is the one that Howard Dean violated--assigning whites a racial identity out of which they can pursue power as whites.

Yet Mr. Dean did not cross this taboo as a racist; he crossed it as a hard-core liberal, a supporter of race-based affirmative action, who in the name of racial progress has learned to mentally compartmentalize Americans by atavisms. So used was he to acknowledging the atavistic identity of every minority in the country, it was no doubt a small leap to "include" Confederate-flag whites.

The underlying irony here is that white guilt has given America a liberalism that revives as virtue the precise moral formula at the core of fascism: power justified by race alone. Today a wealthy black will be preferred over the son of a white mailman at all of America's best universities. This of course is illiberalism of the same sort that segregation was.

Liberalism requires the constant acknowledgement of atavistic groups as legitimate and separate, compelling Dean to acknowledge people with Confederate flags. Round and around the whirlpool of identity politics we go.

Now that is funny. Read the whole thing.


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