At The Washington Post, Fears For Minorities As Victims

In a recent post I noted that Washington Post staff writer Darryl Fears equates civil rights with affirmative action. Today he asserts that what minorities in the U.S. have in common (and presumably all they have in common) is their victimization:

Latino communities have a lot in common with African Americans. Black people are prone to chronic unemployment; among Hispanics are many undocumented immigrants who take the lowest-paying and most dangerous jobs. Black people have high rates of prostate cancer, heart disease and infant mortality, and black women make up the fastest-growing group of people contracting the AIDS virus. Hispanics have had particularly high rates of diabetes. Both groups earn significantly less than non-Hispanic white Americans do.

Fears does note, however, one area of difference between the two communities:

But the interests of the groups diverge on a pivotal issue for Latinos: immigration. Undocumented immigrants cannot vote, easily own or rent housing, or get a driver’s license. La Raza and other Hispanic groups are left to tackle the issue alone.

It is not at all clear that most Hispanics want more “undocumented immigrants,” but leave that aside. There is another glaring difference between the two communities that goes unmentioned by Fears: Hispanics voted for President Bush at a rate four times higher than blacks (44% to 11%). Perhaps they failed to recognize that they are victims.

The closest Fears comes to dealing with the potentially significant difference in how these two communities responded to the past election is … to imply that blacks were victimized. He quotes Ronald Walters, director of the African American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland, complaining that Kweisi Mfume was “too diplomatic” and arguing that the NAACP needs a fiery, confrontational leader “at a time when, he said, the White House sought to politically marginalize African Americans.” (Fears does, however, also quote Earl Ofari Hutchinson disagreeing.)

This analysis suggests that only 11% of black voters supported the president because the White House effort “to politically marginalize African Americans” was successful. And why did so many Hispanics support the president? Presumably not because they really supported him but because the Republicans “eagerly courted Latino voters.”

Victims, you see, don’t have agency. Their behavior is always the result of strings pulled by others.

Say What? (5)

  1. Ed December 19, 2004 at 2:55 pm | | Reply

    You sure squeezed a lot of innuendo out of that.

    This wasn’t Fears’ first post-election Hispanic vote profile. New Democrat Network’s Simon Rosenberg:

    “As a former governor of Texas, the president has a better grasp than his opponent of immigrant issues. Bush’s brother Jeb, governor of Florida, speaks Spanish like a native Cuban and appealed directly to Latino voters on the president’s behalf. The president’s nephew George P. Bush is a rising star in the Republican Party.

    “The relationship of the Bush family to Hispanics is something like Bill Clinton’s relationship with African Americans.”

  2. Claire December 19, 2004 at 7:47 pm | | Reply

    Actually, the Bushes couldn’t be more different from the Clintons.

    Jeb Bush speaks Spanish because his wife is hispanic – Cuban, I think. George W. also speaks Spanish – it’s widely spoken in Texas, and by many educated people.

    No, the portion of hispanics who support the President are generally those who are more educated and more affluent, rather than the mostly-educated recent immigrants, both legal and illegal. They have come to recognize that Bush and the GOP represent positions that reflect their own interests, while the poor and uneducated are still buying into the Democrats line of victim-bullshit.

    Blacks as well are shooting themselves in the foot while clinging to the Democratic party, and their strong cultural identification makes it harder for the intelligent ones to make the change to the GOP without being ostracized as ‘traitors’ to their people.

  3. Hispanic Male December 20, 2004 at 5:55 pm | | Reply

    It should also be noted that Hispanics of all classes tend to share conservative social values. (They’re about 95% Catholic, for one thing, and generally come from contries with much more traditional social values.)

    They also haven’t had a chance to be as brainwashed by liberal victimology. (Hopefully, this won’t change.) They therefore tend to favor policies which favor opportunity over subsistence, often even at the working-class and lower middle-class level.

  4. Cobra December 21, 2004 at 9:13 am | | Reply

    I don’t understand this. People who vote democrat are “unintelligent” or “voting against their best interests?” People who vote democrat are suffering from the “victim mentallity?”

    Where do you people GET this stuff from?


  5. Asian guy January 22, 2005 at 6:19 pm | | Reply

    Strange… I belong to a minority as well: the Asian minority, and I don’t think our group really feel “victimized” at all. I wonder if Fears can explain this anomaly… And the really odd thing is, we Asians don’t have as many politicians on the Hill than other minorities.

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