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.