Thursday, September 08, 2005

 

Why Not Call Them Refugees?

The first refuge of a (Leftist) scoundrel

John Kass notices (registation required - see BugMeNot) that Jesse Jackson and President Bush have found common ground:
The images that bother folks are the images of chaos and barbarism, of looting and mob action, of anger and reports of rape, shootings. African Americans worry that whites will seize on such images to reanimate long-held prejudice.

And many whites, who don't consider themselves prejudiced, have quietly begun reconsidering the urban poor and are quietly afraid.

The problem wasn't those folks looting grocery stores for food or water. It was those looting electronic stores for TVs they couldn't operate because there was no electricity to run them. They're looters. Most were black, because New Orleans is predominantly black.

Politicians understand that people who see that on TV lose sympathy for the refugees. Viewed as threats, they aren't attractive to taxpayers asked to fund what are commonly called social programs.

One way for Jackson to address these negative--albeit accurate--images is to re-establish the pecking order of guilt, by throwing the charge of racism against those who bring the pictures, ideas, words to the rest of America.

So now, if you apply the word 'refugee' to black people, you're racist, and white people--particularly moderate, middle-class Americans who constitute the breadbasket of the tax base--are frightened to death of being accused of racism.

Bush, meanwhile, doesn't need pictures of the dead of New Orleans seeding emotional ground already plowed by his opponents: that he's not merely indifferent to the plight of the poor, but that he would be rid of them.

So he tries to limit the pictures, and Jackson tries to limit the words.

Such manipulations matter to politicians. But they don't matter much to the refugees, or to the dead.
But such manipulations have implications for society as a whole. A society incapable of confronting its problems honestly is a society in denial. Along with their sympathizers in the media, Leftists and race baiters deserve the lion's share of the blame for this. But leaders and politicians of all stripes who allow such distortions to go unchallenged or who are too cowardly to speak out against such tactics are complicit. Those taking refuge from Katrina's aftermath are what they are; race mongers like Jackson are what they are. Its time, as the saying goes, to call a spade a spade.

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