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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

White House Furor -- By James Taranto, The Wall Street Journal

There's a furor at the White House, and they did NOT SEE it coming.

Also, Republicans came under attack over the weekend for a well-intended but impolitic tweet observing the 58th anniversary of Rosa Parks's arrest for defying segregation on a Montgomery, Ala., municipal bus. "Today we remember Rosa Parks' bold stand and her role in ending racism," read the tweet from the Republican National Committee's institutional account.

"Of course, there's nothing controversial about celebrating a woman today who played a big role in the American civil-rights movement," writes National Journal's Matt Berman. "What is bothering some people today, though, is the suggestion that racism has been, you know, ended."

(As an aside, how in the world did "you know" end up in the middle of that latter sentence? Don't they, like, have editors and stuff at National Journal?)

The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart provides as good an example as any of the outrage the tweet occasioned: "Sure, the tweet was later corrected. But, come on, people. The lowest level black person at the RNC could have told them that the tweet as [sic] flat-out wrong and offensive. Not that anyone would have listened, assuming there are any low-level black people there."


Racial prejudice, discrimination and disparity all continue to exist. It is likely that all will continue to exist for as long as humanity does, or at least as long as it is natural or useful for people to categorize fellow members of the human race as belonging to subsets called races.

Moreover, as long as racial categories have any meaning, it is mathematically impossible to end both discrimination and disparity. Reducing discrimination may reduce disparity, especially when discrimination is as pervasive and invidious as it was in Rosa Parks's day. But practicing discrimination can also reduce disparity, or else "affirmative action" would make no sense.

In a hypothetical world without discrimination, disparity of outcomes would persist, reflecting aggregate differences among groups. Doing away with disparity, by contrast, would require extensive discrimination to compensate for such differences. Disparity and discrimination can both be absent only if there are no aggregate differences among groups--in which case there are no distinct groups, no races.

As you can see, it's a complicated subject, and a politically delicate one. Whoever wrote that GOP tweet should have known better. Enough people found it offensive, or put on a show of such, to make it impolitic, especially since it did the GOP no countervailing good. Since a political party is in the business of politics, the tweet was either a lapse of competence or an indication of a generally incompetent operation.

While we're at it, Barack Obama probably should have known better than to honor the Parks anniversary by tweeting a photo of himself on an empty bus. At least the GOP tweet depicted Parks herself.

Which brings us to the furor we mentioned at the outset. It seems the White House held a "hangout on young people & ObamaCare" yesterday, which some aide had the bright idea of promoting with the Twitter hashtag #WHYouth. Hilarity ensued, as Twitchy demonstrates with its roundup of tweets (including one from yours truly, noting that the big loser is the Westney Heights Baptist Church in Ajax, Ontario, whose own youth program had the top spot in a Google search for "whyouth" until yesterday).

Evidently nobody at the White House anticipated the inevitable "Hitler Youth" jokes. That suggests not just political incompetence but a gross ignorance of history.
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