Hat tip to Carmen at Racialicious

No I’m not done going on Gary Kamiya over at Salon. Here’s what he said yesterday about race in American politics:

It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago, issues of black vs. white dominated the national discourse. The Rodney King riots and the O.J. Simpson case inspired endless discussions and reams of editorial soul-searching. Affirmative action and racial preferences, multiculturalism, and political correctness were fraught topics. Then the twin towers fell, and suddenly we had a completely new enemy to worry about.

I guess someone forgot to tell Ward Connerly.

Democrats are girding for a battle on immigration in 2008, both as a topic of debate in the presidential race and as an agenda-setter in the states. Anti-immigrant referendums are expected on ballots across the country. But flying under the radar is another ballot campaign manufactured to play on tensions of race, class, and ethnicity. Ward Connerly, the California businessman who successfully led ballot initiatives to eradicate affirmative action programs in California, Washington state, and Michigan, plans to take his crusade to five more states next year: Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.

After a string of failures on affirmative action, progressive organizers are trying to control the terms of the debate by challenging Connerly’s “civil rights” rhetoric, which implies affirmative action is just as discriminatory as Jim Crow-era segregation. Affirmative action defenders are also reframing the policy as one that primarily benefits women of all races.

The fact that the debate need to be “reframed” to acknowledge those who benefit most from Affirmative Action is indicative of how completely dominant an issue race remains.

To Salon’s credit, they even published a counterpoint to Kamiya this morning.

Shouldering the have-nots with all the responsibility for their downward mobility also reassures those who are better off that they have achieved their prosperity through hard work, which keeps them from feeling guilty about their indulgences. Believing the poor are simply lazy or have “underclass values” allows comfortable Americans to feel superior to the less fortunate, and to smugly promote a strict work ethic as the only tonic for indigence while avoiding the truth about wealth transfer. A number of scholarly studies are finding that one of the biggest reasons for the persistence of the immense economic gap between whites and blacks isn’t rap, absent fathers or Ebonics, but unearned income and equity. Call it the “parent economy,” as described by Brandeis law professor Thomas M. Shapiro in his 2004 book “The Hidden Cost of Being African American.” Essentially, says Shapiro, inheritance, gifts and financial backing create a safety net for middle-class white people that does not exist for the majority of blacks. Shapiro found that in 1999, only 25 percent of white families lived in “asset poverty” (which he defined as having a “private safety net” of less than $4,175 for a family of four), whereas 54 percent of blacks did. Shapiro also found that blacks were more likely to take care of their parents than to receive an inheritance from them.

The teaser for the essay, “Are poor blacks responsible for their own plight?” is still somewhat misleading. Who else would that question be asked about? Many Americans don’t even believe the president is responsible for bringing us to war under false pretenses! Everyone has the choice whether not to excel, but let’s not pretend we’re all starting from the same place, or that we all have the same opportunities.

But Salon publishing a counterpoint to Kamiya in no way excuses his absolutely minimal research on the subject. Not being white doesn’t qualify you to speak about race effectively, and being white doesn’t disqualify you. But just because you’re not white doesn’t mean you can write about other people who aren’t white with authority.

In an interesting development, Salon even gave some positive coverage to Obama!……..Michelle Obama.

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