Monday, December 09, 2002
Southern Justice

While there is a certain ironic justice to aspects of the Lott affair related to Republicans having tacitly played the race card for so many years in the South, there's also no denying (to me at least) that there are (1) plenty of southern Republicans cut from the same cloth, (2) still quite a few white southern Democrats (e.g., Robert Byrd of West Virginia) who are no more respectable regarding race issues than Lott and his Nixon-era cadre, and (3) plenty of non-thinking black Democrats all across the nation who cling to a currently untenable model of race relations that can never evolve toward formal colored blindness coupled with what I call the "soft identity-politics" model.

The soft identity-politics model recognizes that individuals will often choose to associate and identify with others who share similar, often historical or socially-based attributes, whether those are racial, ethnic, vocational, sexual-orientation derived, etc. But while we recognized such behavior and identification on the part of individuals, we shouldn't cast those identifications in concrete when it comes either to consitutional matters (voting districts), legal matters (hiring quotas), or political matters (block voting).