Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Race In Trumpistan

German Lopez continues his fine work on race in America. In this article, he deftly pulls back the curtain on how to talk with whites about racism.  Certainly many whites are fine having those conversations, but many also aren't.  At some point, the idea of a college education might actually be about the education - about opening one's minds to other viewpoints.  That's at the heart of a liberal arts education.  If you don't have that experience - not to mention being on a diverse college campus - you're less likely to open yourself up to other viewpoints on race.

I've been thinking about the "what's next" question for Democrats.  I'm thinking about looking at state compacts and cooperative federalism as a way to lock in some progressive policies in the face of widespread regression in DC.

One other idea I had was "Donkey Dinners" where state parties would hold moving dinners through those overwhelmingly white, rural areas of the country that they lost so badly this time out.  This would allow party-building in areas where the Democratic party is withering away.

If we combine that idea with Lopez's thesis, we could train various groups to attend and work with these dinners - African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, LGBT communities - because one of the key barriers is simple understanding.  When Donald Trump referred to the urban hellscapes that were American cities, most of HIS voters agreed, because they spend so little time there.  For African Americans, it was extremely insulting; for rural whites, it was confirmation bias.

Breaking down that lack of knowledge would go a long way towards easing all sorts of tension in our politics, albeit in piecemeal fashion.

And additional challenge would be getting those marginal groups to set aside a more radical and transformative agenda for incremental change.  From a pragmatic perspective, a BLM activist should care about fewer African Americans getting killed by police, and that will require winning over white voters.  The Obama years perhaps created a false sense of progress and the idea that that progress couldn't be rolled back.

Time to get back to work.  One dinner conversation at a time.

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