Monday, November 14, 2005

Liberal racism on display in Maryland

Comment by Ruben Navarrette. I have previously referred to the Steele case on 8th but Navarette makes some further good points

Who's afraid of a black Republican? Well, if that Republican's name is Michael Steele and he's seeking to become Maryland's first black senator, the answer is: just about everyone. Let's start with Democratic officials such as Thomas V. "Mike" Miller Jr., the president of the state Senate. In 2001, Miller called Steele - then head of the state Republican Party - an "Uncle Tom." Miller later apologized for the slur. Then there are Democratic Party activists such as the ones who, when Steele was running for lieutenant governor in 2002, gave him a rude reception at a gubernatorial debate at a predominantly black university. The activists pelted Steele with Oreo cookies.

And then there are black liberals, including some who don't even live in Maryland but have made it their mission to try to torpedo Steele's Senate bid. They include a left-wing blogger in New York who posted a doctored photo of Steele depicting him as a minstrel in blackface. Amid criticism, the photo was pulled. What remains, however, is a photo of Steele with an equally offensive caption calling him "Simple Sambo."

And finally, there are those liberals and Democratic operatives who, while claiming not to defend such blatantly vulgar and distasteful tactics, go on to, well, defend them. Maryland state Sen. Lisa A. Gladden says Steele should accept whatever personal attacks come his way. She also says that black voters are likely to be Steele's harshest critics because, as she puts it, "party trumps race."

Wow. Someone finally said it out loud. And I'm sure Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean and other Democrats will be delighted to hear it. Imagine all the outreach dollars earmarked for the black community that might now be spent pursuing white suburban soccer moms.

Party trumps race - not to mention, common sense. Some African-American leaders complain that black people aren't getting anywhere politically. They're right. That's because they've perfected the recipe for how to become politically irrelevant - allow yourself to be taken for granted by one party and written off by another.

Steele is a threat to the social order of things because he challenges all that. Because he stands with the GOP, he gives black Americans something that Democrats don't want them to have: options. And so, for those who prefer the status quo, the mission is clear: Steele must be discredited and his candidacy destroyed. He has to be painted as an aberration, or better yet, a sellout. That way, no self-respecting African American will follow him to the GOP.

There's another part of this that is interesting. It used to be that African Americans turned to the Democratic Party to protect them from discrimination and disenfranchisement. But when a black Republican comes along, African Americans - like that guy with the blog - often return the favor and defend the Democratic Party as a major engine for black progress. Democrats should be grateful for that. They can't afford too many of these kinds of firsts. Breakthroughs such as the Steele candidacy threaten the party's monopoly by showing black voters that they don't need to fall in line with the Democratic Party to be successful in politics or life.

Liberals want none of that. They're all for people making history - as long those people are on their side of the aisle. They're all for minorities succeeding - as long as they can claim credit for the success. And they're all for minorities becoming involved politically and voting - as long as they continue to vote Democratic in perpetuity. And if any of this doesn't go according to plan, then it's open season on anyone who gums up the works. Liberals think nothing of portraying blacks and other minorities who defect to the Republican Party as defective in some way.

A reader recently wrote that he was shocked that I, as a Mexican American, would have anything nice to say about Republicans or the Bush administration because they had done so much harm to "your people." What a condescending remark - but what a useful example of liberal racism. Mention the words "liberal" and "racism" in one sentence in a classroom at one of the nation's most elite universities, and you'll get blank stares. For a lot of people on the left, the phrase is an oxymoron. They really don't seem to know what it means. How can liberals be racist? How can people dedicated to promoting tolerance be guilty of intolerance? Ask Michael Steele. I bet he has a good grasp of the concept.


Political correctness, dumbing down and teachers' worries about being charged with sexual harassment are crippling young British ballet dancers' chances of reaching the top, according to a senior figure in the ballet world. Jeffery Taylor, the founder of the National Dance Awards - the Oscars of British ballet - claimed yesterday that home-grown dancers were being prevented from competing against the world's best because training, whether in specialist schools or at Saturday classes, was severely restricted by health and safety laws and a modern education system that discriminated against excellence.

For the first time in the history of the awards, the shortlists, which are to be announced this week, will not contain a single Briton in contention for either of the top two prizes, best male and female dancer. The lists point up the paucity of home-grown talent in Britain's top ballet companies. Russians, other East Europeans, Spaniards and Cubans have taken the majority of the plum principal dancer roles in British companies in the last decade. Only one of the six principals at Northern Ballet Theatre, for example, is British. When Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope, who won the best male dancer prize at last year's National Dance Awards, retire from full-time dancing next year, the Royal Ballet will be able to boast just one British principal, Edward Watson. The Royal Ballet, though it has its own prestigious Royal Ballet School, has increasingly looked abroad and has hired stars such as the Cuban Carlos Acosta, Tamara Rojo from Spain, the Romanian Alina Cojocaru and the Dane Johann Kobborg at the expense of British dancers.

Mr Taylor, a former dancer and now a critic and the co-chairman of the awards, said yesterday that British ballet training had become "a disgrace". One of his most serious charges is that teachers are no longer allowed to touch or manipulate young dancers' bodies into the correct positions - to straighten their backs, legs or arms - because of fears that they could be accused of sexual harassment. He said: "A teacher has got to be able to push a dancer's bottom in or put a hand on their leg. You are asking students to get into the most unnatural and often painful position and teaching them how to hold it for a long time. "There is no way that you can describe to them what it's like to have a straight back and expect them to do it on their own. "You have to push their bottom forward, pull their stomach in and push the shoulders down and back. But you're not allowed to now, so they're being disadvantaged right from the start. "When I trained 30 years ago, the teachers would be on their hands and knees forever pushing your feet out and moving your legs. It's not like that in British schools now. It seems OK in other countries, but not here."

Mr Taylor claimed that "dumbing down and political correctness" were hurting British students. "They are afraid of failing you. Teachers won't criticise you. They say all the students are as good as each other, that they are equally wonderful. It's obviously not true. "But they are frightened that parents will take a child away from the school if they dare criticise them and say they must try harder. And they have to keep the numbers up to keep their funding."

Mr Taylor also claimed that full-time schools required girls to do only pointe work - exercises up on their toes - once a week instead of every day "because they think it's too hard". He said: "There is no shortage of raw talent among the very young in this country. But it is being wasted because they are not trained rigorously enough. "Natural talent may survive but it is the Miss Average, standing behind Miss Bussell, who ends up feeling a failure. All along she has been told that she is wonderful, but she hasn't been pushed and when she doesn't make the grade she ends up feeling worthless.

"The contrast with what goes on elsewhere is very marked. Three years ago I watched a class of boys at the Vaganova Academy [St Petersburg's top school]. "They were being worked into the ground. They were crippled, sweating wrecks. And then their teacher turned to me and said, 'When the physical gives out, that is when the artist appears."

Wayne Eagling, the American former Royal Ballet star who becomes artistic director of English National Ballet next week, agreed yesterday that British dance students found it difficult to make the top. "I am aware that people talk about training but I think more of the problem is to do with the incredibly fierce international competition. "Just look at how many dancers Russia or Cuba are turning out to see what British students are up against. It means that they have to be as good as the best in the world." Mr Eagling said he would press for international research on the subject when he attended a meeting of the world's leading ballet directors in Switzerland in January.


No individual responsibility in France either: "What have the French ever done for 'les beurs,' now rioting in 300 French cities and towns, having destroyed more than 6,000 cars, burned busses, businesses, shops, schools, police stations, libraries; beaten bystanders, and snuffed out at least one life? They've replaced the mud huts of their ancestors with subsidized housing and modern plumbing, given them schools, job-training institutes, cradle-to-crypt welfare, and, my personal favorite, the Musee du Louvre. To listen to their moronic enablers among the media, not much, however. Whether the mediacrats are applying their cerebral sinew to individual or group-orchestrated crime; to psychological or sociological 'causal factors,' bad deeds are invariably caused -- never committed. And they are caused by factors outside the perpetrators."

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