Why the Left Needs Racism–III

James Taranto, Wall Street Journal, August 27, 213

Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson went to the movies last week and wrote a peculiar column about the experience. She went to see “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” (which hereinafter we’ll abbreviate “The Butler”), a historical drama that follows its central character, Cecil Gaines (Forrest Whitaker) through his career as a White House servant, which begins in 1957 and lasts a third of a century.


We should note that this is not a documentary or even a biopic (although it was inspired by an actual long-serving White House butler, Eugene Allen) but a fictional work, sort of a left-liberal “Forrest Gump.” Historians of the Reagan presidency told the Hollywood Reporter earlier this month that the script is mendacious in its portrayal of the 40th president as racially insensitive. That said, we know of no reason to think that the scenes of Jim Crow brutality Carlson found so moving are anything other than true-to-life.

Carlson, however, deploys the film in a dazzlingly illogical argument. “I wish Chief Justice John Roberts and four of his Supreme Court colleagues would see [‘The Butler’], too,” she writes. “Maybe it will help them understand how wrong they got it when they recently decided that we are so far past Jim Crow that we can dispense with a central provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.”

Her argument is an appeal to emotion in the service of a question-begging non sequitur. If the justices “see for themselves how virulent the oppression was 50 years ago,” she avers, they would understand “why we still need rules to redress it.”

Even the appeal to emotion is misplaced in the case of one of the justices. Half a century ago Clarence Thomas was a black teenager in Georgia. He doesn’t need Hollywood actors to show him the oppressiveness of Jim Crow, and he certainly doesn’t need a person of pallor like Carlson to lecture him about it.

At any rate, nobody disputes that Jim Crow was brutal or that the Voting Rights Act, including the section the Supreme Court struck down, was necessary and justified in 1965. It does not follow, however, that it is either necessary or constitutional today. Here is the entirety of Carlson’s argument that it is:

In 2013 alone, more than 80 measures to restrict voting rights–less blatantly racist than literacy tests but almost as pernicious–were introduced in 31 states. They are put forth as remedies, only no problem exists: The incidence of actual voter fraud hovers near zero. Kansas, where new rules are particularly harsh, has had more documented cases of UFO sightings than of voter fraud.

Carlson’s conclusion, then, rests on all of the following highly dubious premises: that she accurately characterizes the purpose of the measures to which she refers as being “to restrict voting rights,” that those measures are “almost as pernicious” as impossible-to-pass literacy tests that were administered only to blacks, that voter fraud is either nonexistent or so rare as to be a trivial concern, and that space aliens have flown over Kansas.

Furthermore, she makes plain that she lacks even a rudimentary understanding of the Voting Rights Act and the court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder . The ruling has no effect on Section 2 of the act, which allows courts to enjoin voting rules that can be shown to be discriminatory. It had the effect of rendering inoperative Section 5, which forbade certain states and local jurisdictions from changing their voting rules, whether discriminatory or not, without federal approval.

But Section 5 is still good law. The court struck down Section 4, which set the parameters for determining which jurisdictions were covered by Section 5. The problem was that Section 4 relied on outdated criteria: past practices and voter-registration and -turnout data that had not been updated in more than four decades.

The clearest indication of Carlson’s ignorance in the matter is her citation of Kansas as an example. The Sunflower State was not a covered jurisdiction under Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act and therefore is unaffected by the ruling in Shelby County. If, as Carlson claims, Kansas is Ground Zero in an effort to disfranchise blacks–an enormous “if,” to be sure–that is further evidence that Section 4 was obsolete, not that it wasn’t.

But when you think it through, Carlson’s whole appeal to emotion actually cuts against her argument. No doubt the Jim Crow scenes in “The Butler” are shocking. But in 2013, that is the shock of the unfamiliar. If blacks were still oppressed in the South, you wouldn’t need to go to the theater to see it. You could watch it in high-definition in your living room, on the evening or cable news.

The Carlson piece got us to thinking about why race plays such a central role in the worldview of today’s liberal left, and why those on the left seem to suffer from a compulsion to exaggerate wildly the continuing prevalence of racism. In the first two columns in this series, we argued that it serves a political purpose, sustaining black loyalty to the Democratic Party, and a psychological purpose, allowing white liberals to assert their moral supremacy over other whites. (Since we wrote the latter column, it has also occurred to us that the idea of “white privilege” seems to be a guilty pleasure for some whites.)

Carlson’s argument suggests a third purpose, an ideological one.

It has now been 49 years since Congress passed the Civil Rights Act and 48 since the Voting Rights Act. If racism really remained as prevalent as liberals claim, one could argue that would represent a failure of liberal governance. Contrariwise, if indeed racism has largely abated, as this columnist asserts, that would seem to be a vindication for liberal governance.

But actually the liberal position is not inconsistent. Carlson does not deny the efficacy of the Voting Rights Act; rather, unfamiliar with its actual workings, she takes it as an article of faith that without it, even in 2013, blacks would be forbidden from voting.


There’s no doubt that the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were successful. Their effects were quick and dramatic, exemplified by the reversal within a decade of black migration patterns, which we noted yesterday.

But those on the left, by denying or downplaying the enormous cultural changes that were already well under way by the 1960s, overstate the relative importance of the 1960s civil-rights legislation. The premise is wrong, but the logic is sound: If the enactment of federal laws alone was enough to end Jim Crow, then without those laws, Jim Crow would return.

Thus the exaggeration of racism helps sustain an illusion of the federal government’s efficacy. {snip}


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  • MekongDelta69

    There’s no doubt that the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were successful.

    Oh suuuuure they were – “successful” in destroying this country.

    • Erasmus

      Yup. Every society is better off when its low-information and low-IQ members prevail.
      (sarcasm off)

      • disqus_Xz3UA6obwj

        Be careful, for you make the argument for limiting the voting rights of white religious fundies then too and we both know how they vote.

  • Puggg

    All these crazy leftists are doing is admitting that they use voter fraud and need it to win.

    About the accusation that voter fraud is rare: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Maybe it seems to be rare because Democrat prosecutors don’t want to find evidence for obvious reasons and Republican prosecutors are too scared to look for evidence on account of which race of people would turn up being naughty.

  • NeanderthalDNA

    The Carlson piece got us to thinking about why race plays such a central role in the worldview of today’s liberal left, and why those on the left seem to suffer from a compulsion to exaggerate wildly the continuing prevalence of racism.

    “liberal left”? Liblefty? Ha! Yes, liberal left, liblefty – that’s what they are in a broad brush stroke.

    Good point there too. Very accurate.

    • Oil Can Harry

      The anti-white propaganda film The Butler was scripted by a white liberal named Danny Strong.

      Remember that name: he may be the single most p.c. buffoon in all of Tinseltown.

      • NeanderthalDNA

        Danny Strong? Sounds like a gay porn star, lol…

        Hey, at least ol’ Mel is looking buff and has a gig in the next “Expendables”, lol.

        I love that guy. Crazy as a loon but smart and creative. Apocalypto was amazing. Love it when he “Mel’s out” from time to time.

        Hey, he’s still working, eh?

  • They think this government apparatus is necessary to keep “racism” at bay… and just to make certain, these same liberals cheerfully perpetrate all sorts of “racist” hoaxes. After all; without vicious hoaxes, things might get really bad, or something.

    • Spartacus

      There is a ton of racism around, but unfortunately not on our side…

      “Negro says: White women who get raped bring it upon themselves”

      Like most African-American men and women, I really don’t give a damn whenever a white girl gets raped by a black guy”

      “And most African-Americans as well as myself do believe that white women who get raped usually bring it upon themselves.”

      “Even today many of you whites are racist against blacks. Many of you whites wouldn’t ever want to date blacks, so whenever a racist white woman gets raped by a black man, it’s even better.”

      You can read the rest here :


    • me

      It’s all part of the destructive plan of the Marxists to completely obliterate the last opponent of globalism. The White race has always been too altruistic to every country and race but their own. We’ve got to set aside our natural tendencies of fair play and compassion if we’re to survive this brutal onslaught of the anti-Whites.

  • Nathanwartooth

    Yeah now they can get 85%+ of Blacks to vote Democrat in every election.

    What a success for humanity!

    • willbest

      its actually 90%, 95% if they run a black candidate

      • Nathanwartooth

        In previous presidential elections it was 80-85%.

  • Jenkem Huffington

    I went to the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley a couple years ago. I don’t know if old Ronnie doesn’t like darkies, (probably not since he struck me as sensible), but I didn’t see a jamoke within 10 miles of the place.
    Ronald Reagan is like negro repellant.

    • Oil Can Harry

      There were no blacks there because they saw the word LIBRARY on the outside of the building.

      • JDInSanD

        They also don’t like the liberry.

      • RisingReich

        That’s probably closer to the truth than anyone wants to admit. Including most likely Old Ronnie.

      • Jenkem Huffington

        Books are like kryptonite to negros

        • NM156

          Chris Rock. Didn’t he stop that HBO/Showtime performance from being distributed in both DVD and broadcast form because too many white people were using lines from it?

          • Alexandra1973

            I guess it woke too many people up.

            Personally I like the one “How to Not Get Your A$$ Kicked by the Police.” One piece of advice he gives–get a white friend. LOL

    • Stentorian_Commentator

      Well, I hope he’s a hispanic repellant, too. That might get me to move out there.

      • Jenkem Huffington

        Sadly, I doubt that Travis, Bowie, Crockett, and Sam Houston could stem that tide in SoCal.

  • sbuffalonative

    Thus the exaggeration of racism helps sustain an illusion of the federal government’s efficacy.

    Claiming racism guarantees media coverage and in most instances, gets redress for the person or group who makes the claim.

    It never hurts to claim racism. The changes are good you’ll get what you want.

    • ms_anthro

      We need to change that.

  • Spartacus

    “At any rate, nobody disputes that Jim Crow was brutal…”


    They monsters made them drink at separate water fountains ! EVIL !

    • JohnEngelman

      Jim Crow was not as brutal as the black crime wave that followed it.

      • Spartacus

        You know, in Haiti, rape wasn’t even considered a crime until 2005 . Filthy animals…

    • Nick A Siggers

      Yeah it was every bit as brutal as the 22,500 annual black on White rapes.

      • Spartacus

        There’s actually a lot more than that…

        • Nick A Siggers

          I agree, but I can document the 22,500 number with US Bureau of Justice reports from crime victim surveys.

    • Alexandra1973

      Isn’t it true that it was to help prevent the spread of disease?

      • Spartacus

        I believe it was, although I couldn’t say for sure . Still, considering how filthy groids are, I wouldn’t be surprised .

  • [Guest]

    Here’s what I gather from the article:

    Margaret Carlson is the enemy of white people, and James Taranto is somewhat less of an enemy of white people.

    So, now we have the whole story as told from both sides … except that the viewpoint of white people who care about their own race is ignored as if it didn’t exist.

  • [Guest]

    The media is full of race whores. Carlson is one, and Taranto is another.

    >>> …Those on the left seem to suffer from a compulsion to exaggerate wildly the continuing prevalence of racism.

    No, Mr. Taranto. They’ve succeeded in redefining “racism” in such a way that only white people can commit it and only “people of color” can be targets of it. And you’re playing right along.

    Racism IS prevalent. It’s evident in every facet of American life from the street to corporate headquarters to university campuses to all branches of the federal government to all of the media and all of popular culture. And it’s boldly anti-white.

  • JohnEngelman

    The left needs a homogeneous work force. The New Deal was possible because 90 percent of the U.S. population was white, and because most blacks were denied equal rights. That denial, while arguably unconstitutional, benefited Franklin Roosevelt. During his 1932 election, and the three times he was reelected, he carried each of the eleven former Confederate states.

    • In some Southern states in 1932, Roosevelt was the only candidate on the ballot. Not that Herbert Hoover being on the ballot there would have mattered anyway; he probably would have gotten the same zero votes even if he was on the ballot.

  • JDInSanD

    From the homepage: “Liberals think federal policy is the only thing keeping ‘racists” at bay.” You know, I think liberals may be on to something.

  • the Right needs the Left to be anti-white in reaction to the perceived racism of whites.

    if the Left were not so anti-white in its anti-racist witch hunt, the whites would not be driven away into the arms of the GOP.

    The GOP policies offer NOTHING to the vast majority of whites–except for the fact that the Left pushes whites away into the arms of the GOP.

    With the so-called “left” pushing whites away, the GOP can cater to the corporations, which is what funds their politicians.

    • Why do you think we want the franchise severely limited and racially limited? Not because we want Republicans to win every election, but because we want the political center recalibrated so that we can actually have political debates and come up with policies that are actually good for white people.

      89% of whites in Mississippi and 84% of whites in Alabama voted for a New England Yankee Mormon RINO/moderate/liberal very-easily-could-have-been billionaire for President last year. Precisely because blacks can vote, white Southerners (and whites in many other places) are left to vote white for the sake of white. Virtually no white person in MS or AL voted for Romney because they actually thought his policy proposals were beneficial to them on balance.

      • I do not believe you actually think that romney would have done the least little thing about stopping blacks from voting. If you actually believe that, you are completely out of touch with reality.

        Romney, mccain, Bush, bush sr reagan, all of them proudly trumpet their allegiance to civil rights. Period.

        The supreme ct just heard a case on affirmative action and REFUSED to end affirmative action.

        The majority of those judges were appointed by the GOP.

        • The real world Mitt Romney was open borders all the way. The evidence for that now is so overwhelming that only an idiot, ignoramus or nutcase could deny it. The only reason anyone ever thought he wasn’t was because for outward appearances and only long enough to win the Republican nomination, he had Kris Kobach as an immigration adviser. Whom he dumped when he had the nomination in the bag.

          And no, I don’t believe Romney would have done anything to disenfranchise blacks.

          What I’m saying is that if only white people could vote, Barack Obama would have never had a political career, and Mitt Romney would be so far to the left on the white people only political spectrum that he would have barely been credible. Pat Buchanan would be a perfect centrist.

  • gemjunior

    Sick of Suffering Noble Negro movies. Lawdy lawd.

    • Would you rather have more Noble Negro Charges In To Save The Day movies? I suspect those have been done pretty much to death.

  • Evette Coutier

    Personally, I think a lot of white liberals have jungle fever. And if they are so genetically inclined to breed with animals, I say good riddance. We don’t need them in the white gene pool.

  • Luca

    “At any rate, nobody disputes that Jim Crow was brutal..”

    I have come to believe that Jim Crow was a way of keeping the peace and was thought to be a benefit to both races when it came to social matters. And while the colored bathroom may not have always been as elegant as the White one, do we really get to call that brutal?

    For God’s sake, the White Euro-Americans built this country, couldn’t they at least have the privilege of taking a dump in peace without fear of a chimp-out riot?

    • Lagerstrom

      “…couldn’t they at least have the privilege of taking a dump in peace without fear of a chimp-out riot?”

      That ‘privilege’ was maybe the first important step in the war against White privilege; which continues to this day.

  • Romulus

    As long as there are different races, there will be racism. It is an extension of the biological reality. The only difference now is that WHITES are on the receiving end as we become the minority.

  • Stentorian_Commentator

    The way the author can dissect the basic illogic of Carlson’s piece reminds me of the scene in the movie “Animal House” when one character, in the middle of a speech to inspire his fraternity brothers, talks about the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor. One of the frat brothers whispers to another that the Germans didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor, and he is told to shut up, because the guy is on a roll. That’s what a lot of leftist rhetoric is these days, illogical, counterfactual statements screamed together to get the left motivated. Unfortunately for us, mendacious ruthlessness is the essence of leftist action, so I don’t expect them to peter out any time soon.

    • Gotsumpnferya

      Thanks for the word mendacious .

  • Gotsumpnferya

    All I need to know about how diversity has bettered my environment is watch the news here in the Miami market .
    Subhumans killing , robbing , stealing .

    But wait , can’t profile a saggin; dread head loitering around a gas station at 3 am .

    That wouldn’t be PC , would it ….

  • Nick A Siggers

    I am aware, the 22,000 number is the average I calculated from 2003 to 2008, the last year I can find where interracial rape numbers were reported.

  • And that was relating to public offices in a rinky dink postage stamp municipality suburb. If they’ll cheat to get that, of course they’ll cheat on really important offices like President of the United States.

  • Herman

    Calling someone a racist:
    * Gives you a feeling of moral superiority
    * It puts an end to a debate Once someone is a “racist” you don’t have to refute what they just said.

  • 1proactive2

    Here’s my take on the Carlson “logic”. We should established laws based on Hollywood stories, and whomever was harmed should be showered with unending government handouts and preferences.

    Hey, wait a minute. We already do all that.

  • jane johnson

    ” …a person of pallor…” What a great description for a weak-seed anti-racist. Ms. Carlson doesn’t deserve to be called White; pallid is as close as she gets.