Thursday, September 28, 2006

Kudos to Paige and Haskins; updated

Thanks to Vivian Paige and Conaway Haskins III the aspects of the blogosphere that have recently been trying to gain an advantage on their opponents by throwing or dodging muddy words dredged up from decades past have been chastised. And, deservedly so. Paige and Haskins have politely thrown a well-timed penalty flag at the Virginia blogosphere with an identical post on their blogs.

“...Some have used this inquiry as an opportunity to throw around racial epithets themselves. We contend that doing so is reflective of the lack of racial sensitivity that both candidates have indicated that they had in the past. Further, we contend that this desensitizes the readers to the real issues of race that are still with us. We find such behavior unacceptable and implore our colleagues to refrain from engaging in such behavior.”

Please allow me to echo (pun intended) the sentiments of Paige and Haskins. They are thoughtful Virginia political writers who publish blogs. As both are also black their perspective on the style and tactics partisan bloggers have been using recently comes from a different angle than most of those with the wet mud on their hands.

Far too often both the accusations and the denials about whether particular words were used decades ago have sounded cravenly exploitative. Using such tactics trivializes matters to do with race, in general. Which hardly serves the cause of improving race relations, if that’s really what concerns those bloggers reaching for another mud-ball as you read this.

Update: In my compliment of the post by Vivian and Conaway I had hoped to stay nonpartisan. But, of course, that’s not allowed by some who imagine themselves to be political pundits. As I’ve already seen comments trying to undermine their civil scolding of the Virginia blogosphere by some bloggers perpetually angry about the obviously newsworthy truth -- Sen. George Allen shot himself in both boots in the last six weeks, first at Breaks, then during the debate in McLean -- more needs to be said.

The aforementioned incidents in which Allen made the news himself, mostly with his displays of bullying and bad form, were not just about racist words or ethnicity issues from the distant past. Both were matters of revealing behavior during a campaign.

One can’t lump those two events in with the ridiculous safari that’s been underway to find evidence of racism in the words and deeds of either candidate in his schooldays. At least you can’t, if fairness matters.

Updated at 3:15 p.m., same day

1 comment:

Shaun Kenney said...

Kilo made a good point that the letter could have come sooner now that Webb, not Allen, is at the receiving end (a point that only gains any sort of gravity due to hindsight).

All that having been said, this is a good letter -- one that I crossposted at my site.