The Democratic Party and the Smug White Liberal

 
Nikki Johnson-Huston

Nikki Johnson-Huston

Nikki Johnson-Huston, a Philadelphia attorney and lifelong Democrat, published a fascinating article in The Huffington Post earlier this week. Titled “The Culture of the Smug White Liberal,” she asks what exactly liberalism has accomplished for the black community, especially considering the nearly monolithic voting bloc they represent. Though she appreciates progressives who actually put in the hard work to improve society, she has no love for “the cocktail party liberals, the elites, who wear the cloak of liberalism to protect themselves from criticism and so they can keep a clear conscience.”

My problem with Liberalism is that it’s more concerned with policing people’s language and thoughts without requiring them to do anything to fix the problem. White liberal college students speak of “safe spaces”, “trigger words”, “micro aggressions” and “white privilege” while not having to do anything or, more importantly, give up anything. They can’t even have a conversation with someone who sees the world differently without resorting to calling someone a racist, homophobic, misogynistic, bigot and trying to have them banned from campus, or ruin them and their reputation. They say they feel black peoples’ pain because they took a trip to Africa to help the disadvantaged, but are unwilling to go to a black neighborhood in the City in which they live. These same college students will espouse the joys of diversity, but will in the same breath assume you are only on campus because of affirmative action or that all black people grew up in poverty. My personal favorite is declaring with surprise how articulate a black classmate is despite the fact that we are attending the same institution of higher learning as they are.

The White Liberal culture encourages talking about diversity and shaming others for their alleged racism, but many times they themselves work in environments that are mostly white. When questioned they’ll defensively state that they promote strictly on merit. Black people aren’t suggesting that we want someone unqualified to get the position, but I find it telling that they assume that we are not qualified. These same Liberals are quick to be against school choice, while their kids go to private or well-regarded public schools. Leaving poor black children behind in underperforming schools and providing less opportunity to improve their lives is inconsequential to keeping true to their white liberal politics. Many people are quick to espouse the political values of liberalism without having to live with the often harsh reality of those policies.

Race, gender, religion and sexual orientation are such difficult discussions to have, and many of us don’t get it right, but my problem with some white liberals aren’t that they sometimes get it wrong, it’s their profound lack of self-awareness coupled with the smugness and self-righteousness that they use to lecture to others.

As conservatives have said for years, Johnson-Huston notes that the cities with the poorest residents, highest crime, and worst police relations have been run by Democrats for decades. She ends her piece with a devastating conclusion.

The truth is that Liberalism is about making elites feel better about themselves and their lives without requiring the underlying action of significantly improving the lives of African-Americans. Hillary Clinton rightly says that it’s not about what you say about problem, but you should be judged by what you are doing to solve the problem. In this election, let’s take her at her word and take a deeper look at what Liberalism is really doing for us.

Read the whole thing.

There are 54 comments.

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  1. Viator Inactive
    Viator
    @Viator

    Donald Trump arrives at the Great Faith Ministries Church in Detroit.

    http://on.freep.com/2co7njn

    • #31
  2. Britt Inactive
    Britt
    @Sooogood46

    Geat article.

    • #32
  3. V the K Member
    V the K
    @VtheK

    Smug white liberal George Clooney and his “human rights lawyer” wife are a perfect example. How many “Syrian refugees” have they taken into their palatial home near Lake Como?

    • #33
  4. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    The awakening in the black community is starting. Even Dwayne Wade had to admit that at Trump’s tweet about his cousins death did highlight the carnage going on in Chicago. I think a lot of blacks are conflicted right now. It will take a while but I think they are starting to see the light and the Democrats may lose the block vote that has helped keep them in power for so long

    • #34
  5. Goldgeller Member
    Goldgeller
    @Goldgeller

    Kate Braestrup:

    This is how I came to change my mind about progressivism, relatively recently. For me, it started with a “hey, wait a minute” moment around the issues of Ferguson.

    Give her time. There are Ricochetti who can tell you about some of our early arguments re: gun control. (Just so you know, I got my [CoC] kicked.) It doesn’t happen all at once. Any crack in the facade should be welcomed and (Go Donald!) exploited.

    I’m glad the fissures worked for you and helped change your mind. I’m just skeptical of her argument. She wants a doubling down of large spending programs.

    Can Trump do anything about this? I don’t know. Anything is possible. I’m very skeptical of his ability to do so given what we know about his personal temperament. With the leaking of his Q&A with the black community it, it is starting to look like the outreach really is mainly to convince whites he isn’t a racist (I don’t think Trump is a racist, fwiw). So I’m actually more skeptical about his black outreach now than I was back when he started giving some speeches a few weeks ago.

    But to the extent that blacks are becoming disaffected with the Dem party, there is a chance some will peel off and vote R just to exert some sort of sanction on them… I hope.

    • #35
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Al Sparks: I read a lot of the article. She criticizes smug white liberals, but in the end she’s obviously sticking with the Democrats.

    It’s early yet. When she seeks the answers and can’t find them, perhaps she’ll re-examine the questions.

    Give her time.

    • #36
  7. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Guruforhire: We *literally* throw men in jail for the crime of being poor.

    Hyperbole.  I can accept as plausible a figurative argument, but literally?  Oh excuse me, *literally*?

    Show me a statute on the books in the U.S. that mandates a jail sentence for not earning a minimum amount of money.

    If they don’t break the law, poor people aren’t bothered by law enforcement.  Even vagrancy laws are pretty weak in this country.

    • #37
  8. Bob Croft Member
    Bob Croft
    @BobCroft

    Nice that the original article mentions favoring the elite with tax advantages, in this case property tax abatements.  We sometimes tend to ignore such class driven actions as the cleaning of poor neighborhoods to make room for government subsidized sport stadiums or high-end developments (I’ll refrain from mentioning a couple of The Donald’s projects).

    Here in Phoenix, with a fairly centrist population and city council, we recently approved a hugely expensive expansion to our light rail system, which currently serves not the poor (buses go to their neighborhoods), but college kids commuting between campuses and downtown white collar workers commuting from their expensive uptown apartments.  And we financed it with a sales tax increase, on goods rather than on services, thus falling disproportionately on the poor.

    • #38
  9. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Al Sparks:

    Guruforhire: We *literally* throw men in jail for the crime of being poor.

    Hyperbole. I can accept as plausible a figurative argument, but literally? Oh excuse me, *literally*?

    Show me a statute on the books in the U.S. that mandates a jail sentence for not earning a minimum amount of money.

    If they don’t break the law, poor people aren’t bothered by law enforcement. Even vagrancy laws are pretty weak in this country.

    Not sure about now but I know at one time there were vagrancy laws that could get you jailed if you did not have X number of dollars upon your person.  The last time I ran afoul of them was when I was in my 20s so about 30 or so years ago.  If they are still on the books I doubt they are enforced much now days.

    • #39
  10. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Fred Houstan: Correlation does not imply causation.

    Correlation does imply causation.  It just doesn’t prove it.

    • #40
  11. Fred Houstan Member
    Fred Houstan
    @FredHoustan

    Randy Webster: Correlation does imply causation. It just doesn’t prove it.

    I’ll let the pedants battle that out, I just used the most common variant of this observation.

    While we’re at it:

    3030529-slide-wufrozj

    Divorce rate in Maine versus Per capita consumption of margarine. Take that pedant!

    • #41
  12. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Al Sparks:

    Guruforhire: We *literally* throw men in jail for the crime of being poor.

    Hyperbole. I can accept as plausible a figurative argument, but literally? Oh excuse me, *literally*?

    Show me a statute on the books in the U.S. that mandates a jail sentence for not earning a minimum amount of money.

    If they don’t break the law, poor people aren’t bothered by law enforcement. Even vagrancy laws are pretty weak in this country.

    The way that works is when a poor person breaks the law.  Say overdue parking tickets, but it could be a code violation or any one of thousands of innocuous violations.

    When you are poor, you may pass the deadline for paying the fine, so a penalty is added, which grows monthly until it is several hundred dollars.  They eventually reach a point of triggering a warrant, at which point you are brought in, and, since you are unable to pay, you get jail time.

    The jail time is something that might cause you to lose a job or prevent you from getting a better job.  It is a great mechanism for keeping poor people poor.

    • #42
  13. Viator Inactive
    Viator
    @Viator

    If thou canst believe all things are possible…

    http://www.snappytv.com/tc/2727746

    • #43
  14. Quake Voter Inactive
    Quake Voter
    @QuakeVoter

    So what’s the takeaway from the comments impressed by Ms. Johnson-Huston?

    Form a coalition of poor white and black voters with broader class consciousness and a blend of the politics of Harlan and Wayne counties?

    Respond to the crisis of illegitimacy in black communities by repealing laws which require (or merely suggest) a minimal obligation of fathers  for their offspring?

    Confront intellectually, politically and ethically the rates of grievously harmful crimes in black communities (800-1000% higher) with …..?

    Copbashing of course.  Because copbashing is the go-to response for the smuggier set of conservatism.

    Boy we conservatives are particularly pathetic at racial pandering.  Thank God.

    • #44
  15. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Percival:Ms. Johnson-Huston is on the cusp. She’s a few questions from the brink, but once she asks those questions — once she seeks those answers …

    An exercise for Ms. Johnson-Huston. Make a list of all the things the government does well. Not what you want them to do well, not what they claim to do well, not what their clown-show flacks in the news media give them credit for doing well. Stick to the stuff that you have seen the government do well.

    Now apply those capabilities to the issues that “the black community” face. How do you get from A to B?

    Or do it in the opposite direction. Start with the concerns. Track them back to the capabilities. How do they connect up?

    There really isn’t any magic wand to wave here. Government won’t solve your problems because government doesn’t solve problems. Usually all they do is to change the parameters on the problems. If they don’t manage to create more problems than there were to begin with, that is about all the victory you can hope for.

    This bodhissatva is right where she needs to be.  If she comes over, they cannot hear her.

    • #45
  16. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    Guruforhire: Its only a matter of time until working class blacks and working class whites realize that their interests are generally aligned.

    That has been said, from people all across the political spectrum, for 50 years, at least. I think we’ll have to measure that “matter of time” on a geological scale.

    • #46
  17. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Jon,

    Bizarre!! Incredible!! I said Trump was dynamite. If you want to really break the logjam you’ve got to use dynamite. He shouted, “What have you got to lose?!” Somebody heard him and is asking the same question but from the inside.

    Halleluyah!!!

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #47
  18. Lily Bart Inactive
    Lily Bart
    @LilyBart

    Smug Liberal is redundant.

    • #48
  19. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    James Gawron:Jon,

    Bizarre!! Incredible!! I said Trump was dynamite. If you want to really break the logjam you’ve got to use dynamite. He shouted, “What have you got to lose?!” Somebody heard him and is asking the same question but from the inside.

    Halleluyah!!!

    Regards,

    Jim

    Exactly. And more than one “somebody.” Quannel X, too!

    • #49
  20. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Suspira:

    Guruforhire: Its only a matter of time until working class blacks and working class whites realize that their interests are generally aligned.

    That has been said, from people all across the political spectrum, for 50 years, at least. I think we’ll have to measure that “matter of time” on a geological scale.

    Things get pretty exciting there at the end, doesn’t it?

    • #50
  21. Tom Davis Member
    Tom Davis
    @TomDavis

    But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good: Oh Lord! Please don’t let me be misunderstood …

    • The Animals (1965)
    • #51
  22. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Percival: An exercise for Ms. Johnson-Huston. Make a list of all the things the government does well. Not what you want them to do well, not what they claim to do well, not what their clown-show flacks in the news media give them credit for doing well. Stick to the stuff that you have seen the government do well.

    I have heard of black-Americans succeeding (both in military and civilian) because of the discipline instilled in them by the U.S. military. Furthermore, these were primary documents. People who said their lives were turned around.

    • #52
  23. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Henry Castaigne:

    Percival: An exercise for Ms. Johnson-Huston. Make a list of all the things the government does well. Not what you want them to do well, not what they claim to do well, not what their clown-show flacks in the news media give them credit for doing well. Stick to the stuff that you have seen the government do well.

    I have heard of black-Americans succeeding (both in military and civilian) because of the discipline instilled in them by the U.S. military. Furthermore, these were primary documents. People who said their lives were turned around.

    … and maintaining the military is one of the things that would be on my list. We’re not maintaining it well at the moment, but it is a core competency.

    • #53
  24. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    It may be true that the urban insolated white liberal support liberalism to feel good about themselves and appear so to their peers, but the policy makers themselves, the senior academics and foundation managers know better.  They do not believe any of it any more than the narco terrorists FARC believed in the historical materialism they mindlessly  espoused for European human rights groups.  It’s about power and rent seeking and the sooner we call them on all of it the better in every interview, article comment reaction speech.

    • #54
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