Saturday, July 15, 2023

Wrong and Wrong

In her website, Representative Joyce Beatty, a black Democrat from Ohio, referred readers to a  "Save Voters Act" she apparently had introduced that month, February of 2021.  It probably was a good bill and undoubtedly well-meaning because

To allow the right to vote to be restricted or removed over something as minor as failing to respond to a postcard is unthinkable, especially when this practice disproportionately harms communities of color, veterans, and vulnerable populations. It should be easier for potential voters to exercise their right than it is for election officials to purge voters.

However, let's run that back. Could that have been the same Joyce Beatty, who referred not to "black communities" but to "communities of color," who prompted a rebuke of one of her (Republican) colleagues? As reported by CBS News

Arizona Republican Rep. Eli Crane said he "misspoke" after he used the racially charged term "colored people" on the House floor and drew swift rebuke from Democratic lawmakers and the Congressional Black Caucus.

"In a heated floor debate on my amendment that would prohibit discrimination on the color of one's skin in the Armed Forces, I misspoke. Every one of us is made in the image of God and created equal," Crane said in a statement.

The freshman Republican used the term Thursday evening as members were debating one of his proposed amendments to the annual defense budget and policy bill. His amendment would prohibit the Pentagon from requiring participation in training or support for "certain race-based concepts" in the hiring, promotion or retention of individuals.

Crane was responding to remarks made by Democratic Rep. Joyce Beatty when he said, "My amendment has nothing to do with whether or not colored people or Black people or anybody can serve, okay? It has nothing to do with color of your skin... any of that stuff."

That quickly prompted Beatty, who is Black and previously served as the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, to ask to strike his words from the congressional record. "I am asking for unanimous consent to take down the words of referring to me or any of my colleagues as 'colored people,'" she said.

Crane at first tried to amend his comments to "people of color" before Beatty again stepped in and said she wanted his words stricken. When no one in the chamber objected, the chair ordered it stricken by unanimous consent.

Beatty wrote about the exchange on Twitter: "I am still in utter and disbelief that a Republican uttered the words 'colored people' in reference to African-American service members who sacrifice their lives for our freedom... I will not tolerate such racist and repugnant words in the House Chamber or anywhere in the Congress. That's why I asked that those words be stricken from the record, which was done so by unanimous consent."

In an interview with CBS News, the Ohio Democrat said she doesn't accept Crane's explanation that he "misspoke".

Crane didn't "misspeak" because he intended to say what he said. Or maybe that means that he actually "misspoke" because no one in America knows what "misspoke" or "misspeak" means, given that it is a word made up by politicians several years ago to let themselves off the hook without apologizing. (Members of both parties use it, so the news media cannot reasonably be expected to question the term.)

And of course, that's the problem. "Misspoke" is open to interpretation, as is "communities of color" or "people of color" or "women of color." (Oddly- or perhaps significantly- "men of color" is absent from the public discourse.)  "Of color" is a term brilliantly inserted into the lexicon by the left, and increasingly accepted by the center.

A person of intelligence is an intelligent person. A person of beauty is a beautiful person. A home of luxury is a luxury home.  Those people who failed 4th grade English grammar can be forgiven for not understanding that "women of color" is, in the same manner, synonymous with "colored women" while "person of color" is "colored person" and "communities of color" is "colored communities."  They're not my rules; I merely acknowledge them.

Not only were Democrats presumably pleased, there was no objection from Republicans when Beatty asked that Crane's words be stricken from the record. The right has been unable or unwilling to challenge this slick turn of a phrase, which has served two purposes.  The speaker or writer does not have to specify whether he/she is referring to blacks, Latinos, Asian-Americans, and indigenous tribal members; to blacks alone; or to any combination thereof. Moreover, the (false) inclusivity of the phrase may rally members of all minority groups to coalesce around a message challenging the power and privilege of non-Hispanic whites.

Crane tried to point out the disconnect, be it hypocrisy or mere irony.. He did so, obviously, by employing the pejorative "colored people," then asking it be changed to "people of color." Both are made all the worse because they are silly, inaccurate terms.  In the science portion of that 4th grade education, boys and girls learn that "black" is the absence of color.

Nonetheless, if we believe that this is primarily about speech, we're deluding ourselves. Representative Beatty

said some lawmakers intend to hold a special order hour on Monday to address the issue through a series of speeches on the floor.

"It shows us directly why we need DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion)," Beatty explained. "DEI is not about just hiring a Black person or putting a person in the military or in college. It's about having diversity of thought."

At least for this congresswoman, it's not about behavior, nor about words because "colored people" is deemed offensive while "people of color" is encouraged.. It's about thought. One must not only do and say as we wish, but think correctly. Saying the quiet part out loud, Beatty declared that diversity, equity, and inclusion is partly "about having diversity of thought." 

The irony of her statement clearly escapes her. Beatty says she wants diversity of thought; Crane expressed a thought different from hers and was condemned.

Representative Crane evidently relished the irony of Beatty's objection when in vain he requested his comment be amended to "people of color." Referring to blacks as "colored," as was common some 70 or more years ago, always was ridiculous. So, too, is referring to blacks as "of color." The difference is that one is denounced, as it should be. The other is a term of sophistication (sophisticated term) for the well-educated elites of politics, media, and entertainment.


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