If You're Not White, You Must Be Black

Today, after reading Melissa McEwan's post about this incredibly racist remark made by a gov. official in charge of protecting minority voting rights . . .

"It's probably true that among those who don't [have Photo ID], it's primarily elderly persons. And that's a shame. Of course...our society is such that minorities don't become elderly. The way that white people do. They die first." - John Tanner, Chief of Civil Rights Section, Voting Unit, U.S. DoJ
. . . . I quietly mopped my brains off my monitor, and went hunting some stats -- as I was almost certain that not only was this remark racist . . . . . but factually incorrect.

I recollected that Hispanic and Asian populations actually had longer life expectancy than whites in the US (turns out I was right about that) -- but as I sought credible evidence to support my post , a funny thing happened -- I found that it was very, very (no, like VERY!) hard to find detailed life expectancy statistics that display information on all the racial minorities in our nation.

Nearly all the "Life Expectancy by Race" data available online at the Census Bureau and the CDC presented data only about "Whites" and "Blacks" (subdivided by gender in these two races.).

Much as it may shock Bill O'Reilly and John Tanner (our champion of civil rights at the DOJ), the minority races that comprise 31% of our population are not a monolithic group of African Americans who keel over early after screaming for their m-f-ing ice tea.

Our national racial profile is more like the chart at right, with Asians and Hispanics (who outlive white people by 3-6 years) comprising 16% of our population, and Native American women outliving white women by an average of 2 years.

And, of the minority populations that do not typically live as long as whites, (Black men and women, and Native American men), there are vast disparities in life-expectancy depending on where these people live, and their income levels (just google "Eight Americas" to see what I mean) -- cuz, you know, sometimes . . . . (I'm not stating anything definitive here -- just positing a theory) . . . . just sometimes, being kidnapped and forced into slavery, enduring nearly complete racial genocide, and then dealing with several centuries of ongoing crap and present-day institutionalized oppression and endless betrayal and broken promises can be like, kind of stressful, ya know? 'Jus sayin'.

Back to my post title, however. If Tanner's comment didn't clue you in to just how deeply racism is institutionalized in our country, I want to impress upon you the fact that this man (who is, supposedly, assuring the civil rights of minorities in our nation's elections) took a statistic about one race (an appalling statistic) and used it as a broad and sloppy brush -- to justify the further marginalization of anyone who is not white!!!!!!! (Here, let me add a few more outraged exclamation points to that,) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To me, when I plumb the underlying racist assumptions demonstrated in this kind of comment (can't you just hear the not-so-faint echoes of "whites are fundamentally stronger and healthier". . . "people of color don't really matter anyway"?), I honestly ask myself: "What year is it again?"

The 31% of our nation who, according to Tanner, "don't become elderly the way white people do" currently outnumber the dwindling number of people who still support the president.

So, if 29% of The People can keep the Homicider Decider in office, why can't 31% of The People (and their myriad allies) get rid of asshat, racist, government flunkies, "pundits", and elected officials?

(Oh, and while we're at it, how about addressing and amending the factors that decrease the life-span of Black and Native Americans?)

I'm ready to take on the task. Are you?

Posted byPortlyDyke at 11:05 AM  

4 comments:

IceJustIce said... October 9, 2007 at 3:52 PM  

The folks over at ePluribus Media detailed Tanner's resume earlier this year: http://www.epluribusmedia.org/features/2007/20070505_resurrecting_jim_crow.html

This ePluribus article details the racism that Tanner has brought to the Voting Section itself: http://www.epluribusmedia.org/features/2007/20070510_decimating_civil_rights.html

Paul Kiel at TPM Muckraker has been on top of this story in recent months as well. Click on "Civil Rights Division" above. It's a pity his archives don't go back before June, because there was some really good stuff March through May.

IceJustIce said... October 9, 2007 at 3:53 PM  

Oops...here's the Muckraker link: http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/cats/civil_rights_division/

PortlyDyke said... October 9, 2007 at 4:06 PM  

Thanks for that, icejustice -- I'm reading it right now.

Phydeaux Speaks said... October 10, 2007 at 5:57 PM  

Hey, PD, I've got a virtual campphyre going at my place. You should pop over for some s'mores!

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