How far conservatives have to go on race, in one home page

This is what The National Review’s home page looks like right now:

View post on imgur.com

On the one hand, you have an article defending a white police officer who was just fired for assaulting a black teenager. On the other hand, you have an article earnestly pleading with the Republican Party to stop being so oblivious to its own racism.

The article’s author, Theodore Johnson, starts off by recounting an instance during the 2012 election in which a group of canvassers for Mitt Romney avoided his house, despite knocking on the doors of the other (white) houses on his street. As Johnson writes, he really did want to talk to them about Romney’s campaign, and they could have earned his vote. Instead, they offended him by rather obviously writing him off as an Obama supporter because he was black.

To be clear, it was likely the Romney campaign’s modeling that profiled Johnson as an Obama supporter, not the specific group of canvassers that found themselves on his block. Knocking on every door in a neighborhood is a bad use of time and resources, as most voters are not persuadable, so campaigns try to limit their volunteers’ time to talking to voters they think are either on the fence about voting for their candidate or voting at all. But even so, Johnson’s point still stands: there’s a reason his house was not on those volunteers’ walk list, and that reason is, in all likelihood, his race.

But it’s when Johnson moves past his introductory story and starts to make his case that he really hits the nail on the head:

GOP attempts at black outreach are inconsistent and repeatedly undone by inadvisable strategic communication choices and a basic callousness about the black experience in America. Jeb Bush’s recent comment that he would give African Americans “hope and aspiration” instead of bribing them with “free stuff” is a prime example. This sentiment — one that casts the black electorate as a soulless and indolent bloc up for sale to the highest bidder — is as pervasive among some Republicans as it is spurious

And in case you needed a reminder about white conservatives’ “basic callousness about the black experience in America,” here you go:

View post on imgur.com

The Republican Party can claim all it wants that its platform — from school choice to tax cuts to slashing the social safety net —  is actually better for black people than the Democrats’. None of that will matter until white conservatives, from the National Review to the Republican Party, stop telling black people to get over it with respect to the racial injustices embedded in American society (David French, the author of the post on the top left, concluded by literally telling those offended by the officer’s actions to “move along“). Until they understand exactly why home pages like this are as ironic as they are offensive, they’ll have no idea just how far they need to go in order to repair their image with black voters.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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