How will you address civil unrest in South Carolina, Take 2

I wrote a recent post about something Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a recent debate. I mischaracterized what he said because it was mischaracterized in my source. I had thought he meant one unacceptable thing; instead he meant another related unacceptable thing.

He was talking about political opportunities for minorities in South Carolina and had used Nikki Haley as an example. And he said this:

“I am asking every African-American out there, look at my record. I care about everybody. If you are a young African-American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state. You just need to be conservative, not liberal. ”

What I thought he meant by “go anywhere” was go anywhere physically. What it looks like he meant was “go anywhere” politically.

So what he was actually saying was:

You cannot be elected to public office (“go anywhere”) in South Carolina if you’re a liberal young African-American or immigrant.

I could go through the syllogism thing again, mainly for Alan’s benefit, but I think I’ll spare you that. I’ll summarize that approach by saying that by the way logic works, which is what “syllogism” is all about, all that “if A, then B” stuff, there is no way that what Graham said doesn’t mean  “You cannot be elected to public office in South Carolina if you’re a liberal young African-American or immigrant.” What he said leads unavoidably to that conclusion as sure as 1 + 1 = 2. No room for interpretation, no ambiguity.

The racism here is on the video. He was telling young Blacks and immigrants (but no one else) in South Carolina that if they’re liberal, don’t bother running for public office.

Does he have the authority to say this? Of course not. This is an attempt at racial gatekeeping. He might as well wear a Confederate flag pin. This very obviously says who he is. That he assumes he has the authority to say this is where we run into White Privilege. It remains to be seen whether his White Privilege extends this far. The election will tell us.

But it may get worse. Much worse. It depends on how Graham defines “young.”

Jaime Harrison is forty-four years old. Jaime Harrison is Graham’s Black opponent in this Senate race. Forty-four isn’t old in politics, particularly when you’re sixty-five like Graham is. (I’m slightly older than he is. That is so freaky. I never thought of him as a contemporary.)

If Graham considers Harrison young, then Graham just said that his opponent can’t get elected because he’s Black. On television. With Harrison present.

Under normal circumstances I’d say “Naah. Graham’s too much of a pro to go that far.” But what he did say was so far beyond the pale that all bets are off.


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