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The voices of reason in VA
Posted by: McQ on Friday, September 29, 2006

From Vivian Paige and Conaway Haskins, a plea:
As two black bloggers in the Virginia political blogosphere, we bring a unique perspective to the conversation regarding race that swirls around us. Each of our families have been in Virginia for more than 150 years, so we are well acquainted with the both with Virginia’s sordid past and its slow, steady move towards inclusion that has occurred in our lifetimes.

It comes as no surprise to us, then, that both candidates have used racial epithets in the past. To argue otherwise is to deny the realities of life in Virginia and our country. Inquiries into such behavior serve to shine light on those incidents and provide an opportunity for discerning whether they hold such sentiments today. It is not an irrelevant conversation, nor is it the only thing that matters in determining who should be the next junior senator from Virginia.

Some have used this inquiry as an opportunity to throw around racial epithets themselves. We contend that doing so is reflective of the lack of racial sensitivity that both candidates have indicated that they had in the past. Further, we contend that this desensitizes the readers to the real issues of race that are still with us. We find such behavior unacceptable and implore our colleagues to refrain from engaging in such behavior. While campaigns are willing to exploit the issue of race (and its companion issues of ethnicity and gender), the Virginia political blogosphere should not be so eager to do so.

To call for a complete end to such a discussion would be not only naive but hypocritical of us, and we are not proposing that. What we do ask is that the level of discourse be raised a notch, always mindful of the possible effects of such polarizing rhetoric not only through November 7, but beyond.
Amen. And while I'm endorsing Vivian and Conaway's words, might I add a request myself. Let's raise the level of discourse a couple of notches at least.

HT: Shaun Kenney
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Wow - that was a well written request. I hope it does not fall on deaf ears.
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Well then how about a little honesty from the candidates. Why doesn’t Allen say, "Yeah, I used that word. I regret it." Instead he says, "I never used that word in my life." That’s worse than "I didn’t inhale."
Written By: Elrod
URL: http://
I was born and raised in Atlanta and am about the same age as Allen. In the 1960’s and 1970’s there was no denying what you thought about integration and Blacks if you used the N word.

If I heard someone use the N word in a joke or in conversation, I would confront them and ask them to stop. It wasn’t easy and cost me some friends. However, as a white man it was up to me to take this stand.

The Republican Party got its rise to power in the South by using the race issue. It was generally accepted in the Johnson/Goldwater race that a vote for Goldwater in the South was a vote for segregation.

The political strategy of the South Establishment has always been to pit the poor white male against the black man. It is obvious that the poor, no matter if they are white or black, would share the many of the same political issues (housing, education, healthcare, living wage, etc.). However, bait the poor white with the N word and all at once the discourse is segregation. It has worked since Reconstruction and is still the predominant theme in most Southern elections today.
Written By: Mike Tracy
URL: http://
Where do the two candidates stand on the issues from a libertarian perspective? This is what I’d like to see. I posted a similar comment on a post Jon made. I’d really like to see a tabular break down on where the two candidates stand on different issues:

  • fiscal issues: decreasing taxes, reducing the size of government, balancing budgets, accountability with respect to government spending
  • social issues: gay marriage, government intervention in end of life issues, etc.
  • civil liberties: warrantless wiretapping, extraordinary rendition, unlimited detainment, the rights of the accused to trial, the ability of someone to be detained indefinitely on the word of the executive (e.g., habeas corpus issues), the use of torture to obtain information and confessions...

Seriously, what are the perspectives of these two candidates on the issues above and other important questions currently being considered? Everyone seems so concerned about what racial slurs someone used, that no discussion is being made on the issues. I don’t see anyone on either side trying to pull the discussion away from the current hoopla.
Written By: John Harrold
URL: http://

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