race card

The Race Card: examples, and how to defeat it

This page discusses what to do (and what not to do) when faced with the "Race Card" smear. That's followed by some examples of politicians and others playing that card [1].

Note that I'm using "playing the race card" to refer to smearing someone or some thing as racist when it's not warranted. In some cases it is warranted; this entry is only about the cases where it's just a smear.

What Not To Do
If you're smeared with the race card, the first rule is: don't repeat the smear. Somewhere around 99.999% of those smeared with the race card violate that rule and help their opponents, such as by repeatedly claiming "I am not a racist!" The problem is that the more someone denies it and repeats the smear, the more others will believe there's something to it. Many of those observers will simply not hear the "not" in "I am not a racist!"; they'll hear it as "I am a racist!" Others who are smeared will recite stock phrases like, "some of my best friends are [fill in the blank]". That just makes it worse. Others, such as the witless leaders of the tea parties, make things *even worse* for themselves by supporting far-left concepts like quotas and tokenism. The far-left is the main perpetrator of the race card, so giving their concepts more power is the last thing anyone smeared by the race card should want to do. The teapartiers are led by those who only care about money, so they have no background in or real desire to oppose the far-left on social issues. Don't be like them.

What To Do
The race card - when used as a smear - is *an opinion*. It isn't a statement of fact. Therefore, the way to combat it is to show that the formation of the player's opinion is faulty. There are two basic ways to do that.

The first is to engage the opponent in debate. If you have a strong case that whatever you did is not in fact racist, then make that case (note again: don't repeat the original smear). The goal should be to *discredit your opponent to his or her supporters*. Almost all of those smeared with the race card and who try to make an argument that whatever they did wasn't racist, only make an argument that appeals to *their* supporters. Preaching to the choir does not work in general and it doesn't work in this case. If you're smeared, you have to make an argument that your smearer's supporters will understand.

The second is similar to the first: you have to show your opponent's supporters how your opponent isn't credible by catching your opponent in lies, misleading statements, or in general making bad arguments. In most cases, that will be about other topics. For instance, if you're smeared, look back through your opponent's past statements about other issues to find instances where they weren't truthful. Or, make note of future instances where they aren't truthful about other topics. In any case, you have to convince your opponent's supporters that your opponent can't be believed. The race card is an opinion, and you have to show your opponent's supporters that your opponent's opinions are faulty.

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[1] There are almost 10,000 entries here, compiled since 2002. Tagging was only added recently and, since playing the race card is a frequent occurrence, it will take a while to add even a small subset of the examples here.

Last modified May 2, 2011
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Ron Paul immigration position now as bad as Beltway hacks - 05/02/11

Ron Paul's latest book ("Liberty Defined") shows that his position on immigration is not only bad, but in the book he uses some of the same old immigration talking points as other Beltway hacks. People don't use canards like jobs Americans wont do naturally; either Paul has been compromised, or he's corrupt (selling out his principles for political gain), or someone else wrote the immigration chapter for him and he never saw it (ha!) For an example from another politician, remember this Meg Whitman speech. She didn't create what she said herself, she got it from someone else. And, that's clearly what Paul did: he got the lines he's using in the book from someone else, and now he's retailing it under his name.

While in the past Paul has been someone OK on immigration-related matters, this isn't that surprising to me. During the 2008 election he had a chance to become a top-tier candidate by highlighting immigration (note: that's from 10/08/2007) and how his major opponents were weak on it. While he did point out that illegal immigration is a subsidy in one debate, he mostly ignored the topic. Instead of going after the establishment where they're weakest (immigration and trade-related issues), he went after them where they were able to easily mock him (the gold standard or whatever wacky libertarian ideas). If I recall correctly he put out just one ad about immigration which he quickly pulled after it got pushback from Dave Weigel and other hacks. The great majority of Americans oppose illegal immigration and, instead of giving them a voice, he decided to appeal just to his libertarian base (which, of course, is much smaller because few people support full libertarian lunacy).

Excerpts from the book and more Ron Paul backstory are here. Compare what the book says to the immigration canards page. He uses the deportations false choice just like every other loose immigration hack has, from George W Bush to Obama immigration to Tamar Jacoby to Frank Sharry and all points in between and beyond. He decries family separation just like the National Council of La Raza and dozens of other far-left groups. He says "deporting some who have lived here for decades, if not their entire life, and who have never lived for any length of time in Mexico" which is a similar argument to that used to promote the anti-American DREAM Act.

Ron Paul says:

Many claim that illegal immigrants take American jobs. This is true, but most of the jobs they ‘take’ are the ones unemployed Americans refuse at the wage offered.

That's one of George Bush's favorites, the jobs Americans wont do canard. And, of course, if there were fewer illegal aliens in the U.S. many of those jobs would become more attractive to Americans due to higher wages and better working conditions. As with all other loose borders hacks, Ron Paul is supporting a foreign serf system.

In the book, Ron Paul also seemingly comes out against sanctioning employers who hire illegal aliens who use counterfeit identification, and he also comes out against Arizona's SB 1070.

Ron Paul also runs down American workers, claiming that immigrants "have a work ethic superior to many of our own citizens who have grown dependent on welfare and unemployment benefits."

He also supports formalizing the foreign serf class via a "'green card' with an asterisk" where former illegal aliens would be legalized but couldn't become citizens. See guest workers, and recall how well a similar setup has worked for Germany. And, of course, the far-left and the Democrats would not at all be satisfied to have millions of potential Dem voters kept in Ron Paul's "limbo". They'd do everything in their considerable power to turn them into voters.

To make it all even worse, Ron Paul then plays the race card on those who want to enforce our immigration laws. See the link above.

The Non-Partisan Case Against Barack Obama - 10/29/08

You don't have to be a conservative or a Republican to be opposed to Barack Obama. Here are some of the reasons that almost anyone should oppose him: