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Time To Disband The Congressional Black Caucus?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Flying Headbutt, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    So we're told time and again, and rightly so, that we should live in a color blind world where everyone is equal. We tell those running for elected office that membership in clubs that exclude certain races is unacceptable.

    So a white representative from a mostly black district says he'd like to join the CBC, because the concerns of those in the CBC are for the most part the concerns of his district. However, he's told he can not join simply because he's white.

    Double standard? Hypocrissy? Should this rep be allowed to join, or is a group that excludes based on color necessary in the hallowed halls of congress?

    Yes, I know this thread will not end well. I fully expect ugly, cringing arguments. But since the world isn't always a nice place, tough shit.
  2. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    I understand why these groups came into existence and the whites-only world in which they were interloping at the time, and I could even see why they'd exist as the barriers began to fall. But at some point, they have to outlive their usefulness. I don't know if this is the time or not, but when a group blatantly discriminates on the color of one's skin, an action that brought them together in the first place, then perhaps that group has in fact gone past the point of no return.

    Can we discuss this without getting into frenzied cries of racism from either side? This will be interesting, if nothing else.
  3. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    I'm with you two. That's about all I can say.
  4. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Rep. Devin Nunes belongs to the Hispanic Congressional Conference, although he's of Portuguese descent, not Hispanic.
    His district, however, has a Hispanic majority.
  5. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Interesting point that's not terribly germaine to the conversation, except that I want to get to 4,000 posts tonight because I have no life. From m-w.com:

    Main Entry: His·pan·ic
    Pronunciation: hi-'spa-nik
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Latin hispanicus, from Hispania Iberian Peninsula, Spain
    : of, relating to, or being a person of Latin American descent living in the United States; especially : one of Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican origin

    The U.S. Census Bureau doesn't include Portugese in the definition of Hispanic, but since Portugal is part of the Iberian Peninsula, they could make a claim.
  6. Mighty_Wingman

    Mighty_Wingman Active Member

    I'll play devil's advocate, though I definitely agree with Headbutt and MM.

    As I understand it, the rationale for groups like the CBC is the presumption that black people, by dint of their shared experiences and their cultural background, have a unique view of any given situation. "Diversity" is valuable in and of itself because people from different ethnic backgrounds bring a perspective that can't be duplicated by anyone outside their group, no matter how well-meaning that person may be.

    So just because this white Congressman represents a mostly black district doesn't mean he shares the unique worldview of its members. Regardless of his political views or the interests of his constituents, he doesn't fulfill the single solitary criterion for membership in the CBC.


    (Of course, this argument, like most pleas for "diversity," is just a mealy-mouthed excuse for preferential treatment and the establishment of quotas, which are wrong and un-American, just like the existence of a congressional caucus solely defined by race. The CBC would have no problem if it just defined itself as a caucus dedicated to advancing the interests of blacks. But if it did that, it would have to admit people like this unnamed Congressman, and its black members would find their influence diminished in their own racialist club.)
  7. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    I think it's relevant because Headbutt mentions a white congressman who wants to join the black caucus because he represents a black district. The black caucus does not exist primarily as a congressional black social club. It exists to further the interests of black Americans.
    There's a direct parallel.
    The Hispanic Congressional Conference does not exist primarily as a social club for Hispanics in Congress. It exists to further the interests of Hispanic Americans. Because that's it's purpose, Nunes, who is not Hispanic, is a member because his constituency is made up of a Hispanic majority.
    Further, Portugal is on the Iberian Peninsula, but don't confuse a word's etymology with it's denotation and connotation. 'Hispanic' indicates an origin in one of the Spanish-language parts of the Western Hemisphere, perhaps arguably Brazil and Suriname.
    A person from Portugal is not Hispanic. He or she is Portguese. Nor is a person from Spain Hispanic. He or she is Spanish. Likewise with Americans of Portuguese or Spanish descent.
  8. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    You'd like to think it would work. But that would mean we truly are a colorblind society.
  9. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    I don't mean that your quote was irrelevant; rather, my definition was a left turn off the original discussion. Sorry for the mixup.
  10. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    No problem. I was just trying to clarify why I posted what I did.
    As for the larger question: Should representatives form caucuses or other groups based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion?
    Theoretically, no.
    Realistically, yes, although the possibility for abuse is ample. (Realistically, Nunes also joined the Hispanic Congressional Conference because he gets some minority mileage out of his last name and his association with the group from people who don't notice the Portguese lack of the ñ in his last name.)

    Another question: What if representatives formed coalitions based on religion: the Christian Caucus, the Jewish Caucus, the Muslim Caucus, the Aethist Caucus, etc.?
  11. Chuck~Taylor

    Chuck~Taylor Active Member

    In one way, the religion idea would be better because there is diversity in every religion.
  12. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    I assumed there was a Christian caucus, or something similar. Religion is a little different than ethnicity, in that you in theory a religion is open to all comers. The problem with Christian organizations in that vein is that the scope of Christianity is so broad that trying to encapsulate their needs is almost impossible, and so what ends up happening is you get these groups claiming to represent the needs of the typical Christian, but instead they gear their message towards the politically conservative (I'm sure there's liberal Christian political groups around, I just don't know of their names).
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