Left Wing Humor: The Nation On Double Standards

When I refer to “left wing humor” I know you must think I’m joking, but I’m not. The left can be funny … just not intentionally. For an exceptionally, unintentionally humorous example, see Melissa Harris-Perry’s recent article in The Nation on Obama as a victim of liberal double standards.

Harris-Perry, a political scientist at Tulane, makes the typical lefty distinction between the horrible, vicious, nasty, “naked” old racism of the past and the even worse “insidious” racism of the present:

Electoral racism in its most naked, egregious and aggressive form is the unwillingness of white Americans to vote for a black candidate regardless of the candidate’s qualifications, ideology or party. This form of racism was a standard feature of American politics for much of the twentieth century. So far, Barack Obama has been involved in two elections that suggest that such racism is no longer operative. His re-election bid, however, may indicate that a more insidious form of racism has come to replace it.

And what is this “more insidious form of racism”? It is, Prof. Harris-Perry explains,

the tendency of white liberals to hold African-American leaders to a higher standard than their white counterparts. If old-fashioned electoral racism is the absolute unwillingness to vote for a black candidate, then liberal electoral racism is the willingness to abandon a black candidate when he is just as competent as his white predecessors.

Liberals are disappointed in Obamacare because it didn’t contain a public option? Neither did Clinton’s abortive health care plan. They don’t like his slow and lukewarm support of gay rights? Clinton gave us Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell. They don’t like the high level of black unemployment? Black unemployment was also twice as high as white under Clinton, and “of course, Clinton supported and signed welfare ‘reform,’ cutting off America’s neediest despite the nation’s economic growth.”

White liberals, in short, are guilty of racism even more “insidious” than the bad old kind of naked racism because they have a double standard for black and white presidents.

But are presidents the only people in the country who should be judged by a single standard of competence, not different standards for black and white (and brown etc.)? What of ordinary citizen applicants for jobs, promotions, and college admissions? Those of us who believe that they should be judged by a single standard of competence are routinely accused of racism, both “naked” and “insidious,” by the likes of Prof. Harris-Perry.

Roger Baldwin, an early leader of the ACLU, used to describe leftists who supported   free speech for their friends but not their enemies as believers in “civil liberties for our side only.” It would appear that progressives like Prof. Harris-Perry (and aren’t they all?) are firm advocates of “double standards for our side only.”

Well, I told you the article was humorous.



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