Why Blaming Bad Policy On 'White Men' Is Wrong -- And Politically Stupid

Why Blaming Bad Policy On 'White Men' Is Wrong -- And Politically Stupid

Ken Paxton

An effective way of handing elections to right-wing Republicans is to label large blocs of voters as wrong by virtue of their gender, race, ethnicity, age. Those are physical characteristics, not walking opinions.

Yet this self-destructive habit is routinely practiced by some on the left, especially the feminist left. They casually cite "white men" as THE reason reproductive rights are under attack.

Example: Mika Brzezinski is on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" condemning Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton as an "aging, white man" over and over. The issue is his role in depriving Kate Cox an in-state abortion during a futile pregnancy. Her fetus has a fatal diagnosis; the pregnancy, if carried to term, could also hurt Cox's health and possibly her ability to have more children. She has been to the emergency room four times in the last month.

It shouldn't be hard to condemn the cruelty to which Paxton would subject this 31-year-old mother of two. And it's surely fair game to mention Paxton's long rap sheet of bribery, securities fraud, abuse of office, adultery and efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Or to note that he was impeached this year with bipartisan support by the Republican-controlled Texas House. He's well on his way to checking all the boxes for the Seven Deadly Sins.

But being white, male and 60 years old are not sins. And they're definitely not arguments in this horror story. Texas Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar votes against abortion rights. Would Mika condemn him as a "brown man"? I don't think so.

Model and actress Emily Ratajkowski famously wrote on Instagram, "This week, 25 old white men voted to ban abortion in Alabama even in cases of incest and rape." People magazine's decision to carry this problematic quote was surely tied to the stir Ratajkowski made attaching a photo of her nearly naked self and come-hither look in her eyes.

This was at bottom a cheesy stab for attention. Fine, but couldn't Ratajkowski, in the interests of the cause, have spared us all the racist, sexist, ageist commentary?

Donald Trump is going to town with these irritating denunciations. Of course he is. These gratuitous attacks on white men are the tiny nail on which Trump and his flying monkey, Stephen Miller, are hanging bags of votes wrenched from workers whose interests are very much opposed to their program. Trump is once again vowing to kill the Affordable Care Act and his ultraright allies are setting their sights on Social Security.

What is the point of alienating any group that should be voting with you? It can be hard to sell the economic case to people who feel attacked for being who they are.

Let it be noted that the Supreme Court justices who made abortion a constitutional right in 1973 were, with the exception of Thurgood Marshall, all white. And they were all men. Their decision on Roe v. Wade was overturned last year with the help of a female justice, Amy Coney Barrett.

I'd like less counting of races, but a claim based on numbers can deserve a hearing. One can say with accuracy that the architectural profession is mostly white and male. But what you do with that fact has ramifications.

A lot more data must go into concluding that architects who are not male or white are being kept out of the profession. A lot of factors go into choice of career, and there hardly seems a job category these days in which people who are not white and/or not male are not taking part.

Arguing a position based on the holder's race, gender or age isn't just dumb politically. It's no argument at all.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.


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