Monday, October 4, 2010

The Race Card

My favorite football team, the BYU Cougars, just fired Jaime Hill. Mr. Hill had coached the defensive backfield, then was promoted to defensive coordinator. He had that job for a couple of years before being fired. Now he happened to be a black man at a mostly white university so I'm sure you can guess what some people are saying. To Hill's credit he has not played the race card, at least as far as I know. However others have, accusing BYU of picking on the minority coordinator.

In thus playing the race card those accusers ignore a few facts. First, BYU is off to a 1-4 start, its worst in many years and the defense has given up way too many points. Then there are the comments from former BYU defensive players. According to them, Hill was a great position coach before being promoted to coordinator. However he seemed out of his depth in the coordinator position. This seems to be a manifestation of the Peter Principle, he was apparently promoted to a job he could not do well. His play calling was suspect at best. Worse, his volatile personality drove several players to quit the team and others nearly left. He simply was not a good fit for that particular job.

I'm sure Mr. Hill will get another job soon and I wish him well there (unless he's coaching against BYU). However the reports I've seen lead me to believe that it was wise to dismiss him from the BYU program. I doubt the color of his skin had anything to do with that dismissal. In sports, coaches who don't get good results are fired regularly.

Hill’s firing is only one manifestation of the tendency of many in the media and elsewhere to play the race card. Any time someone from a minority group or a woman is fired, some people assume that it was because of race or sex. The examples are myriad. Van Jones left the Obama administration after his communist background and blaming of Bush for the 9-11 attacks came to light. However Jones is black and many assume he was targeted for his skin color. Even more common is the tendency to call anyone who opposes Obama's programs racist. It is common for Obama supporters to overlook the fact that some people just don't like his czars, his profligate spending, his increasing of government power, etc.

There are many reasons people oppose Obama. While some do not like his skin color, there are many more who don't like his politics. Playing the race card may score political points but it is simply wrong unless there is actual evidence of racism.

Illegal aliens are another issue often creating false accusations of racism. Surely there are some who want to keep out specific races. However there are many others who want border control because of the number of gang members and drug dealers entering the country illegally, or because of the jobs illegal aliens take away from citizens. Opposition to illegal aliens is not automatically racist.

How effective is playing the race card in politics? Unquestionably it does get people riled up. However it is not at all clear that it changes votes. The people who get riled up probably already oppose the alleged racist. Meanwhile the supporters of that target will also get energized. And I think voters are getting wiser in this regard. The undecideds seem to be becoming skeptical about the race card. It has been overused and is wearing thin. The leftist news media and others still swallow it but they are becoming isolated in that regard. That is a positive sign.

I hope we can all continue to regard accusations of racism with skepticism. While racism does exist so do false accusations of racism. We must ask for solid evidence and look to see if there are other explanations for events that may appear racist.

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