I’ve been thinking about race and racism for the past few weeks, and I have come to the conclusion that at its root, racism is the result of viewing people as groups rather than as individuals. For example, it is racist to believe that purple people are lazy, and green people are smart just because they are purple or green. But it’s not racist if you think Joe is lazy because he never does anything, or Jane is smart because she’s both a brain surgeon and a rocket scientist.

Here’s my working definition of racism: the belief that a person’s race is important in judging the superiority or inferiority of that person; also viewing everything through the filter of race. The idea that purple people are better than green people is a racist idea because it judges the groups based on their race classification only. And a professor of Green Studies who sees every real or imagined insult as an attack on him personally because of his Green color is likewise a racist.

The sad news is that we have not gotten past race and racism as a nation yet. As proof, I offer President Obama. He is often referred to as our nation’s first black President, but is he really? OK, ignoring the claim that President Clinton was our first black President, President Obama’s mother was white and his father was black. That makes Obama a half-and-half mixture of the two races. To identify him as black implies that the 50% of him that is black is more important than the 50% that is white. Another example is Tiger Woods. As Wikipedia puts it, he is “one-quarter Chinese, one-quarter Thai, one-quarter African American, one-eighth Native American, and one-eighth Dutch.” But every time he is called black or credited as the “first African American to win a men’s major golf championship,” a value judgment has been made stating that the 25% of him that is black is of greater worth and mention than the other 75% of his ethnic makeup. That is a value judgment based on his race, and to my mind that is racist.

I don’t care about the President’s family background; I care about his stated goals and policies. I disagree with his plans for government control over more and more aspects of Americans’ lives.

Is this attitude racist? How could it be racist if my disapproval of Obama has nothing to do with his race and everything to do with his far-left policies? But people on the left are crying “racist!” when people criticize or lampoon our Dear Leader. Don’t believe me? The left is now worried that calling Obama and his supporters “socialists” is now code for much nastier racial epithets. Here is MSNBC host Carlos Watson, making this claim:

The second half rambles off onto immigration, but here’s the part that shocked me. Watson is paraphrasing David Brooks:

More credible conservatives have to stand up and say that there is a line that has to be drawn, that there is a line of responsibility that’s important, and that extends to the words that we chose. Including how we use even legitimate words like socialist.

Words mean things, and it is quite accurate to label Obama and other Democrats as socialists as they are trying to take over the nation’s economy, but it is also accurate to identify his plans for government control of businesses, like banking and auto industries, as fascism. Are either of these words racist? If you say that they are, I have to ask you to point out how they target a specific race. I am left to believe that they may be considered racist words solely because they are used to target Obama. Consider the two images below.

Two Jokers

Both Presidents are being compared to the Joker character as portrayed by Heath Ledger in the recent Batman movie, “The Dark Knight.” But people are calling the poster on the left racist, while there was no outcry when the same thing was done to President Bush. The same treatment was given to both Presidents, but it’s virulent racism when done to Obama and mere good humor when done to Bush. I am led to believe that to the left, any criticism directed at President Obama is racist because it is directed at President Obama. That reminds me of something the Apostle Paul wrote to Titus:

Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. Titus 1:15

If someone sees everything through the lens of race, that person is a racist and nothing is pure to him. I look forward to the day, as did Martin Luther King, Jr., when we will not be judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character. On that day we will have put racism behind us.

Here’s something to think about each time you hear someone talk about Senator Obama’s “historic” nomination as the first black Democrat Presidential candidate. Does this mean that the U.S. no longer has problems with race? Of course not, say liberals. That won’t happen until Senator Obama becomes President Obama, so any vote against him is therefore a racist vote.

Bull pucky.

America will have finally gone beyond race when people stop talking about the first black Democrat Presidential candidate and just talk about the Democrat Presidential candidate–when people stop talking about the color of his skin and focus on the content of his character. Hey, that’s kinda catchy.

I will not vote for Senator Obama this November, but not because of his race. I will not vote for Obama this November because I don’t want a barely-experienced, Marxism-enamored Senator to be our next President.

Any way I try to see it, there will be a bunch of angry and disappointed Democrats in the near future. On the one hand, there is Senator Clinton, and on the other hand there is Senator Obama. And since liberals view everything through the prism of group identity instead of individuals, that means the fight for the Democrat presidential nomination is between someone who is a woman, and someone who is black.

Of course there is far more to these candidates than their sex and race, but to liberals who have made sex and race identity so important, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have become visible embodiments of sex and race. And this can be a problem for liberals when group identities collide. Are liberals meant to vote for Clinton because she could be the first woman President, even though she is white; or should they vote for Obama to become the first black President, even though he is male?

You can see this conflict in the way liberal groups are handling the sex/race conflict of Clinton and Obama. When Oprah Winfrey announced that she was supporting Obama, she was labeled a traitor for choosing race over sex. But that’s assuming Obama’s race was more important to Oprah than Clinton’s sex. Could she have chosen to support him for other reasons? That’s not an option if you view everything through the lens of race or sex. Fortunately, not everyone will “vote their race” or “vote their gender,” as some CNN readers have stated.

I’ll say it again — if you vote for Obama primarily because he is black, you are racist. If you vote for Clinton primarily because she is a woman, you are sexist. And if you vote for McCain because he’s a white male, you’re… unusual. (Conservatives tend to focus on issues over identity politics, so I don’t see this as being as much of a concern for conservatives as it is for liberals, but let’s cover all the bases for the sake of equity.)

The race between Clinton and Obama is close, but as I write this, Obama has slightly more delegates than Clinton and appears to have the momentum. But since Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island all have primaries today, the race isn’t over for the two contenders.

Since there can only be one winner in this race (and no, I don’t believe that either candidate would deign to become the other’s VP), half of the Democrat voters in the primaries will be pissed off at the result. Those who view sex as being the most important will be disappointed and angry if yet another man is nominated. Those who view race as being the most important will be disappointed and angry if yet another white is nominated.

Regardless of who gets the nomination, I see a time of anger and resentment for Democrats when the primaries are over. I just don’t see their anger preventing them from finally rallying behind the Democrat nominee when it comes to the national vote in November. On the other hand, I see many conservatives who are still angry about Senator McCain becoming the Republican nominee, and I don’t believe they will rally in numbers to vote for the party’s choice this year. And that means we will likely have a Democrat President come 2009.

In my last comment, I wrote about diversity and how the liberal Left views diversity as a worthy goal. The Left has a very monolithic view of race that is outright racist: people are lumped into a group and are expected to behave as part of that group. How narrow-minded! You are not an individual in their view; you are nothing more than a tag: Black, Conservative, Latino, Gay, Southern, Woman, Man.

This is why Miguel Estrada and Janice Rogers Brown are so vilified by the Democrat senators. Here are two people who ought to be marching lock-step to the liberal view of what a Latino and a Black should be. How dare they have independent thoughts! Let’s look a little closer at these two nominees put forward by Pres. Bush and blocked by the liberal Democrat senators.

Justice Miguel Estrada spent over two years before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In fact, it took over 16 months before Estrada was granted his first hearing before the committee after his nomination. This is a prime example of the Democrat foot-dragging President Bush has endured during his time in office — something that the liberal Democrats refuse to acknowledge even today. Estrada had the gold seal of approval from the American Bar Association with their “well-qualified” rating. But this was not sufficient for the Democrats on the committee. Why are the liberals so afraid of letting Estrada’s nomination be voted on by the whole body of the Senate? It is simple — he would get the 51 votes needed to be confirmed a member of the D.C. Court of Appeals, and this would put him on the short list for a Supreme Court position when one comes open. Had he been approved, Estrada might have been the first Hispanic judge to sit on the nation’s highest court, but the liberals, ever-faithful champions of the minorities, have blocked his nomination. You see, he isn’t “Latino” enough for them. He does not fit their narrow-minded vision of what a Hispanic person should be, and so they refused to even give him the decency of a full Senate vote. In September, tired of the 28 months of partisan wranglings of the sanctimonious liberal Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Estrada withdrew his name from consideration for this judgeship.

Pete Martinez summed up the liberal Democrats’ position in his post to HispanicVista.com: “We have found nothing negative in Mr. Estrada’s past. He is by all accounts a brilliant attorney. Was a brilliant student, has led an exemplary life and is a bona fide role model not only to Latinos, but indeed to all Americans — but he refuses to answer our questions on how he would decide cases that may come before the court — he refuses to tell us that he would decide as we the Democrats believe he should decide, so it can only mean he would use either his independent thinking or follow the philosophy of the Republican party — so we cannot allow him to be confirmed.”

Justice Janice Rogers Brown is another well-qualified nominee for a high court position. But she is also being blocked by the liberal Democrats sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee. They view her as being far out of the mainstream, so she should not sit on the D.C. Court of Appeals. It is interesting to note that she was reelected to her California judgeship with 76% of the vote. How can she be so far out of the mainstream when a pretty liberal state like California is so firmly behind her? The answer is simple: she is not out of the mainstream, but she is too conservative for the far-left liberal Democrats in the committee. She isn’t acting Black enough in their viewpoint to be a good judge. Sen. Kennedy called Brown and the other nominees “Neanderthals,” but this racist comment barely made a ripple in the news. But the message is clear: if you are a minority, you had better conform to the Democrat concept of how you should behave. If you dare to think or act differently than the way liberals think you should, then you are somehow not Latino or Black enough. If you are Black, you must be the liberal stereotype of Black. If you are Hispanic, you must be the liberal stereotype of Hispanic. If you are female, you must be the liberal stereotype of female. What a bunch of pig-headed, racist nonsense!

The problem with this static liberal view of race is that race in America is far from static. People have called Tiger Woods, the championship winning golfer, Black or African-American. But they do so by ignoring the rest of his heritage. Newsweek, in December 1996, reported that “Tiger is one-eighth Native American, one-eighth African-American, one-quarter white, one-quarter Chinese, one-quarter Thai.” Tiger himself explained in a press release, “On my father’s side, I am African-American. On my mother’s side, I am Thai. Truthfully, I feel very fortunate, and EQUALLY PROUD, to be both African-American and Asian!” We can see that regardless of percentages, Tiger identifies himself the way he wishes. He sees himself as both Black and Thai while these identities are 12.5% and 25% of his makeup, respectively. He could just as validly claim to be Native American and White, also 12.5% and 25%. Does his race matter? Only to people who like to pigeonhole other people.

At what point do we tell someone that he or she cannot be called Black/White/Purple/whatever because he or she is less than 25%/10%/5% of that race? Years ago, this was a major issue for society. The following breakdown of races comes from a 1884 book with a truly long name: The People’s Cyclopedia of Universal Knowledge, with numerous appendixes invaluable for reference in all departments of industrial life. The whole brought down to the year 1884 with the Pronunciation and Orthography Conformed to Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. Illustrated with More than Five Thousand Engravings, and Fifty-two Handsomely Colored Double-Page Maps., by W.H. De Puy, A.M., D.D.

Father Mother Half-Caste
White Negro Mulatto
White Indian Mestizo
Indian Negro Chino
White Mulatta Cuarteron
White Mestiza Creole, only distinguished from the white by a pale brown complexion.
White Chinese Chino-blanco
White Cuarterona Quintero
White Quintera White
Negro N.A. Indian Zambo or Cariboco
Negro S.A. Indian Mameluco
Negro Mulatta Zambo-negro or Cubra
Negro Mestiza Mulatto-oscuro
Negro Chinese Zambo-chino
Negro Zamba Zambo-negro (perfectly black.)
Negro Cuarterona Mulatto (rather dark.)
Negro Quinterona Pardoc
Indian Mulatta Chino-oscuro
Indian Mestiza Mestizo-claro (frequently very beautiful.)
Indian China Chino-cholo
Indian Zamba Zambo-claro
Indian China-cholo Indian (with short frizzy hair.)
Indian Cuarterona Mestizo (rather brown.)
Indian Quintera Mestizo
Mulatto Zamba Zambo
Mulatto Mestiza Chino (of rather clear complexion.)
Mulatto China Chino (rather dark.)

According to the definition of the late 19th Century, someone who is only 6.25% Black is considered White. Judging from his Black heritage, Tiger Woods would be classified a Quintero (12.5% Black) had he lived in the 1880s. But all this hyper-sensitivity over race misses the whole point now that we live in the 21st Century. Regardless of the race of the mother and father, the resulting child is an American.

Isn’t that much simpler?