Column on blacks misses the markWritten by Robert W. Klahn | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week I went to supper in a local restaurant. As I entered the restaurant I grabbed two copies of the April 12 Toledo Free Press, one for me, one for the black woman who was dining with me. As I started to peruse the menu she closed her copy of the Free Press with the words, ”that’s all of that I can take.”
I asked what she was referring to, and she opened the paper and pointed to Reid Ahlbeck’s column, ”Black rednecks and white liberals.”
I really wasn’t too surprised, as Ahlbeck has contributed racial commentary that might be charitably described as fertilizing the discussion of race with manure. His column consisted of two text columns. The right column was a typical, strawman-based nonsensical attack on liberalism. The left column was a race-based diatribe, based on praise of Thomas Sowell.
Ahlbeck’s first error is one very common among conservatives, and those in the media, thinking he is qualified and empowered to decide who is a true black leader. He claims to know what the path is black people must follow.
What truly offended my dinner companion were his words, ”Unlike many members of his and the present generation, Sowell surmounted perhaps the highest hurdle of all for black Americans, the hurdle of angry, resentful liberalism.”
This woman is the granddaughter of a slave, the daughter of parents who grew up seeing lynched black men, whose mother grew up in a state that didn’t even have school beyond 10th grade for black people, so she had to move to another state to become the first of her family to graduate from high school.
This woman was insulted and intimidated by whites in college where she became the first of her line to graduate from college, a path all of her surviving siblings followed. As a widow, she put all of her children through college.
She said to me, ”I have been black a long, long time. I think I know better than he does what hurdles black people faced.”
Ahlbeck tried to rope Bill Cosby into the discussion. I do not recall Cosby ever saying anything to a white audience about what is wrong with black people. Bill Cosby speaks to black people and essentially says, ”We have to fix this.”
Sowell and Ahlbeck speak to white audiences and tell them, ”They have to fix this.”
What she had to say about Ahlbeck’s comments on black women ”single-handedly” holding the black community together would fill another letter. Or a column.
As to Sowell’s dedication to ”… dispassionately finding and speaking the truth …,” his columns are filled with half-truths, inaccurate nonsense and shots at anyone he disagrees with. I have often said, if Sowell were forbidden to use the words ”liberal” and ”elite,” he would be out of the columnist business in a week.
There have been a number of articles and commentaries on the difficulty the Republicans are having connecting with the black electorate. The reason can be summed up easily.
To a Democrat, a discussion of race means standing before a black or mixed audience discussing the problems black people face.
To a Republican, a discussion of race means standing before a white audience reciting the failings of black people.
Ahlbeck’s column is a perfect example of that.
Robert W. Klahn lives in Sylvania.