Interesting article over at Slate by Jamelle Bouie claiming that Governor Nikki Haley’s SOTU speech included barbs against BLM. I think that is a faulty analysis. Specifically Bouie has problems about the part of her speech where she discusses Haley’s description of South Carolina’s response to the Charleston Massacre, and compares that to the rioting in Baltimore and Ferguson. That’s false equivalency on multiple levels..Here are two:.
First, the bad actors in Ferguson and Baltimore were representatives of Law Enforcement and the Judicial in the states. Dylaan Root was not. Nor did the State of South Carolina in any way sanction or support Root’s actions, unlike in Ferguson. Black folks in this country riot in frustration of powerlessness which is state sanctioned. White folks may riot simply because they have run out of beer.
So far from being “noble”, the simple fact is – black folks are likely to respond to heinous acts by a lone individual for exactly what it is…Murder and domestic terrorism.
Second, BLM had nothing to do with starting, formulating, or participating in either the Baltimore or Ferguson “riots”. Claiming they are somehow “responsible” is a stretch, unless you buy into the old racist axiom that “three black people on a street corner is a riot”. Bouie’s piece facilitates, instead of exposes that sort f thinking for what it is.
Yet Haley’s approach to South Carolina has not been simply an empty deployment of stale rhetoric. She opened her first inaugural address, in 2011, by remarking on South Carolina’s contributions to the Revolutionary War, but then offered a notable departure from that theme. “Of course, when talking about our past, it would be wrong to mention our greatness during the revolutionary period without noting the ugliness of much that followed. The horrors of slavery and discrimination need not be retold here. They, too, remain a part of our history and a part of the fabric of our lives.”
It was an exceptional moment. Haley, the first Indian-American and first female governor of South Carolina, had begun her first official address to the state—about sixty-eight per cent white—with a reference to the historical fact of slavery and its contemporary significance. Haley has also spoken about the prejudices she encountered as part of the only Sikh family in Bamberg, South Carolina, which was “not white enough to be white, not black enough to be black.” Three months after the shooting in Charleston, Haley, addressing the National Press Club, described seeing her father, a botany professor at a historically black college, racially profiled at a farmers’ market when she was ten years old.
So…While Haley is undoubtedly a Republican, and has been seduced by the false and corrupted canards of conservatism…Nikki doesn’t buy in to the racist memes of those elements of her Party. Ergo – Simply believing in “smaller government”…Doesn’t make you a bigot. I’m sure of you that have read Sun Tsu…There is a part in there about picking the right enemy along with the know your enemy part. Nikki isn’t your friend from a policy and politic standpoint, but unlike some of the black conservative blowmonkey Lawn Jockeys who prostitute their race…She isn’t entirely your enemy.
To an even greater extent than Obama, Haley, as a Republican, is dependent upon the narrative of apparent progress. Obama’s first Presidential campaign was derided early on as a vehicle for white liberals’ absolution, but conservatives often ask their nonwhite candidates to help them forget that there was ever anything to be absolved. This is why, when speaking of Sandra Bland, for instance, Ben Carson objected to the tendency to “inject” race into situations where it does not belong. Haley deployed a version of this thinking at the Press Club, when she spoke of the swift indictment of the officer who shot Walter Scott in the back multiple times, in North Charleston, South Carolina, but then implied that the Black Lives Matter movement was responsible for intimidating police officers to the point that black lives are now in further jeopardy. Haley said:
You know what? Black lives do matter. Most of the people killed or injured in the riots in Ferguson and Baltimore were black. Think about it. Most of the small businesses or social-service institutions that were destroyed and looted in Ferguson and Baltimore were either black-owned or served heavily black populations. Most of the people who now live in terror because local police are too intimidated to do their jobs are black. Black lives do matter, and they have been disgracefully jeopardized by the movement that has laid waste to Ferguson and Baltimore.
This awkward logic is part of a larger idea that Haley articulates frequently: that discord is potentially as destructive as injustice. Haley has noted time and again that in the aftermath of the Emanuel A.M.E. shooting, last summer, South Carolina did not erupt into violence. In that respect, however, South Carolina is not exceptional: there was not violence after the decision not to indict Officer Timothy Loehmann in Tamir Rice’s death, in Cleveland, or after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, in the death of Trayvon Martin. The explosions in Ferguson and Baltimore have been the exceptions. Resignation, resentment, and despair are the rules.
The South Carolina governor’s pleasant-sounding speech hid an ugly message.
On Tuesday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley lived up to the hype. Tasked with giving the Republican Party’s response to President Obama’s final State of the Union address, Haley excelled, besting predecessors in a difficult format.
Besides her skill and comfort in giving a televised address, the secret to her success isn’t hard to parse. Instead of rebutting Obama, she aimed her fire—and by extension, the Republican Party’s—at its chief threat: Donald Trump.
“My story is really not much different from millions of other Americans. Immigrants have been coming to our shores for generations to live the dream that is America,” said Haley, introducing herself to American public for the first time, before going on the offensive against the Republican presidential front-runner. “Today, we live in a time of threats like few others in recent memory. During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation.”
Most coverage—and most praise—of Haley’s address focused on this passage and others that signaled a clear attack on Trump from the Republican establishment. “No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country,” she said.
But missing in the analysis was a detailed look at the next part of her speech, where she contrasted Trump and anti-immigration voices on the right with protest movements on the left. After voicing conservative Republican positions on border security, she pivoted to the defining event of her tenure in South Carolina—the racist killings at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
“What happened after the tragedy is worth pausing to think about,” she said. ”Our state was struck with shock, pain, and fear. But our people would not allow hate to win. We didn’t have violence, we had vigils. We didn’t have riots, we had hugs.”
Haley continued with this: “We removed a symbol that was being used to divide us, and we found a strength that united us against a domestic terrorist and the hate that filled him.”
On the surface, this is a simple retelling of the story of last summer, where—after protests and pressure from community activists—Haley removed the Confederate battle flag from the state capitol building in Columbia (albeit, a retelling that threads the needle about what the Confederate flag actually means). At the same time, you don’t have to read closely to see it’s also a barely coded rebuke to movements like Black Lives Matter.
“We didn’t have riots, we had hugs,” for example, is a clear reference to the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, where police killings of unarmed black men unleashed a torrent of pent-up anger and frustration around police violence and harassment.
“Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference,” she said. “That is just not true. Often, the best thing we can do is turn down the volume. When the sound is quieter, you can actually hear what someone else is saying. And that can make a world of difference.”
This sounds pleasant enough. But underneath is something ugly: the idea that, if you face oppression or horrific violence, the only legitimate response is reflexive quiet and forgiveness. Good victims, Haley seems to say, don’t make noise. The people who do—they’re the real problem. In this formulation, traditional Republican conservatism is a moderating force, that exists between the noise of Trump and of Black Lives Matter.
This turn only holds, however, if you equate Trump—an opportunistic demagogue leading a nativist movement—with a movement whose name affirms the value of human life, and whose aim is less violence in the conduct of policing. Equating the two is sophistry….Read the rest here…