Politics

The meaning of race

By  | 

Rep. Tom Tancredo is a partisan buffoon. But even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes, and his latest hobby horse manages to hit a target worth skewering — even if it’s not exactly the target he was aiming at.

Tancredo, a Republican from Colorado and an outspoken opponent of diversity who has called Miami a “Third World country”, is calling for an end to race-based caucuses. He’s specifically taking aim at the Congressional Black Caucus, which has 43 members, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which counts 21 members.

First, let’s outline how Tancredo is wrong. To begin with, he apparently doesn’t understand what a caucus is.

The purpose of caucuses is to provide a gathering point and support for minorities within a larger group whose views and interests might otherwise be diluted or ignored by the larger group. I’m not talking just race: you could have a female caucus, an opera fan caucus, a sneaker caucus, or what have you.

Check out this list of Congressional caucuses. They’re all over the map. The only common principle is that they represent smaller interest groups within the larger body of Congresscritters.

A white caucus would be pointless, because the entire Congress is a white caucus. That said, Tancredo has every right to form one; he would just be displaying ignorance.

Being informal interest groups, caucuses should have the right to include or exclude anyone they want, since their sole purpose is to promote a particular interest, and it should be up to the caucus members to define what that interest is. So race-based caucuses are fine, in my book.

But not all caucuses are equally deserving of respect. And this is where the blind squirrel finds a nut.

(continued at Midtopia)