Thursday, October 7, 2010

Does Conservatism = Racism?

Gerard Alexander is an associate professor of politics at the University of Virginia and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Alexander has written a fairly interesting column on the assumption that being a conservative means being a racist. It reframe, popular notions of the rise of conservatism and its perception in modern day politics.

You can read the op-ed column here.

I've provided an excerpt of an interview he's given on the subject on NPR's 'Talk of the Nation' below. You can read the rest of the transcript here...

You can hear the interview here.

"As he signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson famously remarked that he just delivered the South to the Republicans for a generation. But University of Virginia Professor Gerard Alexander argues that the Democrats had already lost the solid South and that is just one of a number of myths that he says liberals use to label conservatives as racist."

"Alexander, also a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, recently wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post titled "Conservatism does not equal racism. So why do many liberals assume it does?" Well, does conservatism imply racism?..."

"Political Junkie Ken Rudin, still with us. Gerard Alexander is also here in Studio 3A. Thanks very much for coming in today."

"Professor GERARD ALEXANDER (University of Virginia): Thank you. And cheesy as this sounds, as a long-time NPR listener, I got to admit it's kind of cool actually to be sitting here in the studio talking."

"CONAN: Well, thanks very much for being with us today. It's a very interesting piece. But among the myths, you say, is the idea that there was a decided Southern strategy by the Nixon campaign going back to, what, 1968, to pick up white racist votes in the South."

"Prof. ALEXANDER: Oh, I don't dispute that Republicans have - just like Democrats, have sought Southern voters over the decades. In fact, Eisenhower had a Southern strategy of sorts, starting in the early 1950s, trying to realign that enormous region to make it more competitive for his party."

"I only suggest that just because the Republicans sought Southern white votes, including no doubt from Strom Thurmond and others who were not exactly racially progressive at the time, does not mean that they actually gave them much in return for their votes. And the general notion is that in return for those votes, they had to give the Thurmonds of this world everything they wanted. And I don't think that's really accurately reflected in the Nixon campaign or its policy record afterward."


My thoughts on this later.

What are yours?

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