What we’re reading: “Make white people be nice to me,” vapid neoliberal arguments about Race in America must end

I’ve been meaning to share this article from Michael Graham over at Progressive Army for a while. The recent clash over our Florida Democratic Party President’s comments to Democratic Progressive Caucus of Broward County presents the perfect opportunity. If you don’t already, you should follow Michael on Twitter @BLUpfront.

Recall that new Dem party president Sally Boynton Brown announced at a Broward County Progressive Caucus meeting that her winning strategy is for candidates under the FDP banner to eschew “issues” like health care or economic equality, and focus instead on “identity messages.” Boynton Brown also reported the party was conducing research to develop scripts, ostensibly for candidates to use in communicating this magical “identity message.”

Graham offers a remedy for Identity Politics Dependency Syndrome his piece, “Make white people be nice to me,” “Black people are poor, incarcerated, and unemployed at astronomical rates because of policy, not someone’s feelings about my skin color,” says Graham. “This is all a ploy to keep Black people from staking our financial claim in the most powerful country in the world. When that conversation is taken seriously, the rich and powerful have a serious problem.”

Are we really in need of more identity politics? And why is it assumed that we can’t do both? The party didn’t lose touch with voters in 2016 because of a lack of identity packaging. Instead it flaunted a breathtaking lack of vision on protecting the economic security of working families. People are clamoring for leaders unbeholden to moneyed interests who intend to fight on our behalf. If the party got behind an agenda that supported working folks, they’d have the loyalty of those voters for a generation. But apparently we can’t have nice things because money from special interests like energy and sugar take priority over the needs of mere voters.

It’s not rocket science. 

Graham suggests we “stop listening to these vapid arguments about race and economics. No matter who is saying it. These people are not your friends. They are literally an enemy to the well-being of the entire African-American community.”

Speaking of not-your-friends, what do you supposed gave Sally Boynton Brown the idea that the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Broward County would warmly receive her dismissal of progressive priorities? Was it simply a dimwitted miscalculation? Or was she intentionally sending the caucus a message that she’s not-their-friend, and caucus efforts and input wouldn’t be required in 2018? Flush with money from special interests, how excited would the party be to see progressives advocate for issues—you have to wonder.





    Sally Boynton Brown is no Allison Tant. Thank God.


  2. Nathaniel Skinner · ·

    This is exactly why I feel that African-Americans should leave the Democratic coalition. I’m sick of the condescending crap coming from the party. I don’t give a damn about how nice Anglos are to me, I want ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY. Period. You can hate my guts all you want, but as long as I have the tools at my disposal to create wealth, then it doesn’t matter. Stop treating us like we are children that can’t handle someone not liking us.


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