All your Blacks are belonging to us

I've heard some folks in comments grumbling about the inference by Limbaugh, Buchanan, Will and K-Lo that Powell is supporting Obama because he's black. Meh, I don't have a dog in this fight. Demeaning Colin Powell as opposed to taking a sec to be self-reflective only makes the job of liberals easier. If they think this is the way to grow their base, then have at it.

That said, I'll just address the logic of things.  I have no doubt that Colin Powell is very proud of endorsing a black man for president. But understand how different that is than, making a presidential endorsement because the candidate is black. These dudes (and dudettes) have the thing backwards. Of course they;re prone to getting it backwards because they've never understood diversity. Getting inside the heads of people is always hard. But getting inside the heads of black people--when you don't know any--is even harder.

Anyway let's return to Tony Dungy. He is the first brother to win a Super Bowl. I'm sure Jim Irsay is extremely proud that he made that win possible  But Irsay didn't hire Dungy because he was black. He hired him because he's one of the best coaches of his generation. Ditto for Obama--who is running one of the best campaigns of his generation.

To say that race is major reason for  Powell's endorsement is to basically ignore a serious qualitative difference between the two campaigns. But more to the point, conservative like to pride themselves on their skepticism. They're skeptical of people like me claiming Ferraro's statemement was racist. They're skeptical of racial discrimination. They're skeptical of black culture. They want direct evidence of 'racism." Fair enough. But we demand the same in return. Leave mind-reading to Cleo. Prove to me with direct evidence that Colin Powell supported Obama because he was black.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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