Kerry: 'No new nuances'

A mostly political Weblog.
Sept. 2 2003 4:24 AM

Group Sex Update!

Plus: Boosting Bustamante

Mas, por favor! Daniel Weintraub says Cruz Bustamante's "belated renunciation of ethnic nationalism ends the furor over his long-ago membership in the MEChA" but shouldn't end questions about the "ethnic identity politics" of California's Latino Caucus and how its policies--on education, in particular--hurt the state, Latino citizens included. I agree. I associate myself with Weintraub's comments. I too am ready to move on to the question of why it took Bustamante so long to renounce MEChA . Except for one thing: As far as I can tell, Bustamante hasn't seriously renounced MEChA or its ideology. Here's the tooth-pulling exchange Wientraub cites, from the A.P.:

On Fox News on Saturday, Bustamante was asked whether he renounced a slogan of the group: "For the race everything. For those outside the race, nothing."

He responded that he loved his culture and would represent the entire state if he became governor.

"My politics ... have grown to a point where I'm a very inclusive individual, and all you have to do is look at the politics I've shared and the kind of politics that I've had," Bustamante said.

When pressed a fourth time for a more direct answer, Bustamante said, "Racial separatism is wrong... You have to look at what people do, not just what they say, and I think I've demonstrated my ability." [Emphasis added]

That's it?  ... Tacitus recounts Bustamante's ducking and dodging  on this issue. Unless there's something important hidden in those ellipses, it sounds to me like he's still dodging.  After all, Bustamante was asked to renounce the slogan, "For the race everything. For those outside the race nothing." The one thing he didn't do is renounce the slogan, "For the race everything. For those outside the race, nothing."  He didn't say that either MEChA, or the slogan, actually is separatist, nor did he address the various offensive aspects of the slogan (and the literal Mechista ideolog), that fall short of separatism--e.g., the idea that, even though you live in a mixed society, you should devote all your efforts to your "people" and not to outsiders. Bustamante didn't dare find anything to criticize in MEChA at all. ...More: There were two tests here, remember: 1) A test of Bustamante's ideology, and 2) a test of his political courage and skill. I never suspected he actually was a separatist. I also never suspected he had courage. Both suspicions have been confirmed.   ...

P.S.: It would be churlish and paranoid to note that, as a purely logical matter, Bustamante didn't even renounce the idea of "Aztlan," as a Quebec-like secessionist entity--as long as Aztlan wasn't racially separatist.... But I don't really think Bustamante wants to create an actual Aztlan. ... What would I want Bustamante to say? At a bare minimum, "That slogan expresses a kind of ethnic separatism or favoritism that is wrong."  He could then say either "I used to believe it but not any more," or "I never subscribed to it. Nobody did." (I guess, "It's offensive. They should take it off their web sites" would be asking too much.) ...

P.P.S.: Many kf readers have noted that "Raza" is not a racial concept, which might be unworkable when it comes to Chicanos, who are of various races. Bustamante specifically criticized "racial separatism," not "ethnic separatism." You don't think ...? Update: UPI's Steve Sailer says many kf readers are wrong. He emails: "'Raza' is very much a racial concept." He discusses the issue  here:

[T]he official ideology of Mexico has been that the Mexicans [are] a "mestizo" people--a mixture of Spaniards and Indians--officially referred to as "La Raza" or "The Race." Since 1928, Mexico has celebrated Oct. 12 as "The Day of The Race." On Oct. 12, 1946, Mexican politician José Vasconcelos famously declared mestizos to be "the cosmic race."

This is all interesting. But whether "La Raza" is

a) the basis for an explicitly racial identity politics or

b) a social construct of the sort you'd come up with if you wanted to practice identity politics without a clear racial identity

seems a secondary issue. It's identity politics either way--and it's more than just "separatism." ... 12:47 A.M.

Monday, September 1, 2003

The alert kf reader who started the whole Schwarzengangbanger story by putting his 1977 Oui magazine up for sale on eBay has had his auction cancelled by the Web site, even though the auction had been going for 5 days and the bidding had reached $835. eBay yanked him on a technicality--under the site's arcane rules, only pre-1980 Playboys and Penthouses may be sold in the regular "vintage" magazine section, apparently. The rest have to go in the Mature Audiences category. Oui was published by Playboy, but that didn't save him. ... And he was actually selling it for the articles, not the pictures! ... Was there outside pressure from Schwarzenscandal-fighting attorney Martin Singer? Was eBay scared by the publicity? Was my source the victim of jealous rivals hawking the same magazine? I don't know. I do know that all his bids have been cancelled and he has no way to contact the bidders. ... But his loss can be, yes, your gain! He's relisted the magazine in eBay's "Mature" section here  (You have to register with eBay as being over 18.) What was previously selling for over $800 is--at the moment--going for a lot less. ... Remember that a)Oui, unlike, say, Premiere, isn't something you can typically get down at your local library, and b) this isn't a copy of the historic August 1977 issue. It's the historic copy of the historic issue, the actual magazine that circumvented the bizarre tabloid Arnold blackout and started this valuable character-illuminating episode when it was posted for sale--the one the Smoking Gun people leased. ... [You getting a cut of this?--ed. No. But I don't like to see a source screwed. For a moment I thought you were pioneering a new, profitable form of journalism-ed]...  8:34 P.M.