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Fear Of A Black Planet

Like Drudge and Fox News and seemingly every other conservative out there, Jonah Goldberg wishes to call our attention to this video of two "Black Panthers" providing "security" outside a polling place in Philadelphia. After some "very vexed liberal readers" asked Goldberg what he was trying to say by posting the video, he responded:

Truth be told I am not trying to say anything too profound. The video is making the rounds and I thought it was interesting and even newsworthy. I think the "security" workers are sort of lame. Clearly, Obama needs to beef up funding on that civilian security force he keeps talking about. But spare me the indignation about racism this and racism that. I can guarantee you that if two similarly thuggish white "security" workers for McCain were hanging around to guard against  "enemy sabatoge" the Josh Marshall crowd would be screaming bloody murder about voter intimidation, the return of Jim Crow and all the rest.

Spare me the false innocence. Look, we all know why this video is making the rounds. Is it really interesting that a couple of idiots who apparently belong to the New Black Panther Party--a group whose greatest constituency seems to be not aggrieved African-Americans but the bookers at Fox News who constantly solicit that clown Malik Zulu Shabbaz's thoughts on tabloid crap like the Duke lacrosse case; a group so ridiculous that even the original Black Panthers try to distance themselves from it--would show up at a polling place and flex? Is that national news? In a word: no.

And, as for Goldberg's claim that the presence of two similarly thuggish white security workers for McCain would prompt liberals to scream about the "return of Jim Crow," well, yeah, it probably would--but that's because Jim Crow happened! In other words, if a couple of white thugs stood outside a polling place and intimidated black voters, that would be historically resonant in a way that's completely different from the scene that took place outside the Philadelphia polling place. The Philadelphia that matters in instances like these is the one in Mississippi, not the one in Pennsylvania.

--Jason Zengerle