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Play the Race Card at Your Own Peril


Publication Date: 
February 17, 2008
Op-Ed or News Article
Bibliography: Richard Thompson Ford, Play the Race Card at Your Own Peril, Washington Post, February 17, 2007, pg. B1.


It's conventional wisdom that American racism is an inexhaustible well that cynical politicians can always dip into if they want to sink their opponents in a campaign. That's what Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's Hispanic pollster, Sergio Bendixen, seemed to be doing when he told a reporter last month that Latino voters haven't generally "shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates."

But modern racism isn't like the water in a well. It's more like the scum in a pond: It might settle to the bottom if left alone, but it can also be whipped up into a froth. And that's what Bendixen was really doing...