It is difficult for white folks and Black folks to disagree with each other on the merits of an argument in a civil manner. It doesn't matter whether it is on a schoolyard playground ... in the workplace ... or at a congressional hearing. The issue of race is always bubbling just beneath the surface ... ready to erupt on a moment's notice.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Harry Alford, head of the National Black Chamber of Commerce demonstrated as much earlier this week at a congressional hearing about climate change. It would seem to be difficult to get into a race-based conflict when the discussion is auto emissions, global warming and such. But this white woman and Black man managed to do so ... check out the video:
Sen. Boxer threw the first punch. She is the chair of the committee. She can enter resolutions and letters into the record at any time she wants. She made it a point to enter documents from NAACP and 100 Black Men into the record because they had a point of view that differed from the witness, Harry Alford. It is her perogative. However, it was obvious (to me at least) that she saved the letters from those two groups for Mr. Alford because she thought that it would be impactful to have Black organizations publically feuding with one another. Strategy is simple ... divide and conquer.
Harry Alford did not seem to be very respectful of the committee chair. I don't know the brother or his personality on the other 364 days of the year. However, on this particular day he was loaded for bear. He wasn't going to let anyone turn him around. He and his organization did not agree with the position of Sen. Boxer and he wanted to ensure that his point of view was heard.
You could hear in their voices that they were both on edge very quickly. Why? Because racial issues were in the mix. As I said at the beginning ... It is difficult for white folks and Black folks to disagree with each other on the merits of an argument in a civil manner.
What say u?