I don’t fling the “R” word around much, because it is a pretty loaded word. But every now and then you come across something that just requires its use.
One of the things I’ve noticed about many “progressives” is their smug belief that they’re untainted by racism while most of those on the right are completely eaten up with it. So what they tend to do is try to validate that belief with outlandish and absurd scenarios that they obviously believe because they actually put them out publicly with a straight face.
For example, take Janeane Garofalo’s recent rambling thoughts on why GOP presidential nominee Herman Cain is in the race. It has nothing to do with his political desires or issues he’d like to effect. It has nothing to do with his life’s experiences and how they’ve shaped his political beliefs.
Nope, it has to do with his race and a conspiracy by Republicans to appear to not be what Gerafalo is sure they are. Thus this explanation:
“It’s actually not new,” Garofalo said. “It’s from the first time I ever saw him, especially after the first Fox debate and Frank Luntz as you know, has zero credibility — has these alleged ‘just plain folks’ polls after these Fox debates — and he asked who won the debate. And he was just about to say raise your hand if you support and before he finished, everybody’s hand went up to support Herman Cain. So it seemed as if they had been coached to support Herman Cain.
“I believe Herman Cain is in this presidential race because he deflects the racism that is inherent in the Republican Party, the conservative movement, the tea party certainly, and the last 30 years, the Republican Party has been moving more and more the right, also race-baiting more, gay-baiting more, religion-baiting more.”
You might believe she was saying all of that to comfort herself and deny the reality that the GOP actually none of the above. She has obviously been a leftist Kool Aid drinker for years and this is the litany they believe despite facts to the contrary. Thus it is important to those like Garafalo that they “refute” this new reality by claiming, without evidence (or by making up stuff – coached?), to fit in their manufactured reality.
Herman Cain, in Garofalo’s world and the world of many on the progressive left, is a race traitor. He can’t be a serious candidate, because she assumes anyone with black skin must reject the right because the right is “inherently racist”. Of course that must make Allen West, Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley all racial plants as well. But to explain people like this, it requires a grand conspiracy designed to “deflect” attention away from that “inherent racism” assumed by Garofalo’s ilk:
“But Herman Cain, I feel like, is being paid by somebody to be involved and to run for president so that you go, ‘Oh, they can’t be racist. It’s a black guy. It’s a black guy asking for Obama to be impeached’ or ‘It’s a black guy who is anti-Muslim,’ or ‘It’s a black guy who is a tea party guy,’” she continued. “I feel like, well wouldn’t that suit the purposes of whomever astroturfs these things, whether it be the Koch Brothers or ALEC or Grover Norquist or anything. It could even be Karl Rove. ‘Let’s get Herman Cain involved so it deflects the obvious racism of our Republican Party.’”
The absurdity of Garofalo’s theory is evident to anyone who knows even a little bit about Herman Cain. He’s no one’s dupe. But to the racist left he’s the Clarence Thomas of the political world. “How dare he wander off the plantation. We want our escaped slave back!”
Yeah, harsh, I know – but deserved. Garofalo comes from a long line of projecting progressives who hide their inherent racism with ignorant utterings like this. The purpose is to warn other blacks away from such behavior, i.e. thinking for themselves, and to again try to use racism as a potent charge against the right. It is all about narrative building.
The problem for Garofalo is she comes off as ignorant and transparent in her attempt. Stupid. She still doesn’t understand that in terms of narrative, that ship sank long ago. It is both insulting to Herman Cain and other blacks who’ve chosen the right because that’s where they feel most comfortable and revealing about Garafalo and where the real “inherent racism” lies.
I’m beginning to believe the saying circulating lately may have some truth to it – “if you voted for Obama in ‘08 to prove you weren’t a racist, you need to vote for someone else in ‘12 to prove you’re not stupid”.
It seems that at least one demographic may be over its fear of race and satisfied the historical moment has been satisfied and passed according to Pew:
Fifty-two percent of white voters identified themselves as Republicans compared with 39 percent who called themselves Democrats in the survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. The rest said they were independents.
In 2008, 46 percent of white voters said they were Republicans versus 44 percent for Democrats.
That’s a fairly significant turn around. I think it is hard not to believe the point above isn’t somewhat true as well. I actually believe there is a portion of the white population that needed to prove to themselves they weren’t hung up on race. And the “historical” part was pretty compelling too. Being a part of voting the first black person into the highest office in the land had a psychological historical feel-good aspect too it that was appealing. It was something they could brag about to the grandchildren. And they would have, if only Obama had held up his end of the bargain and actually been someone for whom it was actually worth voting.
But for many of those voters, we now have what has been described as buyers remorse. Having bought into the demonization of the past president, George Bush, that portion of white voters who swung the election Obama’s way thought “really, how could he be worse – and John McCain? Get real.”
Well he is worse. In fact Obama is worse than their McCain nightmare. So we see the swing. Guilt and history have been assuaged.
What does that mean for Obama – well, as we’re all driven to say when asking that question right now – it’s early. But we may be spotting a trend if we talk about what happened and 2010 and now:
The findings pose a challenge to Obama as he seeks re-election next year. Republicans made big gains in the U.S. Congress and state governments in the 2010 mid-term elections and are attempting to deny Obama a second term as president.
"There was a large enthusiasm gap in 2010, with Republicans far more enthusiastic and interested in the election," said Leah Christian, a senior researcher at the Pew Center who worked on the report.
"A lot of what we’re seeing in the data is a continuation of where we were in 2010," she said.
The “enthusiasm gap” remains fairly large and continues to carry over from 2010. These numbers were first evident in 2010 during the Congressional elections.
However, that said, obviously a lot in the outcome in 2012’s presidential election will depend on the candidate the GOP finally settles on. The generic Republican seems to be doing pretty darn well these days. Unfortunately, the problem is with the specific Republican candidates – as usual.
I’ve been an adamant myth buster all my life when it comes to the history of race and racism in our country trying, for years, to clarify which party it was that was on the side of racism and oppression. If one just takes the time to research it, it is there for all to find. Instead, we ended up with a myth.
It appalls me that for years the myth of the right’s racism has gained such purchase in “conventional wisdom” and particularly among American blacks. The belief that it was the Republicans who were against civil rights legislation and were the roadblock to full equality for our black citizens, when in fact it was the Democrats, seems almost accepted as fact now. But I lived and grew up in the South during that time. I know better.
The good news is this video helps to begin the process of dispelling the myth. Pay close attention because it gives you the ground truth of the matter – something, unfortunately, that is very rare these days when it comes to this subject:
First, I have no idea who “Chauncey De Vega” is. But I do know his type. So when the story broke about his post on AlterNet calling Herman Cain a “monkey” and a “minstrel”, I thought it something that others could handle quite well, thank you very much.
And, deservedly, De Vega was roundly criticized – not only for the language he used, but for the stereotypical and foundationless characterizations he used in his absurd commentary. Just another in a long line of clueless, historically ignorant and confused “commenters” on racial issues who feel the need to use inflammatory language to be noticed. Another race obsessed jerk who cannot fathom that others of his race may, through their own experiences in life, see things of a political nature different than he does. Apparently he is “the one” that decides what is proper and acceptable for blacks to believe and anyone who doesn’t toe that line is a “race traitor”. In his post, Herman Cain was the race traitor of the day.
Today De Vega doubled down on his stupid rant. AlterNet, where the original was posted, made it clear that his first post was in the “Speak Easy” which is a forum provided by AlterNet for “unedited” pieces. This follow up was in a different area which means, one assumes, that De Vega was edited and the inflammatory name calling was deleted prior to publication. Of course that doesn’t change the substance, and the substance, such that it is, isn’t much more acceptable, intellectually, than was the original post.
Why? Because it is an exercise is attempting to justify being an ignorant jerk. It sheds no new light on anything except the writer’s prejudices – which he willingly exposes. One assumes he thinks he’s being convincing, but a quick read through the piece leaves you with the understanding that this is simply “stereotypes are us” on steroids. There’s really nothing thought provoking or even particularly interesting about De Vega’s words. It is the work of a man whose mind was made up years ago and who now proudly wears the blinders of ignorance for all to see.
As most race-baiters realize, the absence of racism within today’s society would be a disaster for them. They’ve built a cottage industry around the word and are seeing their bread and butter slip away. De Vega is reduced to mischaracterizing the speech of another black man (I heard the speech), denigrating him and his beliefs and thereby indicting the crowd that listened and cheered his words as “white masters” to keep the hate alive.
Peddling racial hate is a much tougher job today as witnessed by the fact that he and others feel it necessary to attack any black who strays from what they consider the only way blacks should think. Those sorts of successful blacks give lie to their race-baiting rhetoric. The Chauncey De Vegas of this world deserve the all the condemnation and derision they earn through their vile and hateful rhetoric. They belong in a past era of this country’s racial history and are no more acceptable today than is the KKK. Ironically, both, as it turns out, are in the business of trying to sell the very same thing.
Katherine Zernike at the NYT writes about a just released “study” by the NAACP which is entitled, “N.A.A.C.P. Report Raises Concerns About Racism Within Tea Party Groups".
I know, I know – knock you over with a feather, no? And the timing? Perfect. Just before the mid-terms, a chance to label the opposition racist. Not that anyone would see through the attempt or anything.
I’ve scanned the “study” and wasn’t particularly impressed with the level of “truth” I found. For instance, here’s an example of an assumption of racism not evident at all in the situation, but somehow the NAACP managed to dig it out:
Shortly after the Seattle and Denver protests, on February 19, 2009, a stock analyst for a cable television network, Rick Santelli, let loose a five-minute on-air rant from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Yelling “This is America!” he attacked the home mortgage rescue plan the Obama administration had unveiled the day before. It was “promoting bad behavior,” he argued, by rewarding the “losers” who took on more debt than they could afford. Santelli said that Obama was turning America into Cuba, and called for a capitalist “Chicago Tea Party.”
An unstated racial element colored Santelli’s outrage over the Obama administration’s home mortgage rescue plan. During the years leading up to the housing crisis, banks had disproportionately targeted communities of color for subprime loans. Many of the so-called “losers” Santelli ranted about were black or Latino borrowers who’d been oversold by lenders cashing in on the subprime market. Their situations were worsened by derivatives traders, like Santelli, who packaged and re-packaged those loans until they were unrecognizable and untenable.
Don’t you love that “unstated racial element” assertion? Because that’s precisely what it is. Santelli’s remarks were not something anyone I know interpreted as “racist”. It was a cry against government intervention in an area where it doesn’t belong. His “this is America” resonated not because everyone thought he was talking about blacks and Latinos, but because freedom means the right to both succeed and fail. “Promoting bad behavior” was a shot at government, what it had done (and enabled) and was then considering bailing out.
Another portion goes into trying to tar the entire Tea Party movement with various characters that have apparently shown up at events. A “this guy knew this guy who was acquainted with this guy who is an anti-semite” type of inuendo that is supposed to show, one supposes, that there is underlying racism and anti-Semitism at the base of every Tea Party movement. For instance:
Also on the platform that day was the band Poker Face, playing music, providing technical back up, and receiving nothing but plaudits from the crowd. The band, from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, already had a reputation for anti-Semitism. Lead singer Paul Topete was on the public record calling the Holocaust a hoax, and writing and performing for American Free Press–a periodical published by Willis Carto, the godfather of Holocaust denial in the United States.
My guess is that the crowd giving “nothing but plaudits” had no idea who Poker Face was and, unless the band did anti-Semitic songs, had no one awareness of the lead singers absurd position on the Holocaust.
And then this damning bit of “evidence”:
In preparation for Tea Party protests held on July 4, 2009, national socialists and other white supremacists created a discussion thread on Stormfront.org, the largest and most widely accessed of the many white nationalist websites. While highlighting the distinction between themselves and the majority of Tea Partiers who were not self-conscious about their own racism, one person argued, “We need a relevant transitional envelop-pushing flyer for the masses. Take these Tea Party Americans by the hand and help them go from crawling to standing independently and then walking towards racialism.”
Or said another way, unlike the NAACP, the white supremacists assumed the “Tea Party Americans” weren’t racist and needed their help in becoming so. In essence the attempt by the NAACP is to give a litany of white supremacist organizations and torturously try to link them to the Tea Party – with the inevitable slip ups like that above where, in fact the supremacists neatly contradict their premise.
And of course there’s irony. In one portion of the “study” the NAACP goes after Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs as a dangerous “Islamaphobe”. She’s cited as a very important cog in the Tea Party movement. Of course Geller is Jewish which sort of injures the “Tea Partiers are anti-Semitic” canard but never mind that. How about this instead:
With leaders like Geller, it is not surprising to find language on a ResistNet Tea Party website that denigrates an entire grouping of people because of their faith. “We are at a point of having to take a stand against all Muslims. There is no good or bad Muslim. There is [sic] only Muslims and they are embedded in our government, military and other offices…What more must we wait for to take back this country of ours…”
We have an entire “study” dedicated to denigrating an entire grouping of people as “racist, anti-Semitic, nativist and homophobic”, but the NAACP is a bit upset that Geller isn’t a fan of Islam.
Anyway, you get the drift. Read it if you want too, but you’ll find very little light and a whole bunch of tenuous nonsense that is excruciatingly void of real facts. Certainly not at all unexpected nor surprising.
Two responses I found interesting came from Project 21 members – a black conservative organization:
Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli, "This is nothing more than a cynical attempt to mobilize support for their policies through fear. Even though Obama’s policies are harmful to the black community, tragically, they seek to manufacture blind loyalty to the President by scaring them about the opposition. As a frequent speaker at tea party rallies nationwide, I know the movement has nothing to do with race and everything to do with toxic liberal policies."
"As a black man, I scorn and resent this never-ending assault on the morals of all black people by the NAACP," said Project 21 member Oscar Murdock, who took part in the Tea Party Express rally in Searchlight, Nevada. "In spite of being an organization that was correctly established to procure and preserve rights for a people to whom rights and dignity were being denied, the NAACP has descended into a group that is a disgrace to the humanity of the very people it was created to elevate. It is now only a bigoted and politically biased blight among organizations."
I’d almost bet that these folks will soon be called “Oreos” or “Uncle Toms” by members of the organization which sponsored this smear job.
According to the NYT, Obama’s MTV appearance wasn’t as “light” as those who proposed it hoped it would be and essentially he was on the defensive for most of it.
I didn’t watch, so I can’t say, however if true, it simply validates the overall feeling of frustration and dissatisfaction with the present state of affairs. He was hit with a question of unemployment and DADT. Probably the most interesting, at least to me, was this:
A graduate student, citing Arizona’s immigration law and the opposition to an Islamic center in New York, said race relations in the country seem to have deteriorated since the idealism inspired by Mr. Obama’s election, and he asked, “What happened?” Mr. Obama said racial progress has been fitful throughout history, and “oftentimes misunderstandings and antagonism surfaces most strongly when economic times are tough.”
What has “race” to do with either Arizona’s immigration law or the Ground Zero Mosque? Seriously – if those coming across our border and wanting to build a mosque next to where Islamic extremists killed 3,000 Americans were lily white, would it change the argument?
If they were white Muslims would everyone say, “oh, well, never mind – build your mosque where ever you want”?
If those coming into our country illegally were blond haired and blue eyed, would the prevailing consensus be, “hey, that’s fine, no problem”?
No. It wouldn’t. This is more of the left’s attempt to create the narrative that any opposition to radical Islam or illegal immigration is based in race hatred. Would I guess that’s probably the case for a small minority? Sure. But is it the case for the vast majority?
Consider the questions I’ve asked and whether or not you’re concerned because the majority of those coming across our border are Mexican or because they’re doing so illegally. Or whether your opposition to the GZM is based in race hatred or the inappropriateness of the attempt to build such a structure representing the religion of the zealot killers next to the site of those they killed?
Certainly there is still some work to do in the area of race relations – but it is not at all helpful to try to invent it where it really doesn’t exist. Of course you can’t call your opponents “Nazis”, “brown shirts” or “racists” if you don’t do the groundwork first, can you?
Welcome to post-racial America:
CYNTHIA TUCKER, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Well I think it may help the Democrats in some races this time, Chris, because some of the Tea Party candidates are so extreme. But there is another issue. There is, as Norah said, a whole lot of voter anger, discontent out there. We haven’t talked about the elephant in the room, and I don’t mean the Republicans: race. Changing demographics. Fear of a white minority.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: That’s so interesting.
TUCKER: Obama’s election has suddenly made many white Americans aware of the loss of a white majority.
MATTHEWS: That’s so interesting.
TUCKER: That’s what this crazy summer has been all about. Anti-mosque construction. Anti-immigrant ravings. It, that fear is very difficult for Obama to overcome.
As Noel Sheppard asks, then how do you explain the fact that 43% of “white America” voted for Obama or that he had 78% approval rating in January 2009 according to Gallup?
And, of course, it couldn’t be the rotten economy, the promise that the trillion dollar stimulus would fix it when it actually seems to have made it worse (or at least had no effect), or that the government took over car companies, has proposed trillion dollar deficit budgets as far as the eye can see, rammed an unpopular health care law down our throats and has seen no leadership whatsoever out of the White House could it?
Nope – it’s all about losing the “white majority” isn’t it?
An amazing conclusion that could only be cobbled together by a professional race baiter. And another in a long line of excuses tendered to explain the massive unpopularity of the liberal agenda.
Seriously if he’s not bright enough to know the difference or pretends not to, why pay attention to him?
The Rev. Walter Fauntroy, the non-voting delegate who represented the District of Columbia from 1971 to 1991, called on African-Americans to organize a "new coalition of conscience" to rebut the rally scheduled for Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial featuring Fox News pundit Glenn Beck and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
"We are going to take on the barbarism of war, the decadence of racism, and the scourge of poverty, that the Ku Klux — I meant to say the Tea Party," Fauntroy told a news conference today at the National Press Club. "You all forgive me, but I — you have to use them interchangeably."
Well, Rev. Fauntroy, if you do, you’re intellectually dishonest or just not very bright and, frankly, a run of the mill race baiter.
Here’s the diff, Rev. You’d be welcome at Saturday’s rally as a concerned American regardless of the color of your skin. The same can’t be said about any KKK rally, can it?
The fact that he feels compelled to say ignorant and inflammatory things like that says a lot more about the Rev. than those attending the rally.
"I don’t want you to think I’m angry," Fauntroy said. "[But] when this right-wing conservative exclusionary group comes to highjack our movement, we have got to respond. And I’m looking forward to that Coalition of Conscience, in defense of jobs and freedom for women."
Yeah, because none of those in DC on Saturday would defend jobs and freedom for women, would they? Especially the females and unemployed among them.
Hey, Rev — the race card is dead. You and those like you who have played it at every turn and make outrageous claims like comparing a rally of concerned Americans to the KKK have killed any cache it had left.
It doesn’t work anymore.
Instead, things like I’m writing now – ridicule – are the standard response. You deserve it. It should be heaped on you. Along with a huge helping of scorn. You’re like a little kid who holds his breath and stomps his feet and says the most hateful thing he can because things aren’t going his way.
And I’ll bet, after tarring all those Americans at the rally with your wide racist brush, that you’ll claim to be a Christian too, won’t you? You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Does everything have to be about race today?
Juan Williams, who I have always thought was a somewhat sane liberal, had this to say about the Missouri vote on health care while speaking with Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday":
WILLIAMS: Look, I think this is, and as far as the Missouri vote, you get 70 percent inside an echo chamber of older white people, no not in St. Louis not in Kansas City, saying, "Oh yeah, we don’t like a requirement that everybody has to have healthcare even though the hospitals in Missouri say it’s gonna drive up our costs, everyone is just going to run to the emergency rooms when they have their accidents."
Sort of stunning isn’t it?
Well, because a bunch of old white folks in an "echo chamber" decided they didn’t care to be forced into a system they didn’t want, so it really doesn’t mean anything.
He goes on to make it worse:
WALLACE: What happened to respect for democracy?
WILLIAMS: I have tremendous respect for democracy, but as Ted Olson…
WALLACE: The proposition was on the ballot…
WALLACE: …and 71 percent voted in favor of it.
WILLIAMS: That’s who’s energized. The unions didn’t participate and they didn’t get out there…
WALLACE: Well, that’s their problem, isn’t it?
It is indeed. But using Williams argument, the last presidential election doesn’t mean anything because the side that voted for Obama was "who’s energized" at that time. But this is the first time I’ve seen “who’s energized” as a basis of dismissing the result.
This is how the left writes you off. They categorize you, make up nonsensical claims about legitimacy or illegitimacy, try to make it about race or pseudo-rights and then dismiss the result.
That, in a nutshell, is why they’re going to get shellacked in November. And they haven’t a clue as to “why”. They think you dumbass white folks, or tea partiers or angry white men or grouchy senior citizens don’t know what you’re talking about. So you turn out, after being duped in the “echo chamber” and go through your preprogrammed vote. Thus they, and their vote, are irrelevant.
It is an amazing bit of self-delusion, but there you have a perfect example found in the words of Juan Williams.
So much for "post-racial".
I’m sure you’ve been watching the goings on for the last few months – the race baiting, the Black Panther case – or lack thereof – the NAACP calling the Tea Party "racist" with little or no proof, the "journolist" appeal to call those on the right "racist" in order to blunt criticism of Obama and finally, the Shirley Sherrod case.
Essentially, both sides need to take a breath. But even with a breath, it is clear that there is nothing "post-racial" about the climate in this country. Ben Smith’s take:
The America of 2010 is dominated by racial images out of farce and parody, caricatures not seen since the glory days of Shaft. Fox News often stars a leather-clad New Black Panther, while MSNBC scours the tea party movement for racist elements, which one could probably find in any mass organization in America. Obama’s own, sole foray into the issue of race involved calling a police officer “stupid,” and regretting his own words. Conservative leaders and the NAACP, the venerable civil-rights group, recently engaged in a round of bitter name-calling that left both groups wounded and crying foul. Political correctness continues to reign in parts of the left, and now has a match in the belligerent grievance of conservatives demanding that hair-trigger allegations of racism be proven.
Yeah, heaven forbid that proof be demanded – in the past all it’s taken is yelling “racist” and the deed is done. Now suddenly, proof of the word is demanded? Outrageous.
But to the bigger point – if this is a ‘national conversation’ about race, I’d sure see it when we’re yelling at each other. The absurdity of all of this has gotten beyond amusing. It’s now destructive.
“I thought we were going to move beyond this,” said Abigail Thernstrom, a conservative historian of race and a Bush appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, who called the current racial climate “a catastrophe.”
“There’s a kind of heightened racial consciousness that’s very worrisome. It’s not good for us, it’s not good for the very fabric of American society,” she said, objecting in particular to the claims of racism against the tea party movement.
Yup – I think there were a lot of us who hoped we were beyond this. But for some, racism and race is big business. Take Jesse Jackson. In fact take Jesse Jackson recently on the LeBron James kerfuffle. It was he who made the comparison to plantation owners and slaves. Nothing the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers had said that remotely reminded anyone of someone talking about a “runaway slave” as Jackson portrayed it. But Jackson’s mind is focused on one area and one area only – everything is racial to him, even a business disagreement.
While there may be plenty to criticize in the way Dan Gilbert handled the situation and what he said about James, but to an impartial observer, it had nothing to do with race. It was a tantrum by an owner who felt this particular players hadn’t played up to his potential in the playoffs and blasted him. But “plantation owner” and “runaway slave”? Give me a freakin’ break.
One of the things I said would help sooth racial tensions was the passing of my parent’s generation – they may have been the “greatest generation” because of WWII, but there was a lot of bigotry within that generation as well (my parents being a very interesting exception). Now I’m of the opinion that a lot of this will begin to cool when the generation of race hustlers, like Jackson, and race baiters, like Al Sharpton, meet their reward.
It’s a pity really – this should be old news. We should be watching documentaries about this and shaking our heads sadly.
Instead, we have a new 21st century race war going on. And I believe much of the blame falls on the Obama administration and Holder’s DoJ.
Regardless though, it’s pitiful.