Saturday, February 12, 2011

Black History Month is Herman Cain Playing the Race Minstrel for CPAC



In the immortal words of Megatron in Transformers: The Movie, Herman Cain's speech to CPAC really is bad comedy. As you know, I find black garbage pail kids black conservatives fascinating not because of what they believe, but rather because of how they entertain and perform for their White Conservative masters. Ultimately, I simply cannot resist their tasty double-dipped Oreo goodness...

When race minstrelsy was America's most popular form of mass entertainment, black actors would often have to pretend to be white men, who then in turn would put on the cork to play the role of the "black" coon, Sambo, or Jumping Jim Crow. Adding insult to injury, in a truly perverse and twisted example of the power of American white supremacy black vaudevillians would often pretend to be white in order to denigrate black people for the pleasures of the white gaze.

Herman Cain--an ironic name if ever, and one more suited to a tragic figure in a Harlem Renaissance era novella--is not "blackening twice" as some race minstrels chose to do.

[Unfortunately, the attendees at CPAC are not the butt of some type of joke where the white man wearing the cork is really a black man in secret.]

Instead, Herman Cain's shtick is a version of race minstrelsy where he performs "authentic negritude" as wish fulfillment for White Conservative fantasies. Like the fountain at Lourdes, Cain in his designated role as black Conservative mascot, absolves the White racial reactionaries at CPAC of their sins. This is a refined performance that Black Conservatives have perfected over many decades and centuries of practice.

Let's consider the routine. First, Cain enters the stage to Motown music. Then Cain feigns swimming after rolling up his sleeves to show them his black skin and how he is a hardworking negro (not like those other ones). Cain bellows in a preacher affected voice and channels the folksy negro down home accent of his late grandpappy. In the money shot, Cain gives the obligatory "black folks who are not Republicans are on the plantation" speech to the joyous applause of his White benefactors. And he doubles down by legitimating any opposition to President Barack Obama as virtuous and patriotic regardless of the bigoted well-springs from which it may flow.

In total, CPAC is a carnival and a roadshow for reactionary Conservatives. It is only fitting that in the great tradition of the freak show, the human zoo, the boardwalk, and the great midway world's fairs of the 19th and 20th centuries, there is a Borneo man, a Venus Hottentot or a tribe of cannibals from deepest darkest Africa or Papua New Guinea on display. For CPAC and the White Conservative imagination, Herman Cain and his black and brown kin are that featured attraction.

We always need a monkey in the window, for he/she reminds us of our humanity while simultaneously reinforcing a sense of our own superiority. Sadly, there are always folks who are willing to play that role because it pays so well.

14 comments:

The New Black Woman said...

I love this post!

I've always just laugh and shake my head at Herman Cain. The white people where I live (north metro Atlanta) absolutely LOVE him. He came to our county to participate in a fundraiser and everyone went bonkers over his presence.

I got a laugh when he claimed the TEA Party folks were racist by claiming they allowed him to speak. I just thought to myself, "Well, of course they'll listen to you. You're their token black supporter!"

I'm all for black folk having different political ideologies and belonging to different political parties. But, when they get caught up in the denial of the latent racism rampant in many conservative circles, it's hard for me to take them seriously.

Oh Crap said...

In total, CPAC is a carnival and a roadshow for reactionary Conservatives. It is only fitting that in the great tradition of the freak show, the human zoo, the boardwalk, and the great midway world's fairs of the 19th and 20th centuries, that there is a Borneo man, a Venus Hottentot or a tribe of cannibals from deepest darkest Africa or Papua New Guinea on display. For CPAC and the White Conservative imagination, Herman Cain and his black and brown kin are that featured attraction.

Yep, political showbiz. It's not an accident I end up having to reference vaudeville so often.

And did you catch all that HIGH DRAMA with GOProud? If I were them, I'd be GOPHecccaEmbarassed to have any connection with a nasty, sniveling, anti-Black closet queen like Andrew Breitbart.

But I'm actually glad for GOProud, since as nonwhite queers know all too well exactly what conservative bigots a lot of middle-class white gays can be, especially the climbers with the shared class anxieties of the latest crop Black Conservatives/Minstrels. Now, at least the dumb white gay bigots have some other place to go instead of stinking up the regular glbtq groups. That is, if they don't get their butts kicked out of CPAC, as well.

Same with the 7 Black jackasses who keep showing up to CPAC. Let them rot in their miseries, as far away from normal people as possible.

Sandy Gholston said...

Nicely done.

ish said...

"Herman Cain--an ironic name if ever, and one more suited to a tragic figure in a Harlem Renaissance era novella"

It is brilliance like this that reminds me why I love your blog.

Rabia said...

Great post!

Last night, Seth Meyers on SNL called CPAC the ComicCon for Tea Partiers (or conservatives. Can't remember, sorry if I'm misquoting, but you get the jist.) Apparently they had a CPAC version of Drow (folks dressed as the "dark" elves, complete with blackface one finds at nerd gatherings) at their Con as well.

Anonymous said...

That NYT book looks like a white guy's poor excuse to pour some salt into some wounds "just to see what happens."

-->'Most troubling is Strausbaugh's central thesis — that those who are squeamish about blackface simply can't take a joke like a real American. "Until the rise of multiculturalism and identity politics encouraged everybody to be 'offended' by everything all the time," he writes, "it was presumed that earning a spot for yourself was a rough-and-tumble procedure. It took a thick skin and a sense of humor."'

^says it all. "But I waaaant to write a book about blackface. It had its upsides you know!" My race is made up of a bunch of ignorant & malevolent folks.

Andy Alexander said...

Your ad hominem tone only makes you look foolish. You are exactly what Mr. Cain was referencing when he said, "Stupid people are ruining America." I highly doubt that you are even able to give an intelligent rebuttal to Mr. Cain's speech, which is why you resort to these sort of racist attacks. The proof it in the pudding...Herman Cain is a successful businessman, CEO, author, while you are are an anonymous, gutless blogger that probably lives in your mom's basement.

Go ahead, continue to crack the whip of verbal abuse upon those who disagree in your feeble attempt to intimidate people like Mr. Cain to be a good little slave to the Liberal massa that continues to take your freedom and oppress you.

Lady Zora, Chauncey DeVega, and Gordon Gartrelle said...

@New--Be nice. You didn't know that white conservatives have the best interests of black people at heart?

@OhCrap--Be nice. Breitbart is your friend. See how forgiving and kind he was to Shirley Sherrod? Even after she victimized him?

@Sandy--Thanks.

@Ish--So many complements. Your kindness is might conservative of you.

@Rabia--I need to check that out. But SNL best be nice to conservatives. They are victims in this society and always under constant threat of harm.

@Anon--There you go again. Why can't we just have a little blackface and have fun? So sensitive.

@Andy--You are right. No seriously. I need to get of massa's plantation and get on your where the pay is better for buckdancing caricatures like Herman Cain and others. You good conservatives have my best interests at heart. It is high time I realize that I should be pleading for your gold and silver coins like a black Judas--the type of negroes you are most comfortable around.

Yikes...the Conservative mind is really so shallow and twisted. If you don't see how you validated my points on Cain, well then I can't help you.

Oh Crap said...

Alex Alexander, first cousin of Erick Erickson.

Plantsmantx said...

Your crossposting of this post at Alternet has excited a lot of umm...interest, lol.

Thrasher said...

CD,

Thanks for reminding me yet again why this site is the best on the internet with regard to political, cultural and social commentary...

Anonymous said...

Good job.

Taking a legitimate political debate and reducing it to a bunch of people shouting about slavery and the n-word.

Modern American politics, eh! May you all rot in your collective cesspit. Your shithole of a nation is already past its prime, and your grandchildren will reap the harvest that you sow now.

Posted anonymously, just like Chauncey D :)

Mack Lyons said...

"The proof it in the pudding...Herman Cain is a successful businessman, CEO, author, while you are are an anonymous, gutless blogger that probably lives in your mom's basement."

It doesn't matter how much of a success you are if you discarded your principles in order to become one. Judging by how much time he spends playing the minstrel to an audience that truly believes in the worst traits of his people, you could say those principles are in a landfill somewhere, decomposing nicely under 6 ft. of garbage and soil.

Anonymous said...

You liberal asses are the true comedy of the political arena. You claim to be so open minded and accepting of all people no matter what. Yet...any time somebody that is not a white male promotes a conservative point of view, you spew racist, and sexist hatred. You verbally rape any conservative women because they are not for abortion or looting the rich and giving it to the'oppressed' poor people. Any black conservative gets the same treatment by being accused of being an Uncle Tom. You people are such hypocrites!
I was like you for the first 20 yrs of my life. My whole family is liberal. Your views are all based on emotions and your drug induced utopia.
If all of society thought like you, we wouldnt have half the things we do because of people that want to create, not loot others.
Stop acting like you are for the minorities. You want to keep them poor by making it more lucrative to do nothing instead of working. Welfare destroys minority families. You promote abortion so there are less minorities. You yell obscenities at any conservative women to belittle them but you claim to be for women's rights.
Why dont you take off the costume.
Herman Cain is inspiring, not amusing. Maybe you are color blind...you just hate successful people. They left you behind and expose you to yourself. So you try to treat them down instead of aspring to be the best person you can be.
Stop posing and show what haters you are. Maybe you should wear the pointy hoods.
Dan/Pittsburgh (ex-liberal)