Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Report From the Frontlines of the Herman Cain is a Race Minstrel Controversy



I want to thank all of my fellow travelers who have chimed in on the Herman Cain Race Minstrel Affair. I may not have responded to each of you individually. But trust, your support is appreciated and I give love to you all.

I am going to be doing a few more interviews on the radio, as well as online regarding this matter, and then move on. I don't dance or monkeyshine for gold, silver, or attention so I am going to stick with the girl that I brought to the prom. Stated differently, I am going to keep doing what I have been doing damn/despite/because/and regardless of the consequences. As you know I follow the pro-wrestlers' creed: I am me with the volume turned up. I will not deviate from my promise to always be sincere and real. That decision rule--one rooted in my working class roots--has brought me farther than I ever thought possible. With your help, our momentum will keep pushing us forward to bigger and greater things.

In keeping with my love principle, I only felt it fair to ask one of the longtime members of the WARN family who has been out there in the trenches--quite literally--since this dust-up began, to give her account of the events as she experienced them.

Courtesy of our friend OhCrapIhaveacrushonSarahPalin fame...

*****
Note to Republicans: hire some new PR people. The minions you've sent out screaming "Democrat Plantation" at Blacks in an effort to make a dent in the largely Democratic voting bloc are an abject failure. Read on to find out why they are consistently rebuffed, and treated with the all the derision and ridicule a fool deserves.

Still in the Shadow of Uncle Tom: This Week's Political Showbiz and the Race-Based Melodrama That Ensued

I was raised by Reagan Democrat(ic) Moral Majority Christian Coalition parents, both ordained ministers, who were primarily "race people". That is, they saw their own work as the first/only Blacks in their places of employment, our positioning as the first/only Blacks in our neighborhood and their decision to send me to all-white Christian schools as desegregation part 2. Many liberals do not know about, or understand, this aspect of Black conservatism. I do, because I lived it, and am a product of it. I spent three years at Fundagelical U., where I had my first more-than-friends same-sex set of events (oh, the things that go on in those sex-segregated dorms...) My father was emeritus and board member of a Christian college with ties to the New Apostolic Reformation. My first vote was for Pat Robertson.

And yes, I really do have a crush on Sarah Palin.

With those ex-conservative bonafides out of the way, I can say with certainty there's good reason not to trust people like Herman Cain, Unhyphenated-Americans like Lloyd Marcus, and the seven other Black characters on the Tea Party circuit. Their sincerity is in question, due not simply to their skin color, as Chauncey's detractors wish to make one believe, but because of their behavior which fits longstanding patterns of race-opportunism.

Enter: coonery, tommery and minstrelsy--the popular American art form infamous for distorting and misrepresenting Black people in the White imagination. Make no mistake: Race minstrelsy continues in the 21st century.

Ask yourself the following. Do tales of black incompetence, vindictiveness, threats of socio-political instability, and white slavery sound familiar?


Have you ever noticed that Republicans, and with all of their loud wails of being the "party of Lincoln," do not mention the postbellum era of Republican Reconstruction during the years of 1865-1877? Though "Jim Crow" was a character out of blackface minstrelsy, White state's rights conservatives imposed this formal type of racism on all non-whites immediately after the end of the Civil War, with this period of de facto white supremacy being codified into law with the landmark Supreme Court case Plessy vs Ferguson (1896). Furthermore, in many regions of the US, such as the west south, north and midwest, this condition lasted into the late 1970s and sometimes decades beyond.

So of course Republicans don't mention the problematic era of Reconstruction--at least not in their outside voices anyway. Why? To do so would alienate their state's rights, Confederate flag-fetishizing constituents.





Hey you, the voter with all the values! Have some Obama waffles!

For example, the Obama Waffles caricature, based in Aunt Jemima visual rhetoric, is directly out of minstrelsy branding. Black conservatives know this. The Muslim-baiting, McCarthy-lite inside content was even worse. But how many conservatives, outside of one, professional homo-hater Bishop Harry Jackson, have ever dared to speak up against such bigotry?

In addition, have you ever noticed how "these lovers of the Constitution" are silent on Tammy Bruce's almost-daily characterization of President Barack Obama as "Urkel?" What is a reference to a 1990s-era sitcom character that scholars Mary Dalton and Laura Linder associate with minstrelsy stock characters such as Sambo the coon. Moreover, it never made the news when Bruce asserted back in January that she gets to call gays "homos" because she is one.

Of course, we heard a few grumbles from their corner when Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake.com posted an illustration of Senator Joe Lieberman in blackface. But, I do not recall it making the news at Fox News.

And no maliciousness or death wishes are ever directed at those who wield the epithet "race-pimp", which on the American right is synonymous with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Yet we saw it happen against Mr. DeVega over at Alternet.

Conservative jihadis from the lowliest twitterers to the twits at Fox/Kingdom Holding News Channel seek to silence Chauncey DeVega's so-called "racism" as they are quick to condemn and police the behavior of every Black person outside the conservative fold. Ultimately, a Black man speaking his mind about the behavior of a Black conservative without the permission of white overseers, and without apologies or reservation, is an affront to their White authority.

To White conservatives this is bad behavior. Moreover, it is bad behavior that must be punished. Preferably, with repeated epithet strings like like "you're on the Democrat plantation"; "only Black conservatives (i.e. 5% of Black voters or less) think for themselves"; The KKK is the Democrats Robert Byrd; Nazis are Socialists; Read some Ayn Rand, etc. etc. etc.. We observed this behavior from freeper after freeper over at Alternet.

Nobody with common sense buys their stale old Reconstruction-era hysteria. This is the fundamental issue conservatives have with Chauncey DeVega's article, and his subsequent, rage-inducing refusal to be intimidated by even the loudest, most obnoxious Right-wing bullies.

For Herman Cain's part, he is simply using this as a free publicity grab. He should be thanking Chauncey DeVega and giving him 15% for putting Cain on the cultural map, instead of leaving him to stew in Tea Party obscurity.

At A Crossroads of Cognitive Dissonance: The Left-wing of the Far Right

Despite what the paleoconservatives at Outside the Beltway would have us believe, images out of race minstrelsy are ugly. So is minstrelsy-inspired talk like "Sambo beat the bitch." Who can blame white state's rights conservatives for wanting to distance themselves from this history?

At present, the mainstream state's rights crowd and affiliated Tea Partiers seem to be testing out another remedy.

Armed with language and concepts stolen from liberals, the left wing of the far Right is on the march. They are bringing the conservative movement to a social crossroads.

This week, we saw all manner of state's rights conservatives labeling the entire left "racists" who, like Chauncey DeVega, victimize them with "hate speech". The late 20th and early days of the 21st centuries are apparently moments when the bizarre and surreal have seemingly become the new normal and mundane.

Conservative gays like GOProud attend CPAC. Even Glenn Beck says same sex marriage isn't a threat to America and shouldn't be a priority of the right. Sarah Palin wears the label "feminist" with in-your-face aplomb, and, seeimingly, singlehandedly introduced the concept of "misogyny" to the same right-wing males who have spent the past twenty years denying it's existence. Now, they use the term with relish against anyone who disagree with her policies. The feminists who did not vote for Mrs. Palin are now "the sexists".

Two years ago, no conservative would be caught dead engaging in such leftist Marxist progressive politically-correct anti-liberty speech. Today, it's the norm in many of their circles. However ironic and problematic, given their backgrounds the lemmings cheering on Herman Cain at CPAC are going to have a much tougher time repackaging themselves as mavens of diversity and true inheritors of the mantle of abolitionism and civil rights.

During the Civil Rights era, state's rights conservatives such as the John Birch Society (which bankrolls CPAC) and Ezra Taft Benson (Glenn Beck's favorite), routinely labeled MLK and any other civil rights workers Communists, Socialists, or Marxists. They were in the right-wing gaze people who were unable to think for themselves.

Today, the GOP runs candidates who dress as Nazi war criminals in their spare time. Their gubernatorial candidate for New York sends these emails to friends on the taxpayer dime. Conservative Republicans permit governors to impose Confederate History Month onto the public, and dig in their heels when others allow KKK members to be commemorated on state license plates. A Republican women's organization in South Carolina recently held a "Southern Experience" ball, complete with Confederate generals (Glenn McConnell, R - SC State Senate President), and rent-a-slaves. McConnell's colleague in the senate, Jake Knotts, called other GOP politicians "ragheads".

For me, this grand burlesque of extreme cognitive dissonance has been the week's entertainment. Save for a couple shows on Fox and the usual suspects on the Right-wing side of these Internets, their predictable antics in trying to shut down Chauncey DeVega turned out to be a flop. In a tragicomedy of sorts, conservatives have become the very anti-First Amendment PC police they have spent the past two decades decrying. And it is high comedy watching them try to fulfill this role on the public stage.

21 comments:

Constructive Feedback said...

Please afford me the opportunity to analyze this posting.

In summary - You are merely talking about the PLAYERS in the "Malcolm X Political Football Game' while TOTALLY AVOIDING any serious mention of WHAT THEY ALL ARE STRIVING FOR.

* I thought we wanted Education
* .....Economic Prosperity
* .....Safe Streets

You (Oh Crap) and Mr De Vega are more interested in IDEOLOGICAL UNITY ENFORCEMENT and fighting against your IDEOLOGICAL ADVERSARIES (making use of racial invective where permissible) as a means of giving YOUR TEAM a morsel of confidence in the union - as you dutifully avoid any serious focus on the COMMON FATE that the waterfall that is coming over the horizon will translate into the USS America.

On the way over the edge - I suspect you will be arguing over WHO was at the captains wheel.

fictional eyes said...

Conservative jihadis from the lowliest twitterers to the twits at Fox/Kingdom Holding News Channel seek to silence Chauncey DeVega's so-called "racism" as they are quick to condemn and police the behavior of every Black person outside the conservative fold. Ultimately, a Black man speaking his mind about the behavior of a Black conservative without the permission of white overseers, and without apologies or reservation, is an affront to their White authority.

I liked this part the best. What concern is it, really, of any conservative white person, what a non-conservative black person thinks of their house negro?

And, yes, I went there. Because, that's ultimately the fear, right? Being called a house negro. PUH-LEEZ. I am a light skinned black woman with a bougie diction, you think I've not been called a house negro? For all kinds of reasons.

But the mark of a house negro really is how much they're willing to sell out similarly-oppressed people, people from whence he came, to afford the comforts and the privileges that come with toiling in master's house.

Because, never forget, a house negro's work is never done. You may live in the house, but you still toil for the master.

White people are distinctly uncomfortable with their role in this dynamic, and will say and do anything to disavow it.

But, to paraphrase The Dude, that's just, like, my opinion, man.

Oh Crap said...

@Constipated Facepalm, Please afford me the opportunity to analyze this posting.

Nothing you'd have to say about it would be interesting, or relevant.

@fictional eyes, hear you on the newscaster's accent, and the predictable names and assumptions about your moral character that follow.

I get labeled "lightskinned", though yeah, I'm "lightskinned" about like Yellow Mary from Daughters of the Dust was "lightskinned". Being Blk and out-queer automatically earns one the HN-sellout-etc epithet chain with some ppl.

It's the same game these Black conservatives are playing, which is really just a lot of control-freakery.

Batocchio said...

To White conservatives this is bad behavior. Moreover, it is bad behavior that must be punished... For Herman Cain's part, he is simply using this as a free publicity grab. He should be thanking Chauncey DeVega and giving him 15% for putting Cain on the cultural map, instead of leaving him to stew in Tea Party obscurity.

Great post. And Chauncey, it sounds like you've made a good choice.

fred c said...

This internecine warfare among America's Black folk is a real pain in my heart, but maybe the worst of it comes from the "insufficiently Black" part. Whether due to one's point of view, or due to skin color, or hair texture, or vocal idiom, or where your parents come from, it happens, and I can only imagine how much damage it can to emotionally.

I'm thinking about the "light skinned" Blacks who have commented herein, and those house negro cracks that they endure.

Like President Obama. Okay, so his mom was White, and his dad was born in Africa, those are facts enough for some people to wonder: how can he understand our pain? our shared adversity? our culture? He's insufficiently Black for some people. But where does that leave him? He sure never was White enough for the White people. He always showed a black face to police, authority figures, bankers, and academia, and he suffered all of the attendant pre-judgments.

Maybe Herman Cain is the one who is insufficiently Black, how about that? As Randy Newman sang recently about Clarence Thomas, "well, Pluto's not a planet anymore either."

Thrasher said...

Fred,

Respectfully you are out of your element discussing colorism in the Black community given the core of this civil war was caused and is leverage by white america..

In the Black community there has always been value in the question " Is that person, platform, issue Black Enough" The Black community has developed and created this metric and it works sure it has many flaws and shortcomings but in the abstract it works..

The claims of light skinned negroes and colored folks is nothing new in the Black community nor do they hold much sway since none of these 'yellow is mellow 'folks walk back their privledge granted by the hue of thier skin..

I acknowledged Oh crap and fictional eyes laments but so what we all got some race shit to deal with...Dark skinned folks got tales as well..

Obama played the 'colorism' card with the white electorate to win the white house...Obama remains a big disappointment in my corner of the hood..

My major reservation with Cain (BTW he plays the race card game just like Obama did to appease the white electorate) is that Cain like all Black conservatives parrot and mimic a flawed and obsolete ideology. Conservatism simply has no demonstrative talking points that resonate in the hood..

Oh Crap said...

My dear Thrasher, you should have rented Daughters of the Dust before commenting.

The fantastic irony about the Yellow Mary character is, she's not "yellow".

We all look alike to them and are treated accordingly. So there's no skin color "privilege" to walk back, not from my end.

That said, you're right. Whites trying to comment on issues of colorstruck are indeed out of their league. Your last para is also right: cons have no ideas, period. Black voters are this country's most sophisticated voting bloc, since we're the ones who vote on issues, not skin color...that is when we've even been able to vote.

White conservatives have never been able to control it. Their anxiety about breaking away votes from the Ds is really rooted in their history of violent, murderous vote suppression.

Plantsmantx said...

Two years ago, no conservative would be caught dead engaging in such leftist Marxist progressive politically-correct anti-liberty speech. Today, it's the norm in many of their circles. However ironic and problematic, given their backgrounds the lemmings cheering on Herman Cain at CPAC are going to have a much tougher time repackaging themselves as mavens of diversity and true inheritors of the mantle of abolitionism and civil rights.

Ain't that the truth? I find it particularly amusing when they quote that one passage from the "I Have A Dream" speech, which they apparently think is the only thing MLK ever said or wrote, and interpret "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." as King urging black Americans to disband as a people. It's really amusing to realize that they're so un-self-aware in their white supremacist outlook, they don't even know that we know they're revealing that to them, judging a black person by the color of his/her skin always means judging them harshly.

fred c said...

Touche, Greg, and of course you're right. I hope that my opinions are always taken with a grain of salt, and in the spirit in which they are offered.

But I see this stuff all over, and I don't like it. I think it's counterproductive, and a profoundly misplaced emphasis. Over here in Thailand, there's a strong prejudice against "black" skin. People will tell me, oh, my daughter is not beautiful, she is black. It's a lot like "the bag test." This is a crossroads culture, and the gene pool is incredibly diverse. There's every skin tone from white-as-a-sheet to quite dark; eyes from wide open to very narrow. Often this is all within the same family. Those with very pale skin are considered beautiful, and they are perceived as being smarter too.

(The white skin is considered to be "Chinese," and desirable; the narrow eyes are also "Chinese," but not desirable. Go figure.)

Colorism may have some utility in certain communities that outsiders cannot adequately understand, but the way that I see it applied all across the known universe it just seems like a disagreeable prejudice.

fred c said...

Just to clarify, the prejudice in Thailand is against "black" Thais. Africans seem to do okay, especially if they have good educations and high status jobs (like teaching). Black Americans are largely absent.

Oh Crap said...

Fred c - I don't expect you to do it here, but I hope you are this vocal on the issue of colorism in your own community. That's the source of the anxiety.

chaunceydevega said...

@Fictional--Nice to hear from you. How goes things? House negros in the 21st century got it good. Why would they not want the tablescraps of their conservative masters?

@Ohcrap..Constipated Facepalm! Classic.

@Batocchio. I do think so. Got to fight on my own terms. I have something to post soon or at the very least an update on some ownage I dished out a few hours ago.

@Fred C. We often don't think about the global legacy of white supremacy in this country. Too myopic. Share some of your stories about Thailand please.

@Thrasher. As wrong as he often is/was Shelby Steele another sick stockholm syndrome negro was right when he called Obama a "bound man." Long conversation about our President because as non-black and distant as he is from "black" issue, the sickness of the white conservative soul still imagines him to the leader of a black nationalist killy whitey cabal.

@Ohcrap. I have a history drop to do on that political violence when I get around to it. Quite chilling testimony actually.

@Plants. You didn't know that MLK was a strict conservative GOP hack? He was down with Goldwater...ha!

Oh Crap said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oh Crap said...

@Plantsmantx, I have banned nonblacks from talking to/at me about MLK and especially content of character/I have a dream, until they have memorized everything on this site: http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php

Try it, it works. You will never have to hear those seven awful words, again!

Thrasher said...

@Fred
No offense taken and I agree with your opines about global colorism

@ Oh Crap
I have seen the movie many times and I enjoyed it but clearly in our nation you and CD have a colorism privledge that is just how the fucked up racist paradigm has rolled in America..

@CD

Ditto on Steele's opine about Obama yet it is apparent that Obama is a biracial man and his politics reflect that especially when it comes to the Black Community he is tentative and reluctant to embrace because of his politics..But that is another tale for another day..

Oh Crap said...

@Thrasher, Lol do you think Spike Lee has color privilege? Nelson Mandela? Do you think Al Sharpton is yellow? Lolol!

When you walk back that gender and sexuality privilege, you'll be in a much better spot to lecture others on what they must walk back. See what fun this is?

Besides, I don't think you're that great a judge of who is what, on the internet. Not even a week ago you were running around yelling that I'm a white jewish racist woman, or whatever the epithet chain was. Silly.

Thrasher said...

OH Crap,

Please spare me your lecturing today as I posted many times about YOU I don't post under an alias your integrity from my vantage point will always be suspect..

BTW in America there are Black jews and Yes I will continue to challenge and check your ass whenever you tell me how to deal with white racist slugs like Howard Sterns..

BTW all of the iconic men you named( interesting this fetish of your is only about Black males) none of them are blue black brothers and yes in America as such they would benefit from our fucked up colorism spectrum..

Oh yeah unlike you I don't have any issues with those whose sexuality and gender preference is unlike mine..Sorry but I am not one of those punching bags frustrated Black queers like you have with BLack men on my depth and degree..

So run along and go find some other homophobic males you like to assualt and castrate with your woeful backstory..I am not interested in any pity parties today

brotherbrown said...

Kudos to CD for blowing up Herman Cain. For all the reasons that many have stated, if Cain and his ilk can dish it out, they should be able to take it.

As it regards the light-skinned black man "dilemma," in 50 years, I have never been accused of being a sellout or a house negro, despite being "well-spoken and highly educated." I believe it is because being well-spoken and highly educated never caused me to look down my nose at others. People can tell when you are uncomfortable around them or cannot relate to them, by your speech and your body language.

Black people who label themselves as politically conservative are not sellouts per se, but if they believe that designation makes them superior to other blacks, which is the common belief, they earn the Devega treatment.

Thrasher said...

brotherbrown,

You nailed it better than I could..I have no issues with any color of hue Black folks come in nor do I have any issues with Black folks and whatever sexuality they are..

I agree with CD and OH crap on a number of issues and of course I disagree with them as well...Nothing to lose sleep over it is just the nature of being alive and Black in America

Oh Crap said...

@Thrasher, BTW all of the iconic men you named( interesting this fetish of your is only about Black males) none of them are blue black brothers

Wow, you catch on quick, since the conversation was about so-called "yellows" who aren't yellows.

So now in your absurd, colorstruck world, I'm a Black (j)ew. ROTFL!

Regarding your other routine, willful misapprehensions of my posts, yes it's true they do frustrate all fundos. That includes the gay fundos, the leftier-than-thous, the Black Authenticity Police, and all other litmus testing know it alls.

The thing that makes you angriest about them is that you will NEVER be in any position to check my ass.

@brotherbrown

I believe it is because being well-spoken and highly educated never caused me to look down my nose at others.

That's my general approach. We're all in it together; they hate us all.

I've found, though, a refusal to be the butt of jokes will get you that, depending on the situation. Growing up I just learned to not open my mouth. Depending on the situation/people, that means you think you're snooty and too good to participate in the conversation.

I'm through with litmus-testers of all stripes. What are they good for?

Thing about Black coneervatives is they make an entire career out of complaining to whites about such petty nonsense. I'm certain every person in these comments has gotten the oreo/sellout label from someone else, bfd, when we all go out into the world tomorrow, we will all get called the same names and get the same treatment by the same bunch of bigots.

We all look alike, to them.

Oh Crap said...

Nothing to lose sleep over it is just the nature of being alive and Black in America #thisistrue