Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Last Word Part 2: Reverend Al, Melissa Perry, and Goldie Taylor on Herman Cain's Civil Rights Cowardice

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In case you all missed this extended conversation on The Last Word...

I cosign most of what was said there and am curious as to your thoughts. The panelists should have called out Cain's shtick as a professional racism apologist, but in all it was a solid dialogue. Moreover, I think Melissa was on point, but I can't cosign her critique of O'Donnell for asking those questions across the boundaries of the colorline. I get her "discomfort." But sometimes discomfort is exactly what we need when dealing with the walking human problematic and contradiction that is Herman Cain.

I do have one thought, regret, and ownership moment of reflection that I would like to process with you all. Is it my own ego and arrogance to feel like so much of what we are seeing in the punditry's response to Herman Cain are narratives we/you/us/I have developed here on We Are Respectable Negroes as well as on Alternet? Of course, I am not so foolish as to suggest that I have some unique insight into what is circulating in the ether, but I do have frustrated moments where I shrug my shoulders and have to re-evaluate my decision to operate from the shadows.

In all that is a complement to you all for helping me to be ahead of the curve on many of these matters. You should also give yourselves a congratulatory pat on the back and take a moment to tell folks that "hey, we were talking about this stuff about Herman Cain a long time ago!"


Nancy LeTourneau said...

I for one totally agree with MHP's point that a calling to account of white people during the civil rights movement is as germane as expecting in from African Americans.

But I also get your point about the reality of uncomfortability when it comes to discussions like this.

Look what happened as a result of O'Donnell's questioning of Cain - an actual informative conversation in the media about race! Props to all involved.

gordon gartrelle said...

I agree with Harris-Perry that it's problematic when people today (esp. white liberals) make moral judgments about the (non)participation of actors in various freedom struggles.

Most people believe they would act heroically in the face of oppression, but we know that this doesn't square with the reality, which is that the vast majority of people are free-riders.

Having said that, I take back my semi-defense of Cain's non-participation a while back. It's one thing to not participate; it's another to placate racists by playing into their notion of Civil Rights activists as "troublemakers."

Fuck this coon.

fred c said...

I'm with Gordon re: the silence of the majority in the face of oppression. I have no problem with people who choose to keep their heads down and get on with their lives. The problem comes later for me. The quiet ones, if they want to be taken seriously, must later on acknowledge the contribution that was made by others on their behalf, and acknowledge with humility that they have benefited in spite of their failure to participate.

Mr. Cain, rather than make these acknowledgements, acts like the whole Jim Crow thing was no big deal and any Black man as great as himself could have made as great a success in life as he did.

That's the extent of his free-rider problem, but he goes on to make other mischief as well. Regarding purely modern political and economic problems, he is a one man vortex of negative energy.

RiPPa said...

Yes Chauncey, what we are seeing is in fact all your fault. I see this clown on TV in recent weeks and you being responsible has been a recurring thought.

I've really been disgusted by this buffoon and his ongoing political attempt to appear to the epitome of the safe-negro, or dare I say, the anti-black candidate.

Frankly, I'm sick of this back-of-the-bus-loving, slave-catching, I-ain'tbe-like-dem-boss, jig-dancing fool.

Abstentus said...

Before we get to the race stuff the most important thing that came out of the original O'Donnell interview is how awful a lying-assed piece of self and wing nut serving garbage Cain is. Of course the line of questioning was fair. It was in the book. As wel lawyers say, Cain opened the door. And he can't shut it because his lying assed ness is about to be exposed.

Far as Harris's point goes, sorry. I like her commentary sometimes, but let's stick with what I like to call the soft bigotry of soft bigotry and as well, the realities of reality. Back the day (never mind trying to figure out the actual percentages now adays) the default position regarding "The Movement," for whites was indifference if not hostility. Asking white politicians what they did during the Civil Rights era is as useful a level of inquiry as aking why water is wet. I think Harris messed up there by falling into the rhetorical trap (usually employed by GOPers) of making the argument about some tangential and distracting red herring of a hypothetical, instead of dealing with the actual matter and context at hand. I kinda got redundant, but the thing is it was a red herring argument she made. Not at all useful.

Here is my attitude towards that trick when I see it and am willing to grant some level of innocent infraction. I make a comparison to some tv show or movie that people don't like and say shit about like, "Why didn't they do it this way the way I would?) And I say the answer to that kind of thinking is, get some money and make your own damn movie/tv show. I'really don't care that the one under question was not made the way you would have.

I went long, sorry, but one last point. I am disappointed that when ever people are using that "Platation" analogy, they are getting over. Far a Main Strem News media goes, I have yet to see anyone roasted over that. I want to see any and everyone using that meme painted as a racist. No more passes for that!

nomad said...

Wazzup homey?

Plantsmantx said...

No more passes for that!

Unfortunately, I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. As far as Harris-Perry's argument goes, it has the effect of bolstering the right-wing meme that black conservatives- not black liberals, mind you, just black conservatives- should never be criticized.