Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Black History Month Hijinks: We Must Convene a War Council and Vote One More Negro (or Actually Negress) Out of the Tribe of Respectable Negroes

We respectable negroes believe in equality among all peoples. Thus, no person, be they male or female, straight or gay, rich or poor, religious or agnostic will escape our long and mighty grasp.

This is especially true in matters of discommendation. As you know, we have successfully voted 2 lapdog Tom Negroes out of the tribe (Cowboy Troy and James T. Harris). Today, in this most auspicious Black History Month, I move that we vote our first woman out of the tribe. Her name: Tara Wall, Deputy Director of the Washington Times and former Senior Adviser to the Republican National Committee. Her offense: playing the colored race apologist aka "slave catcher" in her CNN editorial critiquing Attorney General Holder's speech in which he called Americans "cowards" on matters of race and justice.

I am all for ideological diversity, but this is simply outside of the bounds of common sense, propriety, and race pride.

Tara Wall's seditious editorial, "Americans are not Cowards on Race" is presented as evidence.

-- First, we're a nation of whiners; now, we're a nation of cowards.

The coward comment comes from none other than President Obama's newly minted attorney general, Eric Holder.

The remarks were part of a speech Holder delivered for Black History Month. Yet, even in that context, the words came across as arrogant, condescending and not at all becoming a statesman.

One dictionary definition of coward is "lacking courage." Stinging words for a country at war, where white and black soldiers are shedding the same color blood. Are they cowards?

Ironic too that Holder's remarks come at a time when the nation has just elected its first black president and witnessed the confirmation of its first black attorney general (Holder himself). Forget that more whites than blacks cast their ballots for a black man to lead the nation. So this is how Holder says thanks?

Did the attorney general not think about the weight his words would carry? Was he simply trying to be provocative? Is this his way of bringing the races together? Does his position or his color give him the bravado to think that he can get away with calling us cowards?

Imagine for a moment if John McCain or George W. Bush uttered those words. The criticism would have known no bounds.

You'll recall, it was just a few months back that a media frenzy erupted when former Sen. Phil Gramm called national leaders (not the nation) a bunch of "whiners." Media pundits and broadcasters blasted Gramm for weeks, until he was forced off McCain's campaign.

Gramm's words, while true, were mild in comparison to Holder's. Where is that same outrage and moral condemnation over Holder's loose lips? It's a rhetorical question, of course.

And as much as we are constantly reminded of the past "mistakes" this country has made, is there nothing worth celebrating, no times when racial harmony brought racial reconciliation? Little of that made it to Holder's speech. Instead, he chose the celebratory occasion to exact punishment by way of guilt.

It makes one wonder, why does every race speech by those on the left have to begin (and end) with repudiation and insult? Why must there be a constant reminder of what went wrong without giving due recognition to what went right?

I will acknowledge that the country can always do better when it comes to race, but as much as Republicans are accused of refusing to admit racism exists, assuredly Democrats exploit it for every inch of territory they can garner. They point fingers, threaten and name-call without offering real solutions or substantive conversation.

One regular reader of The Washington Times, a Democrat, forwarded me a letter he sent to Holder, telling the attorney general how much he "applauds" his remarks but saying he had one request: "I would like to recommend that your office take the lead in ensuring the appointment of at least one African-American on every committee and task force that is created by the President of the United States and current cabinet Secretary's."

How's that for affirmative action on demand? More like affirmative extortion. The writer also stated in closing: "Let us (by "us," he means black folks) take advantage of every opportunity that is before us." I was particularly struck by the words "take advantage." It is a line of thinking and supposed reasoning to justify black Americans getting what's "due."

This was just one person's opinion, but it reflects a sentiment shared by many liberals. It also reveals a get-it-all-while-you-can mentality that has nothing to do with parity, equality or justice but rather with guilt trips, paybacks and quotas. This is not how the "case for race" should be made.

To be fair, there are some points Holder made with which I do agree (at least in part). "We, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race," Holder stated. It is a challenge for each of us, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, to go outside our comfort zone and reach out to someone "different" from ourselves (though I've done it my whole life).

It is an observation that, while true, shouldn't just apply to white people. It applies to black folks, too. Yet that's where the discussion of race loses traction among liberals. Holder doesn't really want to "talk" about race, because that would entail not only encouraging blacks to reach out, but it would mean addressing black racism -- which we've seen in the likes of one Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- in addition to white racism (and all racism).

Yes, we are sometimes too "socially segregated," as Holder put it, but cowards we are not. And mere rhetoric and rancor does nothing to elevate the discussion.

In contrast to Holder's bombastic speech, President Bush's Black History Month speech last year was refreshingly retrospective without being pretentious. While condemning present-day acts of racism (i.e. hanging nooses), Bush also offered a way forward.

"We renew our commitment to securing liberty and justice for every American," Bush said, focusing on the present instead of the past: "We honor four Americans who ... are leading the way toward ending racial injustice across our land."

Rhetoric aside, what was lacking from Holder's remarks was a way forward. Instead of "hope," Holder offered more hate veiled in subtle anger.

Last year, Obama gave a famous speech on race, addressing the controversy about the remarks of his former pastor, Wright, and urging people not to wallow in resentment:

Obama said, "The profound mistake of Rev. Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static, as if no progress had been made, as if this country -- a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black, Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past."

Obama's speech sums it all up. Holder's is a contradiction.


Do you respectable negroes have the courage to show this handkerchief head the exit? Or do you cower and quake with fear at the call of battle?

Per our procedures, I propose that Tara Wall should suffer discommendation from the tribe of respectable negroes for the following offenses:

___ Driving Miss Daisy

X Bagger Vancing

X Clarence Thomas Lap Dogging

___ O.J.'ing

___ Blatant Victimology a.k.a. the Jesse Jackson Offense

X Black Lap Dogging before a Conservative Audience

X Consistent and Chronic Lack of Race Pride

___Cooning and Lawn Jockeying a.k.a the Crime of Committing the Flava Flav

As a senior member of the We Are Respectable Negroes leadership council, I need the agreement of one other founding member, and the votes of 5 other members of the respectable negro tribe (or alternatively, 4 lifetime members and one white honorable ally) to complete the expulsion of Tara Wall. If I have indicated the incorrect offense, or if Tara Wall should suffer discommendation because she has instead violated some other unstated and auxiliary regulation not listed above, please indicate this discrepancy according to our established rules and procedures.

As per our procedures we will notify Tara Wall of her expulsion. In addition, all respectable negro friends and allies should query Tara Wall at CNN's website regarding her lack of race pride and cowardly behavior.

Respectfully submitted,

Chauncey DeVega


Al From Bay Shore said...

I'm sorry but this is completely unjust. The criteria by which dscommendation is effected is totally wrong and, in spite of what is argued, goes against the values of a democratic society. This is pure censorship. All you have done in this case, and the preceeding ones as well, is discommend a person for their beliefs. You are no different than the government that targeted Martin Luther King for his anti-war beliefs (incidentally, I disagreed with MLK's criticism and analysis of the VietNam War).

Not only am I arguing that Tara Wall's name be removed from consideration for discommendation but I am also arguing for the immediate reinstatement of Cowboy Troy and James T. Harris. How can you discommend a person for their beliefs and then call the practice democratic? Democratic societies, or tribes in this case, are characterized by the protection of basic rights and among those rights is a freedom of speech. Another characteristic is the protection of the rights of minorities, and minorities in this case are black folks who do not share the majority opinion. These discommendations, so far, have been nothing but the persecution of a minority group for being the minority. Sound familiar?

Also, I am putting forth a motion that the practice of discommendation be immediately suspended so that the criteria for discommendation be reevaluated. If in fact your tribe of respectable negroes is democratic then the reevaluation must be a comparison between discommendation criteria and the characteristics and qualities of a democratic state. I am arguing that discommendation criteria, thus far, and its ensuing proceedures are in conflict with democratic values and, as a result, this tribe of respectable negroes is not a democratic tribe in any way, shape, or form. At the very least, this practice resembles the Soviet Union's treatment of Andrei Sakharov.

If you are a democratic tribe then the practice of dicommendation, based on its criteria, are illegal. A difference of opinion, especially a minority opinion, is no justifiction for forced exile.

I am not saying that discommendation should be eliminated. I argue that the criteria is undemocratic and needs to be changed. The ideas, opinions, and practices of Tara Wall, Cowboy Troy, and James T. Harris are no threat to democracy and democratic values. However, discommendation should be considered for those persons who do indulge in practices and behaviors that not only undermine democratic societies but also engage in acts of tyranny.

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

How democratic are we?

And does democracy serve our interests? I have always been a bit of an elitist and am deeply suspicious of the wisdom of the masses.

It is a big question though...

chauncey d

Al From Bay Shore said...

Chauncey, if your tribe is elitist that is okay as long as it is admitted. I too am an elitist snob. My disagreement with the discommendation has two main ideas: (1) because elitism and democracy are mutually antagonistic they should not be equated with each other, and (2) the discommendation is essentially saying that black people with view points that deviate from majority opinion are not permitted existence within the bounds of the respectable negro tribe. The second concept is a dangerous road to tread. It creates a situation where people within this tribe would censor their language and opinion for fear of forced exile. A blog by its very nature is a place where ideas are shared.... see where I am going with this?

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

I like this convo. And I think it does get to the issue of respectability and race pride. When we vote to kick folk out of the tribe--and notice this vote may fail but i still hold out hope--it is not so much a claim about blackness or being african american/black. Why? because there 16+ million ways to be Black in America.

Instead it is a claim about race pride and being a race man or race woman from my own admittedly narrow and normative criteria.

Plus, because this is a blog it is also an exercise in ego, narcissism, and wish fulfillment!...I mean that nicely...and we/us/you can entertain ideas we otherwise would not be able to make true in the "real world."

You sound like a race man yourself, am I too off base?

Chauncey d

Al From Bay Shore said...

Okay chauncey, since you asked, I will show my hand.....

Yeah, I am a race man. I describe myself as a republican black nationalist that is anti-integration. I am also afflicted with a somewhat narrow minded view of blackness. I have taken the step of differentiating between white identified black liberals and conservatives, and culturally black liberals and conservatives. Many of my views would make me a perfect candidate for discommendation. And yes, I voted for John McCain and George W. Bush. My heroes include Louis Farrakhan, Booker T. Washington, and Dick Cheney. Among the many many beefs that I have with Obama is that he should have made "Follow Me" by Aly-Us the theme song for his presidential campaign.

There it is. I hope what I have told you about me might have swayed some of your ideas regarding the criteria by which a black person is made eligible for discommendation.

chaunceydevega said...

Wow you are complex...and complexity is good.

But, please explain Dick Cheney as a hero and how you rationalized voting for McCain and Bush with being a race man?

Chauncey D

Al From Bay Shore said...

I like Dick Cheney because, prior to his becoming involved in politics, he was hanging power lines in Wyoming. He was quite satisfied with that life. Unfortunately, he was involved with a woman who had "high powered" career ambitions and wasn't about to put up a man who was content with hanging power lines. He got himself together, got into business and made a lot of money, and eventually rose to become the Vice President. By the way, he got the woman too, Lynne Cheney. At least that is how I heard the story.

While I am a race man or rather a pro black person who has problems with Civil Rights strategy (I think the ideas of Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, and Booker T. were far superior), I parted with left of center politics as I started to learn more about how the Constitution and liberal democracies operate. In my mind, I felt that my left of center politics were rooted in misunderstandings I had about the political history of the United States and the free world. I voted for McCain over Obama because I had a sharp disagreement with the political philosophy of the Democratic Party. Now this does not mean that I view the GOP as saviors - they have HUGE issues too. Also, I believed liberal- left of center politics to be just as racist as right of center politics. Upon that realization, I felt free to adopt any political ideology I wanted. My disdain for the GOP is equal to that of the Dems. Besides, the GOP will let me own a shotgun for home defense.

Anonymous said...

Her offense: playing the colored race apologist aka "slave catcher" in her CNN editorial critiquing Attorney General Holder's speech in which he called Americans "cowards" on matters of race and justice.

She's an apologist for Black people? This sensence doesn't make any sense.

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

The person in question is a conservative apologist in the sense that she is used as a proxy for their attacks, i.e. the black face that makes the Right feel more legitimate in their response and she, like many of her ilk, are used as attack dogs against her own people. Thus the typical "this can't be racist" or "racially motivated" or "tinged" by neo-conservative racial politics because it is coming from a black or brown face.


Anonymous said...

I vote to kick Tara Wall from the tribe and charge her of all offenses!

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

finally a respectable negro or negress ready for battle!

please send this to those others sympathetic to our cause!

sister elle, are you coming to the church of james brown?

i know in my heart that you want to confess! don't be shy ;)

chauncey d

Spinster said...

Couldn't even finish reading he editorial. Felt my brain cells slowly dying.

Show her the exit.

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

We are getting there. I wouldn't have thought it would be so controversial.

My sisters and brothers who are ready for battle enlist others!

Please for this handkerchief head must be dismissed from the tribe.

3 more to go my people!

chauncey devega

Anonymous said...

Can I nominate Alveda King for discommunication from the Negro Tribe for her taking money to play the Minstrel for Racist Glenn Beck last week?