Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Convene a War Council: Michael Steele Defames Judge Thurgood Marshall and Should Thus be Expelled from the Tribe of Black Folk

I have not called a war council in many moons. As a tribe expands, a community needs to expose the newest members to some of its most earnest traditions. In doing so, one must always remember that a slavish devotion to tradition can leave a people obsolete, hamstrung, and weakened. But, tradition can also rejuvenate, sustain, and empower us. It is in the spirit of the latter that we return to the wellspring which nurtures the tribe that is We Are Respectable Negroes.


Supreme Court battles are spectacles that are less about the qualifications of a given nominee than they are opportunities for the Republicans and Democrats to speak to their constituents as they rally around a given set of talking points. For the out party, the Supreme Court nomination process is a chance to rally their base and remain relevant. During these times, important signals are sent to the party faithful regarding what it means to be an ideologically "correct" Republican or Democrat. In keeping with this strategy, Michael Steele, Chairman of the GOP sent a clear signal to his base as he defiled the memory of Judge Thurgood Marshall--one of America's greatest heroes. To point: In the following press release, Michael Steele in an appeal to the strict constructionist, Constitutional fetishists that are the bleeding heart of his party stated that:

“Over the past year, the American people have been witness to President Obama’s massive expansion of the federal government into our daily lives. To assure the American people, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, will need to demonstrate that she is committed to upholding the vision of our Founding Fathers, who wrote a Constitution meant to limit the power of government, not expand it. The President has stated repeatedly that he wants a justice who will understand the effects of decisions on the lives of everyday Americans. But what Americans want is a justice who will stay true to the Constitution and defend the rights of all Americans, adhering to the rule of law instead of legislating from the bench. Given Kagan’s opposition to allowing military recruiters access to her law school’s campus, her endorsement of the liberal agenda and her support for statements suggesting that the Constitution “as originally drafted and conceived, was ‘defective,’” you can expect Senate Republicans to respectfully raise serious and tough questions to ensure the American people can thoroughly and thoughtfully examine Kagan’s qualifications and legal philosophy before she is confirmed to a lifetime appointment.”

Yes Mr. Steele, a Constitution which enshrined white supremacy as the rule of the land, deemed black Americans 3/5th's of a person, and restricted women and property-less white men from voting was in fact defective.

And yes Mr. Steele, the bolded words are those of Judge Thurgood Marshall.

Random factoid: did you know that in the late 18th century that only about one-fourth of Americans were eligible to vote? So much for democracy, no?

The irony of Mr. Steele's comments are not lost, as America's first Black Supreme Court Justice, and litigator for the NAACP in a series of cases leading to the monumental Brown vs. Board decision, struggled to make the freedoms and opportunities enjoyed by the chair of the GOP a reality. Despite Steele's questionable loyalty to the tribe that is Black America, and his earnest boot licking for the tea baggers and his White Republican Masters, men like Thurgood Marshall are the proverbial fathers of 21st century Black America. He, like Brother Malcolm and Brother Martin, is our father, brother, cousin, mentor, and sage. A giant of a man, we are forever in Judge Marshall's debt. Lest we forget, without Thurgood Marshall, there would be no President Obama.

I have not argued for the discommendation of a Negro in some time. Mr. Steele's comments (as well as the sum total of his behavior during his tenure as head of the Republican Party) have forced my hand. In keeping with our traditions:

Because of his despicable actions in defaming Judge Thurgood Marshall, I hereby, according to the by-laws of the respectable negro council, submit Michael Steele for excommunication from the tribe of honorable negroes.

Per the following designated categories, Michael Steele through his actions has shed the last remnants of personal honor and therefore must suffer discommendation because of the following indicated offense(s):

___ Driving Miss Daisy

X Bagger Vancing

X Clarence Thomas Lap Dogging

___ O.J.'ing

X Blatant Victomology a.k.a. the Jesse Jackson Offense

X Black Lap Dogging before a Conservative Audience

X Consistent and Chronic Lack of Race Pride

X 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 honorable white ally) to complete Michael Steele's expulsion. If I have indicated the incorrect offense, or if Michael Steele should suffer discommendation because he has instead violated some other unstated and auxiliary regulation not listed above, please indicate this discrepancy according to our established rules and procedures.

Respectfully submitted,

Chauncey DeVega


Anonymous said...

I'm so tired of this wingnut. Really. He opens his mouth and a flaming pile of shit inevitably falls out everytime. Can we get Brother Israelite from your last post to convey the discommendation to Steele? That would make for a heartfelt message (or at least a gem of a YouTube clip).

Funny how the right is hopping all over the Kagan nomination as another "lefty" plot hatched by our president. I was just reading an article this morning entitled "Kagan is no Thurgood Marshall" which investigates her rather centrist-right leanings and the ways that she could easily jump on the bandwagon of civil rights retraction that seems to be afoot these days at the behest of the right, what with the tinkering with Miranda laws, the ramping up of nonsensical immigration policies, etc. check it out here:

Meanwhile, your posts lately on race in the classroom and beyond have been intriguing. Keep holding the banner aloft for Ethiopia...

Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

If this honorable half-white/half-Japanese (peace to Yuri Kochiyama) can second, I second.

chaunceydevega said...

We have 2 that have heard the call. Will other join in the fray? Or are your hearts fearful of battle?

Shady_Grady said...

He lost me when he stepped off the sidewalk for "Massa Limbaugh". He won't be missed.

erinn said...

as a lifetime member of the honorable tribe, i vote to expel the former brother Steele.

Unknown said...

aye.. expel him! from the uk chapter....

wordsmith said...

Outstanding folks! For Mr. Steele, ex-communication is in order. It's one thing to be blinded by your ideology. It is an entirely different thing to be ignorant of your history as a black American.

Yunalesca said...

Ah, the coon that is Michael Steele. I would have expelled him ages ago. For him to disrespect the memory of Judge Marshall is an outrage. Gotta go with the tribe on this one. Steele is a joke!

Cobb said...

I am not a member of the tribe, but I was born into one of its noble clans. I was an explorer and wandered beyond the far shore and came home a stranger. I have found many like the Steele one in the land of the Others.

I would vote him out of the tribe if I were you. For he enjoys a sort of freedom that defies tribal values.

gordon gartrelle said...


I'm sure you know that Chauncey does these posts in part to mock the notion of black groupthink and solidarity.

Nonetheless, I'd be with you if Steele was a free-thinker who challenged the stale black left orthodoxy. He's not. Tell me one original thought he's ever had. Name one issue on which he's stood up to or bucked the fringe know-nothings who dominate popular conservative discourse. Any time he strays even slightly, he is forced to "yassa boss" with his eyes and head lowered.

He's a cynical affirmative action hire, a clueless partisan hack. He's pathetic, even by hack standards.

Cobb said...

That almost sounds like an informed criticism. Except it's not. You might name his predecessors, their agendas and their successes and contrast that with Steele, but that is a line of inquiry none of this coon calling is about. You're just mad because he's not supernegro on the liberal side - a champion for the lumpen ebonitariat, like Most Noble Great Ancestor Marshall, who is, like all gods, above criticism.

chaunceydevega said...

We stand strong in our victory! The traitor has been cast out and shall be burned in effigy, his properties seized, and his lineage terminated.

Victory is good!

gordon gartrelle said...


Think for a second--don't just spout canned partisan responses.

Do you read this site? The last thing we should be accused of is acting as "champions of the lumpen ebonitariat."

Chauncey's most common phrase is "the masses are indeed asses" and rails against black "ign'ants." I have made clear my disdain for white and black liberals' fetishization of the ghetto underclass.

I don't believe in deification of anyone, whether it's the "Founding Fathers," Civil Rights icons, or anyone else. And I know Chauncey agrees. He's brought black students to tears by demystifying the simplistic standard narratives of MLK, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and others.

In any case, how has Steele improved on his predecessors' mistakes? What did Steele vow to do as RNC Chairman? Bring the GOP to "urban/ hip hop contexts." What has he actually done? Made a damn fool out himself while helping to push young black people even farther from the Republican Party. He's an abject failure by his own (twisted) standards.

You ducked the question: name me one productive thing he's done. Name me one original thought he's had. If he's such a free thinker and great leader, this should be a cinch.

Cobb said...

Michael Steele is a competent hard working honest public servant. That's all he has to be. Not supernegro, and not your hero.

Yaze said...

Cobb, I got a best friend from college who's a Republican and we've had some vigorous policy debates in the past, but none of them have pivoted around the competency and/or originality of Michael Steele.

I'm not a Liberal (I don't think... I actually have no idea what it means practically) and I'm not a Conservative as they're understood by our civic discourse.

I'm way more on the "Fuck Whitey" as a spiritual calling (w/ a few passes for honorable rebels) and believe we actually compromised whatever destiny we might have had as a people the moment we went Marshall instead of Garvey.

Now, as we toss in the meaningless filth of American politics and status-grabbing, I find both sides of the equation deplorably pathetic.

Obama and Steele are both honorary placements. They exist only to prove that they can exist, not as a testament to any sort of change either embodies.

However, what does bother me is your use of the word "honest" with regard to a politician. It's precisely nonsense phrases like that detract from your overall knee-jerk, but nominally scandalous comment.

Oh yeah, and what exactly has this cat accomplished for you to be dick riding so securely? Inquiring minds kind of want to know...

gordon gartrelle said...

Strike Two, Cobb.

Michael Steele is a competent hard working honest public servant.

Evidence please. Just one little shred. By the way, people use this kind of language to defend affirmative action hires.

That's all he has to be. Not supernegro, and not your hero.

Again, falling back on silly assumptions. Where are you getting that I want him to be my hero?

Cobb said...

Raise your hand if you've met the man in person, as I have.

chaunceydevega said...

Come on Cobb. That is one data point. You describe yourself as being "analytical." So, if it were one of your political opponents and one us was defending him, I am sure the "I met him, and he is a cool guy" defense wouldn't hold any water.

Given the scandals, misdirection, tail wagging the dog re: Fox News and the Tea Parties and their hold on your GOP, how can assess Steele as anything but a failure?

Dude is the worst projection of what Conservatives imagine affirmative action to be--it promoted an incompetent, a man who has failed at everything he has ever done in politics, simply for the sake of "diversity" i.e. to balance Obama, to a powerful position.

Steele is a hack.

Cobb said...

There is nothing to defend when your attack is based on tribalism. To insult the ghost of your ancestors is not a legitimate political criticism, so what's so analytical about that? That's why I go along with your goofy insult. Yeah. Steele doesn't belong to the tribe. Nobody in the GOP belongs to the tribe by definition.

I'm not in the business of defending the GOP in general but at least they are heading in the right direction, and they are my team - to the extent that I care.

Anyway, I would suggest that the appropriate criteria for judging the head of a political party would be seats won in elections, voter registration increases and money raise in general. Not whether he is offensive to dead clan patriarchs and their racial kin.

Kagan is no Thurgood Marshall, that's for damned sure. Why bringing up that point makes Steele a hack is some leap of logic I don't quite understand. But then again, I'm not in the Choir.

What Steele's statement means is perfectly clear to me because it's part of what the Republican agenda has long been. Limit government.

If, to be black, is to be socialist and to expect more from government than from the private sector, then that *political* definition is at odds with a great deal that has transpired within what I call the Old School. And to the extent that it is expected that 'proper' blacks bow at the alter of some expansionist powers of the judiciary, then you can count right-thinking independent minds out.

Steele's message to the Republican Senate is clear, and Kagan is going to get her soulless careerism examined quite well when her turn comes for confirmation hearings.

I expect that Democrats, like those on this blog, will play the race card by extension, granting Kagan honorary black status for simply having worked for Marshall. That should be a pityable spectacle and another bleak day for our nation.

Liebchen said...

Cobb, you say that Steele's only interested in limiting govt, but his statement was "Given Kagan’s ... support for statements suggesting that the Constitution “as originally drafted and conceived, was ‘defective,’” you can expect Senate Republicans to respectfully raise serious and tough questions." This criticism has nothing to do with expanded federal power.

Mr. DeVega, I liked your post. As a non-member of your tribe, but a wholly committed ally, I would gladly second your motion had not it been done before. And this would have nothing to do with Mr. Steele's political leanings.

One thing, though. I do believe that proper respect would dictate that one refer to the man as "Justice Marshall." Judges sit in trial courtrooms, hear evidence, and make rulings. Justices hear appeals and, essentially, clarify the law. It's a subtle but important distinction.