Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Clansman Would be Proud: Herman Cain Leads the GOP Pack and Deems Black People "Brainwashed"

The one African-American running for the GOP presidential nomination said Wednesday the black community was 'brainwashed' for traditionally siding with liberal politicians.
"African-Americans have been brainwashed into not being open minded, not even considering a conservative point of view," Cain said on CNN's "The Situation Room" in an interview airing Wednesday between 5-7 p.m. ET. "I have received some of that same vitriol simply because I am running for the Republican nomination as a conservative. So it's just brainwashing and people not being open minded, pure and simple."
Herman Cain writes history with lightning.

I have written a good deal about Herman Cain. I do not know how history will remember me for my role in calling Cain out for his race minstrelesque routine and water carrying, shoe shine boy, buckdancing role as the human chaff and melanin infused shield against charges that the Tea Party GOP is a movement motivated by white racial resentment.

Perhaps, I will be judged harshly for making him the story of the week back in February 2011 where my short piece on Alternet got him some shine from the Right-wing blogosphere and Fox News. Hell, maybe some will praise me for saying what needed to be said and by doing it unapologetically.

Months later, I still consider him an object of great fascination for he is the embodiment of a darkly tragic, and indeed quite painful part of the African American experience in this country that many are loathe to acknowledge: retreat; assimilation; cowardice; and accommodation as a practical type of surrender in the face of white supremacy is a survival tactic deployed by some who are born the Other.

We are not proud of this fact. We discuss it in quiet whispers and scorn those who chose that path. Nevertheless, this dynamic is real as some long ago realized the utility of white patronage as a means to help navigate the perils of the colorline.

Alas, and without regret, I stand by my controversial claim that Herman Cain is a racial projection from the deepest part of the White Conservative Id. In all, Herman Cain is a "good one," he who does not challenge white folks on racism or dare to speak truth to power.

Although I am very familiar with the Black Conservative script where people of color who do not vote Republican are viewed as being zombies, mentally defective, and "slaves" on the "Democrat Plantation," sitting, waiting for Black Conservatives to play Harriet Tubman as they lead us to the promised land and the Great White Father that is the Tea Party GOP, I still find such an argument loathsome and a rape of history.

Why? Because such claims stand in the face of overwhelming data on the sophistication of black voters and our role in making American democracy whole. And as a practical matter, such arguments by black Conservatives that other black folks are stupid and dumb ignores a basic fact: maybe African Americans as a group have made a rational choice to support the Democratic Party because of its policy positions? No trickery is needed; no slight of hand is necessary.

Herman Cain's pronouncements about black inferiority and lack of political sophistication are the echoes of history. History teaches us again and again my friends, as in the Age of Obama a prominent Black Conservative gives life to stereotypes about the simple mindedness of African Americans and paints a picture of a people not fit for democracy.

This is the irony of all ironies: in post-racial America an African American Tea Party GOP front runner named Herman Cain can channel the worst sentiments of the white supremacist tracts of the 19th and 20th century as he belittles the black community while fulfilling the fantasies of the White Conservative Soul.

Thomas Dixon Jr., author of the racist novel The Clansman (and basis of the film Birth of a Nation) would be proud.

Fate is a trickster. History lives on as it is channeled through surprising totems and oracles such as folks like the Tea Party GOP's best black friend Mr. Herman Cain:

Since the dawn of history the Negro has owned the continent of Africa rich beyond the poet's fancy, crunching acres of diamonds beneath his bare black feet. Yet he never picked one up from the dust until a White man showed him its light. His land swarmed with powerful and docile animals, yet he never built a harness, cart or sled.

A hunter by necessity, he never made an axe, spear or arrowhead worth preserving beyond the moment of its use. He lived as an ox, content to graze for an hour. In a land of stone and timber, he never carved a block, sawed a foot of lumber or built a house save of broken sticks and mud.

With league on league of ocean strand and miles of inland seas, for 4,000 years he watched their surface ripple under the wind, heard the thunder of the surf on his beach, the howl of the storm over his head, gazed on the dim blue horizons calling him to worlds that lie beyond, and yet he never dreamed of a sail. He lived as his fathers lived - stole his food, worked his wife, sold his children, ate his brother, content to drink, sing, to dance, and sport as the ape.

And this creature, half child, half animal, the creature of impulse, whim and conceit, pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw; a being who left to his will, roams at night and sleeps in the day, whose speech knows no word of love, whose passions once aroused, are as the fury of the tiger - they have set this thing to rule over the Southern people ... Merciful God ... it surpasses human belief."


Henri B. said...

I commented recently that despite Hermain Cain's math degree from Morehouse and career as a ballistic missile analyst for the Navy he was somehow still an idiot. Of course, with the bravado and ignorance only the anonymity of the internet can provide, I got called a racist by a "Reagan conservative".

This is going to be interesting.

chaunceydevega said...

@Tanya. Conservatives are victims now. Where you been!

Oh Crap said...

It's Herb Cain, now.

Conservatives can't do anything right.

Chris Sharp said...

Nice post CD I missed your blog in Belize for the past two weeks.

After reading your post, I could not resist a little history lesson to show just how wrong Mr. Cain is on this issue.

Although it is not discussed very often these days, there was a brief period during early Reconstruction when newly-freed slaves had the right of suffrage backed by the presence of federal troops. This period did not last very long, but the free blacks banded together with the poor non-slave owning whites to form some of the most enlightened and liberal progressive governments in our country's history. Among other things, they were interested in improving free public education, protection of free labor and some of them even considered extending the right to vote to women, over 60 years before the federal government finally came around on that issue. They even managed to elect a black Senator and send several black Representatives to Congress.

Unfortunately, in the 1870's the white Democrats in Congress (they were the bad guys back then) cut a deal with the former Confederates to remove federal troops from the South and allow the defeated Confederates to run the show while they turned a blind eye to what they all knew would and did happen. Then they played the poor whites off against the blacks and invented a divisive political strategy that still haunts us to this day. It was over 100 years before another black man was elected to Congress.

If we had allowed those integrated governments to flourish back then instead of selling them out to the racist devils we had just defeated in the bloodiest war in history, we may not have even needed the Voting Rights Act or the Civil Rights Act. I have often wondered how different our country would look today if the federal government had simply honored the commitments it made after the Civil War. I suppose alot of Native Americans are thinking the same thing.

Of course, since this history does not fit with Mr. Cain's Tea Party philosophy, he chooses to ignore it. Anti-intellectualism at its best. And since he is now the apparent answer to the Tea Party's race problem, I think we will be hearing from him for a long time to come, irrespective of how he does in the nomination process. If I had a dollar for every Tea Partier down here in Florida who has pointed to his recent victory in the Florida straw poll as "proof" that they are not racist, I could retire to Belize today.

Maybe someone can set up a steel cage match between him and Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, the first Presidential candidate I ever voted for. I would pay good money to see that!

chaunceydevega said...

@Chris. How dare you bring up that history stuff. Bad Chris! We live in Conservative Fantasy Land!

More seriously, I am sure you read Foner's Reconstruction, but Hahn's a Nation Under Their Feet is also required too.

YogiFish said...

Do black people have to only be represented by one thing? I'm glad Mr. Herman Cain is running as a Republican.

I'm a Democrat myself, but I do remember when black people weren't welcomed into the Democratic party.

Have you forgotten who was blocking the doors so we couldn't vote, or hold offices in the "Democratic" South?

chaunceydevega said...

@Yogi. Of course not. Those southern democrats are the republicans of today. You got to drop that tired Fox News talking point as it is ahistorical and dishonest.

More importantly, my point on Cain has been consistent he is playing a game as a black conservative where he positions himself relative to other black folks as the enlightened and "good one." Thus my suggestion he is a race minstrel who plays to Whiteness' fantasies.

Diversity is a great thing--but not when it comes to pursuing policies that hurt the group to which you ostensibly belong and when you advance said policies by calling other black people brainwashed or stupid.

YogiFish said...

@Chauncey So you're saying we shouldn't be represented by all parties seeking power in America?

If I were to use your argument in aspects of life in America, we should have never moved into neighborhoods that were all white... because we would be called uppity negroes. We should just "Stay In Our Place" where we belong, all huddled up together like a easy target.

I'm sure there are many white Americans that wished he wasn't running as Republican too. But to make people do right, you might have to face them head on in their arena.

Last time I checked, no one owns the definition of black people in America. We are free.

chaunceydevega said...

@Yogi. I am all for being strategic. I am also for knowing which party has positioned themselves as counter to our interests and uses race, i.e. the Southern Strategy and other racialized appeals to mobilize their white conservative base. You can feel free to get in bed with them. Me, not so much. Again, a Colin Powell type of just a rich black person who runs and supports policies in their self-interest is cool. But a Cain, a man who panders to white folks and plays the banjo, I can't cosign. I hate these allusions, but in another era he would be a slave driver or a black man who owned slaves and treated them worst than whites just so he could conform.

YogiFish said...

@Chauncey God forbid if he was a Hip Hop star talking about "Bitches" and "Bling" pandering to white American with racial stereotypes of black people and making money. I guess he would be ok then?

Herman Cain is a dark southern black man, and a baptist minister. What more does he need to do to have street creed as an authentic black person? Should he have an arrest record and a few baby mamas on the side?

Who are the black Americans you'd see as being worth your respect in running for president of America? And, why aren't they running for the position?

chaunceydevega said...

@Yogi. Assuming this is well intentioned and not trolling I will respond.

1. Up your game and do some recon. Read WARN and you will see that your bitches and hoes analogy is flat, more evidence of lazy thinking and talking point Right-wing nonsense. This isn't a binary of hip hop thugs are authentic and nice calm southern negro like Cain are bad.

Cain does play to black stereotypes. If you can't see that you are either willfully blind, confused, in the tank for Cain, or just in denial. Assess him on his words, deeds, and the merits of his policies--on all counts he is a failure and a poster child for the worst Tea Party Austerity Policies. Not a good fit for me. Or the Common Good.

Just as the mouth breathers who tried to come at me during the first dust up over Cain you recycle the racist images of blacks in order to promote him. Sad. Very sad. The white racial id--and if you are a person of color you too can be invested in Whiteness--is a very sick and twisted place.

You are fun though. Run along and go play while the grown folks sort this one out.

And please spare us your he is a cancer survivor gospel singer grandpa so he is fit to be president. he is also a mediocre ceo and scammed his employees out of their retirement money. bet you didn't know that one did you?

YogiFish said...

@Chauncey Wow bro' sorry you feel that way. Not sure how you define grown folks, but being grown up means being able to communicate without putting other people down who differ with your point of view.

But then again, some just like to complain, while us "Grown Folks' are out here actually doing something that actually gives respect to the definition of black people.

Keep up your good fight, even though it's a losing battle fighting your own fears of taking real actions.

Peace - (From a descendent of fighters for black civil rights from Kansas)

chaunceydevega said...

@Yogi. Don't be so serious...or take yourself too seriously at a turn of phrase.

Question: Why would the descendant of freedom fighters from Kansas want to get in bed with the likes of Herman Cain and the utter disrespect that he has for black people in mass?

Moreover, how do you as the descendant of black freedom fighters from Kansas excuse make and defend a man who tells white folks that segregation wasn't that bad and that he had better things to do than get involved with the Civil Rights Movement?

By real actions what do you mean? And without knowing me you have concocted a fictional biography, pray tell, what am I not doing that I should be?

YogiFish said...

@Chauncey Well..

I don't plan on voting for Herman Cain, because of his political views.. not based on weather he does or doesn't represent some mythical view of black people in America.

And, you're one to talk about taking yourself so serious. You're not even you. I don't know if you're even a black person at all. To speak so seriously in the negative about a man you've never meet, @ Herman Cain, and focus on his ethnic qualification is very small minded of you.

As they say, judge not less you allow yourself to be judge. Who are you anyway? What are your qualifications to , so called, speak for the "Black Community"? What community of black people do you come from?

Herman is speaking his thoughts out loud, your thoughts are hidden behind a fake name. Are you ashamed of your culture in some way? Are you afraid of being judged?

There are a lot of fake people online pretending to speak for issue they don't represent in their true lives. I'm beginning to think maybe your site here is just a social joke being played on white America, pretending to speak for urban black people for attention.

Seems a cheap way to get attention, but there are some serious realities being dealt with in America now. Making a joke of the civil rights struggle that so many black people fought and died for, by belittling Herman Cain's right to be a Republican, Democrat, Independent or whatever is childish.

But then again, you're not a real person to be judged, so I guess your thoughts aren't really worth representing as your true self any way.

Part of being a black person is to .. as we say .. Keep It Real!

chaunceydevega said...


I speak for Chauncey DeVega. Me. No one else. So please stop with the transference of your own group think.

You are fun on a Friday. No answer for my questions though?

Interesting? Please share your bonafides this heritage of the black freedom struggle whose flags you tried to wave.

You are certainly not a very close reader or have internalized notions about black folks that would either suggest you are not one (turnabout is fair play) or that you have internalized white stereotypes about black people.

You may not be privy to the inside joke, but I doubt many "urban blacks" would identify with the notion of "negro respectability."

Who belittled Cain's right to be anything? Again, if you read carefully, you will see I find his suggestion that black people are dumb, retarded, stupid, brainwashed, or zombies to contemptible. I could care less what party he identifies with.

I would think that as a great heir to our freedom struggle you would be insulted too...he spits in the face of your ancestors (and you) with his suggestion we are brainwashed dupes.

But again, your silence is noteworthy. Thus my conclusion you are either a troll, a white person pretending to be black and channeling your feigned identity very badly or a jesse lee patterson type. Which is it?

You are fun. I like you. Can I have a hug?

YogiFish said...

James "YogiFish" Herring I put it here before, but you erased it. I'm on facebook. My life story and social security number isn't listed there (lol), but at least you can see who I am besides a screen name :)

What am I silent on? I don't defend his political views, but he has a right to have them. I'm not voting for him, but I just wonder why you choose to use the words of historically white racist to define Herman Cain?

There are a lot of black people who hate southern black people, but they hide it well. And as you know, not all black Americans have family that were ever slaves here. So your claims of speaking for a cultural pride isn't represented by anything you've presented, any where, as being a part of your real life experience.

I guess we'll just have to put some effort into finding out who you are, are maybe what's supporting who you are?

chaunceydevega said...


Insert maniacial laughter...

I am supported by the International Association of Seventh Day Junkists and the Almighty Black Internet Boule (Reformed Chapter).

You didn't know?

Cyberstalker detectives are good fun, especially those with much time on their hands.

And why would you put your real name online and then circulate it beyond Facebook? Why?

I just don't get all of this social network sharing all one's business stuff.

Since you find me so fascinating go listen to some of my interviews, read some more WARN and have fun. You may learn a thing or two before its done...

YogiFish said...


I thought you were real, guess not. I have nothing to hide. Why be fake?

I've been reading this site fore some time. It's thought provoking and entertaining.

And wouldn't you know it.. The first time I decide to leave a comment for some honest communication, I get a defensive author to deal with.

Oh well :) Back to my clueless ignorant negro life

chaunceydevega said...

@Yogi. Your tone didn't suggest that. Nor did your questions. Keep on reading if you like, I am sure we will find some things to agree--and disagree on--as is life.

Oh Crap said...

This is funny.


Herman Cain is a dark southern black man, and a baptist minister. What more does he need to do to have street creed as an authentic black person?

That is one of the lowest bars to so-called "authenticity" I have ever seen.

Why such low standards?

Plantsmantx said...

Yogifish, why aren't you a Republican?

Plantsmantx said...

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's family used to lease a hunting camp known by a racially offensive name, and a presidential rival calls that insensitive.

At issue is a rock outside the Texas camp that once carried the word "@!$%#head."

GOP candidate Herman Cain, who's black, says it shows "a lack of sensitivity" that the word was displayed for a long time and the camp wasn't renamed.

Uh...yeah...well. If some other black people brought something like this up against someone who Cain wasn't running against, he'd tell them to shut up.

YogiFish said...


I'll keep reading bro' .. RESPECT TO WARN Yup Yup™

@Oh Crap

Why is that a "Low Standard"? It's part of the historical foundation of the beginnings of black American liberation.


Because I choose to be a Democrat... Or did I miss the memo on black people not being allowed to speak their honest mind in the Democratic Party?

Are you trying to "Brainwash" me @Plantsmantx? LoL (That was a joke BTW)

Plantsmantx said...

Yes, you chose to be one...just like every other black Democrat.