Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The same old accusations vs. real racism

As most of my readers know, if for no other reason than because I have a big link to the site on the right side, I occasionally crosspost at the Austin Post, the local hangout spot for would-be successful bloggers.  Among my fellow authors over there is an account belonging to the Burnt Orange Report, a very successful local ultra-liberal blog.  Though I generally disagree with the postings of the Burnt Orange Report, I have tried to adopt a live-and-let-live policy with regard to my ideological opposites.

But a recent post by BOR author Katherine Haenschen entitled "Republicans Mistake Michael Williams for a Waiter" has made it very difficult for me not to respond.  In the article, Ms. Haenschen has taken a few anecdotes of Michael Williams, Republican candidate for US Senate from Texas, being mistaken for a waiter because he is black, and she has twisted this to fit her preferred narrative that those awful Republicans are a bunch of racist jerks.

Now, for the benefit of Ms. Haenschen and others who either believe that all we conservatives are truly racist or who know better but spread that narrative without regard to the truth, obviously there are some on our side who need some enlightenment with regard to race relations, and I know that I would cringe, at the very least, if I were to see someone at a conservative event mistaking Michael Williams for a waiter.  It should also be noted that I've been to an event where Mr. Williams spoke, and the response from the people in attendance to Mr. Williams's speech was uniformly positive.

It's sad that I have to say any of this at all because of people like Ms. Haenschen who look at conservatives and, rather than seeing people, see, I don't know, a bunch of drooling Neanderthals.  And I know people think that way about conservatives based on all the accusations of racism that have flown more often than a Southwest 737 between Love Field and Houston Hobby.  I wrote about this same topic almost a year ago in a post innocuously titled "We're All Racist Thugs Now"*.  Apparently the media narrative has yet to change from when that post was written.

(*It should be noted that the Austin Post version of that article, despite being one of the most read articles I've posted there, is also one of the lowest-rated by readers, mostly because almost everyone neglected to vote on it.  And since I'm not above asking for votes, y'all go over there and give me a thumbs up if you're as tired as I am of conservatives being painted as uniformly racist.)

But the real truth of how blacks are treated is much, much worse.  That is, if you happen to be a black conservative.  While Ms. Haenschen wrings her hands over a few uninformed yahoos thinking Mr. Williams is a waiter, potential conservative 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain (who also spoke at the same event I mentioned above, and who received the same positive response) was attacked with language unfitting for the 1980s, let alone now.  Now, Ms. Haenschen, I'm sure you would condemn this language, right?

Oh, wait.  The attacks came from a liberal website, not a conservative one.

Courtesy Old Line Elephant/Race42012:

[A] writer at the progressive news site AlterNet had decided to review Mr. Cain's address at CPAC. What followed, was an article filled with racial slurs / epithets for Mr. Cain. Here's a quote from the beginning of the article to give you an example:
As you know, I find black garbage pail kids black conservatives fascinating not because of what they believe, but rather because of how they entertain and perform for their White Conservative masters.

When race minstrelsy was America’s most popular form of mass entertainment, black actors would often have to pretend to be white men, who then in turn would put on the cork to play the role of the “black” coon, Sambo, or Jumping Jim Crow. Adding insult to injury, in a truly perverse and twisted example of the power of American white supremacy black vaudevillians would often pretend to be white in order to denigrate black people for the pleasures of the white gaze.

Herman Cain–an ironic name if ever, and one more suited to a tragic figure in a Harlem Renaissance era novella–is not “blackening twice” as some race minstrels chose to do.

[Unfortunately, the attendees at CPAC are not the butt of some type of joke where the white man wearing the cork is really a black man in secret.]

Instead, Herman Cain’s shtick is a version of race minstrelsy where he performs “authentic negritude” as wish fulfillment for White Conservative fantasies. Like the fountain at Lourdes, Cain in his designated role as black Conservative mascot, absolves the White racial reactionaries at CPAC of their sins. This is a refined performance that Black Conservatives have perfected over many decades and centuries of practice.

Yes, this is the type of intelligent discourse you can get from progressives.   Some progressives.  Unlike some people, I refuse to paint all progressives/liberals uniformly, as Ms. Haenschen has attempted to do with conservatives.

But I do hope that Ms. Haenschen and others who are so quick to find fault with the other political side will recognize the fault in their own, and condemn it.  And then, perhaps, we can have a real discussion of racial issues.