Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dammit, GOP, Stop Embarrassing Yourself

If you like racist “humor” but lack the patience to apply blackface makeup, you could’ve gone to the Texas state Republican convention last week and bought a pin asking: “If Obama is President … will we still call it the White House?”

I’m currently in such a state of Victorian-grandma-style shock I can’t even think of anything snarky to say. So I’ll settle for a serious observation instead: I used to think “I hope Obama wins because he’d be a hell of a lot less odious than McCain.” I’ve now switched to, “I hope Obama wins because his opponents are so utterly vile, anything which annoys them is by default a good thing.”

Now where the hell are my smelling salts?

NEXT-DAY ADDITION: The Texas Republican Party is shocked, shocked to hear of racism in its ranks. As the AP reports:

The state GOP party said Wednesday that it will donate the $1,500 rent it collected from the vendor, Republicanmarket.com, to Midwestern flood victims. State GOP spokesman Hans Klingler said the party does not vet the merchandise being sold, but officials plan to discuss doing so in the future.

-- snip --

In 1998, the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's largest organization of gay Republicans, was denied a booth at the GOP state convention in Fort Worth and likened to the Ku Klux Klan by a Texas Republican Party spokesman.

"We don't allow pedophiles, transvestites or cross-dressers, either," then-GOP spokesman Robert Black said at the time.

23 Comments:

Anonymous smartass sob said...

"If Obama is President...will we still call it the White House?"

Oh, probably - after all, we didn't change the name to the Whore House when the first "black president" lived there. (Is that snarky enough?)

Frankly, I think the indignant outrage expressed by the majority of the commenters on that blog and the hysterical charges of racism are contemptibly hypocritical. Racist? Well that pin was not nearly as racist as Hillary losing the Democratic nomination because of the blacks all voting for Obama just because he's black. Of course, it isn't racism when non-whites indulge their prejudices, I suppose. Let's see...hmm. Oh yes, that's called racialism, isn't it? Kind of a "your shit stinks, but mine doesn't" sort of thing.

And the predictable castigation of Southerners in general and Texans in particular as some sort of knuckle- dragging racists, if it wasn't so egregiously exaggerated, would be almost laughable coming from a bunch of Northerners. Someone should remind them where most of the serious race riots have taken place in this country's history: the large cities of the north and northeast, as well as a few lovely places out west in La La Land. I'd bet there were as many lynchings in Indiana or even out west as happened in Texas. I wonder how many good Irish Catholics up there in Bean Town still refer to Jews as sheenies and kikes? I wonder, too, how many northern uban types still like to tell Polack jokes? I suspect that Yankees and Democrats are probably just as "vile" as anyone else.

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Other Matt said...

Oh, probably - after all, we didn't change the name to the Whore House when the first "black president" lived there. (Is that snarky enough?)

But didn't we change the "Oval Office" to the "Oral Office"? Wait, maybe that was just me, never mind.

Of course, it isn't racism when non-whites indulge their prejudices, I suppose. Let's see...hmm. Oh yes, that's called racialism, isn't it? Kind of a "your shit stinks, but mine doesn't" sort of thing.

Reverse racism is ok, but being as how you're hampered by being in TX I understand why wouldn't know that yet. The flawed tool becomes wonderful when you change its name. Racism is bad, so we need to apply it to fix racism as a double negative makes a positive. The only caveat so people don't particularly object to it, we'll call it 'Affirmative Action' instead.

6:09 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Smartass, I'm not at all saying that the GOP has a monopoly on being vile. But then, I don't know that the only reason Obama won is because "all" the black voters -- all twentysomething percent of the population -- voted for him, just as I know damned well all the women didn't vote for Hillary based on her naughty bits.

Thing is, the GOP strikes me as more willing to embrace nastiness rather than keep it on the fringes. Remember the odiousness of lefty Ward Churchill calling the 9/11 victims "little Eichmanns?" Vile indeed. Now compare that to Messrs. Robertson and Falwell claiming 9/11 was America's punishment for feminism and homosexuality. Churchill's on the Democratic fringe. Robertson's embraced by the GOP mainstream.

And if 9/11 had happened with a Democrat in the White House, the GOP would consider the 9/11 Truther movement a legitimate voting bloc worth courting, same as the extreme religious right. If I close my eyes I can almost hear Limbaugh or Hannity say it: "Only a latte-sipping limousine liberal would sneer at people's faith-based convictions that homosexuals are a threat to America, or that Algore brought down the World Trade Center."

8:58 AM  
Anonymous me said...

The button that says "... still call it the white house". Is not racist. it's stupid and tasteless, but not racist. let's not lessen the real meaning of the word 'racist' by applying it to a silly joke. A black person being lynched, burned, oppressed, or otherwise harmed based on his race is racism making a silly/stupid joke is not. (in fact Dave Chappell, a black man, made a similar joke.
Also, Under a Democratic President we were attacked 4 times USS Cole in Yemen, 2 embassies in Africa, and the incident Somalia during our humanitarian effort there. I don't recall any member of the GOP demeaning the deaths of US citizens by calling it calling it an "inside Job".

1:03 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

it's stupid and tasteless, but not racist. let's not lessen the real meaning of the word 'racist' by applying it to a silly joke. A black person being lynched, burned, oppressed, or otherwise harmed based on his race is racism making a silly/stupid joke is not.

There's certainly a difference in degree between this button and an act of violence, but they're both racist. Just as saying "all women are idiots" is sexist, though certainly nowhere near as bad as committing acts of violence against women.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Oh, if the GOP didn't have these overblown incidents of tastelessness then the Democrats would have become a minority party years ago. But then if the Democrats didn't keep snatching defeat from the jaws of victory by choosing unelectable candidates then the Republicans would be a minority party I suppose. So it all balances out in the end.

6:01 PM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

Thing is, the GOP strikes me as more willing to embrace nastiness rather than keep it on the fringes.

I guess it kind of depends on your definition of nastiness. Churchill is an ass, but so is Sharpton. Churchill is out on the fringe, Sharpton leads a charge. You can pick different pairs to make about any point you want. Personally they're both manifestations of evil, just different sides of a single coin. Until we grasp this, people will continue to get caught up in left or right hand finger pointing and not much will change.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous me said...

Jennifer,
Consider these words carefully.
"If Obama is President...will we still call it the White House?" There is nothing insulting about that. It simply draws a parallel between the color of the stone used to build the the building and the color of a man's skin. It's stupid and sophomoric, but I don't see the hurtfulness of it. We've all heard racist jokes, This clearly is not one. Saying "All women are idiots" is obvious sexist. I'm surprised you, of all people, can't tell the difference.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous me said...

This just in!
Spike Lee is a racist!

http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSN2042270720080620?feedType=RSS&feedName=politicsNews&rpc=22&sp=true

11:36 AM  
Anonymous me said...

Just copy and paste that link

11:37 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

It's stupid and sophomoric, but I don't see the hurtfulness of it. We've all heard racist jokes, This clearly is not one.

This implies that "hurtfulness" is the deciding factor in whether something is racist or not. Do you think so? This could be merely an issue of semantics.

11:39 AM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

racism

1. The belief that each race has distinct and intrinsic attributes.
2. The belief that one race is superior to all others.
3. Prejudice or discrimination based upon race.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Thank you Moose.
However, the first definition is a little odd. I think we can all agree that each race on this planet does have some distinct and intrinsic attributes that were carved out by millions of years of evolution. Does just stating that make me a racist? I imagine in some circles the answer would be yes. But I don't believe so.
That Obama button does not imply inferiority nor does it encourage discrimination. It's just a silly statement comparing the color of a building to the color of a man's skin.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

It's just a silly statement comparing the color of a building to the color of a man's skin.

And the presumed humor works only based on the assumption that the phrase "White House" has anything to do with the skin color of all those who lived there before.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Why are we using the word "race"? The very use of the word implies rather drastic differences between the "races". Kind of like the difference between elves and dwarves in fantasy literature. I'm not sure, but is it even a scientific term?

Subspecies or variant would be the scientific term. Breed might be a more crude yet somewhat accurate word. After all, a doberman and a poodle are both breeds of Canis lupus familiaris, but they can still interbreed.

Blacks and whites are homo home-sapiens and fully capable of interbreeding. They certainly aren't as different as dwarves and elves. The differences are there no doubt but then there are differences between Russians and Italians but we don't refer to them as being of different races.

I think use of the term "race" is in itself racist.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

But then, I don't know that the only reason Obama won is because "all" the black voters -- all twentysomething percent of the population -- voted for him, just as I know damned well all the women didn't vote for Hillary based on her naughty bits.

It is beside the point I suppose, but your numbers are off by a factor of two. According to the last census figures African-Americans comprise only a shade over twelve per cent of the US population. Here's a link to a Wikipedia article that cites more exact data and references.

I don't know that "all" black voters voted for Obama - I would think at least a few are Republicans and did not vote in the Democratic primaries at all. But I certainly haven't heard anyone dispute that the majority of African-American Dems voted for him. Whether or not it cost Hillary the nomination is debatable, I guess, but it's a wager I wouldn't be afraid to put my money on (if I were a betting man, that is.) From all acounts it was a close race. But that, too, is beside the point I was trying to make; namely that voting for someone primarily because of his race is racist, just as refusing to vote for someone because of his race is also racist. And further that it is extremely dishonest for the commenters, on that blog post you linked to, to be so terribly outraged and condemnatory of a relatively harmless, moronic remark, but by their silence give a pass to the voting behavior I mentioned. Double standards are part of the essence of racism, don't you think?

5:34 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Just as saying "all women are idiots" is sexist,

True, it is - just as saying all men are assholes is feminist. ;-)

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the GOP would consider the 9/11 Truther movement a legitimate voting bloc worth courting"

Jennifer -

Didn't you do an investigative piece on that movement? I remember there was something at St. Joe's that I read about after the fact. If I had known about it, I would have checked it out. What did you think? Anything to this questioning the government story on this? Is this about science? Politics? Alien nuts? Curious as to your take.

-Tom
Hartford, CT

12:52 AM  
Anonymous Pablo Escobar said...

People need to start distinguishing between 'racism' and 'racial bigotry'.

Almost everyone's a racist. That's because racism can be good or bad.

For example, to some people "good" racism = setting up a Department of Black People to hand out welfare to blacks (aka affirmative action programs)

"Bad" racism = lynching people because of the colour of their skin

7:56 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Didn't you do an investigative piece on that movement?

Yes. If you Google my name and "9/11" you'll find it, either on my old job's website or archived on here. It succeeded in annoying everybody: the Truthers thought I was too hard on them, and the anti-Truthers thought I was too sympathetic to the movement.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yes. If you Google my name and "9/11" you'll find it, either on my old job's website or archived on here. It succeeded in annoying everybody: the Truthers thought I was too hard on them, and the anti-Truthers thought I was too sympathetic to the movement."

Thanks Jennifer. I found it. Framing the question of whether there is some healthy line on the spectrum of trust v. distrust of government was an interesting approach to the subject.

It does seem like there's a lot of hot heads out there screaming at each other on this matter, and not a lot of mediation or discussion within the media. Maybe the reaction you got explains, in part, why others are steering clear of it.

But as a raving genius, you cannot allow yourself to be troubled by the venom of a bunch of hotheads. ; )

- Tom

Ps. I once tried to set up one of these Google accounts - can't remember why it did not take.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Matt L said...

“If Obama is President … will we still call it the White House?”

No, it will be repainted. Probably in a nice yellow.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

About bloody time. That shade of white is so out of date after all. A nice canary yellow would be so charming.

10:09 AM  

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