Monday, January 11, 2010

Dear Michael Steele

So today this is all over Michael Steele is all awash in mock rage and indignation because Harry Reid allegedly told someone in 2008 that Obama was especially electable among black politicians because of his light-skinned appearance and "lack of negro dialect," which makes it sound like the source was actually his daughter's anthropology mid-term. Steele huffed and puffed himself up to three times his normal size when he bloozed: "Racism and racist conversation has no place in America," less than seven days after he used the phrase "Honest injun" on Meet the Press, which despite the clear implication, is apparently neither. The difference might be lost on you, but Michael Steele knows there's one. So, just...yeah...take his word for it, or whatever. At this point, Steele induces so many full-body cringes with the shit that he says that I'm not entirely convinced the GOP isn't being run by Larry David in blackface. (That picture isn't helping either.)

In actuality, the only difference between the two statements is that what Reid said is Gospel truth, despite how unseemly it might sound, whereas Steele was just speaking out his asshole once again. (Not that anyone should necessarily be losing any sleep over a line that sounds like it was stolen from Yosemite Sam, but once you assume elected office, the word "Injun" in any context should probably be purged from your vocabulary. Just sayin'.) Reid is 100% right - if Obama looked and talked like Chris Tucker, he'd be managing the Smithsonian's Orange Julius right now. He could have taken his platform from "The Rights of Man" and he still would have been run out of town on a rail. The fact that Obama got elected is directly tied to him not appearing "black" - anyone who seriously argues differently trades their racism in for complete ignorance. And the same goes for Michael Steele - if he looked "overly" black, he'd be on the outside looking in too. It's the ugly truth that racist, not the one acknowledging it.

With the benefit of thirteen months of America's unadulterated racism firmly in mind, it's even more incredible now that Obama got elected than it was when it actually happened. The open hostility nearly everyone not on the Nobel committee has shown to him has been galling, and folks have been lining up to put him in his place before we even figured what place he belonged in. It's like America has suddenly gone - "Wait a minute - we elected the black guy?!" and then got angry about it. How else can you explain someone being practically burned in effigy for proposing Universal Health Care, while the guy who started two deficit-digging wars while collapsing our economy didn't even get so much as a strong middle finger during his eight years in office. How do you explain him being retroactively blamed for the economy and Afghanistan? Maybe it's who I'm related to, but I never felt this base anger, this seething resentment towards any politician, and there doesn't seem to be any cause for it...except for one small characteristic. What's most harrowing is that, while he's revealed himself to be a difference-dividing politician at heart, Obama hasn't publicly fucked anything up too badly; and yet he's still somehow managed to reduce the chances that we see another black president in our lifetimes by about 400%.

1 comment:

Philbertun said...

Ok, so Steele deserves some shit for uttering a racially insensitive phrase.
However, Harry Reid should get off Scott free (with no offense meant to Scots everywhere) because he said the skin color and dialect of president Obama made him more electable?
Ok, so dialect actually has something to do with it, as far as I'm concerned. The way one speaks speaks volumes. But that he doesn't speak "black?" That's a slap in the face to all black Americans. How do they speak? Do they all speak the same way? How ignorant do we have to be here?
I understand that the phrase "honest injun" is insensitive, but Senator Reid's remark seems somehow more offensive.
Obama's light skin made him more attractive to voters? As if people who took the time to vote for president (a preciousl few, if I might add, considering the number of eligible voters in our fair country) didn't notice he was of African descent?
So Mr. Steele has a long ways to go, but everyone, including the president (see his Special Olympics comments) has a ways to go to being as sensitive as EVERY American needs them to be.
I think "being not black enough to be elected president" is worse than being a self-proclaimed "honest Injun."
Just sayin.