The Hate That Dare Not Speak Its Name

There’s an old Dave Chappelle skit where he plays a juror who insists that, in order to convict R. Kelly of the bad gross stuff he was accused of, Chappelle’s character would need to see: a tape of the incident, while the alleged victim was holding two forms of government ID; a cop; 4 or 5 friends; a note-taker; and R. Kelly’s grandmother on the tape to confirm his identity.

In response to the prosecutor’s statement that he’s asking for a bit much, Chappelle’s character bursts out, ”No, it’s not excessive! Listen, lady, the burden of proof is on the state! On the state! You have got to prove to me, beyond a reasonable doubt, whether or not this man is a pisser!”

 

It’s a slapsticky take on then-current events, taking off on the suspicion, in light of “testilying,” police brutality, centuries of slavery followed by a century of Jim Crow, an incarceration rate higher than any other country in the world and disproportionately applied to blacks, etc., that some blacks have of law enforcement, and the reluctance to deprive a person of his liberty at the behest of the state.

It’s also the same standard many whites apply to co-ethnics accused of racism.

Joan Walsh tells us (auto-pop-up ad with sound at the link):

Newt Gingrich doubled down on his clever new slur against President Obama as “the food stamp president.” He tried the line in a Friday speech to the Georgia Republican convention, and he used it again on “Meet the Press Sunday.” It’s a short hop from Gingrich’s slur to Ronald Reagan’s attacks on “strapping young bucks” buying “T-bone steaks” with food stamps. Blaming our first black president for the sharp rise in food-stamp reliance (which resulted from the economic crash that happened on the watch of our most recent white president) is just the latest version of Rush Limbaugh suggesting that Obama’s social policy amounts to “reparations” for black people.

But when host David Gregory suggested the term had racial overtones, Gingrich replied “That’s bizarre,” and added, “I have never said anything about President Obama which is racist.” That’s not quite as extreme or silly as Donald Trump declaring “I am the least racist person there is,” but it’s up there. …

Just last week Gingrich said Obama “knows how to get the whole country to resemble Detroit,” which just happens to be home to many black people. And last year Gingrich accused Obama of “Kenyan anti-colonialist behavior” that made him “outside our comprehension” as Americans …

Heaven forbid!  That Newt is appealing to racist whites by calling the first black president, digging out from the financial crisis that occurred under the previous president’s “watch” by coming up with the novel term “food stamp president”?  Who could say such a thing!

Just to drag out the corpse of Lee Atwater yet again just to make things crystal clear, “You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger,’ ” said Atwater. “By 1968, you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things, and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.”

The Southern Strategy of appealing to racist whites though anti-US government appeals is an established historical fact.  And unfortunately, in a post-policy GOP, identity politics has almost entirely replaced political debate.  From the previous link, a summary of a Pat Buchanan memo to Richard Nixon in 1971:

“Dividing the Democrats.” Drawn up with an acute understanding of the fragilities and fault lines in “the Old Roosevelt Coalition,” it recommended that the White House “exacerbate the ideological division” between the Old and New Left by praising Democrats who supported any of Nixon’s policies; highlight “the elitism and quasi-anti-Americanism of the National Democratic Party”; nominate for the Supreme Court a Southern strict constructionist who would divide Democrats regionally; use abortion and parochial-school aid to deepen the split between Catholics and social liberals; elicit white working-class support with tax relief and denunciations of welfare. Finally, the memo recommended exploiting racial tensions among Democrats. “Bumper stickers calling for black Presidential and especially Vice-Presidential candidates should be spread out in the ghettoes of the country,” Buchanan wrote. “We should do what is within our power to have a black nominated for Number Two, at least at the Democratic National Convention.” Such gambits, he added, could “cut the Democratic Party and country in half; my view is that we would have far the larger half.”

As a result of the anti-minority, anti-Democratic, anti-government fervor that Nixon had encouraged, when he later proposed the Milton Friedman-inspired program of a negative income tax, Republicans in Congress killed it.  ”Prejudice and emotion had trumped knowledge,” summed up Manhattan Institute scholar Guy Sorman, in what serves as an epitaph for Republican thought.

Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite unique in pushing small-government inclinations, are usually the slaves of some defunct segregationist.

That isn’t to say that there’s no possible non-racist rationale for opposing proposal x or y.  Of course one can be a libertarian in good faith.  It is to say that the most common voicing of the anti-government perspective, and the rhetoric from Steve Kings & Newt Gingriches that They are coming for Our America comes from an intentional appeal to segregationism and racism.

This entry was posted in News and Current Events, Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.