Friday, August 17, 2012
Assistant Quote of the Day
"That really bothered me. You notice he said ‘anger’ twice. He’s really trying to use racial coding and access some really deep stereotypes about the angry black man... I know it’s a heavy thing, I don’t say it lightly, but this is ‘niggerization.’ You are not one of us, you are like the scary black man who we’ve been trained to fear."
-- Touré, discussing Mitt Romney's claim that Barack Obama is running an "angry" campaign
Touré's a smart guy but he's also one of those people whose stock-in-trade is racial issues -- he's kind of trained himself to see racism everywhere he looks. That said, there's a reason that subtly racist comments are called "dog whistles": Since coming right out and calling somebody a nigger would be blatantly indefensible, code words are instead used with the idea that the right people will understand the message. It gets the point across while providing the protection of plausible deniability for the person making the statement, allowing his or her supporters to make the maddening claim that no racism was intended and that those who see it are simply guilty of exploiting the potential of racism for their own political benefit.
Needless to say, the Romney campaign is already howling at NBC News's smug prick of a president, Steve Capus, over the Touré comment, demanding satisfaction. We'll see what happens next.
By the way, Charles Pierce has a really fantastic piece in the new issue of Esquire that examines how President Obama's blackness is something we convinced ourselves didn't really matter -- in fact, we patted ourselves on the back for our willingness to supposedly not care much about his race -- and how it immediately set him up for a certain amount of failure. He wasn't supposed to be a flesh-and-blood politician -- he was supposed to be the savior who absolved us of our culture's racial sins. This is my favorite quote from it -- it's positively brilliant:
"This is... what is perhaps the most noxious idea out there: that Barack Obama 'failed' in his promise to 'bring the country together.' He's now campaigning in such a way that you might believe he actually wants to be president all over again. He is engaging in politics. Mother of mercy, I swear David Brooks is just going to break down and go all to pieces on PBS some evening over the president's betrayal of his role as the country's anodyne black man and, of course, his upcoming role as black martyr to incivility and discord. It is his duty, dammit, to be all the things that people like Brooks wanted him to be so that he could lose, nobly, and then the country could go back to its rightful owners."