« Caption Contest Results | Main | Reckless American Humanitarianism »

November 20, 2004

When Will We Say: Enough?

In December of 2002, Trent Lott attended a birthday party for Strom Thurmond at which he remarked:

"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either," Lott said at last week's party.

This oblique remark was subject to various interpretations, but the reaction from Democrats and civil rights activists was immediate and harsh. Thurmond's 1948 Presidential platform incorporated a segregationist stance; therefore Lott's remark was automatically interpreted as endorsement of racism.

Jesse Jackson demanded Lott's resignation.

Former Vice President Al Gore told CNN the comment was "racist", adding that Lott should apologize for his comments or face censure by the Senate.

While even his defenders admit that Lott's remark was injudicious and could easily be construed to give offense, it was neither overtly hostile nor openly racist. The same situation arose recently with remarks made by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.  In both cases, an indirect remark was interpreted to infer racist intent in the absence of overt racist content in the speech itself. Such cannot be said for the depictions of two top-level Black members of the Bush administration.  During the past few years, Dr. Condoleeza Rice, a Cabinet-level officer, has been subjected to the following treatment:

    • Garry Trudeau drew the President calling Dr. Rice "Brown Sugar" in his sadly unfunny comic strip, "Doonesbury"
    • Radio host John "Sly" Sylvester called Dr. Rice "Aunt Jemima"
    • Thomas Oliphant twice this week draws Miss Rice as a parrot with oversized lips.
    • Ted Rall, formerly syndicated by the WaPo, lampoons Miss Rice boasting about her role as "Bush's Beard" and his "House Nigger"*  Another cartoon demands she "hand over her hair straightener" and has her going to an "inner-city racial re-education camp".
    • Mr. Danziger, still syndicated by the New York Times, depicts Dr. Rice as a barefoot woman in a rocking chair with a baby bottle. One Danziger cartoon shows her as the slave Prissy from "Gone With The Wind."

Yet the Reverend Jackson has demanded no resignations.

Mr. Gore can find no racism in any of this.

One might expect the NAACP to rejoice in the advancement of a Black woman to two of the highest posts in the land, but they were strangely silent when Dr. Rice was recently nominated to become the first Black, female Secretary of State: an historic occasion.

One might expect that organization to deplore the contemptuous and mocking treatment afforded a highly-educated and qualified Black professional: one of their own, who made good.  Yet they say nothing.

The National Organization of Women, who have long purported to stand against the trivialization and objectification of women as sex objects, apparently have no problem when Gary Trudeau depicts Dr. Rice as "Brown Sugar", a sneering two-for-one sexual put-down, slamming her for both her race and gender.

Some Black conservatives are furious over this cowardly double-standard.  Apparently to the civil rights establishment, some people's civil rights are more equal than others:

Project 21 asked the NAACP's national leadership to condemn Rall's racist cartoon in July, but no action was taken. Jesse Jackson and the National Association of Black Journalists were also contacted at the time. They took no action.

"To hear the leftists tell it, conservative blacks have become the new 'trash class' of American society," said Project 21 member Michael King. "And with the continued cricket-filled silence from the professional civil rights crowd, the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons give tacit permission and acceptance of such language and tactics."

King's comments are echoed by Project 21 member Mychal Massie: "The recent racist attacks and mimicry of Condoleezza Rice are infuriating and despicable. Even more insufferable is the deafening silence of the elite liberals. I believe their silence is proof positive of their personal racist attitudes. Obviously condemning racist attacks against a man and woman who are conservative and black is not a worthy undertaking for them."

The Washington Times comments

In modern memory, there are few prominent figures in American government who have been relentessly caricatured in a more vulgar way than Condoleezza Rice. Apparently, when it comes to President Bush's national security adviser — a conservative who would become the first black female secretary of state if confirmed by the Senate — no racist stereotype is out of bounds for such syndicated cartoonists as Garry Trudeau, Pat Oliphant or Jeff Danziger.

As the savaging of Miss Rice shows, the political left has no reluctance whatsoever in going after black conservatives when it deems this necessary to put them in their political place.

Americans of all races should be outraged at the treatment Dr. Rice has been afforded - it is unacceptable.  This is not a matter of partisan politics but of common decency.

I thought we had come farther in this country, but the current situation throws the political correctness movement into hideous relief: where we are so afraid of a single word that we piously use asterisks to hide it, yet we allow an honorable public servant to be vilified and humiliated with that same word, as though somehow that makes it acceptable. 

We pillory conservatives for indirect and imagined slights, yet we allow the open ridicule of African facial features by cartoonists to go unchallenged.  We tolerate racial and sexual innuendo of a kind we thought unforgivable just a few years ago because it comes from the liberated and tolerant Left, from whom racism and sexism are supposedly unimaginable.

Well, imagine it.  The New York Times pays for this rubbish.

*You will note that I am quite unapologetic about using the word "nigger" in this context. It is an ugly word, and blanking it out lessens the shock value of his cowardly and despicable action.  I will not allow Ted Rall to hide behind euphenisms or evasions. If you find it offensive: good.  You should be offended.

We should all be offended on Dr. Rice's behalf.  Some things are impermissible in a civilized society.

- Cassandra

November 20, 2004 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83452b19169e200d8345698fc69e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference When Will We Say: Enough?:

» I love Jet Noise: Offended on Condoleezza Rice's Behalf from Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog
The I Love Jet Noise blog has a good post about the way Dr. Condoleezza Rice is being treated. Good comments in [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 22, 2004 12:04:34 AM

» Racism? Not Quite. Patronizing? Absolutely. from Villainous Company
Though I often find her enormously entertaining, I rarely quote Ann Coulter. But this column is spot on. Coulter takes on the Left's desperate attempts to delegitimize Bush's laudable (and so far unequalled) record on appointing qualified minorities to... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 9, 2004 9:41:04 AM

Comments

Enough.

Posted by: spd rdr at Nov 20, 2004 12:39:43 PM

I was really furious about some of this earlier in the week. The idea that Dr. Rice would be treated like this after some of the dimwits that have served in democrat admins, like Jocelyn Elders, Madelaine Albright, and War & Christopher.

Now I am just glad that these low lifes are showing us their true colors. Racist vile small minded scumbags wasting perfectly good oxygen.

I have also stopped calling her Condi, as the left does that to minimize her, as opposed to Dr. Rice. But I don't call my lovely bride Dr. On, I asked her if she wanted me to, and she doesn't.

Posted by: Pile On® at Nov 20, 2004 1:11:32 PM

I call her Condi as a term of affection, just as I do Rummy, or Dubya, but in this context where they are trying to demean her, you're right: I guess I am going out of my way to call her Dr. Rice. Normally I find that a bit awkward and to be honest I find the tendency in the black community to overemphasize honorifics and academics a tad bit annoying, if perfectly understandable.

My brother and sister and law both have scientific/math PhDs but they would be horrified to be addressed as "Dr.". It's just something they did for work.

She is from academia and I do understand that they do tend to use titles more there. But I don't hear her refer to herself that way - she seems very unpretentious - part of why I like her.

Posted by: Cassandra at Nov 20, 2004 1:25:39 PM

I'm curious about this hypothetical: If the WSJ had printed on the very same day, a cartoon depicting Jocelyn Elders with oversized lips and labeled an 'Aunt Jemimah' which of the following would occur:

1) WSJ is lambasted as a racist publication by the elite left wing - while carefully ignoring their own hypocrisy.
2) The Sylvesters, Trudeaus and Oliphants would justify their own comments by pointing to this hypothetical WSJ cartoon.
3) Both 1 & 2

Posted by: bahabuddha™ at Nov 20, 2004 2:18:30 PM

My guess: (3)

Posted by: Cassandra at Nov 20, 2004 2:20:15 PM

If you want my opinion (and no one probably does) we need to be careful about throwing around allegations of racism.

But if the Left is going to throw them around, then they need to hurl them with equal abandon at everyone who does the same thing.

I'm sorry, an open and direct insult is worse than a sly remark that you have to read something into to be offended at.

It has long been a rule in politics that you can insult someone and get away with it, as long as you're not direct enough to leave the other person with no recourse but to call you out.

In my book, when you start calling a black woman a house nigger, I think you've crossed that line.

When you start drawing a Black as a plantation slave, I think we can all agree that's racially offensive.

These things are directly insulting. There is no possible way anyone can take them any other way other than that in which they were meant -- as derogatory, mean, and insulting in the extreme. They are the verbal equivalent of a slap in the face.

In another age, the proper answer would have been to challenge the offender to a duel. Honor would have demanded such a response.

Posted by: Cassandra at Nov 20, 2004 2:26:17 PM

Cass, you're right about one thing - the racist treatment of Condi Rice has been blatant and intended... there is just no other way to interpret these cartoons.

But if the Left is going to throw them around, then they need to hurl them with equal abandon at everyone who does the same thing

Therein lies the problem. As long as they are using charges of racism as a political tool (with no accountability), when will it end?

The only trick I've found remotely effective, is when relating the above incidents to others, I substitute the words "some woman" for "Dr. Rice". Only after they are properly outraged do I mention that "some woman" is Dr. Rice.

BTW - Down here, I can say "some woman" and she is assumed to be black unless otherwise specified.

Posted by: bahabuddha™ at Nov 20, 2004 3:07:36 PM

I get tired of the Oversensitivity Police going nuts all the time.

It's not the name-calling that's such a big deal.

It's the fact that it is used to destroy people, and then on top of it, we're using this silliness to write unfair laws that are used to fire people from their jobs and expel students from their jobs, yet these whackjobs can literally get away with murder and no one bats an eyelash. It's ludicrous.

A thing is either wrong or it is not. It doesn't matter who does it. Name calling isn't a federal offense. So we need to inject a little sanity into the discourse here.

I'm just trying to call attention to the double standard, and also to the viciousness of the Left, who are attacking Condoleeza Rice while hiding behind a lot of pious rhetoric.

It's still wrong, and all the sanctimonious claptrap in the world won't make it right. They ought to be ashamed. If they were real men, they'd apologize.

Posted by: Cassandra at Nov 20, 2004 3:22:27 PM

If they were real men they wouldn't have written them in the first place.

Posted by: Pile On® at Nov 20, 2004 3:46:39 PM

It just seems so below-the-belt to hit her with that. After all her hard work, she makes it to the top, and they're implying she doesn't deserve it. And it's not true, just like other insults aren't true, and she's woman enough to rise above it. But it's still got to hurt.

Maybe that's what bothers me, I don't know.

You know, part of me is saying, "what's worse about this insult than any one of the myriad insults that get hurled about every day in Washington?"

Because part of the whole "Hate Crime" thing is the underlying proposition that offenses are worse when race is involved - that murder is more 'murderous' or rape is more 'rapacious' or sadistic behavior is more cruel if race is at the heart of it, rather than simple human ugliness and indifference to (or worse, delight in) the suffering of another human being.

And is that really true? Weren't we trying to get to the point where race didn't matter anymore?

Posted by: Cassandra at Nov 20, 2004 3:55:23 PM

ANYONE with a PhD after their name should forever be refered to as "Dr. ,,,,,,,"

The treatment Dr. Rice has received is shamefull to say the least...the 2 faced bigots from Rainbow-PUSH,Doonesbury, and the Ted Rall faction are nothing more than house niggers of the Democratic party. There, I've said it....I am sick and goddamned tired of the PC posturing of the masses, while they conveniently ignore this kind of slander...You want to call a "spade a spade?" then go for it........you fu**in* hipocrites..

Greg


(NOT feeling better after venting)

Posted by: Greg at Nov 20, 2004 8:14:37 PM

Thank you for calling the DNC. Your opinion is important to us. Please hold for the next available representative. Your call will be answered in the order in which you have contributed to the DNC. Please feel free to open up and tell us how you really feel.

Thank you for calling the DNC..........

Posted by: DNC Hold Message for Greg at Nov 20, 2004 8:25:32 PM

btw.....Rev. Jesse Jackson...your scalp wouldn't make a hair off of Dr. Paige's ass!!!

Greg

Posted by: Greg at Nov 20, 2004 8:29:08 PM

dammit....still on hold @ the DNC


Greg

Posted by: Greg at Nov 20, 2004 8:33:02 PM

I like Dr. Rice. I am lately starting to watch the news again after an 18 month absence, and so to see it from the perspective of the internet, which to me is the man on the street is enlightening indeed.

I say we go after the moronic bigoted left.
Call them on their hypocrisy, but that would set back everything Dr. Rice, Bill Cosby, Walter Williams and others have achieved ON THEIR OWN. All we can do is support them and
be above the idiocy.

Besides, I can't do spankings as well as Cassandra. I am lame in that area.

Posted by: Cricket at Nov 20, 2004 9:17:23 PM

I think there is osme sort of weird convergence here between this discussion of the barbs directed at Condi Rice (and by larger implication, GWB), and the other thread regarding the Scalia dissent with regards to opening VMI to women. (take a deep breath)

As I think I uncerstand it, Judge Scalia opined that those issues which were seen free association issues, and under that concept, were beyond the 'majoritarian' purview of 'democratic' decision, i.e., Constitutional issues address the relationship of the individual to the law, rather than the decision of the Court to impose what is believed 'most' people popularly wanted.
The hurling of epithets, insults, etc. is by nature a 'personal' verbal attack, assault, etc. , and not a 'majoritarian' or 'democratic' act. Yet, the 'majority' (who ever they are!) can imply social disapproval of many derogatory terms (like those used against Dr. Rice, but in a different context, say from 30-40 years ago).
And that same self-selected 'majority', can decide that it is appropriate to use them again when they have utility.

Clue: The 'majority' is neither. It is those who stand on the biggest soapboxes with the loudest megaphones.

So it's heads they win, tails you lose. Opposing the biggest 'megaphone' ideas will win you social ostracism, yet when the holders of the 'big megaphone' decide to use the same sort of repugnant tactics they alledgedly are appalled by, hey! presto! the circumstances justify it.
This has the same ring as the rationale for a 'living constitution'which Justice Scalia rails against, yet it is dressed in more coarse clothing for we rude peasants that are part of the *Fungible Mass*. (Glad I worked THAT into this little rant!)
As Senor Pile On so eloquently states it,"If they were real men they wouldn't have written them in the first place."
There are lots of things that 'real' men and woman would never do, that the 'big megaphone' types indulge in every day.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at Nov 20, 2004 9:32:34 PM

If I understand what I think you just said... (and I'm not entirely certain I do Don... :), it's akin to something I was haltingly trying to get across last week.

And that is this: intolerance is neither a conservative nor a liberal trait; it's a function of human nature, pure and simple. And people will be intolerant of that which they feel they have social approbation for safely despising.

So in the 50's it was interracial couples or unwed mothers or Jews or Commies, Negroes, or homosexuals.

Now it's conservatives, white males, Christians, Jews, virgins, yada, yada, yada...

As I quipped before, the only constant in life is God help you if you're a Jew. I will never understand that - it remains one of the great mysteries of Life. They are a great people and have been treated shabbily for thousands of years.

It's just that the center of gravity as far as what society views as socially desireable or acceptable has moved so far to the left that the very groups we once despised have now been elevated to protected status and the groups who were once on top are at the bottom. It's safe to diss the 'oppressors' now.

Posted by: Cassandra at Nov 21, 2004 7:17:15 AM

Cass, I think you uncerstands it.

Posted by: Pile On® at Nov 21, 2004 7:52:38 AM

I have one piece of good news.

The NAALCP has decided to respond to the offenses. In the press release, they are surprisingly even handed. Take a look:

http://www.naacp.org/news/2004/2004-11-19-1.html

Political Criticism Should Not Be Based On Ethnic Stereotypes And Racial Slurs
Questions raised about criticism of Secretary of State nominee Condoleeza Rice

Kweisi Mfume, President & CEO, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), today denounced critics of Secretary of State nominee Condoleezza Rice who have resorted to the use of racial slurs and ethnic stereotypes.

Mfume was referring to a Madison, Wis. radio show host who this week allegedly called Rice, the first African American female to serve as the president’s National Security Counsel, “Aunt Jemima,” a stereotypical and subservient character often used in a racially demeaning way.

Mfume said, “Her counsel is respected and valued in her field and in the upper echelons of her political party.” Moreover, “Rice, a PhD and former Stanford University Provost, is an example of how far hard work, education and determination can take one to new heights,” said Mfume.

He sent on to say that “attacks on Rice by the radio host and political cartoonists who use stereotypes and racial caricatures are just as bad as those who hide under sheets and burn crosses. This is something the NAACP has fought against for more than 95 years and something we will continue to oppose.”

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are frontline advocates for civil rights in their communities and monitor equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

Posted by: Byron R. at Nov 22, 2004 2:24:44 PM

I studied the NAACP's early days while in college and their (supurb) legal strategy later in law school. I once had great respect for the organization, a repsect that has diminished greatly under Mfume's leadership. Let us hope that the organization is finally beginning to understand it's role in 21st Century America.

Posted by: spd rdr at Nov 22, 2004 2:51:20 PM

I agree that they call her Condi to diminish her, and that consistency and protocol require the media to refer to her as Dr. Rice. That said, this sums up my opinion of using "Dr." for PhDs, D.C.s and D.O.s:

Mrs. Crisp: What kind of doctor are you?
Dr. Mumford: Ph.D. in psychology.
Mrs. Crisp: Oh. Not a real doctor.
Dr. Mumford: That's right, the fake kind.

from the movie: Mumford

Posted by: KJ at Nov 22, 2004 3:51:15 PM

Post a comment