Tuesday, January 17, 2006

White People Say the Darndest Things

I have a tip for white politicians that decide to pander to African-Americans on Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday: Stay home. You are embarrassing yourselves.

Test Case #1: Governor Jim Doyle, who in a speech celebrating Dr. King's birthday in the State Capitol, decided to equate black struggles to those of gays. From Wispolitics.com:

Gov. Jim Doyle spoke out against the so-called"Defense of Marriage" constitutional amendment during a celebration honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., calling it an act of "discrimination." “We should not enshrine discrimination in the Constitution of the state of Wisconsin,” Doyle said of the proposed constitutional amendment that would prevent same-sex marriage.

Where do you start with this? Here's a news flash to Doyle - if you took a poll in Wisconsin, I would bet blacks would be the demographic most favorable to the amendment to ban gay marriage. There isn't any "brotherhood" with gays. This isn't any "festival of the aggrieved" where all discrimination is equal. You think African-Americans need to be told what real discrimination is?

I believe public schools still teach about this little-known practice known as "slavery," where an entire class of American citizens were kept as servants. They were sold from owner to owner, often breaking up families in the process. They were beaten, lynched, worked to death, underfed, raped, and murded. Our nation had laws and Supreme Court decisions affirming that black Americans were property. Half our our nation's citizens decided they would rather fight to their death in a war than let blacks be recognized as free citizens.

Exactly what period of oppression would lead you to believe that gays have any claim to the same standing of discrimination as African-Americans? Did black leaders march and die for the right of Ryan Seacrest to have his own talk show? Wasn't the last meaningful gay march last weekend when candlesticks were 30% off at Pottery Barn? How exactly do you earn protected class status based on where your genitals occasionally end up?

Of course, I'm making light of a serious subject. I'm not suggesting for a second that gays and lesbians don't face discrimination or that we still don't have have progress to make in their full recognition of equal citizens. But you can't tell me for a second that African-Americans appreciate the "struggle" of gays being equated to the horrific systematic racism that has been prevalent throughout our nation's history. To do so is to disgrace the memory of those that gave their lives in the name of civil rights.

Test Case #2: New York Senator and Presidential Hopeful Hillary Clinton gave a speech on MLK Day where she said:

The House “has been run like a plantation, and you know what I’m talking about,” said Clinton, D-N.Y. “It has been run in a way so that nobody with a contrary view has had a chance to present legislation, to make an argument, to be heard.”

(See the video here.)

My plea to African-Americans to join the Republican party begins and ends with statements like this. Democrats take blacks for granted to the extent that they are willing to make offensive statements like that, without fear of any kind of backlash.

For anyone - ANYONE - to equate serving in the U.S. Congress with being a slave on a plantation is beneath the contempt of any thinking person. I'm certain there were a lot of slaves working under the hot sun in the cotton fields of Georgia that said to themselves, "Thank God I'm not in Congress. That sounds like a pretty tough job. Hillary Clinton has it rough."

For the record, Senator Hillary Clinton is fully capable of writing and introducing any legislation that she wants. She is also capable of making an argument in favor of that legislation, and she has every media outlet in the country willing to make sure she is heard.

How uncomfortable is it to watch this rich, lily white cracker ass stand up before a black church and try to speak to them on their terms? How insulting to blacks is it that she feels the need to speak to them in "their" language and use pandering metaphors that "they" will understand? Did she hire Bulworth as her campaign manager? When she goes to speak before a group of devout Jews, is she going to compare serving in the Senate to Auschwitz?

I don't know what it is that causes white politicians to lose their minds when honoring civil rights greats. One would think an appreciation of Dr. King's accomplishments would stand alone without injecting shameless pandering into the discussion. So I apologize on their behalf.

SIDE NOTE: In his speech, Doyle stated that he supported marriage between one man and one woman, and that no constitutional amendment was necessary because this concept is already clear in state statutes. So he supports "enshrining" discrimination, as long as it's statutory and not constitutional? Owen at B&S caught the same thing here.