Race Card Rummy

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Obama Administration

By now you may have heard about the rock at Rick Perry’s hunting camp that has the “N” word painted on it. There are so many interesting facets to this man it’s hard to keep up.

Some would think that keeping such a sign says something about a man’s character, even if he didn’t paint the rock himself. On the other hand, Ta-Nehisi Coates argues that it says more about America that such a sign could become just part of the landscape.

However, the Right threw a fit because the sign became news. Erik Erickson accused the reporter who broke the story of having a racist agenda.

Even weirder, Herman Cain had to apologize to the Right just for saying the sign was insensitive. Seriously. He said on Fox News,

“My reaction is, that’s just very insensitive,” Cain told Fox. “[There] isn’t a more vile, negative word than the n-word, and for him to leave it there as long as he did, before I hear that they finally painted over it, is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country.”

Well, yeah. But the really remarkable thing is that Cain was hammered with criticism from the Right for saying something that would be, in a sane world, utterly uncontroversial. He spent most of the next day explaining to reporters that no, he was not playing the race card.

As blogger Chauncy DeVega writes, “race card” is “a flat and lazy term that disingenuous colorblind white Conservative racial reactionaries can use to deflect any substantive engagement with how race and racism remain operative in American political and social life.”

The race card is a pair with the “political correctness” card, which righties pull out whenever they don’t want to admit they lost the moral high ground sometime in the 19th century. And the “class warfare” card is supposed to trump any evidence of growing income inequality.

However, righties are a tad selective about how these cards are played. Andrew Breitbart has been hyping a story about then-Senator Obama “marching” with members of the New Black Panther party in 2007.

The event was a commemoration of the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, and thousands of people were there, including President and then-Senator Clinton. Matt Gertz explains,

It wasn’t Obama’s event. It wasn’t the Panthers’ event. They were all in Selma for an annual celebration of an historic civil rights moment. During that event, Obama and New Black Panthers leader Malik Zulu Shabazz gave speeches from the same podium, and both were part of the crowd that then marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Breitbart says that the Panthers “explicitly came to Selma to support Obama,” and basically establishes that they followed Obama around that day. For Breitbart, this constitutes “an association between a vile racist organization and a future President of the United States.”

So let’s get this straight — a black candidate for the Republican nomination for president is acceptable only as long as he doesn’t play the “race card,” meaning that he must not acknowledge racism in America. But it’s OK for Herman Cain to say that African-Americans are brainwashed into voting for Democrats, a statement I find curiously racist.

And it’s OK for Andrew Breitbart to gin up a phony controversy by tying the black President of the United States to an organization with “Black Panther” in its name in an article that also hypes the “racist agenda” of President Obama’s Justice Department. And, of course, nobody on the Right ever yells at Rush for mentioning race.

If this is a card game, I wish somebody would explain the rules.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Oct 4, 2011 @12:45 pm

    If it’s a card game, it’s a cross between “52 Card Pick-up,” where they spray the cards all around the room and tell everyone YOU’RE the difficult one to play with, and the Dick Cheney version of “Go Fish,” where, no matter what you ask for, they tell you to go do something anatomically impossible to yourself.

    And the only cards that count in any game the Republican Joker’s want to play are the Kings and Queens. And if they’re “Spade’s,” they’d better be ones that want to play along to get along, and get along to play along, with them.

    “Three Card Monte’s” also popular. But only if they get to play the dealer/grifter. Otherwise, see the card games listed above.

  2. Bill Bush  •  Oct 4, 2011 @1:04 pm

    The only rule for ReTeaBagatives:

    `When _I_ use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful
    tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor
    less.’

  3. joanr16  •  Oct 4, 2011 @1:07 pm

    I keep trying to imagine a scenario in which “N*****head” got painted on that rock, and then my head hurts, and I stop.

    What did they think they were hunting at that camp, anyway? (shudder!)

  4. Thomas Beck  •  Oct 4, 2011 @1:26 pm

    The rules are, anything is okay if a stupid white prick like Breitbart says it; otherwise, it’s not okay.

  5. Xecky Gilchrist  •  Oct 4, 2011 @1:45 pm

    If this is a card game, I wish somebody would explain the rules.

    It’s a really bonehead variant of Fizzbin.

  6. Doug Hughes  •  Oct 4, 2011 @4:27 pm

    The whole “niggerhead” discussion is pretty pointless, since no one says Perry dubbed the property with that name, or used the name. It’s guilt by association – Perry never formally denounced the name associated with the land in the same way Obamas never denounced Rev. Wright.

    In both situations, the opposition has the candidate cornered for something someone else said – something the candidate might or might not have even been aware of. The fun part is that this is the media’s favorite kind of game. Democrats are playing exceptionally well, saying they don’t consider Perry is a racist. (The more often voters hear that Perry is not a racist, the more they will wonder if he is.) This is dirty politics, skillfully played and the only defense for Perry to be so anti-racist in his response that he looks more liberal on racial issues than Obama. Which doesn’t play well in the party of old white dudes.

  7. Swami  •  Oct 4, 2011 @9:10 pm

    Well, it’s a good thing that Herb Cain got his head right and apologized to Mr. Perry. It wasn’t too long ago in the past that an uppitty attitude like the one Cain displayed to Mr. Perry got a young fellow named Emmet Till set on the path of correction.

  8. Swami  •  Oct 4, 2011 @9:40 pm

    I got a kick out of Herman Cains back peddling on his blatant bigotry in stating he wouldn’t have any Muslim in his cabinet should he be elected to office.. He tried to modify his stupidity by claiming what he really meant was Jihadis ( terrorists).. Then he topped off his bigotry by saying..”I have nothing against Muslims, some of my best friends are Muslims.” Where did I hear that statement before?

  9. tom B  •  Oct 4, 2011 @9:42 pm

    I find it hard to imagine this incident wouldn’t HELP Perry secure the GOP nomination.

  10. John  •  Oct 4, 2011 @10:08 pm

    The rules are whatever the right says they are. And these can change from one minute to the next.

  11. Candide  •  Oct 4, 2011 @10:58 pm

    I think too much is being made over this “N-rock issue.” However, I lived in the Dallas area for one year (1990), and I was curious about a nearby suburb named “White Settlement” which indeed had a lily white population. I assumed that the name had to do with race, and was surprised that it wasn’t changed in this modern day and age. I found out more from Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Settlement,_Texas

    …The name of White Settlement originated as a result of there being two settlements in the area: one occupied predominantly by Native Americans (near where Fort Worth, TX is located today), and the other one being occupied by white settlers. The latter settlement received the name “White Settlement” as a way to distinguish itself from the Native American settlement. The city was incorporated in 1941.
    On October 14, 2005, City leaders announced a plan to have local voters decide on a possible name change for the town from White Settlement to West Settlement. In the November 8 election, the name change was overwhelmingly rejected by a vote of 2388 to 219…

    I guess that racial sensitivity is not big in those parts.

  12. moonbat  •  Oct 5, 2011 @2:44 am

    The rules are simple – whenever a principle helps a wingnut, it’s invoked, otherwise it doesn’t apply. The only real rule is to win, at any cost.

  13. ~riverflow  •  Oct 5, 2011 @2:47 am

    Herman Cain apparently didn’t get the memo from the Republican party about his new slogan: Uncle Tom for president.

    Sad, but predictable.

  14. c u n d gulag  •  Oct 5, 2011 @7:58 am

    Well, Cain had to backpeddle his N*ggerhead comments, otherwise, he’s not only got no chance be be Head N*gger, he’s got no chance to be a well paid, Wingnut Welfare, house one like Alan Keyes.

    My apologies for the language – THEY startet it.
    Hey, it wasn’t MY Dad who named that place.

  15. maha  •  Oct 5, 2011 @8:40 am

    I do wish Steve Gilliard were still with us. He’d be having a blast over this.

  16. cf2k  •  Oct 5, 2011 @9:33 am

    Boy, do I ever miss reading Steve.

    As for the “rule” regarding “the race card,” I think it’s pretty straightforward:

    The *real* racists are the ones who refuse to continue to pretend that racism doesn’t exist.

  17. paradoctor  •  Oct 5, 2011 @10:43 am

    It’s Calvinball rules. Rule 1: Calvin wins. Rule 2: there are no other rules.

    I propose to counter this with another rule: the ‘Card card’ rule; which says that whenever anyone says that someone else is playing a ‘card’ – race, class, whatever – then the first person has lost the argument. Sort of like Godwin’s Law.

  18. paradoctor  •  Oct 5, 2011 @11:05 am

    It goes like this:
    “He’s playing the race card!”
    “But you’re playing the card card, so you lose.”

  19. jpe  •  Oct 5, 2011 @12:43 pm

    Some would think that keeping such a sign says something about a man’s character

    That’s the nub of the conservative objection to the story: he says he painted over it when he bought the place.

  20. Felicity  •  Oct 5, 2011 @12:57 pm

    In the mean time, while the media and the politicians and the masses are busy ‘analyzing’ and arguing over the sign on the rock, a few very wealthy and powerful individuals are slowly but surely taking over this country.

    It’s a good bet that they welcome any conflict that will set us at each others’ throats – what better way to conquer, than to divide.



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