Friday, April 25, 2008

Deal Me in

Most readers of the New York Times understand what they are going to get when they decide to check out a Maureen Dowd column.

She's irreverent, biting, snarky and loves to call people names. Not only does she despise most conservatives, she's also not a big fan of pansy liberals either. She has been critical of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during this primary election, and occasionally she makes some good points about the candidates.

But, often she just goes off the deep end. Like in this beauty.

Look, I'm not even going to address the ludicrous assertion that Obama is some kind of effeminate loser who might be more worried about his figure than the needs of Americans. Remember, it was Dowd who claimed that Michelle Obama's quips about her husband's flaws actually showed that Michelle doesn't respect him as man. Anybody who has watched the Obamas interact knows that there is no doubt that Michelle respects her husband as a man because she always treats him like one.

Nah, what really shocked me was this little nugget in the column.

They also cringe as Bill continues his honey-crusted-nut-bar meltdown. With his usual exquisite timing, just as Pennsylvanians were about to vote, Hillary’s husband became the first person ever to play the Caucasian Card. First, he blurted out to a radio interviewer that the Obama camp had played the race card against him after he compared Obama’s strength in South Carolina to Jesse Jackson’s. And then, with a Brobdingnagian finger-wagging on the screen, he denied it to an NBC News reporter.

Hold up, you mean that Dowd believes that in the centuries preceding this election, white folks have never played the Caucasian Card? That the whole race card thing is something Negroes do, not white folks?

Get fuck out of here.

See, it's these type of offhand comments that give me the best insight into how a person really things. That whole Caucasian Card things was a throwaway thing for Dowd, just a little catchphrase she threw into her column to add a joke. She probably didn't spend more than a few minutes thinking of that quip, and I'm sure it was well-received by thousands of her liberal readers.

The only problem is that it's totally steeped in bullshit.

Don't believe the hype; if a race card exists, white folks were dealing that motherfucker before we even learned the rules to the game. White folks are the Stu Engar's of the World Series of Race Poker. They haven't lost a jackpot yet.

Seriously, if Dowd really believes the Caucasian Card is some sort of new phenomenon, how does she explain all those acquittals by all-white juries of Klan members who killed or maimed civil rights workers?

She must not be aware of the wave of race riots that swept this nation during the Civil War because white folks were pissed about having to fight for niggers who were getting all these special benefits. Maybe she is just ignorant about the white backlash that occurred after Reconstruction because Southerners and Northerners thought the government was favoring black people.

Did she forget that white folks burned down entire black towns because they were convinced that niggers must be getting some sort of sweet deal if they were doing better than white folks? Has she read about the rationale used by racists to keep black folks out of unions? To suppress their votes?

Has she even studied history?

I really hope not.

Because if Dowd is aware of these basic truths about American history and still made her flippant comment, then that means she doesn't care about misrepresenting the past for a few laughs. If she's just ignorant, then that is regrettable, but it can be fixed with information. But, if she actually knew that truth and thought it was worth ignoring to make her readers chuckle, well that's a much more serious deception.

Far too many white folks are convinced that black people have a magical get-out-of-jail-free race card. Whenever we complain about racism and they disagree with us, white folks then accuse black folks of using this card. It's an easy way to minimize our complaints, while also painting black people as unreliable, emotional liars. It's the favorite tool of conservatives, and, as this election has shown us, quite popular among liberals as well.

The "race card" is always in play in a country that has failed to have ongoing and substantive conversations about race. In fact, the most common complaints of every ethnic group stem from this country's racial history. The emotions behind these complaints have been mined by politicians of every color and have yielded the impressive ore of power for many. Contrary to what Dowd thinks, white folks playing the race card is not a new thing.

That card's been on the table since Satan first bluffed Eve into eating that apple.


Deacon Blue said...

Somehow, I missed this post entirely until just now.

Anyway, I'd argue that in addition to all your examples, I think the Caucasian Card is played just about every time a white person claims "reverse racism" or asserts that quotas put an inferior black person in front of a better qualified white one.

Big Man said...

I posted this post in the wrong spot. I forgot to change the timestamp.

I should have used those examples as well. But, I just wanted to focus on the historic stuff.

Deacon Blue said...

Lord knows many of us need more history lessons on this front...particularly since most of us didn't get them in school.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

u know i always thought she was a recovering addict

Big Man said...


Really? What made you think that about her?

WNG said...

Is one of those people who constantly google's herself? I almost hope so - she should read that.
Well, LOTS of people should read that, but let's just start with MD :)

Imhotep said...

Big Man, It's interesting how the media like to point out that Obama cannot close the deal. But they minimize the fact that the brother was behind by 20-30 points in each of these contest. Fact is she is the one unable to close the deal!

If the situation was reversed, the race card would be that Obama cannot hold a lead and hillary is showing strength by cutting into his lead.

Our entire existance on this continent and in fact in the western world has involved the race card.

There is an article by Tim Wise circulating cyberspace, check out his take on delusional white folks.

Big Man said...

Thanks for the article. I always like to read Tim.

Lolo said...

I cannot stand me any Maureen, ever. Woman is a caricature of Sex in the City mistaking itself for some feministing with her "oooh, shoes!! and so and so is fat and oh Bush is stupid and look, some shoes! and did I mention? I'm a redhead and the slimy pols can't tear their eyes offa my cleavage, the PIGS."


Swear to god, when you pose yourself as liberated cuz you read some Erica Jong and then snicker at the fat girls while you flutter your lashes you can just keep me right out of the "Gina Club, thankyouverymuch.

Plus, she writes overly "cute" and grates on my nerve.

Heh. I hate me some Maureen but don't even get me started on Amy Tan or I'll really go off on the rant.

Gye Greene said...

I don't think that's what was being referred to with the whole "race card" comment.

White folks acquitting white folks: yeah, that totally happens/-ed. But that's not "playing the Caucasian card".

I interpreted it as more "I'm a victim 'cause I'm white", "I'm being picked on because I'm white."

Which would be consistent with the "reverse racism" -- but not with most of the other examples.

In my interpretation.

Off-topic: affirmative action is (arguably) a feel-good solution that fails to address fundamental inequities in the system. Instead of accepting lower SAT scores and g.p.a.s for some groups versus others -- year after year -- how about doing that during a transitional period -- DURING WHICH THE QUALITY OF THE SCHOOLS THEMSELVES (and their resources) ARE IMPROVED?

Otherwise, only middle-class kids of X-ethnic group are assisted -- leaving those at the lower end still stuck at the bottom of the social hierarchy.

A **real** change -- not window-dressing.


Big Man said...

Interesting interpetation.

Gye Greene said...

Very diplomatic response. :)


MODI said...

nice article big man.

I truly wish that we can eliminate the phrase "race card" from our lexicon. It is nothing more than a bigotry shield...

Gye Greene said...

Although, it **would** be cool if there **was** a "race card" that you could play. Kind of a real-life "Magic, the Gathering."

Everyone gets ten "race cards", and at any time during your life, if you don't want to do something, or think you're getting a raw deal: "Hey! I'm half-Asian, half-Caucasian! And I want half-price off my Surf 'n' Turf! [play race card]."


Big Man said...


I agreed with your thoughts on affirmative action and the changes that needed to be made to it. I would support those wholeheartedly because I would rather avoid the current stress that affirmative actions brings.

I wasn't so sure on the first part of your comment. I think you were right that Clinton was attempting to be a victim, but I thought that was what I addressed in my piece. I don't think the "race card" and the "victim card" are any different. I think Dowd implied that this was the first time a white person every played the victim for profit, which is ridiculously false given America's history. Most major injutices done in this country have had a core of white victimhood.

Gye Greene said...

Good point re: "white victimhood".

Even when it's patently false. ("Unfair competition"; "they're taking our jobs"; etc.)


Raving Black Lunatic