Friday, October 3, 2008

Just a Reminder

I got a reminder of what it's like to be black in America watching the vice presidential debate.

Most of y'all have read Tim Wise's excellent write-up about exactly how Sarah Palin has benefited from white privilege so I'm not going to bore you with a long list of exactly how she is getting over. Google "Tim Wise and white privilege" to get a thorough listing.

My color reminder came as Palin spit out folksy one-liner after folksy one-liner in an attempt to connect with "Joe Sixpack" and his wife, who unfortunately could be known as "Sally Black-Eyes" because of Joe's drinking.

Every time she said "doggone it," or "darn it" or "aw shucks" I got a little more angry and frustrated. And it wasn't just because her voice reminds me of a Minnesotan on crack.

Listening to her spew colloquialisms, I wondered if a "plain-speaking" black person would be considered a legitimate presidential candidate. You know, a black person who said stuff like "fo' sho," or "girl, please" or "that ain't right."

A black person who speaks the way many of us speak when we're around our friends.

As a friend of mine pointed out, Sarah Palin even took the time to give a shout out to some third graders in Alaska, all while winking at them. Can y'all imagine if Obama gave props to all the homies down at the Boys and Girls club and then gave his chest a fist bump?

No, you cannot imagine that.

Some might say I'm looking for a racial angle, and I can't deny that the vast majority of Americans probably didn't even see this aspect of the debate. But, just because some people are blind, doesn't mean I should close my eyes.

Every time I see Sarah Palin I'm reminded of how unjust this country can be. I'm reminded of how much different my life would have been if I was white, and I'm reminded that white skin is a great advantage to have. When I see Palin playing by a different set of rules than people who look like me, well it's hard to feel patriotic or hopeful.

It's a nasty reminder.



Anonymous said...

You are dead on and I had similar thoughts while watching the debate. I wrote as much on my blog.

I described her as a train wreck and I don't think that's off-base.

All-Mi-T [Thought Crime] Rawdawgbuffalo said...

i didnt watch it, football instead. have a great weekend

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

Right! How cute would a finger snapping Michelle be?

Man you and Tim Wise! I love you guys!! *lol*


Anonymous said...

"Can y'all imagine if Obama gave props to all the homies down at the Boys and Girls club and then gave his chest a fist bump?"

Big Man, I would tell you how funny this is if it weren't so sadly true.

The colloquialisms were so absurd, and so over-the-top. I never thought that you can make a caricature of George Bush, but you can. Obama's candidacy would be over with that performance.

Air-Cooled Head said...

Linguistic Racism is a fact of life. We (Blacks) must conform to the majority standard if we want to "succeed" in this here country. Our language, and the way we speak is used against us in school, the workplace, and indeed, the job market itself. Even Bill Cosby spoke on how impossible it is to secure a job w/ "we be", "I'm is", etc. However, being able to conform is called "communication SKILL". And you/we/I need every skill available to ensure "success".
But I'm feelin ya, dawg! (Try that one @ work!)
Palin's use folksy colloquialisms was just a "feel good" tactic, aimed at those who feel disenfranchised by Washington. Kinda Regan"The Great Communicator"-esque in my opinion. Even George Bush has tried the "I'm just a good 'ol Boy" routine. Very trite, and uneffective.
And that voice! UNGH! Tina Fey does a better Sarah Palin than Sahah Palin!

Anonymous said...


Couldn't have said it better. At this point Sarah Palin just disgusts me. Her performance last night should be career-ending, but because she brought high ratings to the networks, she's a star simply because she's a lighter-skinned female who had Pat Buchanan gushing.

Frget Tina Fey, she sounded like Francis McDormand in " Fargo".

And who the hell is " Joe Sixpack" ? Is he related to " Joe Bag-o-Donuts" ?

Imhotep said...

I hear you Big Man, No person of color seeking the vice presidency would be allowed to get a way with poor grammar, and have colloqualism recognized as an effective form of communication. It's clear to me that her colloquialism, was specifically directed towards Hillary's "hard working americans" Palin style does not have broad appeal, all she did was solidify the base, but did not budge the independent, zero net gain.

I want to blame Palin for all her short-comings, but really it's white men who have orchestrated this move, to put this buffoon one heart beat away from the presidency. The bitch is merely a show monkey! Let me retract that, show monkeys have more talent.

Anonymous said...

Yes, she disgusts me too...almost as much as she scares me. But for a laugh, go to

Anonymous said...

"Sally Black Eyes" LOL

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing Big Man. I mean, the "terrorist fist jab" dominated the news for a week. It really is sad....

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Excellent post. And yeah, about rules. With all the crap going on with McCain-Palin and Wall Street, it's crystal clear they don't play by the rules at all. They're exempt, and today I'm really angry over this bloated Bailout being passed.

Anonymous said...

I never thought of "Linguistic Racism" as someone above me put it...That is a huge and scary idea. I followed you over here from Slam, man, and I like what you're doing. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

You are right, so very right. Being a sista in Maine, I interact with a lot of white folks and I am always reminded that when I slip into sounding Black, folks start looking at me like I am crazy. Yet here we have a woman that frankly sounds only a tad removed from the trailer and that's ok.

Like you said, if Obama or Michelle ever gave a shout out to lil Romero or Ray-Ray on 55th St in speech it would be political suicide.

E.J. said...

You are so right. I'm usually good at picking out this subtle kind of racial bias, but I didn't last night. But I'm glad I didn't, because I'm already pissed off about a host of other things. LOL

Anonymous said...

And this is exactly why I read your blog Big Man - for the opportunity to see things from your perspective - and I think you are dead on.
It's funny what's on a person's radar - when she used the "never again" phrase twice - (as in hockey moms and Joe Six pack, etc. should band together and say never again), all I could think was - was she trying to pander to Jews by using that phrase? And that it angered me to hear it coming from her mouth. I hated her stupid attempts at trying to be just folks - but i didn't see it from your point of view until now. Thanks.

Toni_Forty21 said...

Brother, I feel you on this, and I didn't miss a beat. What pissed me off was when she said she's not going to answer the questions, but instead talk to the "American people". "Ya darn right", she wasn't talking to us!

hundefuhrer99 said...

Hell, Big Man, I peeped that out when everybody gave Bristol Palin a pass for being pregnant out of wedlock, while claiming for years that it's Black folks who are perpetuating the welfare debacle through mass unwed teen pregnancy.

Different standards. Always have been, always will be.

Anonymous said...

I understand your point of view, but take heart. I watched the debate on CNN with a graph that monitored viewers responses to the candidates and not surprisingly, women seemed to HATE Little Miss Snowbilly. She's not just playing by "white people rules" she's also playing by "hot chick rules". I don't know a woman who appreciated this bitch winking like a bimbo. Sarah Palin is that woman at everyone's job who is a usless idiot, but is kept around because she's "hot". Even white women know and hate that particular woman. Women don't like Sarah Palin and women decide elections. She's toast and so is McCain.

Anonymiss said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

hey raving black lunatic,

white girl here, and I agree completely.

it is clear that a black person who behaved and spoke in a culturally parallel manner as palin would never get to where palin is today. that is damn sure white privilege (and white ignorance supporting white privilege).

keep raving.

Raving Black Lunatic