You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Jan 12, 2010
Memo to America's racial discourse: YOU ARE DUMB.
Fuck a duck, where to start on this whole Harry Reid Negro Dialect bullshit? It's all the usual suspects, of course, lined up playing their usual roles, and shouting down anyone who tries to inject facts or common sense into the discussion. So let's just line them all up in order to knock them the fuck down. And we'll start with the culprit himself.
Harry Reid is an old white dude. He may be a Democrat. He might even be a liberal. But he is first and foremost an old white dude. And by old, I mean 70. Someone who's 70 now was in his teens during the 1950s and in his 20s during the 1960s. That's when a lot of language habits are formed. Old white dudes say things like "Negro dialect". It just comes out of their mouths. When I'm 70, I'm probably still going to be saying "wicked awesome", and the amount of irony I put into it will depend entirely on how senile I am by then. THAT SAID.
Apparently, Reid said this during the campaign, to a reporter or reporters, on "deep background", which means the reporter heard it but isn't supposed to tell anyone. Now, I know the news media are generally a bunch of incompetent, ball-free fucks that do whatever politicians tell them to, but that was still fucking stupid on Reid's part. The words "Negro dialect" coming from a prominent white Democrat about the first black president are just like a Carrie Prejean sex tape. If you know it happened, eventually, you're gonna tell someone, and probably try to make money off it in the process.
And speaking of a bunch of incompetent, ball-less fucks that do whatever politicians tell them to, maybe the media should take some time away from their rounds of ass-sniffing for scandal to actually work out the semantics of Reid's comment. I mean, it'll only take five minutes. Ten for the slow readers. For those of you who have been in caves or ignoring the news for the last few days, here's the passage in question from an upcoming book about the campaign:
"He was wowed by Obama's oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama - a "light-skinned" African-American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one," as he later put it privately.
The national debate on race focuses almost entirely an language rather than sentiment. Because it is a stupid debate held by stupid people. Harry Reid used antiquated, borderline-racist language to express an entirely non-racist sentiment. This, on a racist scale from one to Klan, is a two, maybe a two-and-a-half, tops. But it's being treated like a high 7, except on Fox News, which has declared it a 12, leaping to the defense of black people everywhere for purely altruistic motives.
And speaking of stupid debates held by stupid people, do I really need to spend another fucking week watching the scenery-chewing hams at the Republican Outrage Dinner Theater work themselves into a frenzy over this? Listening to Michael Steele, within the span of ten seconds, call for Reid's resignation while dismissing the "Honest Injun" he dropped just days before? Listening to the right's collective butthurt over Trent Lott spew forth once again?
I swear, nobody holds a grudge like racist Republicans. They're STILL pissed off that Trent Lott got booted over his Strom Thurmond praise. Remember what I said before about language vs. sentiment? The Reid thing is the exact mirror image of the Lott thing. Lott expressed an incredibly racist, pro-segregation sentiment, but did so in a vague way filled with so much plausible deniability that motherfuckers can go on cable news today and still claim Lott was treated unfairly. With a straight face.
The Lott thing still burns, because it was the first time a racist got in real trouble for being very carefully racist to a bunch of other racists. Trent Lott did everything right - he chose his audience carefully, he spoke in code, and he avoided judicious use of the word "darkies", and he STILL got in trouble for it. This has hampered the Republican discussion of race for years, and might have actually helped Barack Obama get elected. The extent that the right obsesses over Trent Lott, to this day, should put a warm feeling in our hearts.
And now they want Harry Reid's scalp, not out of a sincere offense at his horrifically insensitive comments, but just as a tit-for-tat payback for the Lott debacle. Let's hope the Democrats don't give it to them. I know there's a tendency on the left to gently chastise our own, so as to distance ourselves from an opponent who defends their own to the bitter end, and then, if that doesn't work, pretends like they were against him all along. But let's police ourselves when it matters, for the William Jeffersons and the Tim Geithners. Helping this scandal hurt Harry Reid won't further the cause of race relations in America, it'll just make a bunch of assholes feel good about themselves. And that's never a good thing.