In distinguishing liberal Democrats from conservative Republicans, far-right-winger Ann Coulter recently said, “Our blacks are so much better than their blacks,” and “we have very impressive blacks.” Instead of going off and going there by calling her a fascist bitch for saying stupid shit like that, I will respond rationally and intellectually by first addressing her unstated premise, and then her stated point.
The words “our” and “their,” as used here, refer to things that belong to the person speaking or being spoken to. By definition, they imply ownership, possession, and/or control of items like cars, furniture, watches and pets. But the last time I checked, blacks were sovereign, autonomous and independent human beings. But maybe I checked at the wrong time. Maybe it was sometime between the beginning of slavery on this land in 1619 and the end of it in 1865 during the period when the law specifically defined Africans and their descendants as mere chattel, meaning movable personal property. That’s obviously the period that the frightening Ms. Coultergeist was referencing. And, no, I’m not engaging in ad hominem attacks here. I’m just calling her what she is. After all, a poltergeist is a ghost that manifests itself by making noises and creating disorder. ‘Nuff said.
Well, not really ’nuff said. I do have a little more to say about her. Or, better stated, she has a little more to say herself, as when on October 2, 2007 she stated, “If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s … a personal fantasy of mine … (because) women are voting so stupidly.” So she’s sexist, too. And on October 8, 2007, she commented, “It would be better if we were all Christians. (That’s why) we just want Jews to be perfected … ” So she’s anti-Semitic, too. Also, on September 12, 2001, she told the disabled president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation: “People like you caused us to lose the war,” and “No wonder you guys lost.” So she’s unpatriotic, too. In addition, on August 17, 1999, she remarked that “ … there should be a literacy test and poll tax for people to vote,” and on February 8, 1997 she proclaimed that people in this country should “appreciate the benefits of local fascism.” So she’s un-American, too. Furthermore, on March 18, 2011, she mentioned that “ … radiation in excess of what the government says are the minimum amounts we should be exposed to are actually good for you and reduces cases of cancer.” So she’s a stupid ass, too.
Coulter and many other conservatives in the media often focus on race in a negative way during big elections. Who can ever forget the Willie Horton ad during the presidential campaign of 1988 when George H.W. Bush scared the hell out of many white folks by flooding the airwaves with the police mug shot of that dark-skinned, long-haired, bearded black man? (Oh shit! Oh. OK. Whew. I initially thought that was a photo of me!) The idea to bombard TV screens with this image came from none other than current Fox News president Roger Ailes who at the time was Bush’s media consultant after having worked for Nixon and Reagan.
It’s one thing to reference race in an attempt to uplift people and quite another to use it to try to destroy an entire group of people. Why then do many right-wingers do it? Well, it’s quite simple. They do it to win. They play on the fears of white America—especially when the stakes are high, as they are in campaigns for mayor, governor and president. They know that far too many whites are leery of blacks being in leadership roles. And that stems from tradition, fear, intolerance and bigotry—all of which are the result of just plain, all-American racism. And it’s nothing new. Blacks were viewed suspiciously in American politics from the very start, beginning with the Founding Fathers’ hypocritical decision to delete from an initial draft of the 1776 Declaration of Independence language condemning the “cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended … (us), captivating and carrying them into slavery in an other hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.”
It continued in the 1787 Constitution with the three-fifths clause, with the clause that mandated the return of enslaved blacks who had escaped, and with the clause that extended the importation of Africans into American slavery for another 20 years but refused to end domestic slavery (and actually expanded it). It continued with Abe Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation ploy that pretended to free every enslaved black man, woman and child but actually freed no one and never intended to. It continued with Southern states’ 1865-1866 Black Codes that returned recently freed blacks to slavery-like conditions. It continued with the Compromise of 1877, also known as “The Corrupt Bargain,” that killed anti-racist Reconstruction and gave birth to pro-racist Redemption—created by “conservative, pro-business” politicians. Does that remind you of a certain party today, I ask rhetorically?
It continued when the political hacks on the Supreme Court issued the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling that permitted “separate but equal” facilities. It continued with Jim Crow politics that didn’t end until 1965 (after commencing in 1876) and that were manifested in pervasive laws that jarringly threw blacks into legalized second-class citizenship. And it’s continuing today not only with brainless backwoods Tea Party voters but also with legitimate Republican presidential candidates who benefit politically by claiming that President Obama is a foreigner who holds office illegally.
Sadly, race has gotten, and still gets, negative attention in the media, especially during elections. And that attention has gone from bad to worse ever since black folks (i.e., black men) got the right to vote with 1870’s 15th Amendment and therefore became viable candidates for political office. Those black voters accordingly began to pose a political threat to the racist status quo. And that threat was realized with the 1965 Voting Rights Act that finally began to enforce the 15th Amendment.
And the media’s fixation with racial politics is not gonna end anytime soon, or maybe ever. Not as long as the likes of Ann Coulter, a.k.a. the coprolalia columnist, keep spewing what they spew. As she so accurately put it on October 16, 1998: “You want to be careful not to become just a blowhard.” Too late, Ms. Coulter. That train has already left the station with your blacks and their blacks, and all forward-thinking Americans, on board waving goodbye and hopefully good riddance.