Friday, February 27, 2009

Racists Pleading Ignorance

It is amazing to me that people can plead ignorance of racial stereotypes when they are caught propagating them. Take, for example, the sorry excuse of Lynn Westmoreland, who referred to the Obamas as "uppity" and then said he didn't realize that "uppity" was a term used against black people even though he grew up in the South where such use was prevalent.

Or the people at the New York Post who published a cartoon and played dumb about how there is a sad history of insulting black people by portraying them as primates. As reported on

In an open letter to The Post, musician John Legend criticized the newspaper and called on New Yorkers not to buy it, or talk to its reporters or buy its advertising space.

Addressing the newspaper's editors, Legend wrote, "Did it occur to you that our president has been receiving death threats since early in his candidacy? Did it occur to you that blacks have historically been compared to various apes as a way of racist insult and mockery? Did you intend to invoke these painful themes when you printed the cartoon?

"If that's not what you intended, then it was stupid and willfully ignorant of you not to connect these easily connectable dots. If it is what you intended, then you obviously wanted to be grossly provocative, racist and offensive."

Or now, the mayor of a small town in California sent out a postcard to friends showing watermelons on the White House lawn with the caption "no more Easter Egg hunts at the White House". The mayor said he is going to now resign but has stated that he did not know that watermelons were a stereotype associated with black people. What a specious argument. What is the point of the postcard if it is not to make a joke about black people and watermelons? Where would the humor be if you did not make that connection? IT'S THE WHOLE POINT OF THE POSTCARD!!!! He obviously thought it was amusing enough to send out to his friends, so without that, where would the amusement come from?

GIVE ME A BREAK!!! If you are going to be racist, don't add insult to injury. Don't insult our intelligence by playing dumb about your ignorant bigotry.


Maria Niles said...

Brava, Christina! Great post, well summarized and kick. ass.

Houseonahill said...

what a super post! people would have to be living in a bubble to claim ignorance. it is so sad we have such a long way to go in terms of tolerance and respect of each other...and many of these people are raising kids so it will never really end.

Stuperb said...

Good post! I agree - if he didn't know the postcard as racist, then what exactly did he find humorous about it?

I'm surprised he didn't try to worm out of it by talking about the calls for the White House garden (Michael Pollan's idea I think) but even that would have been a stretch.