Stupid Quotes

Some really stupid racist things have been stated publicly of late. Some have been honest mistakes - poor choices of words or just cases of ignorance that carried no hostile intent - while some were purposely malicious. Let's sort the bigots from the idiots, shall we?

"'Light-skinned" and having "no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.'" Ok, so Harry Reid chose his words poorly, but doesn't anyone remember that back during the primaries and the election there was a lot of discussion by members of both parties about Obama's complexion and his elocution? I even recall a few mentions of his mixed race parentage, and comments that he might not be black enough. So now a book comes out and we discover that Harry Reid was taking part in that discussion, and suddenly the Right is trying to paint him as a grand wizard of the KKK. Reid's comment is not so very different from the comments folks made about Dan Quayle - both his appearance and his elocution were heavily discussed. Of course in his case, it was usually noted that he looked quite a bit like Robert Redford and spoke like he had a brain injury, but you see my point.

In a somewhat similar vein, Michael Steele's ridiculous "honest injun" comment is another slip of the tongue that has been overplayed. Yes, it's offensive to Native Americans, but it's obvious that he didn't say it with any ill intent. It appeared to be an ordinary bit of dialog for him - which doesn't make him a bigot, it just makes him oblivious to the offense he's doing. It also makes me wonder a bit about his upbringing - I am curious where this black version of "Leave it To Beaver" took place, and how his vocabulary has managed to stay in 1958...

Now on to the truly malicious - Pat Robertson's "pact with the devil" explanation for the Haitian earthquake is one of the most reprehensible things that has been publicly broadcast in quite a while. Perhaps only slightly more reprehensible than his assertion that Katrina was caused by queers and abortion clinics. The obvious heartless insensitivity of the comment aside, I have a small logistical question. If the pact with the devil was made in order to help the slaves of Haiti free themselves from the rule of Napoleon, then it would have to have been made prior to 1804 revolt led by Francois-Dominique Toussaint L'ouverture. That was 206 years ago - why did it take so long for the heavenly father to get around to dishing up this disciplinary tremor? Is God's inbox that full?

Not to be outdone, Rush Limbaugh took the opportunity to call the Obama administration's promise of $100 million in aid to Haiti an attempt to gain credibility with "both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country." And so we come full circle - I'm certain that he only used those qualifiers to keep the unfortunate wording of Harry Reid's quote fresh in the minds of his listeners. I'll give Rush credit; he can offend like no one else.

I'm just going to make a donation to the Red Cross and turn my TV and radio off for a while...


Post a Comment