Real Brother here.
I think the debate over Melissa Harris-Perry’s article and the Salon articles that followed are one of the most important debates of our time. I know I’m the only one who sees it that way but still. The reason I say that is as an African-American- a Real Brother – whether or not the first African-American and arguably the most accomplished President in U.S. history succeeds is of special interest to me but even more importantly, whether or not the truth as to why he was destroyed is also of importance for future generations that may face a similar scenario.
Salon Editor Gene Lyons wrote a follow up to his initial response to Harris-Perry’s piece in which he compared her to the KKK and called Harris-Perry a fool. Perry has laid low since her follow up to her original Nation article and has to be careful for her professional career and family and would in no way challenge the white power structure of which she relies for her subsistence. So since she can’t respond I will on her behalf.
Lyons attempts to defend his what one blogger called a “hit piece” on Miss Perry by suggesting that he has a thick hide and a satirical side. I’m not gonna trip on what sounds a bit like a lame back peddle or worse Lyons admitting that he didn’t really mean what he meant but he does go on to say his choice of words were insensitive which I accept as a retraction. Everything after that dips south.
“Occasionally, my instinct for comic exaggeration leads me astray. That happened when I recently lampooned a column by Melissa Harris-Perry charging President Obama’s liberal critics with covert racism. ”
The above passage is insulting. Don’t compare the Professor to the KKK and call her a fool and then say you were only exaggerating or lampooning. Later Lyons will offer that Harris-Perry needs to be more specific and needs to apply logic, I’m only guessing that if she was exaggerating or lampooning that wouldn’t be specific or logical enough of an answer for Mr. Insensitivity.
“What I should have written is that reducing President Obama to a racial symbol is both politically self-defeating and “resembles a photo negative of white racist thought.”
How is concluding that whites-who have perpetrated 450 years of Slavery, Oppression, Discrimination and Racism against blacks based on race- have lost favor with a black President based on race reducing him to a “racial symbol”? Now who’s not using logic? And I resent the claim that accusing whites of racial bias in light of your history being used as a wedge issue to Obama’s re-election. If Lyons is suggesting that he’s above racial criticism because he’s white and superior he needs to quit. As for the “white racist thought” comparison that’s also insulting. While the Professor has a very logical reason to conclude that the least likely racial group to support Barack Obama has like minded reasons to oppose him, making such a conclusion would in no way “resemble” the racist thought that a black man would be incompetent to serve as President.
“Turning everything into an issue of ethnic identity contributes nothing but bad feeling”
Whites often make the above claim. If anything or anyone is racist then vanilla ice cream is racist. No, abandoning the black President when you figure out his success has called into question the myth of white genetic superiority and privilege while technically not racist its at the very least racially biased and motivated. As for Lyons’ “bad feeling” someone get him a tissue.
“Maybe academia isn’t the only place in American life where it’s possible to call people bigots and expect them to prove their innocence. But it’s definitely one of a very few.”
The above statement has some fancy name that describes being defensive when you’re caught red-handed but I don’t have the academic prowess to know the word. All I know is that whites who publicly proclaimed that Barack Obama sent a “chill up their leg” and that they “for a second forgot he was black” were now saying they want to see LESS INTELLIGENCE from this [black]President and more racist stereotypes that make whites feel superior. No, you don’t have to prove you’re not a bigot but you do have to prove how you abandon the President because he proves to be more capable then you thought a black President could ever be.
We ask the same of you that we do the racists on the right and that is give us specifics and not the economy because Obama has grown the economy 10% to its highest level ever. We have a $14.7 Trillion Dollar GDP and 4 million new private sector jobs. Whites who claim its the economy are as we speak occupying a Wall Street that has seen their profits jump 46% before the racists took control of the House. There’s a 4 Trillion Dollar stash at the Fed Bank 2 Trillion of which was recovered from the Wall Street Bail Out to be applied to the Debt. The right laments the 47% of working class Americans who got a refund when the President they are trying to destroy gave them $80 Billion in Tax Cuts. If its not race then simply tell us what it is and don’t lie because that will make us conclude its race.
Lyons gets silly when he offers that instead of Michelle Bachman he should have compared Harris-Perry to Ann Coulter, as Coulter to him is more attractive, sexist too or is that just another exaggeration? He rejects any comparisons between former President Bill Clinton and Obama because Harris-Perry doesn’t cite any examples of “liberal bigotry” aimed at Obama but that’s the point she was making. She found no evidence of liberal bias against President Obama only whites who resented the fact that his intellect and success has made their liberal politics look unreasonable and politically nonviable, a fact that didn’t seem to matter when President Clinton gutted the Welfare System and signed NAFTRA.
And yes, while Presidents Obama and Clinton both faced stringent Republican opposition I don’t remember liberals choosing their race over their best interests. We have gays and women and senior citizens, union workers standing with Republicans and logic if applied leaves but one conclusion; they’d rather keep their precious white privilege then their Democracy.
Finally, Lyons does what all whites who oppose the President because he’s black do and that’s lie about two months of 9.1% unemployment and stretch it out for his entire four year term. Unemployment over the three years that Obama’s been in office has been 8.8%. If whites who have been conditioned to believe that blacks are degenerate and inferior have a legitimate reason to oppose the President then why lie? The article ends with the observation that Lyons defended Harris-Perry against blacks like Dr. Cornell West who are being paid by racists to bash President Obama while implying that because there are blacks who oppose Obama because he’s black that excuses him, it doesn’t.
Theron K. Cal is a Writer, Commentator and Host of The Real Brother Radio Show on U-Stream
(c)Copyright 2011 RBR Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED