Michael Steele nailed by The Daily Show for hypocrisy on race shared by other black Republicans
My esteemed colleague Bill Maxwell wrote a great column more than 10 years ago noting how some of the country's most prominent black conservatives wind up complaining about racism when the chips are down.
Usually, these men -- and they were almost always men back then -- could be reliably counted on to criticize other black people who cited racism or bigotry as a source of problems. Absent a smoking cross, these guys could never believe race might cause issues for everyday black people, gaining easy access to cable TV shows and op-ed pages for views so unlike those held by most other black people.
Until something happens to them.
The Daily Show pulled together a typically sidesplitting bit touching on this idea, depicting Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele as a twisted Muppet, spouting non-sensical, hip-hop flavored gibberish while trying to answer questions about the latest scandal to bedevil the party organization, the Lesbian Bondage Fiasco.
Along the way, Jon Stewart played recent video of Steele claiming he had a smaller margin for error because of his race -- later, Stewart played a clip of Steele denouncing other black people for blaming their problems on racism.
Bill nailed this dynamic a decade ago, noting how perpetual GOP candidate Alan Keyes, anti-Affirmative Action crusader Ward Connerly and Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas all wound up citing race as the source of their problems.
Keyes insists he is not taken serious as a candidate because of his race (running against super popular Barack Obama for a Senate seat when you have no qualifications other than being the only black Republican dumb enough to try might also be an issue). Thomas called the widespread airing of allegations he sexually harassed Anita Hill a "high tech lynching," while Connerly criticized a newspaper's comments on his racial heritage by saying "your paper gets away with it because I'm black."
And now we have Steele, caught between elements of the GOP who can't stand him -- either for his habit of making embarrassing gaffes or constant trickle of scandals or, perhaps, as he suggested, his race -- and a black America who overwhelming supported his nemesis, President Obama. Here's an interesting column on Steele's history of making such claims.
As Bill also noted ten years ago, the GOP practices a peculiar form of Affirmative Action with these folks, advancing them to positions of power and prominence so they can work against the very programs and attitudes which might help other black people follow behind them.
But every so often, the mask slips, and they let the world know the real racial politics at hand as they negotiate the delicate balance of exploiting their race while criticizing others they say are doing the same thing.
See Steele's comments (question comes at 6:10) and the Daily Show skit below:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Michael Steele Plays the Race Card|