Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Herman Cain and white Republicans (Updated)

Of course, Herman Cain isn't going to be the Presidential nominee of the Christian Republicans White People's Party. He's not a Mormon but he has visible baggage from a Republican point of view that eliminate him as a serious candidate.

Howie at Down with Tyranny writes about the schtick that Cain and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele use to entertain the Party white folks in Financing The Hermanator's Sad Minstrel Show 10/11/2011:

Herman Cain is a well-spoken African American who-- if you'll pardon the offensive expression-- knows his place in the white male Republican Party hierarchy. His jive-ass bull**** is music to the racist ear. In his own autobiography be bragged about how he "moved to the back of the bus" (his own words) during the Civil Rights Movement. That might sound fabulous to ... teabaggers but its nothing to brag about in front of a normal audience. When confronted by Lawrence O'Donnell about it, Cain flat out lied and said he was just in high school, never imagining that O'Donnell had pre-fact checked that and knew Cain was a student at Morehouse College from 1963-1967, the height of the Movement. No matter how hard you fight the impulse, there is virtually no way to listen to Herman Cain without coming to the conclusion that he's a perfect Uncle Tom for the new century.
He quotes Chauncey DeVega's even more astringent takeover of Cain's act at the recent Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC):

Herman Cain’s shtick is a version of race minstrelsy where he performs "authentic negritude" as wish fulfillment for White Conservative fantasies. Like the fountain at Lourdes, Cain in his designated role as black Conservative mascot, absolves the White racial reactionaries at CPAC of their sins. This is a refined performance that Black Conservatives have perfected over many decades and centuries of practice.

Let's consider the routine. First, Cain enters the stage to Motown music. Then Cain feigns swimming after rolling up his sleeves to show them his black skin and how he is a hardworking negro (not like those other ones). Cain bellows in a preacher affected voice and channels the folksy negro down home accent of his late grandpappy. In the money shot, Cain gives the obligatory “black folks who are not Republicans are on the plantation” speech to the joyous applause of his White benefactors. And he doubles down by legitimating any opposition to President Barack Obama as virtuous and patriotic regardless of the bigoted well-springs from which it may flow.

In total, CPAC is a carnival and a roadshow for reactionary Conservatives.
No, that's not exaggeration of today's all-too-typical Republican attitude. DeVega nails it in saying Cain provides "wish fulfillment for White Conservative fantasies" of what a black person should be.

DeVega's comments originally came from this blog post at Alternet Black History Month is Herman Cain Playing the Race Minstrel for CPAC 02/12/2011. He responded to critics in On Chauncey DeVega's Herman Cain Post Alternet 02/15/2011. He blogs regularly at Alternet and at We Are Respectable Negroes.

This is the video of that February CPAC speech. He goes heavily into the I'm-a-proud-black-Republican spiel at around 14:00:

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