The Dirty Dozens: Race, Civil Rights and the Democrats

It’s gettin hot in herr! The gloves are coming off, and people are now being forced to take sides. Senator Hillary Clinton has been trying to spin herself out of a whole she dug when she, at an attempt to dig at Senator Barack Obama, said that while he likes to compare himself to MLK, it took a president–Lyndon B. Johnson–to pass the Civil Rights Act.

The blacks are giving her hell over that comment, and on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” she said that the Obama campaign was “deliberately distorting” her comments.

Well I saw the interview when it aired, and no, no one is distorting her comments. She said something really politically foolish trying to one-up Obama, and she got caught out there. I thought at the time that that statement was going to come back to haunt her.

But it doesn’t end there. Saturday, Bob Johnson, founder of BET had the unmitigated gall to stand up in front of a crowd and act as the authority on Black people, and defend Clinton’s record with Black people. Johnson said

“To me, as an African American, I am frankly insulted the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues — when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood; I won’t say what he was doing, but he said it in his book — when they have been involved.”

He later said he was not referring to Obama’s admitted drug use. As black as the Clintons think they are, they are white enought to not realize how many Black people actually despise Bob Johnson. Many of us blame him for cutting BET news programming (and firing Tavis Smiley), and turning the channel into a video channel replete with images of violent black masculinites, hypersexualized black women, with a hefy dash of homophobia. In fact, THE SAME NIGHT he made these comments, Black folks were protesting outside the taping of a BET Awards show in DC.

Johnson is also the sleaze bag who moved the show Comic View from Los Angeles to Atlanta, allegedly in order to avoid paying unionized rates to comics appearing on the show. Not that I care about that modern day minstrel show, but it was still a low blow.

To make matters even worse, I just saw a debate on PBS’ The New Hour between SCLC veteran Rev. Joseph C. Lowry (Team Obama) and Civil Rights vet Rep. John Lewis (Team Clinton). John Lewis had the nerve to defend Clinton on the basis that “The Clintons would never do anything to harm African-Americans.” I am not sure if that’s a direct quote, but it’s definitely not far off. He said it twice.

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH US?

I can definitely understand why black people may not necessarily be in 100% Barack’s camp, but I certainly cannot understand why some of us back Clinton over him–and completely uncritically.

But I said a few posts ago this election was going to help expose the tensions of the civil rights old guarde as they fall out of favor. Not because Black people are more conservative, but because they are now too entrenched in the machine to be effective as agitators. And their tacit support of the Clintons against a Black candidate generally more progressive than either Bill or Hillary, is quite telling. William Jelani Cobb has a great article in the Washington Post about this very issue.

Clarence Thomas Speaks Out. And Boy He’s Pissed!

Justice Clarence Thomas has a new book out, and he’s been all over the press. I love how the media LOVES a Black conservative!! The really get into giving them much more space and attention than all the40 million African-Americans do combined.

Anyhow, it all came together this past Sunday when 60 Minutes did an extended show to profile of him. He really sucks!!! And he’s very angry. I mean, you’d have to be insane to be Black and not be, but he’s really angry. I mean, it’s almost painful to watch.

I have to say, and after watching the 60 Minutes piece, they did NOT TALK TO ANYONE EXCEPT THOMAS!! Theonly other voices are his wife, and archival footage of Anita Hill and Al Sharpton. Is this the news magazine that made a name for itself by tough investigative work, or a public relations piece for Thomas? It was far from fair and balanced. Have a looksee!

60 Minutes Part II

60 Minutes Part III

Now, what they hell were they thinking? Thank God for some more critical things that have come out in this ridiculous excuse for journalism’s sake. Tavis Smiley had Farah Jasmine Griffin, Cornel West, and Marc Morial on his show to talk about Thomas, and it was pretty impresstive.

Anita Hill wrote an op-ed for the New York Times responding to Thomas’ 60 Minutes appearance. She writes:

In the portion of his book that addresses my role in the Senate hearings into his nomination, Justice Thomas offers a litany of unsubstantiated representations and outright smears that Republican senators made about me when I testified before the Judiciary Committee — that I was a “combative left-winger” who was “touchy” and prone to overreacting to “slights.” A number of independent authors have shown those attacks to be baseless. What’s more, their reports draw on the experiences of others who were familiar with Mr. Thomas’s behavior, and who came forward after the hearings. It’s no longer my word against his.

The BEST of them all however is Kai Wright’s article online at the American Prospect, where Kai writes (no pun intended)

“…the book is primarily an effort to expand on Thomas’ charge that white liberals used Hill to carry out a “high-tech lynching” on an uppity black man. “Should I have seen it coming?” he ponders. “Even as Daddy had been teaching me that hard work would always see me through, my friends in Savannah told me to let go of my foolish dreams. ‘The man ain’t goin’ to let you do nothin’,’ they had said over and over. ‘Why you even tryin’?’ Now I knew who ‘the man’ was. He’d come at last to kill me, and I had looked upon his hateful, leering face as he slipped his noose of lies around my neck.”

Many will read My Grandfather’s Son as a cynical attempt to rewrite history, and it is that, to be sure. But it is more. The reason Thomas’ rage outstrips his remarkable professional and political achievements is that his confirmation shattered the thin armor he’d donned for navigating America’s “paranoid color wheel” as an ambitious black man — namely, that through unceasing toil and a blind embrace of “the rules,” he could eclipse, if not defeat white supremacy.”

Word.