No sooner did I write the words ”Herman Cain does not play the Race Card” then he goes ahead…and plays the Race Card.
If you're not up on the whole Niggerhead Controversy, you can read about it here.
I’m still a big Herman Cain fan, but I find myself somewhat disappointed this day. The accusation made against Governor Rick Perry (who I wouldn't allow to walk my Irish Setter without adult supervision) is rather thin gruel, honestly, but I’m going to give Herman the benefit of the doubt that he’s reacting emotionally to the original report (which cited accusers anonymously, and makes a great deal of fuss about specific dates of almost three-decades ago), and is not in possession of the whole truth, and not just cynically taking the opportunity to smack his competition around while he can.
From what I’ve been able to tell, the entire region around Perry’s leased hunting camp/ranch is called Niggerhead, not just the camp itself, and has been forever. It’s an extremely unfortunate occurrence that it should contain within it’s name a racial slur, and one wonders just why in this day and age it wasn't changed sooner. But then again we Italians are used to dealing with that particular degrading circumstance and neglect, and have learned to suffer in silence over the centuries.
Why doesn't the Washington Post or (P)MSNBC write something about that?
But I’m not going to make a great show of trying to shame New Guinea into changing or painting over its name to assuage the great pain and anguish I feel in my breast. Besides, the only use New Guineans have found for paint is probably huffing it. I wonder: why is Guinea considered a slur when applied to an Italian, the very nursemaids of the Modern World, but not when applied to a Stone-Age cannibal who shoves pork bones through his penis and dances around a bonfire naked?
I won’t be suing West Guinea, either, seeing as how Africans already have all they can handle, what with trying to dodge AIDS, Ebola, and grow enough food to survive until the next tribal or civil war in which they get their hands and feet lopped off, gang-raped or beheaded by the next wave of Muslim violence, or maybe disappear into the re-education camps of this week’s Dictator-for-Life.
Unfortunately, I can’t take legal action against the British Crown since they stopped issuing Guinea coins in 1813. I could complain about some thin notion of collective, historical guilt, a generational shame and responsibility that should be felt by all Englishmen, but I’m White, so my historical grievances don’t count.
I would like to see every Guinea Pig on Earth exterminated. I find it highly offensive that a word should exist which equates Italians with pigs, or even suggests such a notion, which is then hung upon a rodent that doesn’t serve any useful evolutionary purpose that I can discern.I'd almost rather be called the N-Word, considering it a step up in the world, considering this distasteful alternative.
I am mortally offended by the bird called the Guinea Fowl, which I’m told is quite delicious when served with a Chestnut and Raisin stuffing. I vote that since these birds bear an offensive name that we Italians be allowed to do the two things which we do best with them: indulge our culinary genius, and then eat the fuckers in large quantities.-- for free, and in perpetuity-- as a form of reparations. I’m taking my case to the U.N., where I’m sure they’ll give it the same serious and sober attention that they gave to the Palestinians, a bunch of professional, exploding beggars who don’t even have a real country.
In fact, I’m quite pissed off by the very origin of the word “Guinea”, which comes to us from the Berber through Portuguese, and which means ‘Black’. How is it that Italians came to be associated with Blacks, and isn’t this against some sort of Diversity Law which guarantees that my cultural identity be treated as unique, or something? Does this mean I get to check ‘Black’ on my Law School admission application? Someone get me the Southern Poverty Law Center and ACLU on the phone: I need to know the legal ramifications of this deliberately-confused trampling of my cultural heritage! And if there's any money to be made from it.
Naturally, that’s all hyperbole. I’m not going to sue anyone, nor am I going to pitch a riot. In fact, this whole thing is rather overblown. The only difference between my Guinea example and the minor dustup over Perry's ranch's name is that the word ‘Nigger’ is loaded with much more (assumed) negative cultural significance than 'Guinea' is. Mostly because it (The N-word) has become a means with which to pry taxpayer money and benefits out of other people’s wallets against their will, but that’s for another post.
I could say “Hey, that’s just the place’s name, so just deal…” but that’ll only get me a slew of hostile and misspelled e-mails (people tend to get sloppy with their spelling when they’re angry, so put the gun down, Bro. Wasn't suggesting anything else). It’s just a Fact of Life that in America some things are and always will be different. You can’t use that word, even when there’s a double standard attached when Black People use it to describe themselves. I understand this, and accept it, even if it often becomes more impediment to to our shared, pie-in-the-sky ideals of racial harmony than help.
Now, I’m certain that in particular Left-wing political circles, this manufactured teacup tempest ‘proves’ that Rick Perry (you know, the guy who loves Illegal Mexicans so much that he’s sending them to college at a discount, and letting them suck his state’s welfare resources without so much as a strongly-worded reproof about theft) is a racist who ‘hates’ African-Americans. Which it doesn’t, but that’s the narrative they’d like to spin for you. I’m also certain that in some so-called ‘Civil Rights’ circles this is yet another indication of the insensitivity of Rich White People who just can’t help themselves when it comes to indulging in their secret latent racist proclivities, which somehow requires someone cut Je$$e a large check before he marches on your ass.
Personally, I rather doubt there’s any racism involved, for Perry’s part, at all. At worst he’s guilty of not being aware of something which can be hurtful to others (in which case, I’d disqualify him from running for the Presidency on the grounds that he's a complete doofus), and at best Perry is guilty of a sin of omission. Considering that I believe Perry has trouble reading, it’s possible that he didn’t know what was written/painted/sculpted upon that rock, at least until someone else pointed it out and explained it in pictures to him.
But Herman shouldn’t be so quick to jump the gun and shout ‘Racist!” from the rooftops, when he’s done such a good job of keeping racial matters out of his campaign, to date. There are, and there will be, times when legitimate issues of race arise, and I would rather that Herman keep his racial powder dry and then let loose with a fusillade upon the subject when it actually becomes necessary to do so, and not so much in the gratuitous-looking fashion in which it’s has been done now.
Dividing people by racial difference, after all, is Barack Obama’s job; It is what he does best. What Herman Cain does best is to make good sense with thoughtful insight, and create reasonable,well-thought-out solutions which spring from a rather brilliant intellect.
Helping the Washington Post and (P)MSNBC keep this story alive for even as much as another day in order to drive Perry a point or two further down in the polls was a mistake, Herman. It will be seen as self-serving and ill-informed, particularly by Perry’s supporters who you may have to call upon later, and it smells of the democratic party playbook: in America, the safest electoral route for a Black Man is to accuse a White Man of deep and abiding racism, even if the circumstances under which the accusation is made have to be contrived or stretched to the very limits of credibility in the process.
You’re better than that, Mr. Cain, and I've respected you for it.
This is cheap and easy, and that’s not who you are,and it's put me in the uncomfortable position of having to quasi-defend a guy who otherwise makes my skin crawl.
I still do respect you, Herman,, but you have now dropped a notch or two in my esteem, because with all the other issues we have to face – issues you were addressing just fine, until Sunday – it’s sad that we have to revisit a 30-year old kerfuffle over a rock, some paint, and an unfortunate name. If American politics has devolved to such a mean and low state, then we’re all fucking doomed.