Expose the Left has the video of Wolf Blitzer's interview with Cynthia McKinney. (Via Instapundit.) I'm surprised she did an interview at all, since she faces criminal prosecution for her interaction with the Capitol Police the other day. Even with two lawyers, she risked making statements that could be contradicted by a security video and by testimony from multiple witnesses.
Her goal, however, was to merge her legal problem with the larger issue of racial profiling. Expose the Left and other bloggers may ridicule her for this, but they are not her audience. She was, in fact, somewhat successful in reframing the issue, in my opinion (and I'm sure her target audience is much more willing to accept the reframing than I am).
Her main point was that the Capitol Police are supposed to recognize everyone's face. The identifying pin cannot be enough to justify waving members of Congress past security, because it could be faked. Now, it's quite clear to me that she should have stopped when asked and certainly not hit anyone, but I can understand her being irritable about the subject of not being recognized. There is the well-known problem of white people thinking it is hard to tell black persons apart, and she's entitled to be touchy about that. She says there have been incidents in the past where she has been taken as the assistant to someone much younger than her when that younger person was white and male. I'm not black, but I am female, and I know a little something of the kind of experiences she's had.
Blitzer put up an old and a new photo of her in which the only thing that is different is her hair, and it is very different. But security personnel need to recognize faces, she says, and her face is very recognizable. That's true. There are few black female members of Congress: how hard can it be to learn their faces? Maybe they are hassling her because they don't like her, she suggests.
She's also sensitive about her hair, and hair is a traditionally sensitive topic too. They need to know my face, not just judge me by my hair, she says. I note that the old hairstyle was pulled back and restrained, while the new one is fluffy and natural. Did the new hairstyle alarm the police? If so, does that suggest that they are more easily alarmed by black people? I think it is likely that the police looked at the hair so much they didn't look at the face and missed their chance to recognize her, but in McKinney's reframing, the attention to hair is fraught with racial meaning.
Before you reject her presentation and go into some reflexive nattering about "the race card," you ought to try to think about how her arguments resonate with the people who vote for her. I think she accomplished what she set out to do when she decided to do the interview.
IN THE COMMENTS: Lots of discussion, but the most useful point, I think, is that the special treatment of members of Congress should end. The pin really isn't enough, since it can be faked. And now we know the pin isn't reinforced by much of a recognition element. And if the police have a special problem recognizing women (because of hairstyle changes) or recognizing black persons, that is all the more reason to change the security protocol. If you can't give all the members the same VIP treatment, stop giving them VIP treatment.