This is a he-who-smelt-it-dealt-it argument. Or, as Stephen Colbert's persona likes to say, "I don't see race." This line of argument wants to change the subject to something, anything other than race. Hey, what about free phones?! Patterico at Patterico's Pontifications tried defending the video, saying, "The above video is hilarious. It is representative of a group of Obama voters who feel entitled to handouts from government. It does not matter what the color of the speaker is. It’s news... Conservatives should not have to shy away from such amusing examples of entitlement mentality simply because the particular proponent of that mentality happens to be black." This is intellectually dishonest, at best. We await Patterico delving into the minutiae of the Universal Service Fund. Until then, it's just "hilarious." Specifically, it's hilarious because it uses one person to portray a huge group of people in a negative way is. The point of the video -- and the reason Drudge and Limbaugh hyped it -- is to say, this is what Obama voters look like: black, poor, stupid, and after your money. The video's subject wasn't picked out because she "happens to be black," she was picked out because she is black. Lee Atwater, strategist for Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, explained how this works way back in 1981 -- better to talk about cutting taxes and bussing, because it's "a hell of a lot more abstract than 'Ni***r, ni***r.'" Of course, this Internet meme isn't all that abstract.If it's insufficiently abstract, it won't work. Our conscious anti-racism filters may keep the material from reaching us. In fact, as I said in my post yesterday, what I feel happening to me emotionally — and what I'm guessing may happen to other middle-of-the-road types like me — is repulsion away from the Romney side. It's not Romney's fault, he can't control what his supporters say in their efforts to promote him, but he needs to be a more dominant figure in his own campaign. Voters need to associate him with a clear and compelling message that doesn't feel connected to this racial material coming from other sources.
September 29, 2012
Elspeth Reeve answers a question she's been asked after her "How Racist Is the Obama Phone Video?," which I linked, approvingly, yesterday.