‘Our’ blacks vs. ‘their’ blacks

November 6, 2011


Do you think it gives Clarence Thomas a warm, fuzzy feeling to know he is one of Ann Coulter’s blacks?

That is how Coulter put it on Fox “News” while defending Herman Cain against sexual harassment charges that threatened to engulf his campaign last week. “Liberals,” she said, detest black conservatives, but the truth is, “our blacks are so much better than their blacks.”

“Our” blacks? Really?

Social conservative pundits tend to be astonishingly obtuse when discussing race, (See Exhibit A, above) so it is good they rarely do so. Last week was an unfortunate exception, as one of “their” blacks struggled to frame a coherent response to allegations that he harassed female colleagues in the 1990s when he headed the National Restaurant Association. Though accusations of sexual impropriety have beset a bipartisan Who’s Who of black and white politicians, the right wing came out in force to argue that people are only questioning Cain because he is a black conservative.

This would be the same Cain who not so long ago said racism was no longer a significant obstacle for African-Americans. This would be the same right wing that is conspicuous by its silence, its hostility or its complicity when the injustice system imposes mass incarceration on young black men, when the number of hate groups in this country spikes to more than a thousand, when the black unemployment rate stands at twice the national average, when the president is called “uppity” and “boy.”

But they scream in pious racial indignation when Cain is asked questions he doesn’t want to answer.

A “high-tech lynching” said blogger Brent Bozell.

“Racially stereotypical,” sniffed Rush Limbaugh.

“I believe the answer is yes,” said Cain himself when asked on Fox if race was the cause of his woes, adding honestly, if hilariously, that he has no evidence whatsoever to back that up.

If you didn’t know better, you’d think Cain was some hybrid of Emmett Till and Kunta Kinte. Nobody knows de trouble he’s seen.

The candidate has spoken of how he left the Democratic “plantation,” the implication being that more blacks should vote Republican. It would seem on the surface to make sense. As a 2008 Gallup Poll proved — and simple observation reiterates — African-Americans tend to be as conservative as your average Republican on some key moral issues and are more religious than the average Republican, to boot.

So why don’t blacks vote Republican? The answer is simple. Black people are not crazy. Being not crazy, they understand a simple truth about conservatives: They have never stood with, or up for, black people. Never.

Forget modern controversies like mass incarceration. Social conservatives, then based largely in the Democratic Party of the early to mid 20th century, opposed the Voting Rights Act. They opposed the Civil Rights Act. They opposed school integration. They opposed the Montgomery Bus Boycott. They opposed a law to crack down on lynching.

These are the people for whom African-Americans are now supposed to vote? To make the argument is to betray a stunning contempt for the intelligence — and memory — of black voters.

In talking about race, conservatives have all the moral authority of a pimp talking about women’s rights. Granted, “their” blacks might disagree.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. He chats with readers from noon to 1 p.m. CST each Wednesday on www.MiamiHerald.com.


atiopatioo 6 years, 7 months ago

lol This guy is hilarious. He is comparing a black to a mullato and gets away with it.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

The difference between a mulatto and a Black person is confusing to many and probably a moot point, considering that so many Blacks in the United States have more ancestry besides only African.

Although as of 1860, "as a legal or census definition, "mulatto" meant not just the product of a union of a white parent and a black one, but also of the union of a black and a mulatto. The child of any slave who had one white grandparent, whether by a white or black spouse, would be a mulatto."

Statement made between quotation marks clipped from: http://www.etymonline.com/cw/mulatto.htm

Corey Williams 6 years, 7 months ago

It's funny that when right wing personalities get rebuked for some of the things they say, it's always "satirical" or "sarcastic" or it was a "joke". If they're forever making jokes, how much of what they say do they actually believe? How much of their outrage is manufactured to make a buck? Why does it look like she has an adam's apple?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 7 months ago

Does anyone really believe that Rachel Maddow or Bill O'Reilly are really journalists. They're both in the entertainment industry, just one small step above Kim Kardashian. If you're taking Ann Coulter seriously, you don't "get it". It's a joke. The way we look at our politicians, our political system, that's the joke.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

Maddow definitely puts an ideological and entertaining spin in her show, but to equate her with either O'Reilly or Coulter, or nearly anyone else at Fox or in the right-wing blogosphere is unwarranted.

puddleglum 6 years, 7 months ago

I couldn't agree more..

I wish the republican party would split in two, then MAYBE they could cobble up some candidate worth voting for..


voevoda 6 years, 7 months ago

FalseHopeNoChange, Weren't you the one, just a week or so ago, who condemned people who disrespected the president during time of war? To refresh your memory, you made this comment in regard to Vietnam era protestors, but I pointed out then that the same logic applies now.

jaywalker 6 years, 7 months ago

"These are the people for whom African-Americans are now supposed to vote? To make the argument is to betray a stunning contempt for the intelligence — and memory — of black voters."

Right. Because we are in a time machine and even though those examples of social conservatives voting against appropriate legislation are 50 years old, it's the same people. Nothing's changed.

We're in the "hearts and minds" stage now, Mr. Pitts. Bashing half the country with your ever present billy club incessantly is only going to antagonize and solidify resentment. Just a thought.

"If you didn’t know better, you’d think Cain was some hybrid of Emmett Till and Kunta Kinte. Nobody knows de trouble he’s seen."

Nice. What's more telling in those words is your absolute refusal to come to bat for Mr. Cain. Always on the mountain top searching for any semblance of racism..... unless it doesn't skew with your political views.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

Oh what a surprise-- a knee-jerk response from jaywalker to a Pitts column.

jaywalker 6 years, 7 months ago

Knee jerk? I do believe my posting history on Pitts' columns would prove you wrong, bozo. Yet again. But then that's what's so right about you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"I was wondering how the left clowns were going to respond when the race card was taken away."

Taken away? The whole point of the article is how Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and even Cain himself, have been playing the race card.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

'"Our blacks vs their blacks ".

Perhaps you should actually read the article rather that just the headline. If you had done so, you'd know that those are Ann Coulter's words, not Pitts's.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

That's a quote from Coulter - did you miss that part?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"How convenient that the left has managed to drag up some old sexual harrassment charges against Cain by anonymous accusers.'

Actually, most of the betting is on the Perry campaign dredging this up.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

And, of course, politicians never lie, right?

independent_rebel 6 years, 7 months ago

Worst article yet by Pitts. If more blacks followed the parenting example of Herman Cain's parents, and put the effort into sucess as Herman Cain has, they'd be much better off than sucking on the teets of taxpayers via entitlements. Shame on Pitts for continuing to offer the myth that voting for liberals is the smart move by minorities.

voevoda 6 years, 7 months ago

In 1993, Ron Paul wrote that "only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions," and "that 95% of the black males [in US cities] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal." And he is the frontrunner in the Republican Party. Is it any mystery why the African-American community would shun a party that welcomes a candidate with such views?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

It's always so easy to take a statment out of context, and it's even easier when the person who you are "quoting" never said it himself at all.

Here's a more complete quote, clippped from: http://newsone.com/nation/casey-gane-mccalla/ron-paul-racist-newsletters/

“Indeed, it is shocking to consider the uniformity of opinion among blacks in this country. Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty, and the end of welfare and affirmative action. I know many who fall into this group personally and they deserve credit—not as representatives of a racial group, but as decent people.”

I am not going to do your work for you by writing out every context of every slur. The information is there. Look for it.

later, same site: Ron Paul believes all individuals are equally entitled to equal freedom and has spent a lifetime in politics writing about and speaking about that principle. Yet he is labeled a racist along with David Duke because some sentences and paragraphs pulled out of an old newsletter, dealing with events that most people have forgotten, and published without context?

Ron Paul has had to answer these slurs for years. Each election cycle there is a new crop of voters that think they have newly found a treasure trove of incriminating information, so Ron Paul has had to deal with the newsletters all over again. He has tried to explain the context, but it takes too long for our sound-bite society. He has taken moral responsibility for the bluntness of the language, but his enemies look at that as an admission of guilt. He has pointed out that he did not personally write them nor edit them nor read them at the time. Unprovable, though the language is clearly not like anything he has published before or since.

So what is he to do? People who read screeds by his political opponents who often play fast-and-loose with the truth, but do not also read Paul’s own words as published in numerous books and read into the Congressional Record, are difficult to reach.

I’m trying to reach you. I’m spending my time with you to let you know you have Ron Paul all wrong. If, for one moment, I thought Ron Paul harbored racist tendencies, I’d never utter his name again. But being familiar with the libertarian philosophy and knowing Ron Paul’s principles, as well has having listened to his speeches and read his books, I know any interpretation of his writings as ‘racist’ is just wrongheaded.

He is an advocate of freedom of the individual. We are all individuals in his mind.

voevoda 6 years, 7 months ago

I have read Ron Paul's articles in their entirety, and I don't see how his statements can be explained away. In my book, they are plainly offensive, and they can't be excused because other aspects of his political philosophy might be attractive.
I took the earlier quote from an article by Ron Paul himself, preserved in its entirety on the website of an organization that tracks neo-Nazi groups:: http://www.nizkor.org/ftp.cgi/people/g/ftp.py?people/g/gannon.dan/1992/gannon.0793 Some more excerpts: " The criminals who terrorize our cities--in riots and on every non-riot day--are not exclusively young black males, but they largely are. As children, they are trained to hate whites, to believe that white oppression is responsible for all black ills, to "fight the power," and to steal and loot as much money from the white enemy as possible. Anything is justified against "The Man." And "The Woman.' A lady I know recently saw a black couple in the supermarket with a cute little girl, three years old or so. My friend waved to the tiny child, who scowled, stuck out her tongue, and said (somewhat tautologically): "I hate you, white honkey." And the parents were indulgent. Is any white child taught to hate in this way? I've never heard of it. If a white child made such a remark to a black woman, the parents would stop it with a reprimand or a spank. But this is normal, and in fact benign, compared to much of the anti-white ideology in the thoroughly racist black community. The black leadership indoctrinates its followers with phony history and phony theory to bolster its claims of victimology." Or this one from Ron Paul’s Freedom Report, vol. VIII, No. 2, February 1983: “Before the Civil War, state laws in the south protected the slaves from physical abuse. They were to be fed, clothed, given medical care, and housed. The elderly were not to be thrown out into the streets—and they weren’t. The Mississippi Constitution stated: “The legislature shall have no power to pass laws for the emancipation of slaves…unless the slave shall have rendered to the state some distinguished service.” The slaves’ interests were officially protected by laws guaranteeing food, housing, medical care, and old age care. And yet the very highest honor that the state could bestow on a slave for distinguished service was to free him from all these guarantees and the bondage and servitude that went with them. Let the slave be free and let him be responsible for his own sustenance—that was the greatest gift of all.”

Disgraceful from someone who wants to become president of the United States.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

I wonder what world he lives in that he can ask the question "Is any white child taught to hate in this way?"

Without knowing that the obvious answer is yes.

Mike Ford 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm addressing the amnesia issue which the amnesiacs avoid. For many years the racists were in the Democratic column. John Stennis, Orval Faubus, George Wallace, Strom Thurmond, and Jesse Helms to name a few. Robert Byrd figured out the error of his ways and went against the nonsense in later life as did George Wallace. There is a tier system in the south. I know because I lived there and grew up there 35 years ago. I have a yearbook from 1975 in Jonesville, Louisiana, that has majority and minority kings and queens for homecoming in that school system. Ironically Jonesville is a Black majority population town because historically plantations were in the area. The integration of the military and schools and public places between 1948 and 1968 drove southern white racist males wanting their social tier structure maintained to the GOP. Southern Strategy and George Wallace anyone? Richard Nixon took it and ran as did Ronald Reagan. Tie together religion and race as social structure maintainance tools and voila current gop in the south and facism for that matter. Who is Mr. Cain plying himself to? the standard bearers of that racist structure who will vote for any minority who distances themselves from their culture as perpetuated by imbedded stereotypes, Reagan and Bush staffer Lee Atwater, and the current Fox Network. Why don't they just recycle the old 1980's stereotypes of welfare cadillacs why they're at it.....when someone sings to make a voting block comfortable what are they playing to....the old southern power structure that sees the non threatening act bowing down to the master. I grew up in Louisiana and Mississippi and I'm letting the cat out of the bag. The truth hurts.

beatrice 6 years, 7 months ago

Hey, an article about Herman Cain (sort of) finally in the LJWorld. It is almost like there is a reason the GOP front-runner should be in the news right now. Perhaps they have avoided running a story since Cain has been so clear and consistent with his story of what happened in the 1990s.

Also, it is clearly only being discussed because of Cain's race. I mean, if a White Democrat were to do something of a sexually inappropriate nature that didn't involve actual sex, we would likely never even hear about it. Just ask Anthony Weiner.

All sarcasm aside for a moment, that more than one person was offered financial compensation after allegations were made of sexual harrasment is a major red flag for any current candidate. Women don't just make flip accusations of sexual harrasment -- consider the women in your lives and think of how difficult that would be. How many women just endured the harrasment without reporting it? As the women in your life if they have ever been harrased in the workplace -- you might be surprised by the answer.

That so many conservatives are willing to look the other way or act like this is just old news is rather shocking. Conservativism seems to be a matter of convenience for many who call themselves conservatives. Do as we say, not as we do. How forgiving many conservatives are for candidates with histories of sexual misconduct, cheating on spouses, multiple wives, etc,... as long as the candidate espouses conservative values, then all is forgiven (or ignored). Again, do as I say, not as I do, appears to be the mantra for these candidates, and based on the poll numbers, too many conservatives will agree.

Just be glad it wasn't your family member who had accused Cain of sexual harrasment. If it had been, she would be called a liar by people proclaiming to believe in "family values."

jaywalker 6 years, 7 months ago

Definitely seems Cain is sullied with the allegations. But it's silly to pretend conservatives have cornered the market on indiscretion. And who are these conservatives that are continuing to bask in the public limelight despite a sordid past, completely forgiven? All I can think of is Gingrich, and it basically drove him out of office where he's remained for more than a dozen years.

beatrice 6 years, 7 months ago

I'd absolutely agree with you of it being silly to say one side has cornered the market on indiscretion. I remember Clinton, and Edwards, and, Eliot Spitzer, and etc... I was not saying only Republicans are capable of such actions, hence the mention of Anthony Weiner. No, the politicians who have all but cornered the market on indiscretions are men.

But I digress...

The GOP has Gingrich and now Cain, and both are currently running for president (I believe Gingrich's record, not his infidelities, drove him from office). That is 2 out of 7. And lets not forget the infidelities of the previous GOP head of the ticket, McCain. Giuliani is still popular in conservative circles, despite his being less than faithful to his wife as well. It just seems like a double standard of do as we say, not as we do coming from several politicians and the supporters of social conservatives who back these candidates. It is also worth noting how the LJWorld has all but ignored this story, at least on their on-line version. This is pretty big news given Cain's frontrunner status, don't you think?

You have to admit, it is at least interesting the way some conservatives are wanting to completely deny any possibility that more than one accusation and financial settlement could be based on actual sexual harrasment, or that it happened oh so long ago that it shouldn't even be considered today.

I suspect, in the end, this will be the beginning of Cain's downfall. He really hasn't had much of a message outside of 999, and his lack of knowledge of world affairs I feel would have done him in eventually anyway. Too bad, I guess, when the hopes people place on their politicians don't live up to realities. I voted for Obama, so I recognize that feeling.

jaywalker 6 years, 7 months ago

Sorry, missed the Weiner inclusion. I agree that it's been odd not to see stories about the Cain stuff here in the LJW. And I also agree that this might just be it for his campaign. We talked about this a while ago, and I believe you thought it would happen sooner than later. Right again! I can't believe these guys can get so deluded they don't think past sins will rise back up to bite 'em. ??? I want to reserve total judgement until we get more details, if that ever comes, but with two accusers it doesn't look good. I will say this, I remember the mid '90's and what passed as sexual harassment; let's just say things were extreme. Nevertheless, it does look like the beginning of the end.
As for denial or defense from the right, I think that's only natural no matter which party you're representing.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago


But, the particular oddness and hypocrisy is that the right wing folks hold themselves up to be the moral ones.

While denigrating those on the left for their lack of morality.

jaywalker 6 years, 7 months ago

Oh please. As if the left is walking around admitting to being heathens. Only a fool would listen to such rhetoric and think it meant jack. Don't we have enough proof on a daily basis that everyone is full of kaka and too many are capable of anything unspeakable?
Oddness and hypocrisy? Oddness and hypocrisy is ANYONE positing they have the higher ground.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

It is those on the right that posture and claim moral superiority over the left.

Many voters are apparently fools, by your definition, since they believe and repeat that sort of rhetoric all of the time, and vote accordingly.

I agree with your sentiments - I have known and said for a very long time that everyone is capable of greed, etc. and that it doesn't break down neatly along party lines.

tomatogrower 6 years, 7 months ago

Annie of the adams apple was not being sarcastic. She was showing her true colors. Guess what. You don't "have" blacks anymore. In fact, your own party eliminated ownership of human beings. She and others in the modern party probably don't like that part of their history.

irvan moore 6 years, 7 months ago

i think when ann coulter talks about her blacks she is referring to the roots of her blonde hair

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