Thursday, June 16, 2011

Local Republican who is black demonstrates selective outrage

Local political activist Ken Barnes was, until recently, a Republican who is also a black man. Notice I do not say "Black Republican" because making someone's race their primary identifier has never sat well with me. I have kept track of Barnes's doings, such as his unsuccessful 2010 run for a spot on the Los Rios College board (I voted for him). Though I don't know him personally, Barnes is one of my Facebook friends, where I always read his posts that show up on my Wall.

In the most recent edition of the Sunday Sacramento Bee, Barnes announced in an special editorial that he was leaving the Republican Party, mostly because of the fallout over a racially offensive cartoon that an Orange County Republican official named Marilyn Davenport sent to her friends by email. The cartoon insults President Obama thus:

Yes, I agree; this is extremely offensive, and Davenport ought to be ashamed of herself. She apologized, but for the good of the party, she would be better off resigning her position. She was rebuked by just about everybody around her, however, this is not enough for Mr. Barnes:
While the Orange County GOP chairman and a number of other committee members were quick to condemn the image and Davenport, what's disturbing is the incredible number of people who continue to defend Davenport's actions as well as the cartoon itself.

Had this been an isolated event, it could be set aside as a mere aberration. However, when placed in the context of similar offenses by the same self-identified tea party-conservative Republicans, there emerges a disturbing pattern of extreme intolerance.

Over the past two years, we have seen Republicans use long-held racist imagery in portrayals of Obama. The president has been depicted as a communist witch doctor, a man inclined to plant watermelons on the White House lawn, and we watched in disbelief as his face was placed on an "Obama Buck Food Stamp" along with stereotyped pictures of fried chicken, barbecue ribs, Kool-Aid and the obligatory watermelon.

Again, Mr. Barnes, you are right - there are idiots on the right side of the aisle who do themselves or the conservative side no favors by engaging in this kind of rotten behavior. However, I would venture to say that people who are supposedly defending what Marilyn Davenport did are not so much saying that is OK what she did as they are pointing out the hypocrisy of the political Left who get the vapors about images such as the Obama/Chimpanzee family cartoon, but have no problem with images like this:

For cripes sake, there is even an anti-George W. Bush/anti-Republican website called The Smirking Chimp that still operates as we speak. Its byline says "In Dishonor of the Worst President in U.S. History, 2001-2009."

Ah, but I know what the argument will be next: But George W. Bush is a white guy! It doesn't matter as much if he is made to look like a chimpanzee. OK, then let's take a look at what Democrats and the Left have done to Republican political figures who happen to be black:

First, there is this political cartoon from a leftist black website that performs a two-fer by insulting jurists Janice Rogers Brown and Clarence Thomas:

Black Commentator online magazine, which ran this cartoon, tried to defend it by saying they were just trying to make Rogers-Brown look like Clarence Thomas, but I'm not buying it. Last I checked, Clarence Thomas does not have a towering crop of nappy hair or a mammy-esque physique. Neither does Janice Rogers-Brown.

Then, there was the big-lipped image of Bush's National Security Adviser and Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, drawn by leftist political cartoonist Pat Oliphant:

Did this get you worked up Mr. Barnes? Or do you even know it exists?

The Left wasn't done with Condoleezza Rice. How about when leftist cartoonist Ted Rall called her a "House Nigga" and accused her of wanting to be white?

Did this get you worked up, Mr. Barnes? Or did you even know it exists?

Remember, far from being condemned or repudiated, Black Commentator, Pat Oliphant, and Ted Rall continue to be celebrated by their leftist peers. It is this double standard that is being brought up by people who are "defending" Marilyn Davenport.

Ken Barnes either does not care, or is not aware of the rampant racism that is being practiced by the political Left. The difference is that missteps like that done by Republican Marilyn Davenport are blasted all over the newspapers, while racism exhibited by leftists in the media gets a pass.

I wish Ken Barnes had studied this issue more thoroughly before making his decision to leave the Republican Party.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson


Darren said...

You do a great job of researching.

Hube said...

Touché, Mr. Chandler!

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Aaron said...

Hi. The difference? Elected Democrats weren't passing them around. You know? Those people who are supposed to be representing the party?

Also, Bush isn't black. You do realize the comparing a person to a chimp isn't so offensive because it's comparing a person to an animal, but because it was stereotyping blacks as subhuman during the era of lynchings and violently-enforced segregation? I feel like you might unaware of the differences in historical context between those two comics.