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The bigotry of paternalism.

   I have couple of things on my mind, so I m going to get right to it.

Let me start with these elections and what has been happening in the democratic primary as the candidates head towards South Carolina.

It's no secret that there are more African American democratic voters in South Carolina than there are white ones, and so, as politicians tend to do, the pandering has begun.

I read Charles Blow's excellent article on "Bernie-Splaining", and his take on progressives and their penchant for treating us black folks like their children was on point. Let's call it the bigotry of paternalism. Trust me, I am not new to this rodeo. I have called out white progressives for this before. In fact, I was one of the first so black bloggers to do so, because it is something that has always bothered me about progressives. 

Bernie and his people have fallen into that trap, and I couldn't get that image of him and Rev. Al posing at their breakfast at Sylvia's for all the word to see, out of my mind. Taking a picture with Rev. Al (a man who most black folks will tell you does not represent us) just reinforced the perception ---by those of us who are in on the joke--- that progressives really don't get it.

I feel for Charles Blow when he says the following:

"I cannot tell you the number of people who have commented to me on social media that they don’t understand this support. “Don’t Black Folks understand that Bernie best represents their interests?” the argument generally goes. But from there, it can lead to a comparison between Sanders and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; to an assertion that Sanders is the Barack Obama that we really wanted.... If only black people knew more, understood better, where the candidates stood — now and over their lifetimes — they would make a better choice, the right choice.
The level of condescension in these comments is staggering.
Sanders is a solid candidate and his integrity and earnestness are admirable, but that can get lost in the noise of advocacy.
Tucked among all this Bernie-splaining by some supporters, it appears to me, is a not-so-subtle, not-so-innocuous savior syndrome and paternalistic patronage that I find so grossly offensive that it boggles the mind that such language should emanate from the mouths — or keyboards — of supposed progressives.
But then I am reminded that the idea that black Folks are infantile and must be told what to do and what to think is not confined by ideological barriers. The ideological difference is that one side prefers punishment and the other pity, and neither is a thing in which most black folks delight.
It is not so much that black voters love Clinton and loathe Sanders. Indeed, in The Nation magazine, the estimable Michelle Alexander makes a strong case in an essay titled “Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote.” For many there isn’t much passion for either candidate. Instead, black folks are trying to keep their feet planted in reality and choose from among politicians who have historically promised much and delivered little. It is often a choice between the devil you know and the one you don’t, or more precisely, among the friend who betrays you, the stranger who entices you and the enemy who seeks to destroy you."  
The truth is, until we as black folks get our own political house in order, we are stuck with choosing between the two dominant parties in America.  History shows that none of them have been particularly beneficial to our cause. It's just that sometimes we have to hold our nose and support the party ---or the ideology--- that will hurt us the least.
I, like Blow, will use an extensive quote from the brilliant James Baldwin to drive home my point.
'Of all Americans, Negroes distrust politicians most, or, more accurately, they have been best trained to expect nothing from them; more than other Americans, they are always aware of the enormous gap between election promises and their daily lives. It is true that the promises excite them, but this is not because they are taken as proof of good intentions. They are the proof of something more concrete than intentions: that the Negro situation is not static, that changes have occurred, and are occurring and will occur — this, in spite of the daily, dead-end monotony. It is this daily, dead-end monotony, though, as well as the wise desire not to be betrayed by too much hoping, which causes them to look on politicians with such an extraordinarily disenchanted eye.
This fatalistic indifference is something that drives the optimistic American liberal quite mad; he is prone, in his more exasperated moments, to refer to Negroes as political children, an appellation not entirely just. Negro liberals, being consulted, assure us that this is something that will disappear with “education,” a vast, all-purpose term, conjuring up visions of sunlit housing projects, stacks of copybooks and a race of well-soaped, dark-skinned people who never slur their R’s. Actually, this is not so much political irresponsibility as the product of experience, experience which no amount of education can quite efface.
“Our people” have functioned in this country for nearly a century as political weapons, the trump card up the enemies’ sleeve; anything promised Negroes at election time is also a threat leveled at the opposition; in the struggle for mastery the Negro is the pawn."'


Finally, Canyon Boykin and Dick Cheney have some things in common. I am sure you have heard of Dick Cheney, but you have probably never heard of Canyon Boykin.  

Boykin is the Mississippi cop who shot Ricky Ball to death and is now suing to get his job back because he alleges that he was fired because he is white.

Check out the two links above and tell me if you think that Mr. Boykin deserves to have his job back, or if he should be sitting in jail.

Then there is Dick Cheney. Remember that hunting buddy he shot in the face some ten years ago? Well, as luck would have it, he has still not apologized to the poor man. 

"The Texas lawyer Dick Cheney sprayed with birdshot during a traumatic 2006 hunting trip recently bagged his first quail since the terrifying rifle mishap 10 years ago — but there has still never been a vice presidential apology.

Harry Whittington still has pellets lodged into his right cheek and neck from the Feb. 11, 2006 quail hunting trip, which went awry when the former vice president accidentally shot him in the face, he told the Daily News Thursday.

The 88-year-old lawyer said his son-in-law and some friends took him quail hunting last month in his hometown of Goliad, marking the first time he fired a shotgun in a decade....

Cheney’s shot sprayed as many as 200 birdshot pellets into Whittington’s face, neck and chest during the 2006 hunting trip at Texas' Armstrong ranch. While the then-vice president admitted that he was “the guy who pulled the trigger,” he never said a public “sorry” to his wounded co-hunter"

Yep, I would say that Dick and Canyon have lots in common. I will let you figure out what it is.  

*Pic from










This post first appeared on Field Negro, please read the originial post: here

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The bigotry of paternalism.


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