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Pepe Lepew On January - 10 - 2010

“Doesn’t speak with a negro dialect.”

I have to be honest. I KNOW what my reaction would have been if some right-wing Republican congressman or senator had said such a thing. It would have been outrage.

Harry Reid? Honestly? Disappointment. I’m being honest with myself about my own biases, but I think my biases are fair and based to a large degree on reality.

I cringed. Absolutely cringed when I read those words. Does it mean that Reid is a racist? I don’t know. Does it show that he’s from an era in which there was a different attitude about racial sensitivity? Definitely. To not know in this day and age that the term “negro” makes blacks cringe shows a lot of insensitivity; a certain amount of cluelessness. Does that make Reid a racist? I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s the definition of racism. It’s a kind a racism, I suppose. Sometimes racism is blatant, sometimes it’s covert. Reid has apologized, and I for one, not being black, take his apology at face value. I think he is genuinely sorry and am sure he wishes he had never said it.

Progressives need to be honest, that there is racism everywhere, sometimes where you least expect it, sometimes in people on our side of the political spectrum, sometimes even within yourself. Of course it’s rampant within the Republican party, but it exists within the Democratic party, too. I don’t necessarily see Reid as a progressive. I see him as an old-school run-of-the-mill Democrat.

I remember about 15 years ago when I lived in the Puget Sound region there was a lot of controversy over the Makah tribe wanting to harvest a gray whale. They had legal treaty rights to harvest whales and they decided they were going to exercise their rights. The reaction was huge from environmentalists, and it grew very, very racial. People carried protest signs saying, “save a whale, harpoon an Indian.” It was scary how quickly so-called “liberals” deteriorated into some fairly blatant racism when confronted with an emotional issue. It was embarrassing. It turns out the Makah only wanted to harvest a whale … simply because the had a right to. People didn’t understand it. The environmentalist “liberals” didn’t see it from the Indians’ point of view, nor did they even try. The Makah killed one whale and have never hunted whales again. They had made their point.

What prompted me to write a post is that I’m furious over the faux outrage from Michael Steele, Liz Cheney and other right-wingers over Reid.  These are the same people who remained silent as the Teabaggers carried signs with Obama dressed as a witch doctor, who have remained silent over the Teabagger idiot in Houston with the sign calling Obama a “niggar,” who remain silent over Beck calling Obama a racist and Limbaugh playing “Barack the Magic Negro” on his radio show. They’re opportunists, nothing more. There’s nothing more disgusting to me than right-wing fake outrage. The right-wing is absolutely infested with racism and they know it. They refuse to address it, much less even acknowledge that it exists, but someone on the left makes an unfortunate and uncomfortable slip of the tongue, they pounce! I find the hypocrisy sickening. (Remember Steele’s recent “honest injun'” crack? He’s one to talk!)

Here’s how I see it. Are all racists Republican? Are all Republicans racist? No. but most racists, if they vote, probably do vote Republican. I believe that, based on personal experience. Republicans need to acknowledge that before I take their faux outrage seriously.

But, then again, Reid’s comments make me realize there is still much, much work to do.

Categories: Featured, News & Politics

262 Responses so far.

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  1. Khirad says:

    Who knew? Juan Cole is also a cutting wit (must read IMHO):

    Republicans Reject Reid Half Measures, Embrace Gangsta Rap

  2. msbadger says:

    Loved the article, Pepe! Very well done. The race issue has always been very important to me, having grown up in Chicago in the 50’s and 60’s, and with a very bigoted mother. Father not so much, but still a product of his generation. I have always hated racism to my very bones. I am proud to say I have a sweet AA daughter-in-law and a lovely bi-racial grandson! More than ever, I am re-energized to speaking out against this crap. I give Harry Reid slack, as a product of his generation. And I don’t believe he is a bad man. The thread on HP about this was very interesting; I did not realize we had such a good population of Black folks on there. This all takes time, we are making the most progress we can. There is just no end to the fight! Good to see familiar faces here. Badger snoggles!

  3. boomer1949 says:

    ‘kay everyone. Time to bite the dust -- workies tomorrow and I don’t want to have “God” visit me in my dreams — I’m way too sensitive and would be completely devastated if I were to be sent to Speakers Corner for time out.

    • kesmarn says:

      boomer, fear not! If you were to be banned, there would be an uprising of massive proportions to get you restored! 😮 You’re too valuable a member of the community here to let go of that easily. Hope all your dreams are happy ones tonight and that you have a great day at work tomorrow!

      • Kalima says:

        There has never been a banning here and there won’t be unless after several warnings and moderation of extended time limits, it wasn’t enough to cool off the poster in question. We are not HP.

        • boomer1949 says:


          Hugs, kisses, & waves from my window. And, I know we are not HP. Most of what I wrote was in jest, but I’ll be mindful of my musings in the future. :-)

          • Kalima says:

            Off to bed with you now, I’ll fly by later to make sure that you are tucked in snug and warm.

            I know it was mainly in jest boomer. Hugs back!

            • kesmarn says:

              Good night, Kalima,
              And don’t to forget to erase those you-know-whats from you-know-where before AdLib finds ’em!
              Peace to you as you are in your daytime world!

            • Kalima says:

              (Standing to attention) I’m on it kesmarn, as soon as you-know-who is sleeping, I’ll sprinkle a little delete “Fairy Dust.” A piece of cake!

              Sleep well and be safe.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              Kalima, I just looked at our profiles and therefore only just now read yours. It was amazingly beautiful and poignant. Poetry. And with that, I bid you-- and all the Planet-- goodnight.

              (Sincerely-- impressed.)

            • Khirad says:

              Night, still have to do mine.

            • Kalima says:

              😳 Thank you Cher, it was in verse when I C&P it, then WordPress came along with a broomstick to sweep it into a corner.

              Good night and sweet dreams.

              Take care and be safe.

      • boomer1949 says:


        Thank you, you’re much too kind.

        Part of me was serious, the other part was well, you need to scroll down to read some of my other comments. I usually don’t stir the proverbial pot, but sometimes I need to take extra blood pressure meds. :-)

        • kesmarn says:

          boomer, it’s obvious to anyone who’s been here more than a day or two, that you have no--zero--history of making personal attacks. I sensed a bit of tongue in cheek in your comments tonight. Maybe--after a long day--and a topic many are passionate about, fatigue was starting to set in and your comments were not interpreted as they were intended. We’re probably all a bit tired.

          I know I am, so I’m off to bed in the near future!

  4. bitohistory says:


    • kesmarn says:

      Evening, b’ito! I just switched over to Rachel (from a great PBS documentary on the Legendary Sam Cooke). I couldn’t miss this, though, because, like you, I am amazingly annoyed by Liz Cheney. She was on one of the Sunday talking heads shows and she said NOT ONE positive thing about anything or anybody. It was relentless Obama bashing and general Dem bashing, with not one suggestion of any Repub idea or program that might help the average American citizen.

      Scary question of the evening: do you think the Repubs are testing the waters for a potential Prez or VP candidacy for her?

  5. javaz says:

    “”Avatar” is being criticized by a small but vocal group of people who allege it contains racist themes

    • Khirad says:

      Some people read too much into things sometimes. Yeah, maybe it says something in a bigger sense about our unconscious attitudes about ethnicity and American history and the “noble savage;” but Jesus, if it were up to some of these people no one would ever have fun ever. That’s just the feeling I get from some of these people (yeah, I said “those people” -- because they are anal). They’re perpetually pissed, bitter and don’t know how to lighten up.

    • nellie says:

      I’ve heard the same complaint about portrayal of Am Indians. I haven’t seen it yet, but I trust Pepe’s review. I’m thinking of going to see it.

  6. KQuark says:

    I see allot of straw man questions floating around and that’s just a crutch for not coming to the point. My bottom line on the issue and answers to some questions.

    Reid made a racially insensitive comment and he should have known better.
    No one knows Reid’s heart either way but my own opinion is he is not a hard core racist.
    Reid should not be given a pass when most of us would jump on a member of the GOP who said something like this.
    But members of the GOP that are trying to take political advantage off this are hypocrites because many if not most habitually make racist comments and worse promote differences racists policies.
    Using racial slang is proper in describing historical aspects of our country.
    No black and African American are not going to be banned because those terms were “chosen” by the AA community.
    Using the N-word in rap is an ugly reflection of how it is used on the street in the AA community. Fortunately this use is on the downturn. It’s just like Kid Rock talks about “white trash” America in his music.
    NAACP is a group that uses a historical term to designate AAs because it was formed in our history.
    You can spot racists by not only their indiscretions but how much they focus on race, save for promoting racial equality.
    Race is a misnomer. There is not such thing as race biologically speaking because our physiological differences are far smaller than many species. The term we should use to describe our smaller differences are cultural and ethnically related. Dogs and cats come from much more diverse breeds than humans do for example.

    Sorry for the typos my left shoulder is real ouchy.

    • nellie says:

      The bottom line for me — it’s possible to make a racist remark without being a racist. But it’s also possible to be a racist while trying really hard not to be one.

      Harry is okay by me. I even like his leadership style.

    • KevenSeven says:

      Sorry about your shoulder.

      And we are all Negros, after all. We are all descended from the same tribe of original humans who were living in what is now South Africa, what, 100k years ago? Every person living on the planet is as black as those people were. Even Pat Buchanan and that troll of a sister of his.

    • kesmarn says:

      KQ, I believe you mentioned you were getting a new pacemaker/AICDefibrillator, so I can guess why your left shoulder is ouchy. Hope you’re feeling better soon. (O/T But, is a transplant an option? You needn’t answer if that’s being too intrusive on my part.)

      And thanks for reminding us again that “race” itself is a term without scientific meaning.

    • PepeLepew says:

      Good points, all.

    • Khirad says:

      You can spot racists by not only their indiscretions but how much they focus on race, save for promoting racial equality.


    • Kalima says:

      K, I’m so very happy to see you here, my smile is from ear to ear. :)

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Yes, yes, yes, yes yes and yes!

    • AdLib says:

      Hey KQ! Hope you’re okay!

      Even in pain and stress, you come here and cut right to the truth.

      Agreed with all the above.

      Now stay home for a while, will ya?!

    • nellie says:

      Glad you’re back home. Can’t disagree w anything you wrote.

  7. javaz says:

    Professor Michael Eric Dyson -- “Obama ‘Runs From Race Like A Black Man Runs From A Cop'”

    “””If Barack Obama was standing forth in America to speak brilliantly and courageously about the issues of race, he’d sound a lot more black too,” said Dyson.”””


  8. Kalima says:

    I saw a few kitty videos down below, so I know that you won’t mind. I remember singing this song around the house at the top of my lungs years ago. Scared the cats and the neighbours, but it made me feel good.

    • javaz says:

      Is it Ebony and Ivory?

      (waves to Kalima)

      • Kalima says:

        Evening javaz, forgot that you can’t hear it, sorry. Yes it is “Ebony and Ivory.”


        • boomer1949 says:

          Good Morning Kalima,

          I would love to see your feather duster one day my dear. I think I finally have this time of day difference down.

          Every time you write *wavesorwavesbackwithher featherduster” conjurs up an extremely pleasant image and makes me smile. :-)

          • Kalima says:

            Good evening boomer. Yes, me and my feather duster for all those places I can’t reach because I can’t stand on steps or chairs due to my “dizzy” business. I’ll take a picture one of these days but mostly it becomes a cat toy when I use it, hours of fun for the furry ones.

            Gosh, I’m so O/T, I’m going to be sent to the back of the class for sure. 😳

            • boomer1949 says:

              Not to worry dear. All of us love to “hear” you and know you’re around.

              I doubt very much anyone will cast you off to O/T or admonish you for being here and not there, especially our beloved Admin/Sheriff AdLib.

              Right Pardner?

            • Kalima says:

              Why thank you boomer, that’s cheered me up no end.

              Pink feathers by the way, put it away, so many sad little faces here. :(

  9. AdLib says:

    May I just say that on a thread about race and racism with various opposing POV’s, the respect for each other’s opinion here puts HuffPo and many other sites to shame.

    And being able to have a real discussion about people’s differing POVs on race is truly enlightening.

    Well done all!

    • KevenSeven says:

      Ah, bite me.

    • PepeLepew says:

      It’s been interesting!

    • bitohistory says:

      Oh, Yeah? You **&*^&##@…….

    • javaz says:

      Yes, it has been enlightening indeed and educational.
      Is there a reason on the US Census that we must specify our race?
      Does anyone think that we might some day in the distant future stop referring to ourselves and each other by race and just refer to ourselves as people?
      Or Americans?
      Is that too simplistic and/or naive?

      • nellie says:

        Good question, javaz — I know the census is about Congressional districts. Maybe they take inventory so candidates have an idea of the demographics of their area. Other than medical genetic markers, I’m not sure what the point is other than to gauge fairness in a situation where unfairness exists.

        I hope the day does come when all this is just personal interest in heritage rather than political. I think ethnicity is fascinating, and cultural heritage. We all have something to be proud of in that regard.

      • Khirad says:

        Maybe one day but I think it is still important for some reason. Besides, I love how the growing “Hispanic” (there’s another word) always make the Buchanan’s nervous.

      • boomer1949 says:

        I wish. I also wish the part-time Census Taker had not been murdered (no way the man committed suicide) in the hills of WV. Very sad state of affairs for his family, his state, and out country.

        • KevenSeven says:

          It was suicide.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          I agree-- he was murdered. How can you hang yourself with your hands duct-taped behind your back?

          • boomer1949 says:


            Thank you for your opinion.

          • KevenSeven says:

            You do what this guy did:

            Put the noose around your neck, then (loosely) duck tape your hands together.

            He was on the ground. How do you strangle when you are on the ground?

            By relaxing your legs.

            And why were there no indications of any struggle? No bruising of his hands in a struggle?

            Who does not struggle as a noose is put over one’s head?

            • bitohistory says:

              No, Boomer, I do believe he committed suicide. I would like to read the report. I’m funny that way. I would like too see some facts to backup the conclusion they came to. Too many years living around public defenders.

            • KevenSeven says:

              The freaking FBI says it was a suicide. This is not fucking Bull Connor we are talking about here.

            • bitohistory says:

              K7, I s that what the police report said? I have not read it.

            • KevenSeven says:

              I have read a news report that covered the report, and this was most of it.

            • boomer1949 says:


              I do not believe for one minute that this man committed suicide. Back hills National/State Park in WV? Puhleeze?!?! I wouldn’t trust the damn police report any further than I could throw it or the police chief. The man was murdered, didn’t commit suicide, and anyone believing otherwise needs a few more trips around the block to get a clue. Sorry K7, but I’ve seen smoke & mirrors too many times to believe the police reports and propaganda.

    • boomer1949 says:

      Could it possibly be because we’re Grown Ups? :-)

  10. Chernynkaya says:

    No, Bito-- it was just an overview of the racial composition of Africa. They were distinguishing, as I recall, between North Africans and sub-Saharan.

  11. bitohistory says:

    Is there anyone here saying that Harry Reid is racist? Can someone show me a vote or action in his adult life that racist?

    • boomer1949 says:


      I don’t think Harry Reid is a racist, especially compared to the likes of Joe Wilson and all the Southern boys (or my own father for that matter) who keep clean white sheets in the linen closet.

      Harry Reid is 71 years old and from a completely different era. Who the heck knows how he was raised — yet we all know how the Southern boys were raised.

      I don’t know how many of you have seen Crash (I posted the trailer and the casts appearance on Oprah), but it’s an eye opener.

      I voted for President Obama because I thought and continue to think he was/is the best man for the job. As Nellie mentioned earlier…would I have voted for Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton? Heck no! Why, because both of them are too engaged in the past, too wanting to right a wrong (which I don’t deny), but unwilling to look toward the future. I’m not saying the past should be forgotten, but at some point, all of us need to look to the future. I’m babbling, but I hope you get my drift.

      Addendum…Barrack Obama = the best person, human being for the job and he happens to be Black. This is the reason I voted for him. It had nothing to do with the color of his skin, where he was born, his geneology, or the fact that McPalin were out of their league in comparison.

      btw-I refused to allow my father to see his grandchildren because he continually used the N-word in front of them, and that was over twenty years ago.

      • bitohistory says:

        Do you or does anyone think that is,and many things in this book, is nothing more than a distraction? People Magazine for political talkers? Quips and quotes without context? Or are these important insights?

        • boomer1949 says:

          Personally, they are a pain in my behind and the reason I read none of them. Why give them credibility?

          Important insights? Not. Pot stirring, ratings grabbing, book sales, magazine sales, anything to make a buck? Absolutely.

          It’s all about who, what, when, and where they can find a weak link.

          PBS Evening News just came on here, I love Gwen Ifill…excellent journalist who happens to be Black.

        • javaz says:

          It’s nothing more than trashy gossip.
          It is a good distraction, but I agree with Keven7 that this will be a non-story by Wednesday.

  12. boomer1949 says:

    The cast of Crash on Oprah in 2005

    and the Crash Movie Trailer

  13. KevenSeven says:

    How many of us rejoiced at the election of a Black man as president?

    Was that not racist of us to think about his skin color in our exuberance in getting him elected?

    Why was it not racist to WANT a Black man finally elected president?

    • escribacat says:

      I confess I rejoiced at that. I also confess that I voted for Hillary in the primary because I wanted a woman president.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      I think there is a difference between racial thinking and racist thinking. To me anyway, the first is pretty far in the more “correct” side of the spectrum. It would be more racist to elect any black man just because he was black. We are not color blind by a long shot, but noticing and even cheering that a black man was elected is just not the same thing as being racist.

      Last night we watched a couple of Chris Rock concerts on Comedy Central. He made the point that what IS racist is thinking that black people would elect Flavor Flav just because he’s black. He noted that white people were reported as considering the pros and cons of the candidates, and of Barack Obama, while reporters took it as a given that all blacks would vote for him. That’s fairly racist.

    • AdLib says:

      The Contrarian strikes back! 😉

      Is righting a wrong different from committing a wrong since both involve a wrong?

      Now am I wrong or am I wrong?

    • nellie says:

      Honestly? I rejoiced because we elected Barack Obama as president — in spite of his race. If it had been Jesse Jackson, believe me, I would not have had the same feeling.

  14. KevenSeven says:

    I gotta get the hell out of here and go get some work done.

    This, this is what I like! A real debate!

    And my damned kitties are just fucking fine, thanks!

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