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Does the existence of conservative “individuals of color holistically demolish the Left’s paranoid, feverish, and disgusting fantasy that white Republicans speak with white bigots through some tribal Caucasian dialect[?]“

[ 53 ] September 6, 2012 |

No. You don’t need to be a white Republican to appeal to white Republicans: you merely need to tailor your rhetoric so that it appeals to white Republicans. Doesn’t matter what color you are. It’s not about the person on the stage: it’s about the audience that person’s appealing to. Meaning Deroy Murdock’s entire post is beside any and all points:

If Republican operatives truly are brilliant enough to use secret code to convince white bigots to pull the elephant lever in November, they should have been smart enough to control the podium at their convention in Tampa, Fla. As a black man, the Republicans’ racial code never penetrated my ears. However, my eyes worked just fine. And what I repeatedly saw were minority faces on my TV.

The racist dog whistles must have gone silent even for Labradors when a black woman and former secretary of state named Condoleezza Rice addressed the convention for nearly half an hour in prime time Wednesday night, just before vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan gave his acceptance speech, arguably Tampa’s finest. Similarly, and also in prime time, a Hispanic senator named Marco Rubio (R., Fla) introduced the Republican party’s presidential standard bearer, Mitt Romney, while 30 million people tuned in …

And Rice and Rubio were far from alone. Black Republicans such as Representative Tim Scott of South Carolina; Saratoga Springs, Utah, mayor and congressional nominee Mia Love, and former Alabama representative Artur Davis (an ex-Democrat) all addressed the convention and were televised, at least on C-SPAN. Leading Hispanic Republican speakers included Texas Senate nominee Ted Cruz, Puerto Rico governor Luis Fortuño, New Mexico governor Susana Martinez, and Nevada governor Brian Sandoval. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley also wowed the crowd. She is an American of Indian descent, another ascendant minority group.

These amplified, televised, and loudly applauded individuals of color holistically demolish the Left’s paranoid, feverish, and disgusting fantasy that white Republicans speak with white bigots through some tribal Caucasian dialect.

His argument amounts to “Because people of color were on the stage the rhetoric couldn’t be designed to appeal to white people.” Except Murdock and his italics prove that argument wrong: if these people of color were “loudly applauded” then whatever rhetoric they used was effective on their audience. This is Rhetoric 101: all rhetorical appeals are effective on a given audience in a particular historical situation. It’s called “the rhetorical situation” and Murdock’s defined the Republican National Convention as one in which a person of color living in 2012 could muster up a message that appeals to a Republican audience. What does their audience look like? According to FOX News and the Washington Times it looked like this:

All Murdock has proven is that people of color can effectively appeal to almost exclusively white audiences. There’s no logic to the claim that white Republicans can’t be racist because they approve of speech designed to pander to them. The more important point isn’t that white Republicans are racist but that the majority of Republicans are white. Why? Because that means the majority of rhetorical appeals made by Republican candidates to Republican audiences will be constructed to appeal to white people and white interests. When Sarah Palin posted images of herself with her supporters in 2009 I noted that they were self-selected. Palin’s people knew their audience and produced a visual spread that would appeal to it. The Republicans are in a similar situation: so long as their audience remains overwhelmingly white their most effective rhetoric must appeal to an overwhelmingly white audience. It doesn’t matter what color the person on the stage is. What matters is the diversity of the people—and therefore the diversity of interests—that the person on stage addresses. Speaking of which:

Those are also from the Washington Times and demonstrate exactly why the Democratic Party must embrace diversity instead of settling for tokenism: in order to effectively appeal to this audience a speaker must consider a range of disparate interests and find a way to address all without denigrating any.

[This has been another installment in material so obvious I feel dumber for having to address it.]

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Comments (53)

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  1. Hogan says:

    Paul Ryan gave his acceptance speech, arguably Tampa’s finest.

    Reminds me of a bit from Lanford Wilson’s Fifth of July:

    “Betty Grable is the greatest movie star Missouri ever produced.”

    “Oh, God. I’ll bet that’s true.”

  2. Lee says:

    I think it would be awesome if the Republicans campaigned in Georgian or Circassian.

  3. I’m pretty sure the fact that Ken Mehlman ran Bush’s ’04 campaign and served as a prominent spokesperson proves it didn’t use any anti-gay rhetoric.

    Bookmark it, libs!

  4. Peter Hovde says:

    A Republican speaker must also choose rhetoric which reinforces the significance of whiteness as a binding element of the coalition, while downplaying potentially disruptive issues.

  5. BigHank53 says:

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

  6. mark f says:

    Shorter Deroy Murdock:

    Some of my best friends have beards.

  7. J. Otto Pohl says:

    Tribal Caucasian dialect? Would that by Adyghe, the language of the Circassians? Also I think people in the Caucasus and other non-European areas should be accorded the same rights as the people in privileged places like Europe and the US. So both the terms tribal and dialect are inappropriate and insulting here. The preferred nomenclature are national and language.

  8. Leeds man says:

    Silly Murdock. “Macaca” is Gaelic, not Caucasian.

  9. vacuumslayer says:

    This argument is so tiresome. It’s like they shove some blah people and women in front of a podium, let them speak, cheer them (because they echo their own ugly sentiments) and then go “See?!! We totally tolerate the hell out of you– NOW WHY WON’T YOU VOTE FOR US?!!!”

    Let’s face it, some women are misogynists. And there will always be some members of an oppressed minority who are willing to act like jackasses because it will earn them head pats from their oppressors. “Hey, you’re ok. You’re not like those other black people/feminazis/latinos.”

    • sparks says:

      All too terrible, all too true.

    • DrDick says:

      This argument is so tiresome.

      Which is pretty much true for all conservative arguments.

    • UserGoogol says:

      The basic issue is that bigotry is complicated. It is of course true that the fact that Condoleeza Rice was able to get a fairly powerful position in a Republican administration is proof that Republicans don’t rabidly hate black people. A lot of people (not just Republicans) equate bigotry with simple hatred, so from that perspective this would seem to exonerate them of such claims.

      But of course, things are more complicated than that. There’s all sorts of unjustified negative attitudes people can have towards groups of people which can cause serious problems. Even the most virulent racists have often taken attitudes of “well there are some good ones, they just need to know to keep their place.”

      Although by the same token, I don’t think you can say that all black Republicans are openly embracing their oppression, exactly. Politics is an area where reasonable people can legitimately disagree as to the effect of policies, and even if they think the Republican party is full of bigots, they might think that Republican policies are ultimately in the interest of all races. Of course it is also true that people can sometimes be bigoted against a group to which they themselves belong, but it’s just that that’s not the only explanation for the behavior of those few minority Republicans out there.

      • witless chum says:

        Indeed, it is. I have no reason to think that some black conservatives who take this line aren’t sincere. I also don’t doubt that some are pretty fucking clear on who it is they’re in business with and stick with it for other reasons, be they careerist or principled. (I kinda wonder where Judge Thomas is on that spectrum.)

        But that doesn’t make them right.

        • witless chum says:

          Also, one thing Mr. Murdock might want to note is that the racists tone it down when he’s around. The average person’s dislike of confrontation shouldn’t be underestimated. This might actually be the one area of race in modern America where white men know best, because racists are very likely to assume we with them and let fly with some shit.

      • vacuumslayer says:

        Republican policies are ultimately in the interest of all races.

        Even when they’re actively working to make sure some of those races can’t vote? Seems unlikely to me.

  10. rea says:

    Chickens for Col. Sanders!

  11. Kyle Huckins says:

    Stockholm Syndrome seems to describe quite a bit of the GOP at times.

  12. Manju says:

    Does the existence of conservative “individuals of color holistically demolish the Left’s paranoid, feverish, and disgusting fantasy that white Republicans speak with white bigots through some tribal Caucasian dialect

    Wait! You People are doing your own “no no”: confusing party with ideology. We POC are indeed Conservative. In fact, we are the worst kind…the dreaded Social Conservative (not me, I hover above it all).

    I don’t have stats at my fingertips as I usually do, but here’s a nice anecdotal from Dr Boyce Watkins…written after Dr. King niece joined forces with Glenn Beck (over abortion):

    But here’s the dirty little secret that most of us are not willing to accept: Alveda King actually represents millions of church-going African Americans. Also, her views are not nearly as outlandish as some would lead you to believe.

    Alveda King is opposed to gay marriage, just like my mother. She doesn’t believe in abortion, just like many members of my own family. She believes strongly in old school family values, similar to Bill Cosby. She is clearly a product of the traditional black church and represents a section of black America that liberals don’t like to talk about. Many African Americans, whether we want to admit it or not, would agree with Alveda King on nearly every single issue.

    The political schizophrenia of black America is largely rooted in the fact that we are among the most conservative members of the Democratic Party. To some extent, you might say that we are enslaved by Democrats, who simply hate us less than the Republicans. Poor black people to Republicans are like roaches destined for extermination. There’s no place for us in the party, and Glenn Beck knows it.

    In Watkins’ framing, Dem POC are like Dixiecrats. Hah!

    • J. Otto Pohl says:

      Well, yes the image of people of color held by elitist white leftists who have almost no contact with non-white people and the reality are two different things. Otherwise instead of castigating other people for being racists you might see some of these people actually go to Africa to work with Africans in improving things. But, most of the people who do that are not leftist academics. There are far more evangelical Christian missionaries in Africa than there are White American academics. The latter group generally has an aversion to working in a majority Black environment. Most Africans are by American standards extremely conservative on issues of gender, religion, and sexual orientation. So maybe that is where the left wing racism comes from?

      • Bill Murray says:

        if you think most white evangelical missionaries go to Africa to work with Africans to improve things, you don’t know white evangelical missionaries. Unless you have a very narrow definition of improving

        • Malaclypse says:

          Are you saying that Mittens [*] did not improve the culture of France?

          * Yes, yes, I understand that Mormons =/= evangelicals.

        • J. Otto Pohl says:

          I am saying that white evangelical missionaries do not have an aversion to being around Black people in contrast to most white leftist academics. I am sure that many of the evangelicals and their followers, now most of Ghana, do think they have improved things. Whether they have or not is another question. It all depends upon what you mean by improve.

          • Malaclypse says:

            I am sure that many of the evangelicals and their followers, now most of Ghana, do think they have improved things.

            In the same sense that the Chinese government thinks it has improved conditions in Tibet, yes.

            • J. Otto Pohl says:

              Except most Tibetans are not members of the Communist Party. Most Ghanaians are active members of evangelical churches. In particular the Pentacostals have become the largest religious denomination here in the last few decades. So there is a radical difference in the perceptions of the indigenous people in these two cases.

              • Hogan says:

                Except most Tibetans are not members of the Communist Party.

                And we know this how?

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  The Chinese government publishes the figures on the total population and membership in the party. Like all vanguard communist parties it is a minority of the population. This has been especially true in minority areas.

              • Malaclypse says:

                Oh for fucks sake. My grandparents were missionaries. You know why? Because it was The White Race’s Burden To Civilize The Savages Through Jesus. And I watched them be very concerned back in the 1070s when their neighborhood back in the US “changed”. You think white evangelicals are paragons of post-racial virtue because they live in Africa for a short time then leave?

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  No, I think white evangelicals who go to Africa have less of an aversion to Black people than White leftist academics who refuse to go to Africa and instead condemn people of racism on blogs while they live lives completely isolated from any people of color.

                • Cody says:

                  Much in the way the Spanish came to Mexico to save it from their devil society.

                  Such nice people!

                • MAJeff says:

                  Wow, I guess there are no black folks in the U.S. and Africa is the only possible place to meet them.

                • Uncle Kvetch says:

                  White leftist academics who refuse to go to Africa and instead condemn people of racism on blogs while they live lives completely isolated from any people of color.

                  It’s amazing that they even find time to do that, what with all that apologizing for Stalin taking up the bulk of their days.

                  White leftist academics…is there anything they can’t do?

            • Lee says:

              If you think in purely material terms, it is possible to make a somewhat good faith argument that the Chinese government has improved conditions in Tibet. Sort of like the argument about Roman rule in the Life of Brian.

              This doesn’t make Chiense rule a good thing though. Most of the imperial powers invested a lot in the infrastructure of their colonies to allow for more efficient exploitation. This often made living standards rise in at least a material sense. However, the main goal was always extracting wealth for the benefit of the metropole.

      • vacuumslayer says:

        I will point by point address all the fail in this comment shortly.

      • Yes, Otto. White liberal academics don’t have a lot of black people around them, which proves that they are the source of all racism. And also, they support affirmative action in order to increase the diversity of their campuses, which also proves that they are the source of all racism.

  13. Lee says:

    Cody, thats unfair to the Spanish. They were always very open that their main goal in the Americas was to get rich first and spread Catholicism second. They were some of the more honest conquerers. Most other conquerers at the time were more truthful with their aims than the 19th century ones.

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