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There are those slaves who lived on the plantation, and there were those slaves who lived in the house... Colin Powell was permitted to come into the house.
October 21, 2002 7:44 AM   Subscribe

There are those slaves who lived on the plantation, and there were those slaves who lived in the house... Colin Powell was permitted to come into the house. Harry Belafonte starts out with a flame but then shows himself to be a more eloquent and tenacious critic of Bush policies than any Democrat on the scene. What does it tell us about the state of our two-party system that we have to rely on Rat Pack era crooners to speak out like this in public?
posted by alms (69 comments total)

 
What does it tell us about the state of our two-party system that we have to rely on Rat Pack era crooners to speak out like this in public?

That's just begging the question. We *don't* have to rely on "Rat Pack era crooners."



Thanks for playing, though.
posted by Ayn Marx at 7:52 AM on October 21, 2002


This is a quote from Belafonte:

If you walk into South Central Los Angeles, into Watts, or you walk into Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati, you'll find people who live lives that are as degrading as anything that slavery had ever produced. They live in economic oppression, they live in a disenfranchised way.

So in the eyes of this Belafonte character, people who can't (or won't) find jobs are suffering from the same "oppression" as people who were forced to work unhuman hours, beaten and even killed. Riiight. If that's more tenacious "than any Democrat on the scene", it says more about those other Democrats than it says about this confused old man.
posted by dagny at 7:57 AM on October 21, 2002


There's always Jesse Jackson... (from Drudge).
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:58 AM on October 21, 2002


He didn't read confused to me Dagny. 'This Belafonte character' was expressing some personal politics in a fairly articulate manner. His celebrity and, as he acknowledges, his controversial remarks may be all that are getting him the attention, but that does not devalue his points.

And historical analogy is equally a pretty dubious, Godwinist, rhetorical device. But the point of rhetoric is to make you listen. What do you think about what's being said? Let's talk about 'economic oppression', let's talk about 'disenfranchisement' for a change.
posted by klaatu at 8:16 AM on October 21, 2002


Harry Belafonte has been a political activist for a long, long time, and he often credits W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson as his artistic and political mentors. He has been speaking about politics for 50 years.
posted by maurice at 8:19 AM on October 21, 2002


Mr. Belafonte has ALWAYS expressed his personal politics in an articulate manner.
If ya don't know...you better ask somebody!
posted by black8 at 8:24 AM on October 21, 2002


his controversial remarks may be all that are getting him the attention, but that does not devalue his points.

On the contrary, I think calling the secretary of state a house slave pretty much obliterates whatever serious point he could have made. If the world was fair, Colin Powell would get to punch Harry Belafonte in the mouth for that.
posted by Gilbert at 8:32 AM on October 21, 2002


What does it tell us about the state of our two-party system that we have to rely on Rat Pack era crooners to speak out like this in public?
what does it tell us about some of our populace that they think they must rely on etc, etc, etc...
posted by quonsar at 8:35 AM on October 21, 2002


On the contrary, I think calling the secretary of state a house slave pretty much obliterates whatever serious point he could have made.

I agree...if Belafonte had made the same remark on MeFi, he'd be labelled a troll, and whatever point he had would be picked apart.
posted by Oops at 8:38 AM on October 21, 2002


Belafonte *is* articulate. I agree with a lot of what he's saying, and I have a lot of respect for the man, but his criticism of Powell seems misguided and badly timed. In my opinion, Powell is one of the only people in the Bush administration with a shred of restraint and common sense, and he's already marginalized because of it. Surely Harry could find a more deserving target for his indignation instead of throwing around cheap Uncle Tom accusations.
posted by varmint at 8:40 AM on October 21, 2002


BELAFONTE: First of all, let me hasten to say, Larry, that this was never meant to be a personal attack on Colin Powell's character.

Yeah, he only implied that Powell was a house negro. How could that possibly be taken as a personal attack?
posted by Ty Webb at 8:42 AM on October 21, 2002


Yes, Harry Belafonte is so articulate. That makes me feel good.
posted by 4easypayments at 8:48 AM on October 21, 2002


BELAFONTE: First of all, let me hasten to say, Larry, that this was never meant to be a personal attack on Colin Powell's character.

And please ignore that yellow rain hitting your shoes.
posted by HTuttle at 9:03 AM on October 21, 2002


dagny- So in the eyes of this Belafonte character, people who can't (or won't) find jobs are suffering from the same "oppression" as people who were forced to work unhuman hours, beaten and even killed. Riiight.

Well, setting aside the veiled "they're lazy" jibe, you're missing the point- it's a bit exaggerated, true, but done so to make a rhetorical point. And not to sidetrack the discussion, but there's an argument to be made that beating a man's spirit is as bad as beating his body. Think a bit before you make such broad, belittling remarks.

As to the accusation at hand- I'm curious. Aside from the inherent volatility of the "house slave" phrase, what's your issue with his statement? No one here seems to be making that argument. And why, for that matter does (as Gilbert put it), "calling the secretary of state a house slave pretty much obliterate[] whatever serious point he could have made"?

In my mind, Colin Powell is a sellout. He is, arguably, one of the most powerful black men in modern history, yet he is riding to his ascent on the coat tails of a group of elitist white men who serve no interests but their own (Bush's prison politics alone should make Powell ashamed).
posted by mkultra at 9:03 AM on October 21, 2002


Colin Powell could have been President (if the Republican party would allow blacks to run.)
Colin Powell stands in disagreement with the Bush cabal on many issues.
Instead of being the leader and articulating and advancing his views Powell carries water for a cabal with which he has many fundamental differences. The rhetorical device used by Bellafonte was not totally out of line in such a setting. A black man has "permission" to say such things the same as a bald man has "permission" to make comments about baldness that others perhaps should not.
posted by nofundy at 9:06 AM on October 21, 2002


Would Belafonte's comments about Powell have any traction here if the entertainer were white? I don't think so. He doesn't get a pass on stupid just because he happens to share the same race as Powell.
posted by owillis at 9:17 AM on October 21, 2002


Powell works for the President. He is not a legislator. He cannot oppose the President without getting fired. Belafonte may have the idea that Secretary of State is a position more like a Minister in a Parliamentary system, but that is not the case in the United States.

Examples he cites of policies that Powell ought to have opposed include the decision to vacate the Durban conference on racism. It's certainly unclear what practical effect this conference is supposed to have had, given that the major agenda item seemed to be censuring Israel by -- yes, again -- the UN's favorite rhetorical device of equating Zionism with racism. The UN took a principled stand in favor of an ally rather than handing out valentines to every child in class. Belafonte, in other words, is arguing for us to go along to get along, even when we consider that that will be injuriuos to our interests and when we see the practical benefits as approaching zero. I don't consider that to be an impressive criticism of the policies; Belafonte is engaging in platitudes.

And "articulate" is a stereotypical way to compliment black people. It should probably be avoided.
posted by dhartung at 9:17 AM on October 21, 2002


Is anyone else struck by how famous people are popping up to oppose the Bush administration's idea to attack Iraq? Belafonte here, Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson, the Not in Our Name crew, for example. Is it sad that entertainers rather than politicians are receiving press for expressing dissent? Perhaps it’s simply practical, considering A) how little dissent our politicians show, and B) how little people know or care about politics compared to entertainment. Perhaps it takes entertainers to find a platform for expressing dissent, which Belafonte points out is a healthy thing. Perhaps it takes entertainers to lead the way back into participative democracy. I don’t know whether to be ashamed or heartened—think I’ll go with the latter. Thanks to greenfairy for the last two links.
posted by win_k at 9:17 AM on October 21, 2002


varmint: I think that's exactly why Belafonte singled out Powell. Instead of saying Bush should change his policies, which is unlikely to happen, he focused on someone he felt was a sensible man who is in a position to make a difference, but isn't. Trying to jolt Powell into action with the stark comparison. Makes sense to me, and I respect him for speaking out.
posted by caveday at 9:19 AM on October 21, 2002


In my mind, Colin Powell is a sellout. He is, arguably, one of the most powerful black men in modern history, yet he is riding to his ascent on the coat tails of a group of elitist white men who serve no interests but their own (Bush's prison politics alone should make Powell ashamed).

The key words there being: "In my mind." There are a lot of people who think differently. And this might be a good point to remind people that it was that group of elistist white men who appointed both the first African American Secretary of State AND the first African American National Security Advisor.

As for riding to his ascent on coattails, one might remember that Powell was a nascent Presidential contender himself (whom I feel would today might very well be our first black president had he opted to run) and, prior to that, chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Colin Powell is a soldier and, more importantly, a man of honor, and he does not ask permission from Bush to do or say anything. Today, he does what is politically prudent and pragmatic. What is prudent/pragmatic changes with time.

Bush's policies are not altogether nonsensical in light of what he believes to be the right course of action for this country and his party. Maligning the actions one's foes as insensible is a mistake, since it underestimates those foes while trivializing their impetus (see the demonizing of Milosevic, Hussein, et al for examples).

Just saying.
posted by UncleFes at 9:26 AM on October 21, 2002


B) how little people know or care about politics compared to entertainment.

Little people, as you put it, are too busy busting their ass trying to make ends meet. Having money, and most entertainers have more than they know what to do with, allows you time to devote to 'issues'.

Not to mention that I could care about politics as much as any entertainer, but I wouldn't have the same forum from which to speak.

Perhaps it takes entertainers to lead the way back into participative democracy.

It you truly believe that, then god help us all.
posted by justgary at 9:28 AM on October 21, 2002


he focused on someone he felt was a sensible man who is in a position to make a difference, but isn't. Trying to jolt Powell into action with the stark comparison.

Caveday, good point. But I think that Powell is already undercutting the Bush administration's saber-rattling in a very tentative, subtle way, and I don't think house negro accusations are the best way to encourage him to speak out more forcefully.
posted by varmint at 9:29 AM on October 21, 2002


I thought the curious, news-making twist to this story - which made a minor new impact about two weeks, if I remember correctly - was not that the harsh comments came from a famous black person, but that they came from purveyor of calypso and the NYC-born son of Jamaican immigrants. Powell is said to be a huge calypso fan, and he too was born in NYC to Jamaican parents. I'm not kidding here.
posted by raysmj at 9:34 AM on October 21, 2002


Oh, man, insult to injury!
posted by UncleFes at 9:41 AM on October 21, 2002


nofundy: Colin Powell could have been President (if the Republican party would allow blacks to run.)

Colin Powell doesn't want to run for President, and his wife has forbidden him to run for ">a good reason: they both realize that, as an African-American man, a certain segment of the hood-wearing white "A'int gon' be no <insert one of myriad epithets> runnin' mah country! Cletus, fetch me mah gun!" population of this country would be more than willing to take a shot at him.

I would rather the man be moderately powerful and alive than the assassinated leader of the free world. I resent the implication that any party is preventing him from running, particularly in light of these things called "facts".
posted by Danelope at 9:45 AM on October 21, 2002


He doesn't get a pass on stupid just because he happens to share the same race as Powell.

Evidently he does. But not with me, I still think he's a self important pompous ass. So much for opinions.
posted by cmdnc0 at 9:45 AM on October 21, 2002


Hooray, I munged my second link. Here is the correct URL.
posted by Danelope at 9:46 AM on October 21, 2002


Colin Powell could have been President (if the Republican party would allow blacks to run.)

I have to say that this is unfair. Influential liberal and centrist Republicans practically begged Powell to run for office, and the conservatives' opposition to him always focused on his political principles.

Besides, Powell's hardly oppressed: he enjoys an almost unprecedented autonomy within the cabinet and is frequently, publicly at odds with the administration's hawks while policy is being decided -- that kind of public disagreement would get him fired his stature and credentials didn't make him indispensable. Don't forget that Bush announced that Powell would be his Secretary of State BEFORE the election. Despite what people seem to think, he's been a major influence on the Bush foreign policy. Mr. Belafonte's comments are way out of line.
posted by coelecanth at 9:53 AM on October 21, 2002


justgary, if you follow the grammar, the sentence is interpreted as "how little," not the more offensive "little people." And I don't buy the argument that democracy is a luxury only the rich can afford. If people can afford the the time or money it requires to follow entertainers through TV, newspapers, internet, conversations, etc., then presumably they can be following politics there instead. It's a free choice.

I think we agree that entertainers generally reach bigger audiences than ordinary folks. Their influence is out there, whether it's supporting certain social mores, commercial choices, or political ideas. Personally, I think for an entertainer to get out there and suggest political ideas Are worth our time is positive in itself. That's whether or not I agree with the particular entertainer's points. I wish there were more people out there dissecting and debating all the many issues and sides involved in an Iraq attack. It's the "with-me-or-against-me" stuff that worries me, because groupthink leads to bad decisions.
posted by win_k at 9:57 AM on October 21, 2002


(if the Republican party would allow blacks to run.)

The 2000 Republican primaries had a black candidate. He was a complete loon and didn't win, but no one disallowed him from running. If Colin Powell had chosen to run, the Republican party wouldn't have disallowed him either.
posted by Daze at 10:06 AM on October 21, 2002


If people can afford the the time or money it requires to follow entertainers through TV, newspapers, internet, conversations, etc., then presumably they can be following politics there instead. It's a free choice.

We will just disagree on that topic. If I'm a janitor I might get a weeks vacation. An actor on the level of sean penn can do a movie, make 10 million, and then spend the next 6 months trying to further his views. Sean penn does not have to work overtime to help pay his kids college tuition.

Or, for 50,000 bucks, you can, as woody did, take out a full page ad in a major news paper and save the time.

I just don't see where you prove/support the fact that celebrities care more about social and political issues than non celebrities. They have the stage, both figuratively and literally, and they use it. That in no way means that joe blow down the road doesn't have an opinion on going to war or not, it just means you haven't heard it.
posted by justgary at 10:11 AM on October 21, 2002


Colin Powell is a soldier and, more importantly, a man of honor, and he does not ask permission from Bush to do or say anything.

The real question is, who does Bush ask permission from before he does or says anything?
posted by tranceformer at 10:20 AM on October 21, 2002


Belafonte seems to care more about Powell's race than Powell does. In this, he devalues Powell by positing that he should "act black" and align himself with activist ideals. Powell, as is clear from everything he's ever said about the matter, considers himself to be a man doing a job. "Blackness" doesn't figure into his politics at all. Belafonte equates this with some kind of abdication and that's really a shame because the way Powell conducts himself (Rice, too, for that matter) models the color-blindness we'd like to see at all levels of our society.
posted by The Raven at 10:26 AM on October 21, 2002


Condi Rice for President 2008!
posted by dagny at 10:29 AM on October 21, 2002


they both realize that, as an African-American man, a certain segment of the hood-wearing white "A'int gon' be no runnin' mah country! Cletus, fetch me mah gun!" population of this country would be more than willing to take a shot at him.

Danelope,

In the South that translates to Republican. Sorry I was not more descriptive/specific in my statement. I realize now how that could have been too broad a brush stroke. Anyway, thank you for making the point I loosely alluded to.
posted by nofundy at 10:44 AM on October 21, 2002


In the South that (KKK) translates to Republican.

That is so aggressively ignorant it's difficult to respond, and I say that as a moderate Democrat and former Southerner.

Amazing that after backpedaling on one ridiculous comment, you opt to make another.
posted by dhoyt at 10:57 AM on October 21, 2002


dhoyt,

Consider Trent Lott, Bob Barr or Tom DeLay. Do you really think their constituency doesn't include this group?

And you inserted the KKK in someone else's statement. Bad form.
Like it or not, in the South the angry white male and the racist with the confederate flag all vote Republican. Ask any Republican pollster!! Now, how is my observation ignorant?
posted by nofundy at 11:11 AM on October 21, 2002


I find it interesting (or rather so telling) that Harry Belafonte's rather pathetic view has been given so much publicity. His other, more thoughtful, stimulating and valid commentary was missed by the US/International media.

I'm no fan of Powell's politics but as a black non-american I'm sleep a lot more soundly knowing he has influence over the current US president.
posted by keno at 11:15 AM on October 21, 2002


Like it or not, in the South the angry white male and the racist with the confederate flag all vote Republican.

And in the north, and the west the same is true. Much easier dealing in old stereo types, though, huh?

You can find racists in all parts of the country. The south doesn't have a lock on them. Such comments normally come from parts of the country where people only know the south from television and comedy routines.
posted by justgary at 11:19 AM on October 21, 2002


Now, how is my observation ignorant?

It is ignorant because you are lumping in thousands of moderate Republicans and Southerners with an extremist group judging simply by who they vote for (in a limited two-party system no less!).

How is this any different than 'profiling' all terrorists as Muslim? It's irresponsible, alarmist, and yes, ignorant.

Show a little objectivity.
posted by dhoyt at 11:20 AM on October 21, 2002


just keep digging nofundy - you're bound to reach bottom soon.
posted by schlyer at 11:27 AM on October 21, 2002


Nofundy, it's ignorant because southern racists and non-racists alike were overwhelmingly Democratic for 120 years after the Civil War, which, after all, happened after the election of the first Republican president. I'm not a Republican or Democrat, but racism and political affiliation are completely unrelated.
posted by coelecanth at 11:37 AM on October 21, 2002


quoted from his online biography
Colin Powell was a professional soldier for 35 years, during which time he held myriad command and staff positions and rose to the rank of 4-star General. He was Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs from December 1987 to January 1989. His last assignment, from October 1, 1989 to September 30, 1993, was as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the Department of Defense. During this time, he oversaw 28 crises, including Operation Desert Storm in the victorious 1991 Persian Gulf war.
end of quote
He served two tours of duty in Vietnam. In 1996 he turned down an offer to be Bob Dole's vice-presidential nominee.

Harry Belafonte popularized the banana boat song

(Just keeping the players straight)
posted by Bonzai at 11:50 AM on October 21, 2002


Bonzai: As overplayed as I think Belafonte's comments are, the above is hardly fair, even if amusing. From a bio:

. . . Meanwhile, he remained politically active, working as cultural adviser to the Peace Corps (under Kennedy), taking part in the march on Washington, chairing the New York State Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, founding the Institute for Non-Violence. In later years he would be named to the Board of Directors of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference(!), and appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador hosting the United Nations World Summit for Children. When Nelson Mandela visited the U.S., Belafonte played host.
posted by raysmj at 11:56 AM on October 21, 2002


A black man (odds only improve a smidge for a black woman) would have a hard time getting the vote for president in 2004 America regardless of party affiliation - Democrat OR Republican, so get over yourselves. (the pessimist in me says at least 50 years, though I'm holding out for President Ford)
posted by owillis at 12:05 PM on October 21, 2002


While I am very sympathetic to Mr Belafonte's political stance I have to admit he's way out of line here. Powell's race doesn't place him under any moral obligation that he wouldn't have if he were anglo or asian or hispanic or pacific islander. Powell's right: if Belafonte wanted to ding him on his politics or his conscience he was entitled to do so -- but despite Belafonte's protestations to the contrary, it seems clearly to have been an Uncle Tom charge. To me this is one of the examples of how irrelevant racial polarization confuses the real issues; and how many self-appointed black spokespersons seem to deliberately perpetuate racial divisions that ought, in most areas of discourse, to be dispensed with.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:06 PM on October 21, 2002


A black man (odds only improve a smidge for a black woman) would have a hard time getting the vote for president in 2004 America regardless of party affiliation

Geez, don't you people watch TV? David Palmer already won the election!
posted by mkultra at 12:15 PM on October 21, 2002


And in the north, and the west the same is true.

True, but I was responding to a statement about Southerners.
And perhaps they vote Republican also you say? OK, I can visualize that.

It is ignorant because you are lumping in thousands of moderate Republicans and Southerners with an extremist group judging simply by who they vote forsouthern racists and non-racists alike were overwhelmingly Democratic for 120 years after the Civil War, which, after all, happened after the election of the first Republican president. I'm not a Republican or Democrat, but racism and political affiliation are completely unrelated.

I'm aware of the history of racists, especially in the South. That has no bearing on the present affiliation of racists today. As a matter of fact, the racists in the South are primarily of the Republican persuasion today. The reason this is true is that the politicians there play the subtle race card well and often. See aforementioned political figures.

I'm not advocating for either political party, just pointing out what I and others see as an unfortunate truth in our country today. Perhaps the father of JC Watts said it best with : "A black man voting Republican is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders." Not my words, but I do listen.
posted by nofundy at 12:19 PM on October 21, 2002


Yes it is an overly broad generalization to say that *ALL* republicans are racist. Duh.

But, anyone from the south (especially a life-long resident like myself) realizes that it's still the '60's in some parts of the south.

Anyone who doesn't see at least a vague connection between republican party platforms (not the people themselves) and racism is just turning a blind eye.

Republicans TEND to be anti-poor. Blacks, especially in the south, TEND to be poor. Republicans TEND to be against affirmative action. No expansion necessary. Republicans TEND to want to reduce social programs such as welfare and school lunches, which blacks TEND to utilize more.

And as we've discussed a hundred times before, just because you can find a republican somewhere that is for affirmative action doesn't invalidate the grouping. You have to assign traits to a group or else you can't speak of them meaningfully. Republicans, by their publicly stated platform, are against affirmative action. Any exceptions you find are just that, exceptions.

But what's more funny is many southern conservatives would not WANT you to defend them. They are happy to tell you how they feel about "darkies" (as I just heard the term last week).

State's rights! God I am so sick of hearing that. Come visit the South, ya'll.

I love southern culture and way of life, but hate their religious zealotry and politics. Whattaya gonna do?

Nofundy: I've seen the phrase printed on a cap as "A poor man voting republican ...."
posted by Ynoxas at 12:57 PM on October 21, 2002


Ynoxas: Anyone who doesn't see at least a vague connection between republican party platforms (not the people themselves) and racism is just turning a blind eye.

Oh yeah? Let's investigate the argumentation behind that claim:

Republicans TEND to be anti-poor. Blacks, especially in the south, TEND to be poor.

"Anti-poor"? That's laughable hyperbole, unless you actually are referring to republican causes such as reducing red tape, enabling people to remove themselves of their "poor" status and actually becoming rich.

Republicans TEND to be against affirmative action. No expansion necessary.

Say what? Affirmate action is a set of policies based on the race of people; so it's racist. The republicans are against it, thus they are anti-racist, or to put it in another way; individualist.

Republicans TEND to want to reduce social programs such as welfare and school lunches, which blacks TEND to utilize more.

Republicans want to reduce the amount of money the government takes from people. Gee, how "racist"!

Ynoxas, you have to do better than this to convince anyone but yourself, if you even succeed at that.
posted by dagny at 1:10 PM on October 21, 2002


As a matter of fact, the racists in the South are primarily of the Republican persuasion today.

I have no problem acknowledging the possibilities of your generalizations, nofundy, I'm just amazed that you have no problem perpetuating these stereotypes over and over.

Repeat after me: Racists. Are. Everywhere. Perhaps you need to travel.

And I know I would be crucified if I came to Metafilter stating that "Most black people are uneducated" or "Most terrorists are Muslim", "Most Women are Incapable" or other warmed-over generalizations not worth repeating.
posted by dhoyt at 1:20 PM on October 21, 2002


... and the fact remains that an increasing number of African American individuals are reaching positions of influence in Republican adminstrations that are unprecedented in either party -- and that this individual advancement does argue against the charge of racism (i.e. that skin color trumps individual merit). The longer this trend continues, the more shrill and ridiculous will seem this denial of their essential "blackness." Which denial, after all, rests on some grotesque and pernicious stereotypes of its own. But by all means, hang onto your old stereotypes for as long as possible.
posted by coelecanth at 1:33 PM on October 21, 2002


dhoyt,

I openly acknowledge and agree that racists are everywhere. Perhaps you missed the statement to which I responded. It was about the South, thus I replied with a comment regarding the South, not excluding any other geographical region but addressing someone's statement.

NO ONE said "Most.....ANYTHING.." OK? All that was said was that a particular group of persons from the South generally tended to be members of a larger nationwide political group, etc. A true statement. I hope this clears up any misunderstandings as I was not intending to carry anyone's flag on the issue, just responding to another's statement.

And Bill Clinton was our first black President!!! :-))
posted by nofundy at 1:43 PM on October 21, 2002


In the South that translates to Republican.
--nofundy

As a matter of fact, the racists in the South are primarily of the Republican persuasion today.
--nofundy

and then

NO ONE said "Most.....ANYTHING.." OK?
--nofundy

In my neck of the woods, "primarily" = "most". Gotta give you credit for gall, my friend.
posted by dhoyt at 2:01 PM on October 21, 2002


dhoyt,

I still don't see where my statement isn't true. Have you visited the South? Seen the bumperstickers the rednecks display? Ever read the demographics of the South? Sorry if it offends you but the statement still stands. Does that tarnish other Repubs? Not my call. Perhaps so, by association, which is probably why the Dems kicked the bigots out and embraced diversity (thanks Kennedy!). Call it gall if you want but I fail to see why the assertion doesn't stand on it's own merit.
posted by nofundy at 2:09 PM on October 21, 2002


which is probably why the Dems kicked the bigots out and embraced diversity

So... which political party does Sen. Robert Byrd belong to?
posted by gyc at 2:17 PM on October 21, 2002


[apologizing in advance for veering off the current racism debate to go back a few comments]
justgary, you’re misunderstanding what I’m trying to say. I’m not trying to say that average Americans are slackers for not following Sean Penn’s example and paying to print their views in an ad. I’m suggesting that average Americans probably pay more attention to entertainment stars than to politics; so perhaps it’s helpful if entertainment stars redirect some of the enormous attention they receive to politics. Maybe the links in my first comment that supported this were weak; the one that showed that the public knew far more about soap operas than politics was done in the UK by the BBC. Still, in the US, “"Public interest in international news stories has plummeted over a decade," said [Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew center], with the percentage of people who said they followed foreign news dropping from 80 percent in the 1980s to 20 percent in 1997.” To be fair, that article includes some contradictory statements that suggest that Americans are interested in international politics, depending on the issue. But anyone can be interested and have an opinion without becoming educated on the facts and others’ perspectives. Polls show that Americans have misperceptions about many political issues.
posted by win_k at 2:26 PM on October 21, 2002


**bangs head on keyboard; in disbelief that he is defending Republicans**

Nofundy, if you read my last two posts, I am saying that I do not doubt the implications of your stereotypes, I object to perpetuating them further on a message board! I have black folks in my neighborhood who have criminal records. Would it be wise to state repeatedly in the company of 15,000+ people that "As a matter of fact, the criminals I know are primarily of the African-American community." True or not, it's just not wise or fair to perpetuate.

And as I stated earlier, I am a former resident of the South, the Carolinas and Georgia specifically, for 26 years, so I have a little background on the subject.
posted by dhoyt at 2:39 PM on October 21, 2002


But, anyone from the south (especially a life-long resident like myself) realizes that it's still the '60's in some parts of the south.

Life long southerner, and of course there are parts of the south that are, as you say, still in the 60's.

I'm living in alabama right now, and I'm sure that most people on metafilter think of rednecks, pick up trucks, and rebel flags when they hear that word.

And sure, that's one aspect of the south. ONE. Out of many. But the complete generalization that you and nofundy color the south with is simply wrong and not productive.

I dated a girl in modesto california a couple of years ago. I took a trip out to cali to meet her parents. They turned out to be as racist a family as I have ever met. No one here would call them 'rednecks' upon first encounter, but believe me, they fit the cliched 'southerner' profile most people have. Only, they were not southern.

In highschool we had a few race fights. When we visited my father's side of the family, in jaffrey, new hampshire, people talked about how awful the racism must be in the south. Only problem was jaffrey had not a single black resident. Not ONE. When an african american did move in, the town basically freaked and ignored them. They simply were not ready for a black neighbor.

People have a tendency to generalize in order to make issues simpler. But the talk in this thread insinuating that racism is a southern problem is frustrating, though I'm use to it.

It makes as much sense as believing everyone in san francisco is homosexual.
posted by justgary at 2:45 PM on October 21, 2002


win k, sorry I'm not quite getting your point. I'm trying =)

I have no doubt that most american have apathetic attitudes towards politics. I just don't think most celebrities are any different.

The ones that care just make more noise than an ordinary citizen can. But I'm quite sure most celebrities stay on the sidelines (which is good or bad, depending on your view).
posted by justgary at 2:49 PM on October 21, 2002


In the South that (KKK) translates to Republican.

Like it or not, in the South the angry white male and the racist with the confederate flag all vote Republican.


Yeah all members of the KKK vote Republican, well except for the ones that voted for Robert Byrd, a former Ku Klux Klansman, and current Senator.


More on point with Belafonte comment's:

Why is there the assumption that Belafonte put out there that all Blacks vote alike? That is what he is putting forth. That if a black American succeeds, but not with a Belafonte/Jackson/Sharpton agenda, then he/she is a sell out.

Not all people of a race have to vote/think/act alike. That is the heart of the issue. members of the so-called "Black Community" feel that some black Americans may identify with Powell or Rice, and support the current administration, instead of their agenda. So they polarize black Americans by trotting out the old "Sell out" label, and telling black Americans that Powell and Rice, really aren't Black, you shouldn't look up to them....

What a load of shit!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:39 PM on October 21, 2002


Why is there the assumption that Belafonte put out there that all Blacks vote alike? That is what he is putting forth. That if a black American succeeds, but not with a Belafonte/Jackson/Sharpton agenda, then he/she is a sell out.

It's because the uber-liberal poverty pimping wing of black America knows full well that so long as there are such notable, visible examples of black Americans who came from humble beginnings to rise to positions of incredible influence and power without agreeing to their agenda it undermines their claim that only through solidarity with them and their ideals will anyone ever get ahead. It cuts their agenda to the quick, and more importantly, weakens their already shaky and constantly ebbing power base.

As a consequence, the first and overriding reaction is try to cut these people down. The agenda-hounds know better than to try to actually get into meaningful debate or discussion on the issues that divide them from the likes of Powell, Rice, Watts, Thomas, Sowell, Innis, Williams, et al. Why? Because their strongest constituency isn't interested. They have no desire to go that deep -- if they did, they would have long ago realized how intellectually vapid and bankrupt much of the Sharpton/Jackson/Belafonte/etc. rhetoric really is.

What does get through to the constituency is the "label and dismiss" brand of politics because it's simple, cut and dried and easy. They don't have to think, because their "leaders" have done it for them. Thomas is a stupid syncophant, Ward Connerly is a flat-out traitor, Rice (the hardest to label) is too cozied up to corporations and out of touch with her blackness. Powell is the house negro. Ipso facto, none of them are relevant, none of them have anything to say to the "real" black community, the only reason to pay them attention is to keep an eye on them so that they don't do any harm.

Meanwhile, out of the non-insulting sides of their mouths, the same "leaders" who insultingly brand conservative blacks at every opportunity are preaching unity, diversity and tolerance. That is: unity with everyone who thinks like us, diversity which only promotes those who think like us and tolerance demanded from everybody but us.
posted by Dreama at 4:20 PM on October 21, 2002


Getting to the original question. What astounds me is that the co-author of the alternative to the blank check for military action given to the president is the Republican Senator from my home state: Richard Lugar while our Democrat Senator voted in favor of the President. Lugar is probably the person on the hill with the best grasp of foreign policy.

Of course I fully suspect that he is likely to be crucified by his own party for doing the right thing. But more and more I'm developing a loathing of the Democrats for their failure to show any kind of a moral backbone in standing up to Bush. It seems that not only are they happy with their own criminals in office, but they are happy with republican criminals in office as well.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:20 PM on October 21, 2002


Belafonte is a major disappointment, a flagrant hypocrite and liar. This series of comments about Powell were nasty, racist, personal swipes.

Powell doesn't toe the race-baiting leftist Democrat line, so he's an "Uncle Tom". Really, what can you expect from Belafonte, whose political idol and greatest political influence was a card-carrying communist, who in 1961 renounced his U.S. citizenship.

With all Belafonte's racist blathering about "our tribe" and "our people", I hope this irony is not lost.

His 1956 version of "Jamaica Farewell" was pretty damn good, though.
posted by hama7 at 4:29 PM on October 21, 2002


Dagny: you're obviously a vehement libertarian so I'm not sure you can bring much to the discussion except the typical well-worn but laughable tripe that noone listens to anymore.

Yes, eliminate the red tape. That'll fix it. It's those damn property assessors and their septic tank forms that are keeping the black poor in the ghetto! So good to find out it's not The White Man, but actually red tape! Go figure! The black man will never improve himself without being untethered from the ludicrous burning permits required for disposing of yard clippings!

Yes, it's those crazy EPA regulations that keep those kids in the projects from starting up their own electroplating companies. But once Bush allows off-shore drilling in Brooklyn then their plight will improve drastically and immediately.

That's possibly the most moronic thing I've ever heard anywhere, much less here. I can't say I've ever encountered a human being that thinks that "red tape" is preventing an entire class of people from "becoming rich". The only possible exception is one time I forced an uber conservative friend into a corner and he actually declared that with no gun laws we could do away with policemen.

And so good to hear that you want to "reduce the amount of money the government takes from me". That's great. In fact so great I'll take you up on it. Build a few less stealth bombers this year and gimme back my money. Or, I'll even compromise. Build a few DOZEN more schools and keep the change.

I don't have to convince myself, and frankly, I don't care to convince people like you. My post above was for people who might at least pretend to have the trappings of rational thought.

justgary: I'm not trying to say that southern republicans are racist. I'm actually trying to say that the entire republican platform is inherently racist. I'm not calling individual people who may be republicans racist, I am talking about the PARTY PLATFORM. Whether that makes one guilty by association/subscription is debatable.
posted by Ynoxas at 5:59 PM on October 21, 2002


Missing from Belafonte's diatribe: what if Secretary Powell BELIEVES in President Bush's agenda, and can honestly state that he is doing what he believes to be in the best interest of America? If that is the case (and I believe it is), then Belafonte is spewing pure racist hatred.

Put the shoe on the other foot: how would Belafonte feel if, upon releasing his first musical album, he was decried by fellow black Americans for somehow "selling out" and "living in the master's recording studio" for being part of the "white man's" multi-million dollar recording business, despite the fact that he recorded music that HE enjoyed singing...? Not exactly a perfect analogy, but you get the point.
posted by davidmsc at 6:40 PM on October 21, 2002


Not all people of a race have to vote/think/act alike. That is the heart of the issue. members of the so-called "Black Community" feel that some black Americans may identify with Powell or Rice, and support the current administration, instead of their agenda. So they polarize black Americans by trotting out the old "Sell out" label, and telling black Americans that Powell and Rice, really aren't Black, you shouldn't look up to them....

What a load of shit!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:39 PM PST on October 21


From the Larry King Live transcript when Larry asks essentially the same question:

BELAFONTE: Well, if they are his principles, then I sit opposed to them. I have to make the assumption that it's not his principles because of what he said (UNINTELLIGIBLE) at the Republican National Convention when he gave that remarkable speech. Or when he said going through the United Nations as the vehicle through which this problem should be settled. To do anything less than that and to stick to that mandate I think is a sellout.

It's a pretty good speach. Here is a short quote:

"Yes, we Republicans have leaders and principles that are worthy of our aspirations.

Let us take our case to our fellow citizens with respect for their intelligence and fair-mindedness.

Let us debate our differences with the Democrats strongly, but with the civility and absence of acrimony that the American people long for in our political debate."

If the mood here is any indication, civility and absence of acrimony are not missed in today's political debate.
posted by whatever at 7:04 PM on October 21, 2002


owillis...Why do you believe there will be no black president in the next 50 years? I have no doubt that Powell would be our president right now if his wife would have been ok with the risks involved in his running. As you mentioned, Ford is a very strong upcoming contender. I don't think Rice has the balance, but you never know. I could see it happening.

It will certainly happen before we see an atheist president.

What I would really like is a day when voters look at the issues and character, not caring about the race or religion of the candidate. Ah well.
posted by Kevs at 8:52 PM on October 21, 2002


dhoyt,
I hope your head isn't sore. I now understand your point. I'm happy to hear you don't disagree with mine.

I like both Colin and Harry and can see what Harry was saying about Colin.

Too late for Powell, Ford or Rice to be the first black prez....Clinton already did that.
posted by nofundy at 4:57 AM on October 22, 2002


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