Empowerer (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list Click to add this author to your Ignore list Thu Oct-20-11 08:46 PM
Why many black Democrats* are uncomfortable w/Herman Cain: He embarrasses us in front of white folks
Edited on Thu Oct-20-11 09:20 PM by Empowerer
Some people - including Herman Cain himself, plenty of Republicans and even some Democrats - are claiming that black Democrats harbor a particular animus toward Herman Cain because he is a black Republican.
Let's be clear - it's not because he's a black Republican. We disagree with most black Republicans on many things - and often wonder how any black person and their right mind could BE a Republican. But we don't dislike most of them and certainly don't feel uncomfortable with all of them. Most of us have friends and family members who are Republican, so we aren't going around hating on black folks just because they've cast their lots in the GOP.
No, our issues with Herman Cain have little to do with his Republican Party affiliation.
Our problem with Herman Cain is that he's embarrassing us in front of white folks.
He makes us cringe. He makes us cringe in the way that, for centuries, certain black people who not only align themselves with whites who do not have our best interests in mind but offer themselves up as examples of the kind of black person that certain white folks wish we all were, the kind of black person that has as much disdain for the majority of blacks as they do, the kind of black person who falls all over himself to laugh at us, castigate us, call us names, treat us like there's something wrong with us, insist that our second-class citizenship and/or second-class treatment is OUR fault, the kind of black person who is all too willing to help white folks keep us in our place
by placing HIS foot on our neck - in order to advance himself by doing the bidding of white folks like a modern day overseer on the political plantation he claims that black folks who see through him and want nothing to do with him live on. And he does all of this while grinning and entertaining and engaging in buffoonery that delights and entertains white folks and makes other blacks wish he would just go somewhere and shut up.
To use an analogy of a friend of mine - Herman Cain is the guy many of us knew in college who would go to parties and do the worm and breakdance while white people gathered around laughing and clapping. He's the guy that white folks are talking about when they ignored everything we have to say and insist that our perspective is meaningless and irrelevant because HERMAN is black and HE doesn't feel that way. He's the one they're thinking about when they say, "You seem so angry all the time. Why can't you be more like Herman?"
Herman Cain makes many, many black people cringe, not because he doesn't represent ANY viewpoint within the black community - there are many people in our community who think just like he does. He makes us cringe because, given the limited exposure to and interest in the broad range of black personalities, viewpoints, and experiences of a significant slice of the white community, we know that they will assume that he represents a larger segment of us than he does, that he is a reflection of ALL us when he is a reflection of only a tiny sliver of us.
He makes us cringe in the way that Jimmie "JJ" Walker did when he grinned and shouted "DynoMITE!" To tell the truth, we thought JJ was hilarious. We all likely knew people just like JJ - maybe even had one or more JJ's in our family. But we didn't want white folks to think we all WERE JJ. So even though we laughed our asses off whenever JJ did his schtick, we only laughed like that when white folks weren't looking. Otherwise, we often wished he'd just stop acting like that in front of white folks since they might take it the wrong way and mess up everything we were trying to accomplish - like the associate of mine who tried to get me to slap him five whenever I said anything he happened to agree with.
It would be nice if we didn't have to deal with this, if we didn't have to worry that one silly man could lead others to think that we were all like him just because he's the same skin color. But the collective judgment of an entire race is still a reality in this America. And one doesn't have to be a racist Republican - or even Republican - to impose such judgments on blacks. Just a few weeks ago right here on DU, we were treated to Democrats insisting that if Barack Obama failed as president, it would be a disaster for all black people. That is the very essence of collective racial judgment. To his credit, Barack Obama doesn't embarrass us. In fact, he makes us very, very proud - we might not deserve to feel proud of someone else just because he has the same skin color, but if we have to be blamed for black folks' foolishness, we might as well get credit for their achievements.
But I know few black people who feel proud of Herman Cain. Yes, his achievements are to be commended. But his out-dated jive-talking, shallowness, lack of preparedness, braggadocio, his strutting-and-preening-like-he's-auditioning-to-play-George-Jefferson diminish his achievements. Herman Cain is behaving, not like someone to be admired or respected. He's behaving like a silly man - even worse, he seems to take great pride in behaving like a silly BLACK man.
Black Democrats* don't have a problem with Herman Cain because he's black or Republican or both. We have a problem with him because he makes us cringe. He makes us cringe because he's embarrassing us in front of white folks whom we know still don't understand that he is not the sum total of who we are or who we should strive to be.
And let me be clear about this - people who raise these issues about Herman Cain are not engaging in racism or treating him badly because he's black. Hell, his being black is one of the only things we actually LIKE about him.
* This also applies to many black Republicans and plenty of white Democrats, as well . . .