Freudian slips. We have all had them, I’m sure. So when a person has a slip of the tongue or makes an unintentionally offensive comment, I tend to quickly forgive them and go about my business. But admittedly, my patience grows thin when it comes to comments that simply appear mean-spirited in nature.
Consider, conservative columnist Byron York.
In what has to go down as one of the most racially offensive commentaries I’ve read since President Obama was a wee Senator, Mr. York (and it took a lot of me to salute him as “Mr.”) made a feeble attempt to break down Obama’s popularity poll numbers, citing that the President’s 68% approval rating is only because his high approval rating from us darkies. But in the reality of America (as if black people somehow stopped being Americans at some point), Obama’s presidency is – and I quote – “significantly less popular.” In context, here is a full quote from his op-ed:
On his 100th day in office, Barack Obama enjoys high job approval ratings, no matter what poll you consult. But if a new survey by the New York Times is accurate, the president and some of his policies are significantly less popular with white Americans than with black Americans, and his sky-high ratings among African-Americans make some of his positions appear a bit more popular overall than they actually are.
As I have interpreted this, York is saying that Obama’s high popularity with black people becomes a moot point because Obama’s approval rating with the lighter part of the country (which apparently is more important) is lower. What our white brothers and sisters think is what “actually” should count. His words, folks. Not mine. Somewhere down the road, black people apparently cease to exist in the model of ‘actuality.’ Perhaps I’m flying off on the deep end here. After all, racially insensitive commentary occasionally bring out the visceral and passionate part of me, the very part that allegedly causes most minorities to pull out their respective “cards.”
I swear on everything I hold dear, I am trying to look at York’s commentary from an objective lens. I am trying to look beyond the glaringly racialized tone of his article and see what he is attempting to postulate in his piece. In the interest of objectivity, I want to believe that he was simply trying to point out how black people in America are seemingly committed to Obama with no conditions. That could be a legitimate argument, to an extent. Even I have made a similar argument before. But even then, I would argue that (1) black people generally support Democrats anyway; even a former anti-Civil Rights Klansman like Robert Byrd, and (2) that most of the general electorate – black, white, and green – is usually politically uniformed and will support certain candidates for ALL sorts of reasons. Backing a politician based on skin color, religion (remember the “I ain’t votin’ fer no A-rab” stuff that was heard at many McCain/Palin rallies), or any number of other non-political issues is NOT an action exclusive to the black voter. Never has been.
I am seriously trying to have an open mind here. But when I read this article, the first think that came to mind was a certain verdict that once delegitimized black folks as citizens. Chief Justice Roger Taney would be jealous.