Most of us politicos outside of Los Angeles have never heard of Janice Hahn. Until now, that is. As it appears, Hahn — a Democrat running in a California special election next month — is not on somebody’s Christmas list. A bizarre attack ad has been released against her campaign making the claim that she assisted gang members and deviant criminals get out of jail to work on her anti-gang efforts, who will likely revert back to their criminal ways…specifically to “…rape and kill again.” No, this isn’t 1988. But the following ad does have every bit as much race-baiting and fear-mongering as could ever be found in 1988. See it for yourself:
The culprit behind this embarrassment would be Turn Right USA, a conservative, self-proclaimed “Super PAC.” I don’t know much about them – as I suspect many people don’t. All I know at this point is that they apparently express all kinds of pathetic racist and sexist sentiments disguised as information surrounding Hahn’s anti-gang initiatives. So to hell with them and what they purport.
But from all of this, I do have a few thoughts/questions:
(1) It’s important to note that it doesn’t appear that Hahn’s opponent, Republican Craig Huey, was tied to this smear ad in any way. In fact, he has even denounced this message. I don’t know anything about his politics, I freely admit (though Hahn has compared him to Sarah Palin. I know, I know.). But if he is free of any association with this video, it was a good and politically-sound move on his part to say so. Of course I wouldn’t be surprised if I later discovered that he did authorize the video, only to then denounce it once the damage was done. But that’s the cynical part of me. The more credulous part of me – the part of me willing to believe Huey even without evidence suggesting his blamelessness – wants to believe he honestly had nothing to do with the ad.
(2) I feel bad for Hahn, given that she had to be subjected to a vicious attack which – racism aside – also reeked of lurid, butt-shaking sexism. But, there is still the pesky issue of her comments toward the end. In stating that “It takes a different kind of person to speak the language”, was Hahn talking about gang members being more effective at communicating with other gang members, or was this about black people in general? It is not very clear in this video. Of course, in the era of the soundbyte, this was probably done intentionally by the video’s creator. This is for certain, however, she needs to clarify her remarks. I’m not going to do her the favor of trying to contextualize her comments.
(3) To all my non-black readers, you can turn away for a second. I need to do a little in-house cleaning by addressing my cousins ‘nem. You see cousins: THIS is why I make it my mission to spread the word about the dangers BET, street life, etc. THIS is why I urge brothas and sistas I know to stop acting like coons every chance they get. THIS is why I preach the notion that being educated and socially refined is NOT the antithesis of “being black.” With every gold tooth we put in our mouths, every half-naked woman paraded around in a rap video, every knucklehead teenager on welfare with five kids, every high school dropout, and every shooting over nonsense, we feed the monster of bigotry. We promulgate the beliefs and fears about black people that others in this country (read: racist people with an ability to affect society) have about us. Instead of playing right into their bigotry, why not do more to dispel those ideas? Make it HARD for people to justify their bigotry.
There are some of my cousins ‘nem who could care less about society thinks about them…and I suppose that can be refreshingly liberating in one sense. But in another sense, it puts those of us who strive for success – be it political, financial, social, academic, or whatever – at an unfair disadvantage. Like it or not, fair or not, black people (arguably more than any other racial group in this country) are often defined by the more stereotypical elements in our culture. Until the unfavorable behavioral pathologies of some black folks change, all of us will be subjected to the same initial stereotypes…making it that much more difficult for us to receive social validation of a positive sort. In short, until y’all negroes stop acting like fools, all black folks will suffer the social consequences.
I guess I’m finished with my rant for the day. As you were.