Why Haley Barbour Needs To Quit Mulling Over Race Speech


It wasn't long after I pushed the "submit" button on my article over at Big Think this morning that I saw this headline:



over at The Daily Beast.

Mr. Barbour, you need to stop payment on the last check you wrote to your political consultants if this is the kind advice you have been getting.

Maybe its about time you hired a firm like Blacksheep Political Consulting. We can help you turn some of that ridiculous PR strategy you've been engaging in lately around.

But before we will consider taking you on as a client, you've got to accept some hard truths.


Hard truth #1: White Southerners, especially those like you, who were oblivious to the civil rights turmoil that saturated the atmosphere in your home state in the 50's and 60's, cannot lay claim to being on the right side of history after the fact.


Hard truth #2: Unless you registered black voters in the 60's, or advocated publicly and openly for the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, you have no moral capital to lean on when it comes to even thinking about making a speech
on race.


Hard truth #3: You look like a good ole boy. You sound like a good ole boy. Simply repeating phrases you've heard on PBS documentaries, even with a tear dripping from the corner of your eye won't be believable.


Hard truth #4: The best you can do with a speech like this, if it is the kind of speech that is heartfelt and earnest and sprinkles in some of your personal shortcomings in the way the political pundits like to see the kinds of things, is alienate your base. And if you screw it up, you will get the added bonus of having no one else believe you anyway.


In fact, Mr. Barbour, we ran one of our ideas for your image rehabilitation past our unofficial council this morning. "Maybe Barbour should go to Haiti and adopt 5 black kids. Move them into his house, and stage a few photos of him taking them to school, making them breakfast."

Our counsel didn't miss a beat. "Haiti? Haiti? He could adopt five black kids from Mississippi who are in the same situation."

And with that observation, Mr. Barbour, we had to grudgingly admit that this sticky wicket you find yourself in is just too damn hard to overcome when you are the governor of a state that has too many African Americans who might as well be living in Haiti.

Good luck on your speech.





Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


Haley Barbour Tries To Whitewash History Of America's Blackest State


Haley Barbour has obviously forgotten that running for the presidency of the United States is not the same as running for the presidency of the Yazoo City Country Club. Barbour attempted to whitewash the past with the same old half truths still promulgated by white southerners of a certain age, half truths this ruling class has relied on for decades to deny the existence of the viscous cruelty and brutality used during segregation to keep black Americans in check.

Growing up in South Carolina, the home of this month’s Secession Ball and an obsessive desire to keep flying the flag of a defeated Confederacy, there was one thing I always knew for sure—however bad race relations seemed in my native Palmetto State, I had no doubt that they were worse for black people in Mississippi. This was confirmed just a couple of years ago by a thirty something coworker hailing from Mississippi, who said to me with a straight face “until I left home and moved to Denver, I thought all black people did was sit on their porches all day and wait for their welfare checks.” I guess it never occurred to anybody like my co-worker or Mr. Barbour that if almost 40% of your population is African American, then the fate of your state depends on whether or not you are sincerely committed to improving their lot in life.




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Today At Big Think: Hunger Is Not Sexy





Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


Hunger Is Not Sexy

Hunger is not sexy. Hunger is not the new black. Hunger is not in style, this season or any other. President Obama knows instinctively that the most important issue is this week is whether or not millions of Americans, Americans who won’t be hired anywhere in the next six to twelve months because there are no jobs to be had, will have anything to eat.



…hunger is not sexy…



But in the headlines about who won when President Obama announced his tax cut deal, I don’t see “the unemployed won” or “the middle class won” or “business owners won” being written anywhere .

All I see is “the GOP” won.

Won what?




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Today At Big Think: Painting The Town Vermillion





Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


Painting The Town Vermillion

I went from the paintings, prints and poetry of John Lennon to the paintings and prints of William Tolliver in twenty four hours this weekend. Friday night, instead of parking myself in front of my computer, I was talked into taking a ride down to Buckhead to see an exhibition of art works by John Lennon, who was more famous for the work he did on his day job as a member of the Beatles.

It was fun, although I realized as I walked around the exhibit that I really didn’t know that much about Lennon other than the name of his last residence, the Dakota, and the name of his widow, Yoko Ono. The few Beatles songs I’d heard over and over in my youth had blended into the cacophony of disparate music collections blaring out of the rooms in the dorm where I lived as a freshman. My coming of age years didn’t revolve around the crooning of the four young musicians from Liverpool but the middle age howls of the bluesmen like B.B. King from Beale Street and Muddy Waters from Chicago and the thunderous bass that drove the testosterone fueled braggadocio of baby faced rappers from New York.



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You can access hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers, and, best of all, respond in kind. You can respond to the interviewee, respond to a responder or throw your own question or idea into the ring.







I will be on the radio tonight at 8:00 pm EST with Sean Yoes, senior reporter at The Afro American, giving my own two cents on Wikileaks and other political topics. Yoes is the host of "The WEAA/AFRO First Edition", an hour-long political talk show on Baltimore's NPR affiliate WEAA-FM (88.9 FM), which airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m.

Normally, I can give a preview of the conversation when I post these announcements, but today is going to be potluck - Sean and I talked so fast about so many things it is hard to remember where one topic began and another ended.

In any case, it will be an entertaining half an hour.

You can click this link and push the "Listen Live" button at the top of the page to hear the show.

Enjoy!

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