Monday, July 27, 2009

Crouch: Nothing to See Here--But Stupidity

Contrarian analyst of American race relations and noted jazz critic Stanley Crouch has weighed in on Obama weighing in on Henry Louis Gates. Crouch's summation: yes, there's racism; no this has nothing to do with it; yes, Obama's remarks were stupid; no, he'll recover and continue to challenge the Republic effectively on matters of race.

Gentle readers will note Crouch's ability to use the dated term "Negro" with devastating ironic effect.

10 comments:

Chief Grinder said...

This was a huge non sequitur for those who take racism seriously. The incident was a classic example of racial paranoia (http://www.racialparanoia.com/) which characterizes our politically correct era.

He has already proven to know what real racism is and what it isn't. So I think my man Obama was crazy like a fox, commenting to throw the news cycle off of the healthcare debate at least for a little bit for as we know he was getting pummeled.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

When Tiger hits it off the tee into the woods, we don't think he's up to something very clever with his golf game. Sometimes even aces make mistakes.

Chief Grinder said...

But Tiger would never pull out his putter to tee off. He used very deliberate, polarizing language ("the police acted stupidly", etc.) in his statement. With the brain power in the past he has shown with post racial dialogue I find it hard to believe that he would all of a sudden lose his smarts on this issue and start talking like the common man on the street.

Bryan D said...

I think that's the point of the illustration, Chief. If he were like Tiger, no he would not tee off with his putter. I think the SWNIDish gist is that barack is not to being president as tiger (especially pre-injury tiger) is to golf.

pfew, ready for that SAT now... oh wait ...

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

CF and BD, another, more apt comparison comes to mind. Obama instantly interpreted the exile of Honduran President Zelaya as a coup d/etat according to the stereotype that Latin American countries have lots of military coups. But the facts are that Zelaya was acting illegally and so had been legally deposed by the national legislature and supreme court of Honduras. The army was acting on their orders, though their action in exiling him instead of imprisoning him was actually unconstitutional, though likely expedient given the circumstances. Still, Obama's first reaction was a stereotypical one, not a nuanced one.

Obama is a nuanced thinker only in comparison to his predecessor. Otherwise, he tends to defend all his positions by setting up very narrow, very thin straw men on either side of his position, then defending his position with the stereotypical rhetorical flourish, "I reject both of those positions." But he's still working with stereotypes and straw men, even if his set of choices includes three, not just two.

Now, to the golf analogy. We don't mean to compare Obama's Gates statement to hitting the ball off the tee with a putter but to hitting conventional tee shot poorly. That happens even to the best, and we still think that Obama is a very, very good person for articulating matters of race in ways to which everyone ought to give heed. But sometimes he muffs the shot. Still, we commend him for a quick and unequivocal apology.

JB in CA said...

The report I read said Obama came up short of apologizing for his remarks, saying only that he "regretted" them.

Bryan D said...

The Zelaya comparison is brilliant—deserves a post in its own. However, I agree with JB's assessment that his later nuancing of his original unequivocal statement was less then convincing.

Obviously she does too.
And so does the American public.

Chief Grinder said...

I would contend that SWNID is wrongly correlating Obama's chosen communication style to the masses with his true intelligence, particularly concerning race. One only has to do a cursory reading of "Dreams from My Father" or recall his addressing of the race topic during the campaign to know that this ain't his first rodeo when conducting the national racial conversation. He knows how to talk about it in a nuanced, non-polarizing, fashion. So then one has to ask why did he chose to not do so this time?

Therefore going back to the golf analogy, yes I do believe he hit the tee shot into the woods - on purpose. So now the media can talk about what a terrible shot it was and all the issues involved in the shot, getting their minds off of the health care reform for a tad bit. And it worked.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Somebody's been drinking the Kool-Ade.

Chief Grinder said...

Ha! Not really. I'm just talking specifically about this Gates incident. It doesn't mean I buy what he is selling on other issues, particularly this health care debacle. Your Carter pronouncements may be coming to fruition.