The Hortoning Of Harold Ford

I was reading over at fellow Philly blogger, Eschaton's blog site, and he had some interesting things to say about the difference between Southern and Northern racism. His comments were within the context of the latest dust up over the Harold Ford race baiting advertisement in the Tennessee senate race, and the ones being used against Duval Patrick in the Massachusetts governor's race. He observed, and rightfully so, that republicans in the North have used the black bogeyman as the criminal and predator. (See Willie Horton) But on the other hand, the latest advertisement by the republican wedge machine's Southern strategy, portrays the black man as the sexual predator, preying on every Southern white man's fears. You know, the Mandindgo Buck lurking in the fields, ready, at the drop of a pin, to snatch his precious white women from under his very eyes. So in a nutshell, Northern racism is an innate fear of the black criminal predator, and Southern racism is the fear of black sexuality. [His dick is bigger than mine] There is a reason all those black boys were hung down South for even looking at a white woman.

This is what the republican party is doing in Tennessee; I call it the missy scare factor -I tried to warn you Harold, leave missy alone. Take a page out of your boy Barack's book- And guess what, it's working; the most recent polls show that Bob Corker,his republican opponent, has drawn even and in some polls is actually starting to inch away. No surprise to the field of course. I know how that commercial would play in some bar in rural Tennessee; and with a race so close, this ad will tip the election in favor of the republican. Hey, even 2% of the vote is crucial at this point. Ken Mehlman and his pals are hoping that this advertisement will close the door on Harold Ford, thus sending a republican back to Washington to fill a senate seat they desperately need. And guess what, it just might work. "I think that there is nothing more repugnant in our society than people who try to divide America along racial lines" Yeah right Ken, unless you are doing the dividing right?

So anyway, all this got me thinking, just what are the differences between racism in the North and racism in the South? Well first, let's give the republicans some credit for recognizing this little phenomena. Of course I would expect no less from the party of race baiters and dividers. But to understand this phenomena you have to understand the old adage, that in the North you can get as much power and wealth as you want, but just don't get too close to me ni***r. Whereas in the South, you can get as close as you want to your white neighbor, but we won't let you get too much wealth and power n***r. Now as someone who has a very unique perspective on this, I am going to agree with that saying. I can make this observation, because I went to school and spent considerable time in the South, but now live and work in the North. So Because of my perspective, I must say that there is something to that old adage, if only because I have seen it played out time and time again. Here in Philly for instance, whites guard their neighborhoods against the negro invasion with everything they have. The schools and neighborhoods are as segregated as the old Jim Crow South. And yet, blacks do well in business, and in certain areas of government and commerce. Blacks and whites work side by side in white collar jobs, yet go home to separate racial enclaves when the clock strikes five.

In the South, on the other hand, blacks and whites live as neighbors, and in many cases the schools are integrated. But when it comes to monetary wealth and power in government and business; the Southern white will let you get so much but no more. His power over you is controlled by his money and his access to it. If farmer Johnson wants a loan to make some improvements on his farm, he had better go to Mr. Charlie down at the bank. And once there, he is at his mercy. ~~~I remember you Johnson, your daddy was a good man, he used to work for my daddy; how much do you need?~~~ . And so it goes.

Another observation I have about Southern as opposed to Northern racism, is that the Northern racist is a racist with no remorse or white guilt. In many cases he is from one of the three main Northern ethnic groups; Italian, Irish, or Polish. And in his mind, he didn't own and damn slaves, and his ancestors came to this country and worked just as hard as some of the slaves did. So he makes no apology for slavery and it's legacy. And in his mind, your black ass should go get a job, and stop begging the government for handouts. The government has done more than enough for you, so it's time to get off your black ass and work. All the time not realizing that his white ass benefited from slavery because of the mere color of his skin. Yeah, your ancestors might not have owned slaves, but people who look like them sure did. It never ceases to amaze me for instance, how white folks will lose their minds over this cities pro quarterback. -who happens to be black-They buy their kids his tea shirt, they pay to see him play, and if he were to ever come around in person, they would lose their natural minds. Yet, these same people, will fire bomb a black families house if they ever had the audacity to move on their block.

In the South there is more guilt to the racism, so they are more polite, more gracious, and more patronizing. When people say that racism is more up front in the South they are wrong. That is a myth and an inaccurate stereotype which started in the fifties and sixties and just carried over to this day. If anything, it's more that way in the North, more open and up front. In the South, like everything else, there is a certain politeness and genteel ism to racism, and it drives me crazy. Here up North, we are more angry, because we have to live on top of one another, and force ourselves to co-exist, while all the time protecting our turfs. There is no pretense, because we don't have time for it.

Finally, of course, there is the obvious differences. Southern racism is institutionalized, and takes on a group form. There are still segregated the colleges, segregated organizations, segregated churches, and social clubs. Northern racism is individualized it's the individual that's a racist, and not the institutions of government, or groups. It's the individual who tries to keep you out of his neighborhood and home, it's the individual who makes racist jokes behind your back, and who secretly tenses up every time he is alone with you. This is Northern racism, and of the two, I must confess, that it's the form of racism that I do a better job of dealing with.

The truth of the matter is, racism, regardless of where you experience it is bad. And when it is exploited for political gain it is particularly insidious. It's a sad day indeed when one of our national parties resort to these tactics to hold on to power. But hey, what else do we expect when we live in a country where power trumps everything else? Even common decency and moral courage. It's called America folks, and we better get used to it.

I wonder what the weather is like in Cali these days?

Tags: Duval Patrick, harold ford, lynching, North, racism, sexual, South, Willie Horton (all tags)

Comments

16 Comments

Re: The Hortoning Of Harold Ford

I am in the South and I would have to disagree with the statement "but we won't let you get too much wealth and power". There is a sizable black middle and even upper class in the South. I live in a rural area in the Deep South. There are black attorneys, physicians, businessmen, car dealers, bankers, a whole range who do well in even the most rural areas. There is poverty as well the same as you will find in any rural or urban areas in the north but there is not some invisible barrier that keeps blacks from being economically successful.  As far as power there are a large number of elected black officeholders all over the South.  

by robliberal 2006-10-27 06:53PM | 0 recs
Re: The Hortoning Of Harold Ford

They sure are dusting off the old racist stereotypes to stop Ford from winning in Tennessee. I don't think racism plays out consistently, in the same form, across the south. FN has some interesting points, however, about what he has seen.

The Horton stereotype of the violent criminal is the scariest one to most affluent people. If a good looking single black guy attracts white women, it's no threat to me.  A violent criminal of any race is a threat. If FN is wrong on anything it's in applying the Horton stereotype to Ford. Ford is being given the uppity n.... treatment, not the low class n..... treatment.

The reason that the uppity n.... is such a threat is that it upsets the social order, which in the traditional mind is the natural order as God wills it. And to the religious right, Bush and the rebublicans are doing God's work. That's why they are willing to do just about anything.  They think they are doing God's will.  They are scary as Hell.

by FishOutofWater 2006-10-28 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: The Hortoning Of Harold Ford

It's funny how the party which is smearing Harold Ford is the very one he votes as if he's a memeber of.

by Kobi 2006-10-27 08:12PM | 0 recs
Re: The Hortoning Of Harold Ford
What is happening to Ford is despicable.
I would get more outraged if Harold Ford had our back. I wonder what his buddy Lieberman has done to condemn the despicable ads. Well, let him learn a lesson as to who his true friends could be.
by Pravin 2006-10-27 08:45PM | 0 recs
Re: The Hortoning Of Harold Ford

It's even more despicable when someone like Ford is backstabbed by his own political friends, the Republicans.

by Kobi 2006-10-27 09:25PM | 0 recs
Re: The Hortoning Of Harold Ford

That is one thing Democrats who vote with the GOP have yet to learn. It does not matter the GOP will still stab you in the back the first chance they get. We have had so many important votes in the past 5 years where a lot of Democrats defected and voted with the GOP.

I think at least on the House side with Nancy Pelosi as Speaker we will start to see some changes. She seems to be a fair person but is not one who will tolerate a lot of members constantly voting with the GOP.

by robliberal 2006-10-27 09:31PM | 0 recs
Re: The Hortoning Of Harold Ford

You'd think that Democrats who vote with Republicans would figure out that they're only knotting their own noose. But every election the GOP targets them for the most despicable attacks.

(I would name some from past elections, but that always riles people up.)

by Kobi 2006-10-27 09:41PM | 0 recs
Re: The Hortoning Of Harold Ford

There is no excuse for Lieberman.  Ford however, represents a very conservative state. He is between a rock and a hard place - the voters and the republican attackers.

It's hard to respect a Lieberdem.

by FishOutofWater 2006-10-28 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: The Hortoning Of Harold Ford

I can't respect any Democrat who votes more like a Republican than some Republicans do, regardless of what state they're from. Ford is even worse than Lieberslime in that regard (and while he hasn't kissed Bush in public, he has said he loves him.)

by Kobi 2006-10-28 04:16PM | 0 recs
Re: The Hortoning Of Harold Ford

I actually think Ford is not as bad mainly because he doesnt delight in making fun of fellow democrats like LIeberman does. I am all for a big tent as long as you respect the main goals of the Dem party. Lieberman seems to delight in thumbing his nose at the dems.

by Pravin 2006-10-29 09:43PM | 0 recs
Re: The Hortoning Of Harold Ford

"I am all for a big tent as long as you respect the main goals of the Dem party."

In Ford's case, only if the main goal of the Democratic Party is to vote with Bush more than some Republicans (and even Lieberman) do.

by Kobi 2006-10-30 07:06AM | 0 recs
Re: The Hortoning Of Harold Ford

Another observation I have about Southern as opposed to Northern racism, is that the Northern racist is a racist with no remorse or white guilt. In many cases he is from one of the three main Northern ethnic groups; Italian, Irish, or Polish.

Hmmmmm.

The English always were good at dividing and conquering. :-)

You sure it's those damn micks and wops and polacks that are the source of northern racism?

Without a doubt we Irish have not always been known for being the most tolerant of people.  Then again we were the macacas of a time gone by.  The enclaves of generations of those passed by in Chicago and Boston are quite unlike the rural Irish where I grew up.  They melted into the general population and were replaced by Mormons.

You are very perceptive, my friend, but Harold Ford may not be your saviour.  He looks an awful lot like an English lord to me.  I would trust you but not him.

Just my take.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-10-27 09:49PM | 0 recs
Re: The Hortoning Of Harold Ford

Good point Terry about the rural Irish. But i think you missed my point. I understand that the English have just as much hangups when it comes to race, as any other group. Trust me, I was born in a British colony. But I am referring to ethnic enclaves in cities like Philly,Boston,and Chicago when I talk about white guilt for slavery etc. Honestly, this comes straight from the horses mouth. I have Irish friends who tell me this every time we get into one of these discussions. So I know about that which I speak.

BTW, Harold is no friend of mine ideology wise, and I would have preferred a candidate that did not vote as often with the republicans. The fact that he is black doesn't give him a pass in my book. But if it's between him and Corker,I guess I would have to hold my nose and vote for him.

Having said all of that, it still, doesn't excuse the type of campaign that the party of dividers have been waging against him.        

by field negro 2006-10-28 07:33AM | 0 recs
Re: The Hortoning Of Harold Ford

I am referring to ethnic enclaves in cities like Philly,Boston,and Chicago when I talk about white guilt for slavery etc.

But I agreed.  I think I mentioned a perceptive posting.

Signs in an Irish bar in Chicago advertising NAAIP, National Association for Advancement of Irish People, was something of a clue for me years ago.

My son lived for a time in Daley's old neighborhood in Chicago.  He mentioned the odd inability to detect powerful odors at times.  Wondered if there was some kind of genetic defect among a population quite fastidious about maintaining their homes and neighborhood in the face of apparent limited income that for some reason remained lily white. It was quite different from the frightening, rundown, crime-ridden Lynch district in St. Louis, also immaculately white, which we somehow survived for a few weeks.

I have long been curious about why there is some clumping of populations left behind for no discernible reason.  In some areas of the world we are not talking about decades and centuries but millenia.

it still, doesn't excuse the type of campaign that the party of dividers have been waging against him.

Of course not.

I have argued elsewhere that the bimbo ad, while very offensive, is not racist unless one views it from a racist perspective; i.e., finds something alarming about an African-American paired with a white female.  That is distinct from the jungle drums in the radio commercial that is clearly racist.  Certainly the bimbo ad is meant to stir the prejudices of bigots but I would love to ask Chris Matthews why he finds the ad racist.

I have to admit with some embarrassment that I will be absolutely delighted if Ford wins and would almost assuredly vote were I able for a rightwinger who says he is plumb against nearly everything I am for.  Not sure what to call that.  Maybe Chris Matthews could help me understand my problem. :-)

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-10-28 10:30AM | 0 recs
Re: The Hortoning Of Harold Ford

Ford finds himself, predictably, between a rock and a hard place.  This may work on 5% of the state's population and not work on 95% but the Republicans are always looking for that group whether it was trashing Max Clelland as a traitor for refusing to knife worker's rights in the back or trashing Harold Ford for going to a party that most American males would just about die to go to.

Ford needed to do something to insulate himself from this, whether it was picking up a big enough lead so it didn't matter or it was building up real support that wouldn't melt away at the first sign of Rovian mischief.  We talk about Obama and the one thing he did that was absolutely outstanding was sending his own volunteers out into the suburbs to pull Melissa Bean into the House.  This was a team and Obama was saying he was more than just hanging around he was leading the team (too bad he didn't get somebody with a better voting record in the House but hey ...).

I'd love to see Harold get a lttle feisty and go at Corker.  Talk about protecting the people of Tennessee from the ordinary mistakes of government.  George Bush wants to mess with your social security and send Tennessee husbands,  wives, children, and parents to Iraq without a plan to use them properly when they get there or send them home as soon as possible.  The Republicans in the Senate have not stood up for our interests against George Bush for six long years.   I will.  I'm Harold Ford and I approve this message.

Uh, Field, it's not so much the "mandingo buck" as the Wesley Snipes character in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever that's the fear here.  The black guy that's smarter, better educated, and treats the woman better than the white guy that beats the crap out of her for messing around with a black guy.  Like it's the skin color that matters and not the real stuff like smarter, better eductaed and treats the woman better.  That "trick" works all the time.

Just to state the obvious, Harold is smarter, better educated and better looking than Bob Corker.  Please don't play Stevie Wonder singing Jungle fever on your ads, Bob.  

by David Kowalski 2006-10-28 08:26AM | 0 recs
The Gender gap

Is anyone tracking the gender gap in this race? Smarter, better looking, better educated and bigger dick? The southern white male's biggest fear?

I hope these racist ads don't work.  If they do it doesn't say much for the voters.

by FishOutofWater 2006-10-28 10:08AM | 0 recs

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