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Herman Cain Jeopardy: The Answer Is “Because He’s Black”

©Lee Judge

Commenting on racial bias is full of pitfalls and traps because it is so very difficult for us to recognize our own biases. Any idiot political shock jock can use some comment on race to get attention but even carefully crafted, well intended discussion can provoke hurt feelings and outrage due to misunderstanding (or perhaps understanding!) on either side.

I like the ambiguity of this Lee Judge cartoon. Are the elephants defending Cain because he’s black or using his blackness to defend themselves? Is Cain’s support partially based on the conservative movement’s need to demonstrate they’re not racist? Is Cain being attacked because he is a black conservative or defended because he is a black conservative? Progressives should not be too quick to dismiss the possibility of racial bias in our own response. A conservative African-American? He cain’t be legitimate or Cain he?
– Iron Filing



  1. Great quote: “Are the elephants defending Cain because he’s black or using his blackness to defend themselves?”

    Friday, November 18, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink
  2. Arthanyel wrote:

    No one that is anti-Cain is against him because he is black – it’s only because he is a right wing extremist idiot with no relevant experience. I would be equally against him if he was any other color.

    Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 1:15 am | Permalink
  3. Dan wrote:

    Is it fair to ask if the same concern surrounds Bachmann because she’s a woman?

    Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 8:58 am | Permalink
  4. starluna wrote:

    Arthanyel – I don’t know that everyone who opposes (or does not support) Cain is doing so because he is an extremist or an idiot. Before the sexual harassment thing happened, I did not believe that Cain would get the nomination in part because he is black. The Republican primary voters are still implicitly or explicitly racially biased.

    I’ve been meaning to write about this issue for a couple of weeks. I am personally torn about this. The sexual harassment allegations fit nicely with a longstanding racial trope in which black males are seen as sexual predators. As much as I believe that Cain is a first class idiot and is really doing this as a form of self-promotion, I am uncomfortable with the idea that he would be taken down by a racial stereotype of black men.

    But, the evidence that he indeed did sexually harass some number of women is growing. And I think it is perfectly acceptable to consider the moral character of someone who seeks the presidency.

    I still wish that he was being judged on the basis of his extremism and moronic ideas rather than his predilection for demanding sexual favors from subordinates.

    Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink
  5. Arthanyel wrote:

    Starluna – at least we agree he is an extremist idiot 🙂

    The Republican fervor to find “anyone but Romney” shows the disintegration of the Republicans as they fracture into the extreme conservatives and the more moderate conservatives.

    Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink
  6. starluna wrote:

    Arthanyel – I wonder how much of the “anyone but Romney” view is from the Republican leadership. I’ve always thought that Romney was never going to get it because he’s a Mormon and that wouldn’t play well with the evangelical Christian base. But I’ve heard locally that the national leaders are afraid that even if he could beat Obama, he wouldn’t hew to the Republican dogma as much as they’d like. And that he’s Mormon. But it seems to me that he is well liked by voters once they get to know him.

    But I do agree that the Republican party appears to be fracturing. Or maybe just imploding.

    Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Permalink
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    But not fast enough!

    Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Permalink