The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fox News horror

One of the things I dreaded about Obama's candidacy is that I knew that if he lost, I'd have to hear black people moaning that it means that nothing has changed, white people are racist, all is lost, etc etc. ad nauseum. And as Clinton's candidacy founders, I hear the exact same thing from women and Clinton supporters across the web. Including whining that "it will be generations" before another viable female candidate...etc. etc. ad nauseum.

This is all so much crap. The Western world has already had Meir and Thatcher. Why exactly is America grotesquely more sexist? In precisely what way does this manifest? I suspect there may never be another presidential election cycle without a woman....or women...featured prominently. To act like Hillary represents all women is simply absurd. She was the first who went as far as she did, beating the hell out of most men in her path. If the current situation holds, she was beaten by a person who is half-black and male. To claim that this is the reason she was beaten is guessing at best, reductionist pandering or guilt-tripping at worst. Trust me: the blacks who would jump first to racism to explain the issue have always seemed to me to be the most two-dimensional in thought. And people who leap to assume that sexism is the only reason why this Goddess of a super-brilliant woman could lose strikes me as exactly the same. (And the suggestion that it was somehow a disadvantage for her to be white is just another version of the "a white man doesn't stand a chance" argument I've heard since the 60's. Jeeze.) And that two-dimensional thinking is behind all racism and sexism. By reducing the argument to such simple terms, all they're proving to me is that they would be far more likely to be racists and/or sexists themselves than those who take a more nuanced view.

Notice that even when WOMEN say things against Hillary, they are accused of sexism and misogyny? I mean, are they really the female equivilent of Uncle Ruckus on Boondocks? If they're not weak-minded, all of this is supposed to be because men have 20% more strength? But a group with a 1000% strength disadvantage (outnumbered 10 to 1) produces blacks who are self-hating, for sure, but in nothing like the numbers that would be necessary to believe that all the women who have criticized or voted against Hillary are sexist. It simply doesn't make sense. But it makes big sense to promote it as an answer: if affirms a victim position, it demonizes the opponent, it shuts-up opposition afraid of being politically incorrect. Most importantly, it allows you to excuse the flaws of your own candidate. Hillary made a long list of errors. Let the next woman avoid those errors, and she gets over the mark. Others will walk over her back, as generations of blacks have walked over the corpses of those who went before. Hell, I'm hoping for some tough young Turk of a writer to walk over mine.

I regret that this contest brought race and gender to the fore in the same election cycle. In the beginning, I would have been all for Hillary going first, with Barack as VP, taking his shot in eight years. And I took crap from black friends about that. I have zero guilt about putting the blame where it belongs here: she had tremendous advantage, and Obama beat her. How about giving credit where credit is due? Sucker is SMART.

ᅠThere is a reason why black women haven't been attracted to the Women's Movement in droves, and one of the things I've heard many times is that that reason is that White women don't listen, don't care, and put the gender agenda above everything else. That's fine--every group of human beings does just that, and discounts the misery of others. Don't make the mistake of thinking women are somehow too saintly to use the exact same trick.

I ask you to remember something: 20-25% of West Virginians said they'd never vote for a black man. What do you imagine this translates into, nationwide? 5%? 10%? Between 10 and twenty million voters, perhaps? For all practical purposes, there isn't ONE REGISTERED BLACK VOTER in this country who could say the same thing about whites. Not one. If they felt that way, there would never have been anyone to vote for at all. Ten million to...ZERO.

My honest sense is that a white person who tries to reduce this to: "feel sorry for the poor rich, powerful, white woman" would, if they were black, absolutely HATE white people, and blame them for everything wrong in their lives. I'm not kidding even a little bit.

My whole sense of human beings being equal just clarified. I used to believe that women were a little less racist than men. I now think they express it differently, and have different priorities. But it seems that everyone plays the same games: male and female, black and white. That should make me sad...but instead, I find it a bit reassuring.


Did anyone see Fox News contributer Liz Trotter talking about Hillary's gaff? She said "some are taking Clinton's words as an encouragement to knock off Osama--"

Her co-host corrected her: "Obama"

And her reply was to laugh and say: "well, both, if we could."

Both, if we could.

Is anyone listening out here? Does anyone grasp the enormity of what is happening here? The "will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" You put your thoughts out, and surround yourself with the kind of loyal people who "get the job done." One of them will do it, while you can act horrified and claim innocence.

ᅠI do, absolutely, think that this is expressive of an unconscious current of racism, a sense that black men are a threat, and their lives less important. I've seen it play out in literature and film, in police shootings and beatings, in mortality and violence statistics of every kind. I hope that you grasp that when you do not value someone's life, it is far easier to cheat, steal from, falsely incarcerate...anything else you want.

You can see the clip yourself at:


I have never, ever seen anything like this about any other candidate. So there you have it: an uppity woman is told to stay in the kitchen or laundry room. An uppity black man is directed to the grave yard. Anyone who doesn't grasp the enormity of the difference, and how it has played out in America for 400 years, is culturally blind and deaf. If they have similar perceptual holes in other areas of their lives, I frankly fear for them.

Yeah, Race has been an advantage for Obama. In fact, it's always been an advantage for black people in America. Ask anyone.


suzanne said...

I agree, Steve.

She and her "handlers' lost this campaign
the self pity and victimology is pathetic
as a woman who enjoys seeing women advance
and someone with close black ties who wants to see black people advance
this time the Quality of the person and the campaign run beloong to the black man

Hillary, as a woman politician is embarassing to me

Brian Wood said...

You missed another earlier more important issue of the same theme: O'Reilly advocated the lynching of Michelle Obama. Over her "proud" statement, as I said in an earlier post already, a statement that has been taken woefully out of context. No one is researching stuff as they should. Michelle's "proud" statement was clear and concise and never should have been talked about at all if anyone had taken the time to watch her speech. Or the one minute clip.

So saying, I am NOT surprised at this racist crap. It's been going on for years. What I am surprised about is that Fox news, in any manner, has stayed on as long as it has. There was one year where Fox News (The three blonde bimbos, male and female alike) Didn't get the "talk to the hand" thing that blacks did. They went on for two minutes or so, trying to mimic the movement and failing. It was, sad and ludicrous as it was, funny because all they were doing was showing me their racist views witout outwardly expressing them. Actually, they were making fun of "talk to the hand", telling their audience, "Look at another stupid black thing that has crossed over into the white land." This was the 90's. I was appalled. Shocked. But Fox News (and programming) is a racist venue, bar none. Don't kid yourself about this.

I'm angrier about all of this than most. Hillary's lack of personal resposibilty is apalling, as is her call to women to vote only for her. There are women organizing now, right at this very moment, to "Vote Against Obama". Her womanness was never an issue for her (to this degree) until she began losing. My take on the whole Hillary and toxic Ferraro lunatic fringe is that they have, in fact, promoted the worst of stereotypes concerning women. She almost seems to be saying, "If I can't do it right here, right how, my fellow women, it will never happen because the game is rigged against us." Which isn't true, but it sure looks to me like she is kicking dirt over the path she has tried to emblazon.

What excuses can Edwards, Biden, and Webb offer for their defeat? That they are white males? Cause my hair is gray? Or that it wasn't fair that Hillary got the women vote and Obama (much later) recived the majority black vote?

Come on. Call it for what it is: Hillary is a whining, putrecent, vile human being. Period.

Steven Barnes said...

That image, a white man and woman joking about the killing of a black man...if this doesn't cause as much comment as the "iron my shirt" comment, we'll know quite an interesting bit about this country's secret heart. I ask you to ask yourself what is going on under the surface for this kind of odd eruption to be taking place in so many locations. Ask what it seems to suggest about human nature.

Brian Wood said...

Let's call it what it is, then:

Hillary has legitamized this type of thinking. And speaking. And behavior.

Her whole statement, to be assassinated, is as wrong as yelling "hijack" and an airport and "fire" in a crowded theater.

Using the word assassination on three different occasions (once speaking of JFK, saying, “We’ve had leaders of hope and change in the past, like JFK and MLK, and they were assassinated,” and two times citing RFK) and being given a pass, in my view, was Hillary seeing how far she could go to plant the idea into someone’s head.

I don’t go for the poor Hillary “This was a gaffe or misstatement” excuse. It was cold and calculating.

This is why people have been calling for her to quit, not because she's a woman. She's been way, way, way off the rails for some time now. In my view, she has been treated with kid gloves for fear of being called sexist. By whomever.

Steven Barnes said...

I'll buy that. I know that the labels of "racist" and "sexist" have been used to shut people up for a long, long time. For God's sake, this woman is a single human being, not the representative of all things feminine. If she is brilliant, it is she, and not women in general. And if she has allowed ambition to hollow out her heart, it is her tragedy, and not that of all women.

Dan Moran said...

I do think Hillary's lost the opportunity to end this gracefully. It's already ugly and going to get uglier, I suspect, and that's sad. She lost because she ran into a superior politician; nothing more complex than that. Race, gender, etc. -- all interesting, all relevant at some level, though I'm uninterested in digging through it all again. He won because he's a lot better at this than she is -- if he'd started off this race with the advantages she started off with, this would have been over convincingly on Super Tuesday.

She had an opportunity to end this gracefully, and she blew it. As a longtime supporter of hers, that saddens me terribly.

AlanL said...

I don't know about the Israeli system, but in the British case with Margaret Thatcher - and in the German case with Angela Merkl, another of several examples on could cite of elected female heads of major states - unlike, in the US, the head of state doesn't have to win a direct personal election. They "just" have to make their way to the top of the party that subsequently wins the parliamentary election.

I'm not saying this invalidates your general argument, but it is a significant difference.

suzanne said...

long ago I learned
the wisdom of never saying something like
"it can't get any more outrageous/bad/nasty than this."

the most recent example
after this ne is Terry Whatshisname
on Fox news,
that distinguished objective news channel
saying Obama and his campaign
are RESPONSIBLE for the dust-up
over Hillary's remark
(and shame on him). . .

too TOO much

Michelle said...


sorry Fox news is the epitome of insanity in media. They aren't news...they are scary hate mongers...they will do anything to engender hate. Fox News has never had any credibility.

As for the Hillary thing on the US being sexist because she didn't win..I don't buy it either. She's been taking the victim route for a long time. That makes me sick. You can't stay the victim in life, you cannot thrive as a victim. A country cannot thrive with a victim as a leader.

Christian M. Howell said...

I personally believe that people who can't live in peace with everyone else in this country, race, culture, gender, religion aside, are just not very certain of themselves.

They use the "I'm better that them because..." argument rather than making sure that they are smarter, stronger and faster by doing what you have to do to be so.

I rarely talk about racism as I tend to over-react. It's a fool's way. I understand though why sexism and racism are so prevalent.

When the first settlers came here they were nearly ALL WHITE MEN. They spent decades here before blacks and women came. Since they considered that they "settled" the land they should be in charge, especially considering that some colonies were as large as England.

Anyway, one just need look at how easy it was for the record companies to sell young black men out to illiterate rappers to see that you can't ever rest on your laurels in this country. Someone has to be at the bottom.

And as far as FOX News, I have many days sent in questions to Bill O'Reilly which went unanswered while foolish, hateful questions were seemingly praised. ASSHOLE!!!

The key is clear from Barack and Hillary, you have to take what you want cause no one will give it to you. You have to feel that you not only belong but are the best choice.

Steven Barnes said...

"The key is clear from Barack and Hillary, you have to take what you want cause no one will give it to you. You have to feel that you not only belong but are the best choice."
Life meets no one half way. And yes, unless you are a genius with a cheering section, you must have SOLID confidence in your ability. If you operate within a hierarchy, you MUST project that you aren't just good, but the BEST. It is possible to maintain this without becoming an asshole...but it's difficult. And even if you're NOT an asshole, if you are successful and confident, the insecure will consider one.

Stephanie said...

Unfortunately, what we're seeing is simply the nature of Fox "News" - they feed the very worst and most dishonest of one side's political feelings, doing it with people like Sean Hannity, whose ties to racists like Hal Turner have never been fully or honestly explained.
They may offer a 6 second apology on air every now and then, but they know what they're doing and they calculate how far they can go.
I find it just incredibly sad (in the pathetic sense) - but sadder that people need it to feed their own anger so badly.