Sunday, April 14, 2013

Confederate "Heritage" Month 2013, April 14: Rand Paul tries to talk to some Negroes, or, real-time white racism, playing somewhere near you (2)

This video from the FreedomWorksAction YouTube channel, Liberty & Civil Rights speech by Senator Rand Paul Howard University 04/10/2013, shows "Baby Doc" Paul's full speech at historically African-American Howard University this past week:

Baby Doc's cringe-worthy presentation is like a time-capsule out of 1960 or something of a stiff, educated John Birch Society doctor trying to talk friendly to "the Negroes." If he weren't such a jerk, I would almost feel sorry for him in his obvious stiffness and general cluelessness about what he's doing. Like around 30:20 when he forgets the name of the former African-American Massachusetts Senator Edward Brook, who he calls "Edwin Brooks" after the audience tries to help him.

Is it fair for me to label this post as providing an example real-time white racism"? After all, he didn't say "n----r," like Jim Gile.

If you think that white racism is a matter of manners, then, yes, it would be unfair.

But speeches like this were always a part of the defense of segregation. At around 26:00, a questioner raises the real-time issue of voter suppression targeted to African-American and Latino voters. He defends this typical segregationist practice by brushing it off. And he criticizes literacy tests in the Deep South of past times that are not one of the current Republican menu of voter suppression methods. He doesn't criticize any that his Party actually is promoting.

His whole framework of discussing history is typical of the way in which neo-Confederates make up cartoon versions of history. At around 29:45ff, for instance, he refers to "horrible Jim Crow and horrible racism that happened in the 30s, 40s, 50s, it was all Democrats." Kevin Levin writes of the speech, "Paul's collapse of the past 150 years constitutes not only a superficial understanding of American history, but a false Civil War Memory." (Rand Paul's False Civil War Memory Civil War Memory 04/11/2013)

The real history of white racism doesn't interest him. Much less its institutional nature. And he's certainly not willing to acknowledge anything in the current Republican Party programs that could even be legitimately perceived as expressions of white racism, other than inadequate advertising.

I don't think this kind of presentation by Baby Doc is really aimed at African-American audience at all, except possibly those who aspire to be a Herman Cain of the future. His speech could serve as an example of what Republican white people think that "respectable Negroes" should be saying about politics and race.

But his real targets is conservative Republican white base voters, who will be encouraged to see him talking smack to predominantly black audience and informing them what a respectable Republican African-American would sound like, i.e., like a conservative white guy such as Baby Doc Paul.

Jon Stewart skewers Baby Doc's speech here in a perceptive way:

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