An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Saturday, July 17, 2010

You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube

By Steven.

How long has internet been a household word? Who does not know about the Google cache? For all the fear that information would become ephemeral as we make the transition from print to electronic, some have learned - the hard way - that once you post something really awful, to paraphrase Shakespeare: the evil men do doesn't just live after them, it goes viral.

Tea Party Express organizer Mark Williams reacted to the NAACP's resolution denouncing racist elements within the Tea Party movement with a blog post which attempted to characterize the resolution as somehow "against freedom."

Bear in mind this is an old trick that political operatives have used since forever: Re-frame the "debate" in terms that favor your position, ignore any information that you can not argue over, try to position your opponent as somehow standing "against" something "good" or "in favor" of something "bad." Thus, Williams' blog post had to characterize the Tea Party as not racist (good luck) and the NAACP as against freedom.

He attempted to accomplish these goals with a faux letter from Benjamin Jealous, the president of the NAACP, to Abraham Lincoln, asking for the repeal of the 13th and 14th amendments, repeated characterized African-Americans as not wanting to work, then (as if those pearls of eloquence were not enough) signed the "letter" with phrases: "Tom's Nephew" and "Head Colored Person."

Strangely, some silly people saw this as overtly racist, clueless in the extreme and astonishingly ugly. To me, it reads like something one of my bigoted classmates from High School would have written. What does Williams do after revealing himself as "brain-dead to the underlying realities of how this world works?" He takes down the post, then takes down his whole blog *. What does this accomplish? You can still read the letter as originally posted. If he does shoot himself in the foot again by claiming the reproductions of his post are fabrications, there's always the old friend to memory, the Google cache.

The overt racism of the "letter" has not stopped CNN from presenting him as a pundit and representative of the tea party movement. As Justin Elliott at has noted none of the CNN commentators asked Williams about his "letter to Abraham Lincoln" during any of the segments in which he appears.

Nor have I seen any other "tea partiers" denounce his racism. How do you do that without antagonizing your base?

If you do not care to click through to the letter, here are some highlights. Racist self-revelatory screeds don't get much better than this:

Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!
Bailouts are just big money welfare and isn't that what we want all Coloreds to strive for?
How will we Colored People ever get a wide screen TV in every room if non-coloreds get to keep what they earn?

Had enough? I know I have.

Footnote: I tried a link to the letter on Williams' blog "Marktalk" ( this morning and receive a "server not responding" message. The post itself first re-written to remove references to "Massa" then the post taken down appeared in the Elliott article above.

No comments:

Post a Comment