Thursday, August 26, 2010

Robert Gibbs and the Race Card

Michael Steele was asked a direct question by George Stephanopoulos this morning on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Steele was asked if he felt he has a smaller margin of error than others because he's black.

"The honest answer is yes. It just is," the former Maryland lieutenant governor said. "Barack Obama has a slimmer margin than others."
"But you take that as part of the nature of it," Steele added. "It's more because you're not somebody they know. ... Not old-boy network oriented. ... My view on politics is much more grassroots oriented ... so I tend to, you know, come at it a little bit stronger, a little bit more street-wise. That's rubbed some feathers the wrong way."
Huffington Posts account of all this

I went back to the tape, and it was actually one of those questions that George got from his blog, and read exactly like this. “Do you feel that, as an African American, you have a slimmer margin for error than another Chairman would?”

In answering that questions directly Robert Gibbs says that the Chairman is playing the race card? Robert Gibbs Face Front and RESPECT

On what day has Robert Gibbs been a Black American and been subject to any of the issues that the Chairman of the Republican Party just illustrated. It is beyond an insult that Robert Gibbs so cheaply disregards and characterizes what was an honest answer to an honest question as the flippant playing of the race card. You know that conversation on race we've been all talking about.

So in this ridicule, is Mr. Gibbs calling Michael Steele a liar, he and Barack Obama aren’t held to different standards? I believe Michael Steele actually illuminated what would be the Presidents take on the matter.

"But you take that as part of the nature of it," Steele added. "It's more because you're not somebody they know. ...

It appears that's about the same answer Barack Obama gives, some people will hate me some will love me, but I have to move forward and work despite it all. It isn't less true because it's a Republican Black leader.

Asked about the tendency for people of color to play the "race card," I responded as I always do: First, by noting that the regularity with which whites respond to charges of racism by calling said charges a ploy, suggests that the race card is, at best, equivalent to the two of diamonds. In other words, it's not much of a card to play, calling into question why anyone would play it (as if it were really going to get them somewhere). Secondly, I pointed out that white reluctance to acknowledge racism isn't new, and it isn't something that manifests only in situations where the racial aspect of an incident is arguable. Fact is, whites have always doubted claims of racism at the time they were being made, no matter how strong the evidence, as will be seen below. Finally, I concluded by suggesting that whatever "card" claims of racism may prove to be for the black and brown, the denial card is far and away the trump, and whites play it regularly:

I got your race card right here Mr. Gibbs

Good lord and the high heavens I hate defending Republicans, but right is right. Michael Steele didn’t tell a lie when he said what he did, and for this Presidents spokesman to react like he did by accusing a Black man who is speaking legitimately about race of playing the race card is disgusting.

I updated this diary to include this video, because just like progressives can think of alliances with teabaggers Black Democrats can consider what Michael Steele has to say on the subject of race and not reject him just because it's Republican.

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