Friday, October 8, 2010

Nope, You're Wrong

Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC said the following about RNC Chairman Michael Steele, who is black:
As the first congressional election during his party chairmanship approaches, Michael Steele is dancing as fast as he can trying to charm independent voters and Tea Partiers while never losing sight of his real master and paycheck provider, the Republican National Committee.
What O'Donnell's trying to say is that, as Chairman of the RNC, Steele has to diplomatically balance various factions - cranky social conservatives, penny-pinching fiscal conservatives, and apolitical independents who won't even start paying attention until after Halloween. Meanwhile, the RNC itself is mostly headed by unprincipled RINO's whose goal is political power at any cost, and THEY control the Committee purse strings.

Now, Jim Treacher at the Daily Caller had this to say about O'Donnell's comment:
Anybody with a lick of common sense could’ve told him how racist this is
No. It's not.

Here's why.

The phrase "dancing as fast as I can" is a well-established and popular figure of speech. As a movie, it was a story of a woman's addiction to valium. As a metaphor, it means to engage in a lot of frantic activity without necessarily making any progress.

Which certainly seems to apply to Steele's situation.

The second metaphor, about Steele's "master" being the RNC, is a little dicier, what with it being the traditional term for a slave-owner, but it's not necessarily out of place. It's usage here seems more an allusion to the Biblical admonition against serving two masters.

My point being that O'Donnell could just as easily have said what he said about a white man, and it wouldn't have sounded strange.

Yet because Steele is black, Treacher reflexively presumed that the choice of terms was motivated not only by race, but more specifically by O'Donnell's hatred of that race.

Pish-posh and folderol.

Now, if O'Donnell had said something about Steele "singing 'Mammy'" for his "owner", then Treacher might have a point.

But he didn't.

So he doesn't.

Please stop hallucinating racism that isn't there.


  1. You might want to tell O'Donnell that. According to you, he apologized for nothing.

  2. I'm only talking about whether what he said was actually racist, not whether someone can assume that it's racist because the target is black.

    There's a lot of people who think that way in MSNBC's target audience, so making the apology to placate them might be a sensible business decision.

    Heck, I'm married. I apologize all the time when I don't do anything wrong, because my wife misconstrues my intentions.