Pop Culture, Race & Politics

The Post-Racial Tipping Point?

Confused? Me too. This is how I feel right now.

Last week we looked at Herman Cain’s place in the Black community…well, now CNN is claiming that Cain’s race isn’t as important to conservatives as it used to be. And it’s got me ponderin’.

See, I’m baffled. Damn near dumbfounded. I almost feel like I’m sitting in some alternate reality where Michael Jackson is Black and it doesn’t matter if you’re Black or white.

Why, you ask?

Well, for the first time in history, it seems like nobody in the Republican party realizes – or cares – that Herman Cain is…wait for it…

…wait for it…


Now either the majority of Black people are indeed full of sh*t or something odd is going on. For years, Black folks have been shown, taught, and reminded that race was as important a factor in our lives as our education, money, or Tyler Perry. There’s a popular meme in the Black community that no matter who you are or how much money you have, you’re still just an educated n*gga with money.
Yet, somehow, Herman Cain seems to be in a plausible position to push forward and actually secure the Republican nomination for President. Is it possible that we could have two Black men competing for the nations’s highest position?

Like, for real?

Just to keep it gully, I think Justin Bieber has a better chance of making it into a BET cypher than two Black men running for President, against each other. I think that welllllll before we get to the formal nomination Herman Cain will say something else ridiculous (akin to his belief that people in that small Tennessee town were right to stop a mosque from being built on land owned by the Muslims building the mosque or electrocuting Mexicans) or somehow fall out of favor. Will it be solely because as we get closer, white people will somehow wake up and realize, “hold the phone, that’s a Black man up there”? I don’t know. And to be fair, I don’t actually think that everybody’s racist.

But I can’t lie, I’m surprised by the fact that for the first time in Black history, a man’s policies and principles seem to be touted by the party that currently and almost intentionally seems to have the least amount of color amongst their representation. I’ve seen coworkers sing his praises with happiness and tout his plans. And yes, Virginia, they’re white.

Hank Williams, Jr, in the now famous segment that got him kicked out of Monday Night Football lore, said that Herman Cain was the only GOP candidate that made any sense.

Hear ye, hear ye. Hold me.

Would his ascension to the Republican nomination be proof that we are truly living in a post-racial world and that the vast majority of us Black folks complaining about race need to shut up? No. I will forever feel like white people view certain members of our populace as exceptions. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Herman Cain, etc. These aren’t regular Black people.

They’re different.

And they’re all politicians of sorts. Herman Cain’s biggest asset seems to be knowing how to say what white people want to hear. It’s a true skill, trust me.

Interesting enough, all of the racial rhetoric coming out of the GOP involving Cain seems to be coming from him. He seems to be touting a certain type of dissociated Blackness, which is why so many Black people don’t trust him. He’s speaking all of that “you can do it because I did it, by myself” non-sense that gets many people labeled modern day Uncle Toms. It’s an interesting sort of alienation politics that grants him good favor amongst white people (his entire base at this point) and pisses off nearly every Black person within a 1-mile radius. Even his alma mater (and mine), Morehouse College, isn’t exactly singing his praises right now. And amongst the HBCU circuit, this might be the first time nobody wants any part of this competition.

While there is some truth to what he’s saying – for a significant portion of us, our failures are largely our own doing – to ignore the centuries of institutionalized racism is probably as idiotic a mentality as one can have. We have plenty of proof via actual studies about people with ethnic names not getting called back for job interviews while “mainstream” named people (think Jim, John, Beth, Sarah) get the opportunity to interview for a job. And since jobs are a big part of the current political landscape, I think that very real study is telling.

Some of the excitement I’m reading about the Tea Party and GOP’s approval of Cain almost seems ironic. Their excitement is largely driven by proving to people that they aren’t racist. It’s like learning play jazz flute in order to tease the kid up the street who plays jazz flute. If they support a Black man, they cannot inherently be racist. Further, Herman Cain’s popularity proves that race isn’t a big deal.

Yeah, we’ll see when it comes time to pull that lever. Granted, we’re still a long way away from a formal nomination which is why I think that these conversations keep happening. Nobody really seems happy with the current crop of candidates anyway so Cain is something like a positive by not being so negative for the GOP. But I can’t lie, I might have to eat my hat if he actually were to get nominated by the Republican party.

The larger point still remains though: I’m completely surprised by Cain’s success at this point because he is, indeed, Black. It honestly seemed like so many people who disliked (and still do) President Obama did so for very little more than petty reasoning, which makes the race card seem appropriate. His entire presidency has seemed like he’s been running from behind because everybody wanted him to fail. You can’t ignore the big elephant in the room.

But somehow that doesn’t matter with Cain…yet. So maybe we are in a post-racial world. Or not.

Talk to me AFTER he gets nominated.

Does Cain’s popularity amongst the GOP indicate that we are in a post-racial America? Or are we watching an early form of the Bradley effect taking place? Or more sinister, do you Republicans are just trying to make a point??

What gives?


[ADMIN NOTE: At midnight on October 20, we’re going to take VSB offline until next week while we finish handling all of the site issues we seem to be having. Most people seem to not be suffering from random f*ckery due to our site being hacked but enough are that we need to go offline to fix them. We’ll be back on Monday. Thanks for sleepwalking with the kids and sorry for any inconvenience. Posse out.]

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • Tes

    I think Cain has a Wayne Brady kind of effect on people…otherwise I don’t see what the big deal is about him or why his race matters so much. o.O

    -.- I’m too young for this sh*t…

  • Herman Cain isn’t Black. He has re-vitiligo.

    On a serious note, I feel that Black Republicans are often supported by pale skins because they both believe that Black people are disenfranchised because they just don’t work hard enough. Ideology knows no color, so as long as Herman Cain is talking that talk then he will be supported by Republicans.

  • dc1913

    I don’t believe them, they need more people…

    Herman Cain is merely a pawn just like Sarah Palin was a pawn. The GOP thinks that minorities and women are idiots. With Palin, it was like ooooh dangle a woman at them for VP they won’t vote for Hilary Clinton. Now they’re like dangle the token blackie at us and we won’t vote for Obama… but what they don’t realize is… we actually vote on some basis of policy and basic intelligence GASP ’tis true.

    So no we are not post racial, whatever the hell that means. Once they realize that nobody is checkin for uncle Ruckus, they’ll drop that ninja faster than Alan Keys… who? right…

  • just a few years ago, Obama’s race was constantly being brought up. ppl are only voting for him bcuz he’s black, not bcuz he’s qualified or the most suitable candidate. i mean, he had so little experience in Washington, how could he be a good choice?!??! Obama’s race was the only thing really attributed to his popularity.

    yet here Cain is, a large business exec, with ZERO legislative/governing experience, and all of a sudden folks act like he’s this great presidential candidate who just so happens to be black.

    *record scratch* (o_O) oh.

    i dont think this has anything to do with being in a post-racial America. it just simply means the GOP and their sheep are full of sh*t. and we all knew that anyway. so….

    carrying on….

  • CurlyTop

    Please explain what “post-racial” means to me. Yeah I could google it but that wouldn’t be fun. It sounds like race no longer matters and we are all seen as equal human (minus Drake) beings. wtdta?

  • xLadyTx

    I got to the Justin Bieber/BET Cypher mention & had to stop. Literally just read that story & it made me thank basedgod that Preemo put a stop to that, quick, fast, and in a hurry! Smh.

    **Ok, now back to your regular scheduled programming…**

  • You hit the nail on the head with noting he says exactly what white people want to hear. He represents an ideal, safe, negro. Most importantly, it is clear that he prides himself on being an individual and not a part of “the black community”. There is a lot less power in thinking as an individual rather than thinking about collective goals.

  • Liking ONE, or a couple, of black person doesn’t make someone not a racist. We all know the joke about counting your ethnic friends to prove how progressive you are. We are nowhere near a post-racial America. Herman Cain has just fallen into the position of the Good Boy. He will liked as long as he stays on the right side and is consistently saying terrible things about Black people en masse that white people generally rant about each in private and ‘in private’ (Read as: on the internet). I remember Colin Powell was favored among conservatives, until he said 1 thing they didn’t like and he no longer gets ANY co-sign from anyone on that party.

  • He won’t get the nomination, so his race doesn’t matter.

  • Curious Capital

    See you can write good Panama D. Jackson. Anywho, politics and pandering go hand in hand. Cain has successfully created an image and a message that resonate with the GOPers who don’t want to abandon the ideals of their party. That same ole tired story that you can pull yourself up by the bootstraps which disregard the power of wealth, connections, and privilege. Everyone is suffering and ironically Cain serves as a symbol. If he can make it, of course everyone can. I’m baffled, but I can’t pretend that he isn’t playing the he!! out of this game.

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