Friday, March 24, 2023
March 24, 2023

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Pitts: Hypocrisy votes for GOP


Today’s topic: “How to be a Black man.”

It’s a subject on which white conservatives in the United States are often quick to offer instruction to actual Black men, their utter lack of relevant experience notwithstanding.

In split screens on Fox “News,” online and in emails to Black male columnists, they give unsought counsel.

Black men, they say, should educate themselves.

Speak the King’s English.

Be honest.

Abstain from violence.

And for goodness sake, stop having babies out of wedlock.

Then, white conservatives turn around and offer as a candidate in last week’s Georgia senatorial run-off a Black college dropout whose mother tongue is gibberish, who is estranged from fact if not reality itself, who has a reported history of abusing women, including threatening at least one with a handgun, and who has fathered multiple children by women to whom he was not married.

Hypocrisy votes Republican. Again.

Yes, Herschel Walker was defeated.

For that, all patriots should be glad — yet also sobered, given that he lost by less than 100,000 votes out of 3.5 million cast.

But the very fact of him as the standard bearer for conservative — ahem — “values” explodes all those sneering lectures on how to be Black.

Moreover, it feeds an impression that ultimately there is, for conservatives, really only one inviolable rule in that regard: don’t make white people feel bad.

Don’t make conservatives see what they’d rather not see or know what they’d rather not know.

In fact, don’t even remind them you’re Black, unless it be to reinforce their cherished narrative of how racism went away a long, long time ago.

If you simply must discuss racism in a present-day context, then talk about how white folk are the new victims.

Otherwise, keep your trap shut.

That’s how Tim Scott of South Carolina became a Black Republican senator and Walker almost did.

And it’s why no other Black man — or woman, for that matter — from the conservative South has ever done so, excepting two men in the Reconstruction era when “Republican” was not yet a synonym for racist.

Consider a little-noticed exchange a few days ago in a Tallahassee federal court.

Aides to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has crusaded against “woke,” were asked to define that word.

You’d have expected some hyperbolic nonsense in reply.

Instead, as reported by Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics, General Counsel Ryan Newman gave a fair and apposite definition, saying refers to the belief that “there are systemic injustices in American society and the need to address them.”

New instructions

The surprising cogency of the words offered a telling peek into the conservative worldview.

Evidently, it holds that there are no systemic injustices and thus, no need to address them.

Which sounds absurd till you recall that the point of all this is, don’t make white folk feel bad. That’s the price of entry to their favor.

It’s a price no person of conscience should be willing to pay, much less a Black man who, by definition, wakes up on the wrong side of systemic injustice every day in America.

Yet, there’s always someone willing to forfeit his dignity, happy to shuck and grin, for the fool’s gold of approval from those who would otherwise hold him in contempt.

Thank the fickle gods of the ballot box for sparing us the disaster of such a man in Congress. And in the process, crafting for Black men new instructions on how to be a Black man.

Turns out it’s quite simple, really.

Step one, watch what Herschel Walker does.

Step two, do the opposite.