What Can Only Be Said About White People

Time Magazine reports that Obama adviser David Axelrod said the following about Newt Gingrich: “The higher a monkey climbs on the pole the more you can see his butt.” A funny line, but in any other context, it would have been labeled “racist.”

Not to be outdone, he Arab League condemned Newt Gingrich for calling Palestinians “terrorists” and an “invented” people. White guys never get a break.

If a Republican had said this about President Obama, he or she would have been labeled a racist, forced to resign, take sensitivity training, and do political penance for the rest of his life.

Do you think I’m kidding? It nearly happened to Trent Lott who was a Senator from Mississippi. Lott spoke on December 5, 2002 at the 100th birthday party of Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, a long time conservative leader. Thurmond had run for President of the United States in 1948 on the Dixiecrat (or States’ Rights) ticket. Here’s what Lott said:

“When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years, either.”

This was viewed as racist because of Thurmond’s anti-desegregation past. It didn’t take long before Lott resigned as Senate Republican Leader.

During a Monday Night Football telecast on September 5, 1983, Howard Cosell made the following remark about Washington Redskins wide receiver Alvin Garrett: “That little monkey gets loose, doesn’t he?” Garrett is black.

Rev. Joseph Lowery, then-president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, denounced Cosell’s comment as racist and demanded a public apology. Cosell refused, citing his past support for black athletes and stating that “little monkey” was an affectionate term he had used in the past for small white athletes. In fact, Cosell had used the phrase to describe Mike Adamle 11 years before as well as for his own grandson. It didn’t matter. Cosell left Monday Night Football following the 1983 season.

On January 16, 1988, Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder was fired by CBS (for which he had been a regular on the NFL Today since 1976) after commenting to a  reporter in a restaurant that African Americans were naturally superior athletes because they had been bred to produce stronger offspring during slavery:

“The black is a better athlete to begin with because he’s been bred to be that way, because of his high thighs and big thighs that goes up into his back, and they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs and he’s bred to be the better athlete because this goes back all the way to the Civil War when during the slave trade’n the big . . . the owner . . . the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so that he could have a . . . big black kid.”

Then there was the Donovan McNabb controversy about comments that Rush Limbaugh made on a weekend TV show. Here’s what Limbaugh said:

“Sorry to say this, I don’t think he’s been that good from the get-go. I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team.”

While Limbaugh was not forced to step down from “Sunday NFL Countdown,” he did so to protect the network from the uproar.

Don’t forget the comments that Don Imus made (also see here) about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.

Here’s one more. A Greenville Technical College official twice referred to Katrina evacuees in 2005 that had made their way to Greenville, South Carolina, as “yard apes.” The college immediately removed the offending employee who uttered the racist-inferred comment. “She’s not a member of this institution today,” said Greenville Tech President Tom Barton. “Too much damage had been done.”

So now you what’s OK to say about a white man and what you can’t say about blacks.