2008 Presidential Election, Race and Racism
Professor Vernellia Randall
Speaking Truth to Power!

Obama Attacked: "You can't shuck and jive at a press conference."


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Pam Spaulding
 Pam's House Blend
Posted on January 10, 2008, Printed on January 11, 2008

Oh no he didn't. (TPM):

During an appearance yesterday on talk radio - at almost the same time as Obama co-chair Jesse Jackson Jr. questioned Hillary's tears - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo used some words with a very troublesome racial history, apparently in reference to Barack Obama.
"It's not a TV crazed race. Frankly you can't buy your way into it," Cuomo said, according to Albany Times Union reporter Rick Karlin. He then added, "You can't shuck and jive at a press conference. All those moves you can make with the press don't work when you're in someone's living room."

You see folks, this is what I'm talking about. This whole "post-racial" nonsense is a simple fantasy or delusion uttered by people who think race isn't a problem anymore. I'd like that to be the case as much as anyone else, but the fact of the matter is for Democrats, the alleged party of tolerance, this kind of bush-league nonsense exposes the real problem -- that the lack of engagement on how race and political races bring out the worst in people, and plays to the base fears of voters.

As predicted, Clinton supporter Andrew Cuomo unleashes "shuck and jive" then issues a statement that his comments were "taken out of context," since he later complimented Obama. [Be prepared to see that statement trotted out frequently in the future when it comes to incidents like this.]

"It was never about Obama in the first place," Cuomo told me of the use of the phrase, which he said he was using "as a synonym for 'bob and weave'.'"

My god. I know the smarter-than-thou political set thinks we're all rubes out here, but come on, this is incredible. This is what "shuck and jive" means, and it doesn't have anything to do with boxing, rope-a-dope, or anything benign:

"To shuck and jive" originally referred to the intentionally misleading words and actions that African-Americans would employ in order to deceive racist Euro-Americans in power, both during the period of slavery and afterwards. The expression was documented as being in wide usage in the 1920s, but may have originated much earlier.
"Shucking and jiving" was a tactic of both survival and resistance. A slave, for instance, could say eagerly, "Oh, yes, Master," and have no real intention to obey. Or an African-American man could pretend to be working hard at a task he was ordered to do, but might put up this pretense only when under observation. Both would be instances of "doin' the old shuck 'n jive."

What's really sorry is that in this DKos thread there are people actually running for cover and either 1) denying Cuomo supports Senator Clinton (he endorsed her, but is not part of the campaign) or 2) that the use of shuck and jive isn't a big deal and Obama supporters are exploiting this "gaffe." This is sad, and the vitriol in the thread only proves my point about how raw race discussions can be when they only surface in situations like this, rather when tempers aren't heated. DnA:

What I wish Obama would say, but won't and shouldn't:
It's nice of Mr. Cuomo to lift his face out of a plate of Spaghettios and take off his mirrored shades to comment on the Democratic Primary. Will he be breaking my legs so as to keep me from running off the plantation, or is he going to get Paulie Walnuts to do it?
See this is why I can't run for office.
The only way Obama can win is by not taking the bait. Unfortunately, if he wants to keep the goodwill of white voters, he has to play down what was an flagrantly racist insult.


Sigh. The downward spiral. Obama cannot take the bait lest he be seen as the angry negro. I have been blogging for some time now about the Democrats willing to "go there" that will be paired with equal amounts of innocent "deniability". As I said, we're going to see that "out of context" bs a lot more now.

And make no mistake, the eruptions of misogyny toward Clinton from all corners make it clear how raw those discussions are as well. This campaign is going to be extremely messy and divisive; the question is whether people are going to actually engage these problems head on, or keep playing whack-a-mole when uncomfortable, offensive events like these pop up. Pols, pundits and people in general are doing everything they can to make this election "post-racial" and too much is emerging that not much has changed.

Pam Spaulding blogs at Pam's House Blend.

2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/bloggers/http://www.pamshouseblend.com//73399/

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