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
"It's not a TV crazed race. Frankly you can't buy your
way into it," Cuomo said, according to Albany Times
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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/