There is no apology for white racism, or any racism for that matter; including Mr. DeVega's.
Cain spun a tale of his own childhood that was part Leave it to Beaver mated with a healthy dose of The Andy Griffith Show. He colorized these nostalgia-laden versions of Americana and whiteness -- lies wrapped around a fiction -- by adding an anecdote from his own experience as a young man encountering the evil that was Jim Crow America. In Cain's telling, he was denied admission to the University of Georgia based on his race,even though he ranked second in his high school class. Rather than show righteous anger and indignation at how his basic life chances were threatened by the (il)logic of white supremacy, Herman Cain "never lost faith in America" and oddly "found inspiration in the experience" as it reinforced the values his parents had instilled in himNo Mr. DeVega what Herman Cain did was not to allow himself to be beaten by the bigots who denied him admission. He instead went to Morehouse College and got his degree ( a point you left out of your diatribe). Would you have rather that he sit on the stoop of his front porch and feel sorry for himself? Would you have rather that he allow his obvious intellect go to waste? Should have gone and performed an act of violence against the people who wouldn't let him enroll? Instead of allowing the bigots to win he found away around the problem.
Cain's story jogged loose a memory from my own childhood. My grandmother, like Herman Cain's family, lived in the South during the height of Jim Crow segregation. As a black American of a different generation, I would often ask her about those years, and about our family's experiences from slavery to freedom. She was our family griot, passing down long-told vignettes of centuries past, as well as stories from the recent past about the civil rights movement (she was especially proud of how white men in our small town called my great uncle "sir" instead of "uncle" or "boy").He recalls this story of his grandmother and talks about making American democracy whole, yet he refers to any black conservative as a garbage pail kid. How exactly is the democracy going to be whole and truly free if people are not allowed to have their own belief system? It seems to me that the freedom his grandmother talked about would include the open exchange of ideas that a black conservative would bring to the table. Instead he insists that all blacks are monolithic and must remain that way or they are turning their back on their race.
One theme she consistently returned to was that black folks are like everyone else: during our three centuries in the country some of us were heroic, others cowardly, some good, and some bad. But there was always a sense of linked fate and communal obligation. As black folks struggling to survive in a white supremacist society there was really no other option if we were to triumph and make American democracy whole. However, my grandmother always reminded me that while most honored the community that nurtured them and fought for our collective well-being, there were others whose minds had been poisoned by white racism. These sad souls were to be pitied, but also avoided.
He refers to Mr. Cain as someone who doesn't rock the boat. So my question to you Mr. DeVega if you care so much about the black community why is it then Mr. Cain who is calling out the history of Planned Parenthood? Why are you not standing up and talking about how your community has not been allowed to grow in terms of overall population in this country due to abortion? Why are you not talking about Sanger's speeches to the Klan talking about the undesirables? Because the undesirable she was referring to is you.
I have heard several people say that one of the biggest things that Cain has working against him is the fact that he is black. He is going to be lumped together with the past two plus years of the racial politics that have been played by the Obama administration and the democratic party since the election of the first "post racial" president. I strongly disagree with this argument. I don't feel that most people will judge in this fashion. I think that Cain will be judged on his own merits and his own faults.
Cain's narrative, in which, like other conservatives, he is an island unto himself -- separate from social structures and institutions -- is exposed as a naked lie when his story is placed in context. Herman Cain's success rests on the shoulders of the many nameless people who struggled and marched so he could fully realize his freedom and citizenship. For example, Cain attended Purdue University at a time when student activists forced colleges and universities across the country to integrate. As the Tea Party GOP loves to point out, Cain enjoyed great success in corporate America because of his hard work and talent. But, he was also successful because of how black and brown folks (and their white allies), kicked down the doors of Wall Street and Main Street, as well as cracked the glass ceiling, so that people of color (and women) could enter and rise.The very sad fact is that Mr. DeVega is really the one who is spitting in the face of the people who came before him. He is saying that blacks cannot be anything except what he believes they should be. They cannot be a person whose thoughts differ on economic policy and giving the poor urban communities a hand up instead of a hand out. Mr. Cain is someone that would be far more willing to give the poor in DC a voucher to get a better education than Mr. DeVega would. Mr. DeVega is much more comfortable with the lie that if we just give better benefits to the teacher unions and throw more money at the public school system it will miraculously improve, the past 40 years of failure be damned. It never occurs to him that the reason that public school system continues to fail the poorest amongst us is because they have no one to answer to let alone someone to compete with.
In response, Herman Cain and his brethren grin and shuffle for white conservatives by telling them that "black folks are on a Democratic plantation" or "liberals are slave-catchers of black people." When playing this role, black conservatives spit in the faces of the thousands (if not millions) of African Americans who struggled and died for the freedom and full citizenship of all people.
Mr. DeVega you continue to delude yourself that you are looking for a post racial society. What you are really doing is continuing the pit the races against each other. You continue to look at the black community as bunch of victims instead of human beings that can and must think for themselves. I, as a mother, would much prefer the world that Mr. Cain is trying to make for my child than to continue to live in a society where an entire group of people are told to think your way or be called a race traitor. Dr. King asked Americans to judge people by their character, you sir still judge by skin color.
Cross Posted at PotLuck