Thursday, February 15, 2018

J.B. Pritzker is (not) a racist

     For a number of years I wrote for the Chicago Reader, both the BobWatch and the True Books columns, and occasional columns and features. Then for a number of years I didn't, for the simple reason they weren't interested in my writing for them. Now my old pal, Mark Konkol, is editor. He asked me if I would write on this topic, and I said, "Sure." It's good to be back in the Reader. 

     Do you remember the word Bobby Rush used to describe anyone who might question the selection of toothless political hack Roland Burris to fill Barack Obama's vacant senatorial seat?
     Think back. Almost a decade ago. December 2008.
     Rod Blagojevich was out on parole, having already so badly mangled the deliberation process that he was muscled out of his Ravenswood home in handcuffs by the FBI. Still, he insisted on appointing a senator, as his final obscene gesture to the state he'd betrayed.
     Anyone with an ounce of personal integrity cringed away from the poisoned chalice Blago was proffering with both hands.
     But the septuagenarian Burris, who had space on his pharaonic tomb to list another accomplishment, grabbed it eagerly.
     No? Don't remember? It was a long time ago.
     Rush, after thanking God that a black man had been made senator, urged anyone in the U.S. Senate who might oppose the former attorney general's appointment not to "lynch" the man.
     He went there. Easily. From long practice. Because really, the only reason a person would not want a 71-year-old undistinguished political functionary dropped into a seat in the United States Senate had to be racial hate.


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21 comments:

  1. I'd describe Emil Jones as a hack controlled by ComEd as he always did what they wanted, no matter how much the electric rates would go up.
    But calling Jesse Jackson a nightmare is far too mild, as he's a vicious anti-Semite! He went out of his way to attack Jews in the news media, just for reporting facts he didn't want the public to know.
    In a Life Magazine profile of him from years ago, Jackson told of working in the kitchen at a all white country club in North Carolina & "spitting into the food that was to be served to the guests." Most people believe that either he censored himself or Life bowdlerized the comment & that he meant that he put his own shit into the food!
    Then there was this line in Barbara Reynolds biography of him, where she repeated the crack, that the most dangerous place on Earth was to get between Jackson & a TV camera.

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    1. it was Jesse Jackson junior that was referred to as a nightmare clark st. I believe your rant is referencing his dad. I know they all look alike

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    2. Yeah, I mixed those two creeps up. Like father like son, although outwardly, Junior never appeared to be an anti-Semite like his rotten to the core father. I have no idea what he was like privately.

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  2. You in the Reader is a good sign for local journalism.

    A minor point - the axe handle was Lester Maddox's shtick, not George Wallace's. (Wallace was only about as tall as an axe handle). In the 1970s after Maddox left office (governor of Georgia, then lieutenant governor under Jimmy Carter!) he had a shop in Underground Atlanta where he sold autographed axe handles and other political memorabilia, while not performing as a stand-up comedian.

    There are parallels between Maddox and Trump - both had campaign props (axe handle/MAGA hat), both ran as disaffected businessmen on a platform of anti-government populism and white supremacy (Maddox overt, Trump covert) and antagonism to a Democratic president, and both were unbelievably elected with a less-than-majority vote. FWIW, Maddox surprised many people by not being as bad a governor as they expected - not unlike our lowered expectations of what "being Presidential" means.

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  3. if I'm not mistaken after pritzker and blagojevich ticked off each possible pick that was being considered, pritzker then said something to the effect of : that should cover you on the African American thing. he said this to a man out on bond?
    my take is that after less than ringing endorsements on each person , the exercise of rating African American politicians was summed up dismissively by saying basically there are no good candidates so pick the one that white people are least offended by.
    while this might not be the most egregious form of racism, it is likely somewhat racist along with pragmatic or politically savvy.
    much like dismissing the community leaders standing behind mr. jones . while you may be correct in your assessment a white persons unsolicited judgement of people of color just might be off base , and certainly those same people of color taking offense to this judgement being dismissed is the ball gathering steam as it rolls down the hill.
    if we think there aren't any worthy black politicians for a political appointment what are we saying? if we tick down the list and include carol mosely braun and todd stroger . we are basically one Barak Obama away from a biggot right?
    we can think whatever we want but once we say or publish what we think we shouldn't be surprised if some people see us differently than we see ourselves and if its black people we are expressing our opinions about or women we shouldn't be surprised if they feel they have a more legitimate view than we do about their own circumstance. we are all guilty of subtle forms of racism and when this is pointed out we shouldn't disregard it by accusing the accuser of playing the race card inappropriately . we should try and understand our failings. mr pritzker is trying to do that. so should we all.

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    1. if we think there aren't any worthy black politicians for a political appointment what are we saying? if we tick down the list and include carol mosely braun and todd stroger . we are basically one Barak Obama away from a biggot right?

      No, we're saying that Todd Stroger and Carol Moseley Braun do not have the intelligence, education, work ethic or character of Barack Obama, that the only thing the three have in common is race, and that race is irrelevant to competence.

      we are all guilty of subtle forms of racism and when this is pointed out we shouldn't disregard it by accusing the accuser of playing the race card inappropriately .

      And when someone reflexively and inappropriately accuses us of racism because we say that a given black politician is flawed, that person shouldn't disregard us or get offended when we reject the criticism.

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    2. Intelligence ,education ,work ethic or character? That's code right. I'm sorry you reject whatever you wish. What I said is if an entire list of possible candidates all black all previously elected all college educated are rejected by a white person this could be a subtle form of racism .Or not .it could be overt. I don't know you. And you don't know me . but I know that type . From your comments of the past you clearly are a progressive. So is Neil .We are all guilty of racism. Denieing it does not mean it doesn't happen. Give me a list of acceptable black politicians and leaders if you wouldn't mind. Keep it local .just so I know what one looks like. I'd appreciate it .none of us seem to have a problem making a list we find unacceptable. I find that troubling .

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    3. Intelligence ,education ,work ethic or character? That's code right.

      Wrong.

      all previously elected all college educated

      There are any number of previously elected, college-educated fools in American politics, of every race.

      Give me a list of acceptable black politicians and leaders if you wouldn't mind.

      Well, I could talk about Toni Preckwinkle, Karen Lewis, Eddie Johnson, Bobby Rush, etc. But honestly, I don't see why I need to prove my progressive, non-racist credentials to you or anyone else before I am allowed to criticize a black politician.

      none of us seem to have a problem making a list we find unacceptable. I find that troubling .

      So do I, but not for the same reason.

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    4. I'm not asking you to prove anything bitter scribe .To me or anyone else. I acknowledged you as a progressive in my post .I appreciate the list. It's not me accusing anyone of racism because of their criticism of black politicians. It's black leaders accusing Mr pritzker and I think some careful consideration should be given to their complaint and it should not be dismissed. My accusation if that's what you want to call it was directed at mr. Steinberg. You seemed to think he needed you to come to his defense. he's a big boy and has put me in my place without hesitation many times in the past.

      My point if you would indulge me and try not to look past it once again is: we are ALL guilty of subtle forms of racism . The easiest way to find out when this occurs is when you listen to the people who feel they were harmed by your action. While it may not always be a valid complaint who are us white folks to say? I mean really how would we know? I have heard from many people that it is not the responsibility of African Americans to educate us about racism. It is our responsibility. If you truley believe you have overcome racial bias in every aspect of your life , respect! You are in an extraordinarily small small minority. I think it's a thing we need to work on every day . I think We need to own our failures and we need to call each other out when we see behaviors we question and engage in civil discussions.

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    5. I never said I "have overcome racial bias in every aspect of my life" and I don't believe I have. I just try to be conscious of it and not let it affect my words and actions.

      By the same token, I'm damned if I'm going to let you or Bobby Rush or anyone else use a charge of racial bias to condemn me or Neil Steinberg or Pritzker or anyone else for perfectly legitimate criticism of a politician who happens to be black. If anyone wants to think I'm a racist because I don't respect, say, Clark Burris, fine. It's a free country. Just as I am free to think that person is a fool.

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    6. I'm glad you try to not let your racial bias affect your words and actions. I do too. Sometimes I fail. We all do .
      It's not up to us to "let" others use a charge of racial bias. That kind of attitude by definition can in many instances be a demonstration of racism. It is not we or our friends and associates who determine whether we are acting appropriately. Once again it is the individual or group harmed by our actions that are most able to condemn us. Your stubborn refusal to acknowledge that does not make it so. Our moral and ethical take on ourselves when criticizing others is skewed by our inherant biases. Get over yourself bitter scribe. You sound like Trump saying I know him , he's a good man he couldn't be guilty of that behavior. Or I know myself I couldn't be guilty of that behavior . By the way who's Clark Burris?.

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    7. Sorry, I meant Roland.

      OK, "let" was a bad word choice. I should have said something like "stand by smiling and tugging my forelock" at unfounded charges of racism.

      So "it is the individual or group harmed by our actions that are most able to condemn us"? Really? A criminal is "harmed" by being convicted and sent to prison. Is he therefore "most able to condemn" society for doing so?

      You tell me to get over myself. Take your own advice. Your "less racist than thou" act is getting tiresome.

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    8. Dude I never said I'm not racist . Many criminals have the right to say that racism is partly to blame for their incarceration because of the criminal justice system being slanted against the poor a disproprtiant number of whom are people of color . Up the thread a commenter confused Jesse Jackson with Jesse Jackson jr. I know this happens but I looked up this Clark Burrus turns out he's a guy he was the first black comptroller in the Cook County and I read about him and it turns out you know he was an outstanding human being an African American as it turns out but you know when you confuse one African-American with another African-American and when it's common to do that I don't know what to say about that. This whole unfounded accusations of racism is what really makes me wonder like really you get to decide that ? I'm not saying I do I'm saying that the people who do are the ones that are harmed by racism how difficult is it to agree with that. You're stubborn refusal to understand that racism is a thing is what's getting tiresome and not just yours everybody who thinks that racism is somehow a thing of the past or isn't part of their makeup. Ask black people they'll tell you, they deal with it every single day of their lives. what do you think they're imagining it?

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    9. when you confuse one African-American with another African-American and when it's common to do that I don't know what to say about that.

      You could try saying, Mistakes happen. Like when someone spells Barack Obama's first name "Barak" or Carol Moseley Braun's middle name "Mosley."

      This whole unfounded accusations of racism is what really makes me wonder like really you get to decide that ? I'm not saying I do I'm saying that the people who do are the ones that are harmed by racism how difficult is it to agree with that.

      I get to decide whether to take it seriously or whether the person making the accusation is just saying it because he or she doesn't want to concede that the person under discussion is corrupt or incompetent. How difficult is it to agree with that?

      You're stubborn refusal to understand that racism is a thing is what's getting tiresome

      Of course I understand "racism is a thing." How stubborn do you have to be to not realize that sometimes the accusation of racism is not made in good faith?

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    10. I do understand that it's possible sometimes accusations of racism are not made in good faith . I also understand that racism is so prevalent and so damaging that it is difficult to agree with using that fact to dismiss the accusation . Especially when the racism is subtle. It makes white folks look like they think they are the wronged party in this dynamic which is so seldom the case that when it is used in good faith we need to just buck it up listenllistenand see if maybe they were out of line. I think pritzker was .many blacks seem to agree .he seems willing to own it and try to make amends. Why aren't you agreeable to letting that be the narrative? I don't get it .

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    11. And I don't get why you seem to think that "letting that be the narrative" is the default position, and any deviation from that is racism.

      Look, this is getting tedious. We're obviously talking past each other, and you're just as obviously one of those people who insists on having the last word. So fucking take it already. This thread is days old, and no one cares about it except us, and I don't even any more. So that leaves you.

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    12. No Mr scribe the narrative as formed by black political leaders regarding pritskers comments points to it's aspects of racism. Powerful white men conspiring to allow power to blacks in the forum whites choose. Awarding this power to an African American of their choosing and yet still denigrating him ( Jesse white). People who want to disagree with the black leaders position may well also be exhibiting racism. Who could say? My point being ask a black person .their perspective seems most important . Not ours. Not whites. We don't get to decide what constitutes racism . Not me .not you not Neil.

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  4. Anyone who accuses Pritzker of being racist is falling right into Rauner's trap. What has Rauner ever done for black people, besides mouth pious cliches about how "school choice" will save black kids from "failing public schools"? Rauner is just following the typical conservative political strategy of divide and conquer. Set one set of Americans against another and maybe you'll end up on the top of the pile.

    I notice that he's now running attack ads against Jeanne Ives that try to link her to history's greatest monster, Mike Madigan. I saw the ad at the gym and the sound was off, so I don't know exactly how he's trying to pull that off, but it doesn't matter what variety of bullshit he's peddling. The point is that of course he couldn't go after her for her loathsome strategy of demonizing transsexuals, women who want abortions and "illegals," because she's just doing what he and pretty much all Republicans do to try to get to 50% + 1.

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  5. All those fuzzy black and white ads said to be from FBI wiretaps have made up my mind for me. I'm never going to vote for Rod Blagojavich for Governor.

    Tom

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  6. You are spot on, NS.

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  7. It appears from this that JBP isn't for to be governor. Apart from the racism issue, no intelligent person who was paying attention would have discussed anything with Blago over the phone in November 2008; it wasn't much of a secret that the US Attorney was after him by then. Anyone dumb enough to do so deserves whatever he gets.

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