Lou Dobbs and Race: No, Puh-lease! Finish Your Thoughts!

Lou Dobbs is something of a boner. It’s true. But to be publicly pooh-poohing the idea of an American “problem” discussing race, then inadvertently almost throw out the “cotton-pickin'” phrase?  Verifiably proving the colloquial traps that exist?  That is just priceless!


But set the gaff aside for now. I’m sure those of you who like to think are probably more irritated by what it is he’s actually saying, which is actually much stoopider than his slip of the tongue.

We begin at the beginning:

“I saw what she said, that the United States has a ‘birth defect’ on the issue of race. I think it’s really unfortunate that Secretary of State Rice believes as she does. The fact is, most Americans don’t have a problem talking about race. What we have is a problem of talking about race without fearing recrimination and distortion and someone using whatever comments are made for their own purposes, usually political purposes.”

Um. Lou? That means you have a problem talking about race. “The fact is,” you just made a short sentence longer, describing precisely what Secretary Rice was talking about – and heavens help me, yes: I’m siding with Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice.

To put it another way: I don’t have a fear of flying.  I have a fear of the falling, crashing, burning and dying  associated with flying that makes it difficult to get on a plane.  Totally different, eh Lou?

I think many white people are afraid to talk about race for fear of saying something unintentionally racist. I suspect many black people avoid discussing race for fear of being seen as asking for a hand out or as “The Angry Black Man.” But to whine about “political purposes” is to ignore the fact that all relationships among people are on some level “political.” Even if racial relations are an issue we’ve never adequately addressed in this country, there is nothing wrong with ceding a little of our free speech to the “politics” of our communities.

We continue:

“The reality is this the most socially, ethnically, religiously, racially diverse society on the face of the Earth.”

Get over yourself. Every bit of this garbage is patently false on the face of it. For a start, the region that encompasses Afghanistan, Pakistan and India is a region in which all the tribes of the Eurasian super-continent have been meeting, clashing, loving, fighting, living and trading together since time out of mind. There are at minimum 47 living languages spoken in Afghanistan alone, a society which has many minorities and not one majority, ethnically speaking. What we know as the “Hindu” religion is in fact a tapestry of an almost uncountable variety of sects, and it’s chief country of origin, India, has had Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and. . . women as their prime ministers many times in the past. Benazir Bhutto, a woman, was Pakistan’s prime minister. The United States is currently enthralled with the prospect of having either it’s first black or its first woman president. . .  ever.

Perhaps if our newsmen in this country understood such complexities existed in a region where we’ve been fighting for seven frickin’ years, our democracy would be better for it, yes?  As an interesting side note: the Aryans, so much the apple in the eye the White Supremacy movement, actually trace their origins to India. I’m not suggesting that Lou represents the White Power movement, but he does represent the powerful corporate forces of misinformation that allow such silliness to stand uncontested.  He also represents the dogged insistence of white consciousness not to accept the world as any different than what our European ancestors understood of it 200 years ago.  By Elizabethan Britain’s standards, yes, we are quite diverse.

And finally:

“And to hear a politican – whoever it may be – talk about how difficult it is to talk about race.  Well, the heck with them!  We’re living with the issue of race, we’ve got to be able to talk about it.  And I can guarantee you this: not one of these cotton – … ee, uh, yaugh. .  these just ridiculous politicians should be the moderator on the issue of race.  We have to have a far better discussion than that.”

Ok, Lou.  Who would you suggest start the discussion?  It seems rather a rhetorical suggestion, since you are after all a member of the media.  Why don’t you start the discussion, if not the politicians?

It seems to me that, if a politician is willing to risk swimming into the deep end of our political discourse, knowing that his or her career is on the line, that politician is deserving of some respect.  No, a lot of respect.  But not from Cotton-Pickin’ Lou.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.