Uncle Juan, Dirty Clarence, and Stupid Christine
Ginni Thomas done roused the sleepy dogs (Here’s a link to the original Post story but it requires registration). Clarence Thomas has clearly received part of his karmic reward in the form of his marriage to her; the more details emerge about Virginia’s voicemail the crazier she sounds. Regardless, one can rest assured that the answer to the question ‘when will Anita Hill get her apology?‘ is ‘never’. The right has long circled their wagons around their most precious tokens, preventing honest interaction with the outside world.
Consider how the right wing is rewriting Christine O’Donnell’s debate performance where she displayed a staggering ignorance of the Constitution. It is especially hilarious in light of how obnoxiously and frequently Teabaggers invoke the Constitution as if the rest of us despise it somehow (though I don’t why they want to change so much about something they profess to love so much, but I’m silly that way). Though she is certain to fail in her bid to be a senator she has a promising future as a highly paid right wing intellectual. There is a lot of money to be made if one is willing to spout nonsense for the right wing, and she has displayed a rare talent.
And then there’s Juan Williams; remember how the right called for and cheered the firings of Phil Donahue, Eason Jordan, Rick Sanchez, Peter Arnett, Ashleigh Banfield, Ward Churchill, Chas Freeman, Van Jones, Bill Maher, Octavia Nasr, Helen Thomas, and far too many others than I can think of, much less name, and even the most narrow partisan should concede the insincerity of the punditry in this case. If that doesn’t prove convincing, consider that a core part of the right wing agenda is to impose ‘right to not work‘ laws in all 50 states and eliminate protections for workers by any means necessary; Bill O’Rielly and Beck think that the actual human right to work and rest are ‘Communist’ ideas. The people who are shrieking about poor Juan Williams being fired from NPR are also the people who insist that employers should be able to discard employees like used tissue paper.
The epithet of ‘Uncle Tom‘ is highly charged and has a very specific meaning that has been diluted and distorted over time, just as the character from the Harriet Beecher Stowe novel was distorted in film and stage portrayals; the reference being made here is to the shuffling bootlicker from the minstrel shows, not the dignified hero of the book. To be clear, successful black people are not ‘Uncle Toms’; a person who sells out their community for the sake of petty personal success is an ‘Uncle Tom’. This concept has been muddled over the years and is further complicated because in the original text of the book ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ the character allows himself to be beaten to death rather than give up two female slaves who were escaping; looking back today we just see the book and the minstrel shows are long forgotten so the reference doesn’t really even make sense. The solution to this is to drop the epithet entirely in favor of a modern example; ‘Uncle Juan‘.
Juan Williams is at best a hack who should have been fired from NPR a long time ago. At worst he is a soulless sellout without professional credibility. It doesn’t matter who a person is or what they have claimed or said in the past when they preface a statement with the phrase, ‘I’m not a bigot,’ because the statement is going to be bigoted; Uncle Juan delivered a perfect proof of this principle when he shredded what integrity he had giving cover to Bill O’Reilly’s bigotry. Shame on him for perpetuating this sort of fear and distrust of an ethnic group when it is on the rise across the country, and shame on him for being a black man invoking ‘civil rights’ while reinforcing prejudice. That he is now crying about his rough treatment at the hands of NPR while FOX is rewarding his bigotry with a fat new contract is exactly why assholes like him should be referred to from here on out as ‘Uncle Juans’.
To be an NPR commentator means that person should have certain intellectual standards that they must be held to; unlike Beck, Limbaugh, and O’Reilly, NPR commentators are professional journalists that strive for consistency and accuracy in their reporting. Also, they consider it bad form to slur one sixth of the world’s population. I know this because I am not only a listener but a mug-carrying member of Public Radio; I am in full support of the decision to fire Uncle Juan and will be increasing my donation appropriately regardless of whether or not the right successfully defunds Public Broadcasting in America. I am proud they took this step against intolerance and will stand with them against the bullying to come.