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Howard Dean's mouth

Published February 18, 2005

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A few weeks ago, many top Democrats were on edge over the proposition of Howard Dean as the Democratic National Committee chairman. Aside from Mr. Dean's liberal politics, they were publicly worrying about the former Vermont governor's wayward tongue, which has a tendency to get the best of him and hurt their party as it tries to appeal to minority and independent voters. All we can say is that didn't take long.

On Feb. 11, the day before he was elected party chief, Mr. Dean asked, at a meeting of the DNC Black Caucus, "You think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of color in a single room?" The Associated Press reports that laughter greeted Mr. Dean, who then delivered the punchline: "Only if they had the hotel staff in here."

Were black Democrats in the audience as outraged as one would expect? Not really. Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, who was in attendance and didn't find Mr. Dean's comments offensive at all, told us the audience greeted Mr. Dean's punchline with a standing ovation.

Not everyone is so bemused. Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and former congressman J.C. Watts, both black Republicans, have called for the chairman to apologize. In a joint statement, they wrote, "In his comments to the Democratic Black Caucus, Dean equates African-Americans who support Republicans to hired help. This kind of backward thinking reminds us of a horrible time in history when blacks were seen as servants." Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman called Mr. Dean's comments racist.

Everyone of course understands what Mr. Dean means when he says these things; he's just awful at saying them. We couldn't help but remember Mr. Dean's quip during the Democratic presidential primary that he wanted "to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks."

When then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott made remarks that were correctly seen as racist, he lost his leadership post and apologized. Democrats who are justifiably quick to level charges against others who make such statements should let their own party know that derogatory comments are unacceptable. Mr. Dean owes America an apology.

© MBM

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"Not everyone is so bemused. Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and former congressman J.C. Watts, both black Republicans, have called for the chairman to apologize. In a joint statement, they wrote, "In his comments to the Democratic Black Caucus, Dean equates African-Americans who support Republicans to hired help. This kind of backward thinking reminds us of a horrible time in history when blacks were seen as servants." Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman called Mr. Dean's comments racist."
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I guess the truth hurts.-----That is all these "Black Republicans" are, at least to white republicans, ----no more than servants doing their master's bidding, and these "Black Republicans" are no different than the houseslaves that actually believed that they were different or better than the field slaves and that their master actually cared for them or cared more for them than they did the field slaves.
To me, if there's anything troubling about Dean's comments, it's something that seems to have escaped notice. To me, Dean's comments reveal the subconscious belief that people of color are people to be attracted or brought to listen to party leadership, rather than people who are part & parcel thereof, who are able to participate at all levels, even the highest levels. It's like, "WE DEMOCRATS can get more blacks to OUR meetings than the Republicans can to THEIRS."

Personally, I was a bit taken aback by the comment, though. But black Republicans would staunchly defend any white Republican who said the same thing Dean did.
OH MY GOD!!! the shock of it all, a white liberal democrat saying something like that, get freaking real, lets not forget this comment:

"I want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks."

I don't think that it is subconscious, this same man had no african americans really working on his campaign and was called out because of it, his history as governor showed the same thing. Just another white liberal who believes that no matter what he says he can continue to count on black support.
Although HD's comments have a ring of truth to them, they are still offensive none the less... but that's what happens when you invite Billy Bob to the dinner table.

As far as JC Watts is concerned, he owes us an apology for his entire tenure in congress - his record as a repub is shameful at best. At no point did he speak out against the likes of trent lott, jesse helms, g. bush, etc.

Concerning Mike Tyson's ex brother-in-law, he has never taken a stand against racism in his tenure as lt gov. of MD. So why start now? Even when there was overwhelming evidence of racial bias when applying the death penalty in the state, he remained silent.

Dean should apologize to those in attendance, for his overwhelming insensitivity.

Watts & steele should stop being right wing reactionary puppets.
Howard Dean either has a big as hand up his ass or is stupid beyond belief.

Though he at least has a pulse, he comes in a long line of Democrats who just say things he thinks or is told will be effective without really thinking about a damn thing. And I guess consulting someone Black before you say some dumb shit about Blacks out your mouth is asking for too much.

I said HD was suspect from jump and he keeps proving me right. He's goes with the blows of the wind...
I heard about this the day after the comments were made thanks to the Conservative Talk Show circuit. My question still is and will remain until it is addressed.

Dean comments said "people of color", which says to me he did not limit his comments to just Black folk but included all "people of color". Then him saying the only way the Republicans can get this many people of color in a room is if they get the hotel staff in here is not a shot at Black folk more than it is a shot at Latino men and women who make up the staff of most hotels these days and are a "people of color".

This is nothing more than a few Negro Cons playing politics and trying to get something started. Dean may have been talking to a Black audience but he sure as hell was not talking about Black people when he mention the hotel staff. Why are Black folk offended by his comments when the reality is they are truthful.
I also don't see 'African American' in his intent. It is my sensitivity, but I don't think that was his intent/focus.

I still struggle with the term 'people of color.'

Color seems to be accepted as the definer of our diversity, and accept by all, including us.

For me, this is sad.

It does lock our minds on the least of all that we are.

We say 'people of color' when what we really mean in 'non-Europeans.'

So....J. C. Watts and the Lt. Governor of Maryland see the need to issue a statement.

I wonder how they came to the conclusion to do that.

Who called who?

I think they both got a call from the Republican National Committee,

PEACE

Jim Chester
Nope, no apology necessary for me. I'm not in the least bit offended.

What I do find offensive, though, are both Michael Steel and J.C. Watts. scream And anyway, what business or concern do they have about what happens or is said in a meeting of the DNC Black Caucus?? They need to stick to their own business .. which is neither Democrat nor Black! Eek

To me this shows that not only can the truth hurt ... it can be amusing at times as well!
Not offended at all. It is the truth. You want me 2 be mad at HD but give rappers a pass? Give me a break if Chris Rock had said it, it would have not even been news worthy..

"In his comments to the Democratic Black Caucus, Dean equates African-Americans who support Republicans to hired help...."

Do they know who Armstrong Williams is?
quote:

"When I travel to speak at Republican conferences and events around the country, wandering through hotels, convention centers and social clubs, as I approach the rooms where I'm scheduled to speak, I am often told by Republicans that I must be in the wrong place," he wrote.

"As a Bush delegate at the 2000 convention in Philadelphia, I proudly wore my delegate's badge and (Republican National Committee) lapel pin as I worked the convention. Regardless of the fact that I was obviously a delegate prominently displaying my credentials, no less than six times did white delegates dismissively tell me (to) fetch them a taxi or carry their luggage."


http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/news/4898492.htm?1c
Was DNC Chair Howard Dean's "Hotel Staff" Barb Racist or Racial?
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
By: Michael H. Cottman


Black civil rights and congressional leaders said Tuesday that a recent joke made by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, the recently-elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was not offensive and is being purposely exaggerated by the GOP to gain traction with blacks.

During a meeting last month with black Democrats in Washington, D.C., Dean joked during a speech, "You think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of color in a single room? Only if they had the hotel staff in here."

Republicans branded Dean's remarks as "racist" and "insulting" to blacks, and some even suggested that Dean should resign.

"The point he was trying to make was that the Bush administration is extremely hostile and threatening to the interest of black people," Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, a former Democratic presidential candidate, told BlackAmericaWeb.com Tuesday. "He was saying that although the Republican Party has leading blacks in high positions, they are not black leaders who can deliver voters."

Republicans immediately seized on what they perceived as a political miscalculation by Dean, with Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and former congressman J.C. Watts -- both prominent black Republicans -- calling on Dean to apologize, and RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman telling the ABC Radio Network that Dean's remark was "pretty offensive. It's pretty racist, if you ask me."

"We are simply outraged over recent racially insensitive remarks made by Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean," Steele and Watt said in a joint statement. "In his comments to the Democratic Black Caucus, Dean equates African-Americans who support Republicans to hired help.

"This kind of backward thinking reminds us of a horrible time in history when blacks were only seen as servants," the statement read.

Black Republicans in Mississippi went a step further and called for Dean to resign. Charles Evers, a member of the Mississippi Republican Executive Committee, told reporters that Dean should apologize and step down.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) said she attended Dean's speech, and maintains that Dean was simply trying to say that Republicans lack racial and ethnic diversity and would have to manufacture a black audience to generate a strong turnout.

"We knew when we left that the Republicans would grab onto it, record it and promote it for their own agenda," Jackson Lee said in an interview Tuesday.

On whether Dean should apologize, Jackson Lee she said Republicans are raising the issue – not blacks in communities around the country.

"The call for an apology is coming from people with an agenda," she said.

Several other blacks who listened to his speech told BlackAmericaWeb.com that Dean probably should have phrased his comments differently, but claimed that no one in the audience was offended by his remarks because they understood Dean's core message.

Daniella Gibbs Leger, deputy communications director for the Democratic National Committee, who was among those present, said Dean "received a standing ovation" after his appearance.

Leger told BlackAmericaWeb.com that Dean "did not apologize, nor does he plan to apologize. He was pointing out that the Republican Party lacks diversity – and that's a fact."

But Tara Wall, RNC director of outreach communication, called Dean's comments "unfortunate" and "insulting."

Wall said Democrats are losing precious electoral support among blacks, while Republicans are gaining ground with black voters.

"We still have a long way to go, but we're making inroads, and we're focusing on issues that matter to African Americans," Wall said Tuesday.

"Democrats are trotting out that same tired tune, and using those same old negative remarks," Wall said. "How does is help African Americans [for Dean] to equate African Americans to the hired help? How does it help to engage black voters by insulting them?"

Actor Joseph C. Phillips, a conservative writer living in Los Angeles, said in a recent editorial that Dean was out of line and that Democrats are lacking in leadership.

"The unwritten rule when it comes to ethnic humor is family can joke about family, but woe to the outsider," Phillips wrote. "Black folk can tell black jokes, Poles can tell Polish jokes and Jews can crack on Jews. Family winks and laughs, nodding at the grain of truth in the stereotypes presented," he said.

"Conversely," Phillips added, "the exact same joke, told by someone outside the family risks the teller being labeled a bigot or worse ... Such is the case with Howard Dean's latest foot in mouth episode. The Democrats just don't realize how out of date their vision is. That's the real joke, and sadly it is on them."

But Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) disagreed.

"I don't think Howard Dean has a racist bone in his body, but I think he could have found a better way to say what he said," Cummings told BlackAmericaWeb.com.

"Republicans do not have the best reputation with African Americans," he added. "And that's why they can only muster 11 percent of the black vote."

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