Racial Politics

I admit I’m sort of out of the loop in emotional – and base level tugs at a strand of Racist Advertisement. For many people, the negative ad against Harold Ford that includes a presumably naked white woman (from just before the breast upward) saying “I met Ford at the Playboy Mansion” — and then, the rejoinder at the end “Call me!” — is obviously tinged. I myself have to think about it for a minute. It is what the viewer is expected to remember — charitably I’ll call it a charge of moral hypocrisy for airing advertisements filmed at churches while having attended a Superbowl party put on by Playboy. (In Jacksonville, mind you, not the Playboy Mansion). The racist implication goes back to the Reconstruction era charge that the Black man is raping our white women — which is why we need the good Christians of the Klu Klux Klan. Or that our white women are being seduced by the Black man. I do not think of that on an average day, notwithstanding politically incorrect moments of mundane comedy. I’m almost willing to give it a pass and think the criticism rings slightly false — that any attack such as that on that (admittedly frivulous) issue is going to end up even accidentally charged like that, but only almost.

I am incorrect in giving it a pass. Just because it doesn’t strike me on any level, doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. Witness this commercial. Jungle drums play at the mention of Harold Ford. While you need a dark ominous music, jungle drums makes the subtle overt to anyone who wants to hear it. The Republican Party is playing racist politics with Harold Ford in Tennessee.

Harold Ford, meanwhile, is guilty of gay-baiting, and you can justify that or not at your whim. (David Savage accepts it as fine, for what that’s worth.)

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