I can’t even…I mean…fuck me running, I so want to go low on this one. I so want to heap ad hominem attacks on this creature like an elephant keeper piling up poop at the end of a circus parade. A long circus parade. But I won’t. I’m going to take Michelle Obama’s guidance, and I’m going to go high. Or at least a midway-point on the height chart.
So instead, let’s deconstruct this racist bullshit like adults.
I’m talking about one Kimberley Paige Barnette, would-be mayoral candidate for the truly lovely city of Charlotte, NC. Ms. Barnette recently posted the following to Facebook to promote her campaign—and remember, please, I’m not making this up:
VOTE FOR ME!
REPUBLICAN & SMART, WHITE, TRADITIONAL.
Believe it or not, this is an actual Facebook post from
mayoral candidate Kimberley Paige Burnette
Let’s start with the big one, “WHITE.” This woman listed the fact that she is white as a qualification for political office. Is this proof that racism is dead as racists like to tell us? Or is it more likely that this is what happens when a racist who hires racists, promotes racism, pursues racist policies, and apologies and defends racists gets elected president?
Yeah, I’m thinking it’s the latter, but it’s so much more, too.
Firstly, who wouldn’t know that woman is white? Certainly anyone voting based on skin pigmentation would take the 0.004 seconds required to look at her picture and check that box right off.
“Welp, is she white? Yep, looks white to me. Sounds good.”
As dog whistles go, that’s more like a train whistle. No one needs you to blow it to know the train’s here.
Which really makes me question her second trait, “SMART.” I mean, is she really? After all, with the very next word she doomed not only her candidacy, but at least some opportunities for future gainful employment. That doesn’t really seem all that smart to me.
OK, let’s move to her fourth quality, “TRADITIONAL.” As dog whistles go, this one is so much better. It’s more palatable for bigots who like to keep their bigotry behind closed doors.
But again, I have to question her claim altogether. When conservatives use words like “traditional,” it usually means that their values are rooted in an artificially contrived time frame of roughly 1948 to 1962, a time they like to pretend always was.
You know, just long enough to forget about all those powerful women helping to save the free world by keeping the wheels of machinery going while the boys were off killing Jerries and Japs, and before them damned Beatles came along with their long hair, their smart mouths, and their reefer.
It was a time when—in their eyes—blacks knew their place, and so did womenfolk, and weren’t neither of them running for mayor, no how. It’s that later bit of sexism that’s relevant here, because I’m not sure a woman who claims to be “traditional” in a political sense would really be running for mayor. It feels like a giant oxymoron.
Maybe I’m wrong on that front. Perhaps my conservative friends can educate me on how to balance “traditional” with “women in charge of stuff?”
But then, maybe she’s really using that first kind of “traditional,” the racist one*? But if that’s the case, we have to once again question her decision to specify that she’s white, because that’s just saying the same thing twice. And then we’re right back to that whole “SMART” thing. Because, really, I’m just not seeing it.
Dog whistles exist so that racists can hoot and holler racist bullshit with plausible deniability. Ms. Barnette just went and messed up the whole damned thing by tuning the dog whistle down a few octaves where everyone can hear and see it just as plain as they can see that she’s “WHITE.”
What’s sad, as separately pointed out by T. Greg Douvette, is that Ms. Barnette was a judge:
Also keep in mind: this woman was a magistrate – setting bail, hearing small claims cases, etc – for 18 yearshttps://t.co/ScD27kAnui
— T. Greg Doucette (@greg_doucette) September 2, 2017
I shudder to think of a person like this hearing and adjudicating cases.
Same as it Ever Was
A few things are clear to me. The first is that much of the racist uprising we’ve been seeing is the result of white America losing some of its power, prestige, and privilege. Not all, mind you. I’m a white male. The deck remains stacked in my favor, but many have felt the erosion and they’re scared.
Politicians on the left abandoned these folks, while politicians on the right work hard to harness them to pursue economic policies utterly detrimental to their own well being.
I get all that, and I wish we could jump ahead to a time when the confusion and chaos of this seachange was mere dust in our rearview mirror. Alas and alack, wishes aren’t horses, and a beggar on foot I remain.
But this racist surge will subside, eventually, even if it never goes away. We’re seeing a last hoorah by this crowd. White supremacists will not find lily-white masses rising up behind them, and they will not find a way to turn the clock back to a time that never was (America was never, ever, all white).
What kills me, though, is how often racists tell us racism is dead. We had a black president, after all, and Jay Z is a billionaire, so surely that settled it? Right?
No. Of course it’s not. Racism is alive and kicking. Women like Kimberley Paige Barnette feeling not only the need, but the freedom, to list being “WHITE” as a qualification for office is all anyone needs to know to understand that truth.
*There’s a third kind of “traditional” rooted in identifying as being a narrow defintion of Christian, but I don’t think that’s at play here.