Sunday, April 6, 2008

You Just Saved Your Cotton Picking Ass, Lou

Lou Dobbs is an anchor over there at CNN and he is also the managing editor of Lou Dobbs Tonight, also on CNN. I don't know a lot about the guy, but he doesn't seem to be a nutjob or anything like that. He seems fairly informed and does seem to possess the ability to clearly state a valid point. He also seems to possess the ability to stop himself from committing a verbal faux pas that would have been so far blown out of proportion that it would have eclipsed the Don Imus debacle that transpired last year.

On CNN's "The Situation Room" hosted by Wolf Blitzer (How cool of a name is that? Wolf Blitzer. Too bad he doesn't look more like someone who would be named Wolf Blitzer instead of looking like the guy who is Wolf Blitzer's accountant. But it's still a cool name.), Wolf cut to Dobbs to ask his opinion of recent comments made by Condoleeza Rice "involving race in this country.". ("Race" meaning "ethnicity", not "On your marks....get set...") Specifically, he was referring to Rice stating that the United States "has a birth defect on the issue of race."

Dobbs was obviously irritated by her comments. He started with, "Most Americans don't have a problem talking about race." Then he made what would shortly prove to be a rather prophetic statement when he said, "What we have is a problem with talking about race without feelings of recrimination and distortion and of someone using whatever comments are made for their own purposes, usually political ones."

It's probably a good thing that he did say that and that it was fresh in his mind as he kept talking. The video below is of Dobbs stopping himself just short of saying something that would have had his comments being used in just the ways that he had described above.

Did you catch that? He did (and not a moment too soon). If Dobbs had finished his sentence and actually said "cotton picking" when referring to Condoleeza Rice's comments (especially with Condoleeza Rice being one of those "people of color". Yeah, that would have been awkward. Very awkward.), he would have found himself on the fugly end of a political uproar that likely would have painted him out to be a bigot and a racist and the headlines the next day would have read, "Dobbs is a bigoted racist and he hates Condie, too!" And then it would have turned into the Don Imus fiasco, Part Deux (only without the women basketball players).

Now, reasonable people such as myself (and I'll assume you're reasonable as well. After all, you're reading this and that's an extremely reasonable thing to do.) would hear a comment like that and know that he wasn't a racist and know that he wasn't saying "cotton picking" in a context that would imply that he is a racist (or in a way that meant he wanted anyone to pick cotton. Esepcially Condoleeza Rice.). I mean, I could say, "I can't find my cotton picking keys" and that doesn't mean I'm a racist (nor does it mean that my keys ever picked cotton.). It just means that I am frustrated that I can't find my keys. And if Lou Dobbs had said "cotton picking politicians" it would have meant that he was frustrated with politicians who say that the "US has a birth defect on the issue of race." And he would have meant that he was frustrated with them no matter what race they were. Oh, but that's not how those who would have wanted to interpret it differently would have decided to see it.

Because as he had just said only about 45 seconds beforehand, there is the fear of "recrimination and distortion" of one's comments when speaking about race. While having that fear sucks rocks, if he hadn't had that fear and if he hadn't just stated that fear (or that it existed at all), I'd have to say his chances of finishing his sentence would have been greater than they were since he did have it fresh in his mind after saying it.

Nice catch, Lou. And while watching Lou not say "cotton picking" is amusing, it's actually unfortunate that it is so funny. If we weren't too busy laughing about it, we might actually be able to think about the fact that he really did have to make sure he didn't say "cotton picking", otherwise he would have been branded a racist for time and all eternity by people who do exactly what he had said and that is to use whatever comments are made for their own, usually political, purposes.

Yeah, if it wasn't so funny, we'd think it was pretty freaking sad and wholly pathetic. If it wasn't so funny, we might be talking about how sad and pathetic is really is. Now, I'm not saying that things like this shouldn't be funny. They should, because they are. I'm just saying that when things are funny because of reasons like these, we need to do something about it. Right after we finish laughing at this cotton picking situation.

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