If you’ve been anywhere near a TV or the Internet in the last few days, you have no doubt heard that Touré Neblett, co-host of MSNBC program “The Cycle,” fired off a shot at presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, essentially accusing him of using racially-charged language to attack President Barack Obama‘s campaign efforts.
After viewing a clip of Romney railing against the president’s campaign of “division and anger,” Touré took offense and reacted in his typical straight-ahead fashion.
“That really bothered me,” Touré said. “You notice he says anger twice. He’s really trying to use racial coding and access some really deep stereotypes about the “angry black man.” This is part of the playbook against Obama. The “otherization,” he’s not like us. I know it’s a heavy thing to say. I don’t say it lightly. But this is ni–erization. You are not one of us, and that you are like the scary black man who we’ve been trained to fear.”
Conservative co-host S.E. Cupp was incensed by Touré’s reaction, calling the author “irresponsible” for his claims – this after he and other liberal talking heads criticized Joe Biden for his “chains” comments earlier. The question that hangs in the air is this: was Touré truly off base or is there some sort of validity to the claim that Romney and the GOP are race-baiting?
Xenophobia was certainly in the air during Obama’s historic ascent to the White House, and we can’t pretend that conservatives and Republican officials alike didn’t try to paint the President as some kind of outsider. Criticism of his name, his place of birth, accusations of racial ambiguity were among the attacks in 2008.
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Conservative rags such as the Washington Times wasted no time in attacking Obama’s background and character, further fueled by critics on the Left who wasn’t sure if he was “Black enough” for the job. It was an interesting study in political interaction and ended up drawing deep lines in the sands between not only the differing parties, but also between White and Black voters.
Conservative sites such as the Daily Caller drooled at the opportunity to hurl criticism at Toure’s comments, and the consistently whiney Romney campaign continues to grasp for straws in making this a much larger issue than it needs to be.
Brietbart News reports that Romney officials are privately discussing the so-called “racial slam” with MSNBC, no doubt demanding an on-air apology of Touré’s remarks. It is curious, however, that Romney would choose to call Obama “angry” considering the President embodies cool on all levels, even when he is impassioned on the campaign trail. Of course, with a re-election bid, commercials and campaign talking points become a bit more pointed but that’s true for both sides of the aisle. And we can’t forget Romney surrogates such as John Sununu who gleefully attacks Obama in the media every chance he gets.
The fact is that presidential races get ugly and nobody is exempt from putting their foot in their mouths or having their words scrutinized heavily. Touré was simply pointing out something he saw from his vantage point, and conservatives are collectively losing their minds once again over nothing instead of focusing on the issue of trying to paint the GOP as a far more inclusive group than they appear to be currently.
Let’s face it, Black people have been under attack in this country and put on notice far more than their White counterparts in this political climate. Romney appears to be playing a dangerous game of painting himself as a docile and benevolent being and Obama as some big Black bully looking to throw his weight around.
Perhaps Touré jumped out there a bit but it isn’t as if he didn’t say what a lot of Black Americas (and an increasing number of Whites) were already thinking.
What do you think of Touré’s comments against Romney? Was he on point or out of bounds?