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Monday, September 29, 2008

Da Blak Prez

posted by on September 29 at 14:23 PM

Yes, that’s Samuel George “Sammy” Davis, Jr.:
Yes, he is five; yes, he is holding a pork chop; yes, he has just been elected the president of these United States; yes, he just promised he’d be nice to those who play dice; yes, he just declared pork chops are free; and, yes, he just banned all locks from chicken coops. To get to where we are today, you can’t say that America has not come a very long, long way. Yes, sir; yes, sir.

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That adorable little film made very little sense to me. But now I want pork chops.

Thanks, Chas!

Posted by Matthew | September 29, 2008 2:49 PM

And this has what, again, to do with the 2008 presidential election? I forgot to take my sarcasm booster this morning, so I hope some liberal will step in and clarify the matter for me.

Posted by Seajay | September 29, 2008 3:13 PM

I for one can't wait until a celebrity names one their children "Hamtree."

Posted by bronkitis | September 29, 2008 3:15 PM

2 - it's a "talkie" about a 5-year old black boy being elected president. if you don't understand how that relates to the 2008 election, i'm not sure what good a sarcasm booster will do you. you may very well be beyond help.

Posted by brandon | September 29, 2008 3:31 PM

Is it a problem that there are apparently racist elements here that I am unaware of? For example - I wasn't aware of the racial coding of pork chops. So ... is this a good thing? Is it enough that it fade into the past? Or is it better that we codify every example of this irrational hate so that it retains its ability to hurt?

Posted by John Galt | September 29, 2008 3:33 PM

Well, no, I don't think you can say that America has come a long way. Have you seen this thing called BET?

Posted by mattymatt | September 29, 2008 3:36 PM

@4 ... thanks, I understand about the movie. What I don't understand is, who's the 5-year-old black boy in *this election* supposed to be? That's what would make this post relevant.

Posted by Seajay | September 29, 2008 3:36 PM

Who the hell cares? Sammy Davis Jr. was God, and the whole world has gone to hell since he died. Did you see his "bang, bang" routine in Guys and Dolls?

Posted by Fnarf | September 29, 2008 3:49 PM

Sammy was God. Check this out if you need proof:

Posted by Jim Demetre | September 29, 2008 4:08 PM

He's making the point that we have a serous black candidate competing for president, who is looking increasingly likely to win (as evidence you need look no further than the mccain campaign itself making such a reckless and desperate choice as choosing Sarah Palin, and then shielding her from the media, moves that have been roundly decried, even by prominent conservatives). And not that long ago american culture felt it appropriate to produce and consume the linked movie, with its deeply racists sentiments towards the concept of a black president. The clear and giant contrast between these two facts is very important, directly supports Charles Mudede's point that America has in fact progressed a whole lot in some ways, and is clearly linked to the current presidential election by the fact that the crucial example is Barack Obama's presidency. How this could be any clearer, I don't know. Charles clearly shows that serious subjects need not be approached with sarcasm or irony, even if this day and age, so no booster necessary.

John Galt
No, it's not a problem, it's great that you weren't aware, but it is important to remember how far we've come. Indeed, I take Charles' point to be that it is wonderful that you don't know, because that is one example of how far we have come. Admittedly a small example, but "every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character" as Oscar Wilde says.

Great post, Charles, one of my favorite on slog.

Posted by Alex Bernson | September 29, 2008 4:40 PM

Thanks for the post Charles.

I think we've come a long way in many ways...but in other ways not so much.

The drug laws seem very reminiscent of Jim Crow laws that kept Blacks on plantation farms. They take away the right to vote. Even after time is served. For taking or using drugs that oft are no worse than booze.

The disenfranchisement of DC. Yes, a constant topic with me. but it's very weird how you can have a few hundred thousand black people with taxation and no representation. (Or any US citizen).

The generations long advantaging and disadvantaging on racial grounds through "free public goods" like (a) free land, (b) access to public universities, (c) GI bill benefits (d) homeownership as route to wealth, or (e) protection of the laws from whites who would lynch any black dude who was assertive or started a business or who was successful. or (f) lack of voting rights for many years.

Of course this has a cumulative effect.

This is little discussed today but it's there.

This is not an argument for reparations or things like that. But in many ways we've moved farther along in terms of images and what's okay to say, and not so far along in terms of institutional racism. And I left out how school districts are drawn to contain failing school districts mainly among AA populations.

I guarantee you that if there were white neighborhoods that were as crime ridden as the South Bronx we'd be sending in the army. shit, when there are Shi'ite neighborhoods or Sunni neighborhoods that are as crime ridden as the South Bronx we DID send in the Army. Including lots of troops from the South Bronx.

And these are ills that cannot be corrected by removal of racist images and words, nor by getting parity for AAs in elite law schools like Harvard, or integrating the top of the various social/power pyramids that exist in the USA.

Posted by PC | September 29, 2008 5:58 PM

"... protection of the laws from whites who would lynch any black dude who was assertive or started a business or who was successful."

So, PC, are you saying that "black dudes" like Vernon Jordan, Robert L. Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, Herman Cain, Andrew Young, Kanye West, Jennifer Holliday, Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama, etc., got where they are today only because there are laws that protect them from white lynch mobs? If that's what you believe, you took your college assignments reading Frantz Fanon way too seriously.

With the possible exception of Mr Johnson, the people named all got where they were because mobs of white people, and other colours too, were and are willing to support and finance them in their work.

Posted by Seajay | September 29, 2008 7:40 PM

I know it is bad luck to answer one of PC's posts, but um, actually there are a lot of white neighborhoods that are more crime ridden than the south bronx is nowadays.

Of course racism is still big and ugly and definitely an issue, but in nyc at least, the lines fall more along class and how far you can go has more to do with parenting skills than race. Yes, bad schools and dangerous neighborhoods put poorer people at a huge disadvantage, not even talking about the police tendency to put entire buildings in jail just 'cause. And a lot of times the poorer people are not white (not always a coincidence, I will grant you). But if your parents want a better future for you, and you grow up working towards what you want, you have a pretty good chance of succeeding today no matter what color you are. Ditto on being a woman. Not that the obstacles don't exist, but they are possible to overcome today.

I'd say that is improvement.

And have you ever in been in a trailer park full of white trash?

Posted by nicole | September 30, 2008 5:37 AM

What's racist about pork chops? I'm white-ish and I would kill everyone in my nursing home for a couple of thick fried pork chops, cottage fries and ketchup.

I'm not kidding.

Posted by elswinger | September 30, 2008 10:10 AM

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