Tony Snow's "Tar Baby" Comment

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posted on May, 20 2006 @ 03:35 AM
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Thank you all for your comments yesterday. As some of you well know, Friday was a horrible day. And it was a day that I felt beleaguered and overwhelmed by all the insensitive remarks rampant about different news stories. I admit that some of my comments must have taken you off guard because I have always tried to be polite, respectful and rather precise in my previous postings.

But, when you see the way that others act about the downtrodden--no matter who they might be--it is a price to pay when you care and have a conscience about the dignity of others. And yesterday, I did not show a lot of dignity. In fact, I let my indignities be my shield in masking my horror at how cruel humanity can be.

Now, it doesn't mean that Tony Snow is one of the worst people in the world. He's not an angel. But definitely, not a devil either. I think that he suffered on Thursday, "foot in mouth" disease. As as I think about myself, I also have the same affliction from time to time. I always stick my foot in my mouth and say the wrong things. And then, I have to apologize later because I know that I must have said something to offend someone else.

And my question about Tony Snow lies on the fact that even though he might have said something stupid, he also said something insensitive. And sometimes, for all the lip service that language is paid during the last two days, words reveal a lot about people. They reveal culture. They reveal intelligence. They also reveal astuteness and tact.

Snow had no tact when he said his remark. And being that he is part of "white male privilege", he probably will never think that his words had any impact. They just roll off his back and he moves on. But to any other person who is not afforded this privilege, those words sting. They char and deconstruct the very history of the culture referred to. It is as if to say, that he didn't care about the dignity of Black people when he made those statements. And even if he truly liked Dr. Rice--one of the most powerful Black women in government--he didn't think those words would hurt her as well.

But of course, some would argue that this is not the "race card" being played. But oh yes. Tony Snow played the race card, all right. He played a spade. And by expressing no remorse for his actions, he gets away with it. It just makes one wonder whether he uses more racially volatile words privately and finds them funny. But we'll never know. Because no one publically has corrected him. And he is ignoring his critics about the use of the word.

In fact, Katie Couric did not question him about it. So much for the future anchorwoman of CBS news.

So here's the inquiry I know I'm going to get: Why should anybody care?

All I can say is just because you think a figure of speech is okay, doesn't make it right. It doesn't have anything to do with Political Correctness. It has to do with a basic respect of people. And I find that Mr. Snow doesn't have respect for people of color if he uses that word. But then again, he simply just doesn't have respect at all.




posted on May, 20 2006 @ 12:35 PM
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Ceci. Remember that people sometimes speak before they think. I would hazard a guess that if Tony Snow had it to do over again, he'd use a different metaphor. That is all it was, a metaphor. Tasteless? To be sure. Tactless? Undoubtly. Should the press secretary in the White House be a little more careful of the choice of his words? Yes, and he would undoubtably agree with you. Don't let your distaste for the present administration color your perceptions.

You know as well as I, maybe even better, that words can have many conitations, some bad, some good, some both at the same time. All depending on the listener.



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 08:33 PM
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I guess that now Tony Snow will have to delete the term "black or white" from his lexicon, also.

And none of us will be allowed to use the word "plantation", as Hillary did.

"Master-slave relationship". What does that connote to you? I immediately think of IDE drives.

I remember one manufacturing plant where the assemblers were forced to stop using the word "dikes" because the term offended a certain few. They had to start calling them "diagonal cuts".



posted on May, 20 2006 @ 10:08 PM
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Originally quoted by jsobecky
"Master-slave relationship. What does that connote to you? I immediately think of IDE drives.


Why, jsobecky. I don't know what you mean. Personally, I think of Hegelian theory myself.



[edit on 20-5-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 12:52 AM
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See, there you go. Different strokes. What words mean depends on many things, including your most recent experiences.

I'd be happy to explain IDE to you, tho.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 01:13 AM
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Well, educational thread. I guess all I can add, is it's a damn shame when someone uses a term derived from folklore, fairy stories, you know, the culture of the planet, and gets accused of being racist simply because those who heard his words are too ignorant to know it's origin and presume it some sort of racial slur.

On the other hand, I guess language never stops evolving. Anyone old enough to remember when gay meant happy?



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 11:40 AM
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...when gay meant happy.
Oh man, that's funny, and brings to mind other words and phrases:


In our day, grass was mowed, Coke was a cold drink and pot was something you cooked in. Rock music was a grandma's lullaby, gay meant happy, queer mean strange and AIDS were helpers in the principal's office.
plantanswers.tamu.edu...


That was before all the PC stuff became popular, tho.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 12:31 PM
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Originally posted by ceci2006
As some of you well know, Friday was a horrible day.

politics.abovetopsecret.com...
You did that to yourself.


Tony Snow played the race card, all right.


not again.
No he didn't. This is exactly what dbates said. Nothing more.


Mr. Snow doesn't have respect for people of color if
he uses that word.


You didn't even know what it ment. Or at least you claimed
not to know. If you are upset, then you still don't know.
Reread dbates post.

dbates post - It doesn't represent a black person or black people unless
you want it to, and using African folk-lore doesn't make you racist anymore
than not using African folk-lore would. Tony Snow is saying that he doesn't
want to get involved with the issue because once you do it's a giant mess
you can't get away from.




[edit on 5/21/2006 by FlyersFan]



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 01:28 PM
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from ceci
Snow had no tact when he said his remark. And being that he is part of "white male privilege", he probably will never think that his words had any impact.


What's this "white male privilege" you allege? Is it free? Where do I sign up? Please explain how this is not yet another racist remark from you.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 01:30 PM
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I'd love to mock Tony Snow- but i will wait until he says something that is really out of line.

Its pretty obvious his reference to a tar baby was not meant to be derogatory in any way!

Jeeeees....Is there no end????



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 03:22 PM
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dgtempe, don't worry. Tony Snow has probably felt what little remorse he has in his heart, felt sorry for a moment and moved on. All is "well" in the White House again.

FlyersFan, just focus on the fairy tale. Repeat it again slowly. Much, better? See? No need to get excited. After all, this is something you don't have to worry about. It doesn't affect you. Go back to watching "FOX and friends". I'm sure they're talking about the virtues of building the wall and the Natalee Holloway case.

Why, jsobecky? You want to join? Well, I would supply you with a number...like you gave me Kerry's Congressional office. But...sorry. I can't help you here. After all, maybe it's like the "Skulls and Bones"....another group with another type of particular people.




[edit on 21-5-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 03:32 PM
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Why, jsobecky? You want to join?

Yeah, I want to join. Where are they? Have an address or something?


After all, maybe it's like the "Skulls and Bones"....another group with another type of particular people.

What do you mean by that? Why did you emphasize particular?


[edit on 21-5-2006 by jsobecky]



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 03:42 PM
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Originally posted by dbates



Tony Snow is saying that he doesn't want to get involved with the issue because once you do it's a giant mess you can't get away from.
This is what he meant. What is so hard to understand about this??? Ceci- can you tell me in plain language what you think he MEANT? I have to have it clearly because English is my third language and i get mixed up sometimes!



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 04:57 PM
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ceci i dont know how you manage to get anything done with all the bad days you have due to all the insensitive racist people in the world. tar baby is an old term in my neck of the woods that basically denotes something that sticks to you and wont go away. ive used it in the past myself. it is not racist except for people that are always on the lookout to spot supposed racism *cough*. people that always look for racism where there is none are almost always racists themselves and perpetuate it by always keeping it out there in plain view. youve got some issues to work through....



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 05:26 PM
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dgtempe: Here too, I will try to put something up to explain the differences of the term. But I will simply say that if it weren't offensive to someone, it wouldn't have meant a big deal. In this case, his use of the term might have been benign in the long run, now that I look at it. But, that doesn't take away the sting. Give me a little time. I'll try to explain my point a bit clearer.


Escrotumus: I suppose you're right. Forgive me. Besides, I've got more serious issues to worry about. I just can't get enough bleach to lighten my skin color and dull my senses so I'll accept that even an offensive term is really not offensive at all.


Originally quoted by jsobecky
What do you mean by that? Why did you emphasize particular?


jsobecky: Pay it no mind. It was done in my usual dramatic flair. So you see, words do mean things to different people. As of "white male privilege", it's a term used in cultural studies to connote "patriarchal culture". It could be perceived racist to white males. But how else would you explain it when history has been dominated by men who are white?

But don't take my word for it. Like in dg's case, I'll look something up to explain this to you as well.




[edit on 21-5-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 05:40 PM
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The story had NOTHING to do with the color of the tar baby's skin! The tar baby had no skin. It was TAR, a very sticky substance. The story was the fox tried to victimize the rabbit because of his condition, then the rabbit tricked the fox by using reverse psychology. The rabbit attacked the tar baby because of precocieved notions. There is nothing racist about this story!

Tony Snow was just saying that he wasn't getting wrapped up in that sticky situation.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 07:33 PM
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I just can't get enough bleach to lighten my skin color and dull my senses so I'll accept that even an offensive term is really not offensive at all.


You just cannot stop it, can you? As someone said, you have some real issues to work through.:shk:



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 07:34 PM
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Originally posted by ceci2006
Tony Snow has probably felt what little remorse he has in his heart,


1 - he doesn't need to feel sorry because, as very well educated people
have pointed out, he didn't say anything wrong. So he won't be feeling
sorry for saying what he did.

2 - how very judgemental of you to say that he has very little remorse
in his heart. You can now read hearts and know how capable people
are of emotion?


FlyersFan ... No need to get excited.

There you go again .. I'm not excited ... I don't have a migrane over you
or your posts either....AND I don't need anger management training
(as you said elsewhere). I've noticed you toss things like that out
when you are trying to change the subject ...


Originally posted by Escrotumus
people that always look for racism where there is
none are almost always racists themselves


Fixation ... projection (of their own racism onto others) .. oh yes, we
have some classic psychological symptoms that we could get into
with this sentence of yours Escrotumus. There are plenty of anti-white
racists in this country. Plenty.


[edit on 5/21/2006 by FlyersFan]



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 07:53 PM
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jsobecky, what I said to Escromutus is sarcasm. Truly. But like you've said all along, words mean different things to different people.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 08:54 PM
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All right. It's just two words. Let's see how these two words have an impact:


Tar Baby Outrage!

“No matter what I do from here on in, I will always be labeled as the Tar Baby Lady.”

- Clara Denise West, Ph.D., Redstone Arsenal


White managers at one of the nation’s most sensitive military installations routinely assault Black employees with an archaic racial epithet, undermining even the pretense of unified national resolve in the “War on Terror.” At Huntsville, Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal, a military and civilian culture holds sway that seems to revel in the language of unrelenting war against the humanity and dignity of African Americans.

What do they call a Black Ph.D. at Redstone? Tar Baby.

The installation is the heart of the U.S. Army’s precision guided munitions systems, home to the Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM), Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC), Army Corps of Engineers, Program Executive Offices (PEO) and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.


And I guess, Mr. Snow just decided to make his insertion into "American lore":


At White House Briefing, Polish Replaces Testiness

The tar-covered doll that Br'er Fox used to ensnare Br'er Rabbit in an 1881 Uncle Remus story is used as a metaphor for a sticky situation, but for some it also carries vague racist connotations — it has been used as a derogatory term for a black. In a society where a District of Columbia councilman can be accused of racism simply by using the word "niggardly," most politicians and TV commentators prefer to avoid tar baby references. When a reporter playfully asked him to explain the term, Mr. Snow mumbled that it could be traced to "American lore."


And of course, according to a paper in Maryland, Tony Snow's comments seem to have different connotations:


Tony Snow takes his lumps and hugs the baby
Hug the tar baby? Many reporters in the briefing glanced at each other with a look of astonishment when Snow made the remark. Not only did no one seem to know what that phrase meant, no one could believe Snow would use the words "tar baby" in any context, benignly meant or otherwise, to drive a point home.

April Ryan of American Urban Radio is black and was shocked at Snow's words. "April, 'tar baby' a racial slur, right?" I inquired innocently. She said simply, " Uh, tell me about it."
[...]
Because it was his first day, the reporters at the briefing cut Tony a lot of slack. They want the post-McClellan era to be more informative and faster paced and so far it is. But Tony, a word of advice: 'tar baby' is very much a racial slur. You are lucky Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton aren't picketing right now on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., calling for your resignation. After all, those two really have nothing else to do. For some reason, Snow's 'tar baby' moment has slipped under the radar Next time he most assuredly will not be so lucky.



[edit on 22-5-2006 by ceci2006]





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