Tony Snow's "Tar Baby" Comment

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posted on May, 22 2006 @ 03:12 AM
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It looks like Tony Snow is not the only person that throws this term around. It seems George Will does too. Mr. Will wrote a syndicated op-ed column in September 2002 with the title, Bush and the U.N. tar baby One letter writer expressed her outrage at Will's cavalier use of the term:


Attack on the United Nations

I am extremely upset about the use of the word "tar baby" in George F. Will's Sept. 19 op-ed column. In case your paper and Will have forgotten, this is an offensive, racist term for African Americans. For you to display this article so prominently reinforces to me that you couldn't care less about the sensitivities of your subscribers. Further, to apply this racist slur to the United Nations, an organization composed of multiple races and cultures, is doubly insulting. This shows a lack of respect for basic human dignity.


The word keeps on coming back as told in The Louisiana Weekly. The article relates a tale of a public official who used the term "tar baby" along with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's response:


'Tar Baby' comment results in resignation

Emrick spent only one day as the executive director after using the phrase "tar baby" during his first meeting with some planning commission employees. According to reports, several commission staff members became upset when Emrick said "I've got to grab the tar baby by the ears and jump right in."
[...]
"I can't imagine that in 2004 that someone would make those comments," the Mayor[Ray Nagin] said. "As far as I'm concerned , we need to continue the search for a Planning Commission director. I'm weighing in on this because it is absolutely unacceptable for someone to make the comments at all."
[...]
But the image of the tar baby, an very black figure with white eyes, is one that has long been seen as a slight against African Americans.


And then Steve Gilliard writes of his anger when being told that "these figures of speech and images aren't racist" (ring a bell?). He also goes into an explaination of why the figure of the "Tar Baby" is racist:


Blacks and animals

First, let me say that I find it incredibly condescending to be told that images are used in a way I know are racist are not. I don't need anyone to define racism for me. I especially don't need to be told that I have a problem in defining it.[...]Unless you have been black and had these experiences, like I have never had a period, some respect should be accorded my views.
[...]
It is hurtful and deeply offensive to have to explain to people, after I say I think something is racist, why I think so, over and over. It shows an utter, complete and oddly predictable lack of respect for my experiences. I realize some of that is ignorance, some obstinancy. But I can assure you most black people feel the same way about these images.
[...]
There is no white equivalent of Tar Baby. America reserves its subhuman slurs for Blacks and Indians. Tar Babies are racist inventions, conjured up for the purpose of dehumanizing African Africans. It matters not one bit that Uncle Remus tales have roots in African folklore. Slavery reduced Africans to chattel, conveniences available to serve white people’s purposes. Over the centuries, white Americans have made full use of these privileges. Robert Chandler Harris earned lots of money from the Tar Baby, the only non-animal (yet also non-human) inhabitant of Brer Rabbit’s world.













[edit on 22-5-2006 by ceci2006]




posted on May, 22 2006 @ 04:53 AM
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George Bush says Tar baby????
I dont know if i'm going soft or what, but here's what i think. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld...they're criminals in my opinion. That's more or less been established by their actions....IMO.
However, i dont consider that clan to be racist. They're everything else, but not racist.
I dont know why you insist this to be the case and the mention of tar baby is just a SAYING.
Next you'll be saying that Colin Powell and Condolzeeza are this administrations token monkeys.
Dont get me wrong- i dont like any of them, but this is a non-issue. Ridiculous. Retarded and not worth talking about.
There's so many faults to pick as far as this gang goes, i dont know why you latch on to something that just doesnt mean a darn thing.

Have you lived in different places in the US? Different states have sayings they use for different situations. This is one of them.



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 05:03 AM
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Of course it is. But two words can also generate a lot of impact on the notion of stereotypes. And these stereotypes have been with us since the beginning of the Jim Crow era and when people use words, images can also have the same effect too. This has been with us throughout history:


Popular Art and Racism: Embedding Racial Stereotypes in the American Mindset--Jim Crow and Popular Culture

The onset of Jim Crow laws and customs rested upon the racist characterization of black people as culturally, personally, and biologically inferior.[...] So pervasive was the racial demeaning of black people, and so accepted was it by white Americans throughout the nation, that blackness became synonymous with silliness, deprivation, and ignorance. Most white Americans believed that all Africans and their descendants were racially inferior to whites, and that their common inferiority tied them together wherever they might live in the modern world.

In America, black people were portrayed as inferior almost from the time of their enslavement in the colonies in the 1620s. This racial characterization enabled white masters to justify slavery as something positive. Using racial stereotypes to justify the enslavement of blacks was especially pronounced after 1830 as white Southerners defended slavery against attacks by northern abolitionists.
[...]
This outpouring of images, performances, and music was supported by a largely racist or else highly romanticized literary tradition. The novels and writings of Joel Chandler Harris, especially his Uncle Remus tales, written from 1888 through 1906, looked back at the days of plantation slavery as a time of racial harmony in which happy and simple-minded blacks lived with respect and dignity as slaves. Thomas Nelson Page, whose early novels and short stories, usually narrated by elderly freedmen, portrayed, like Harris, a tranquil life in slavery where faithful blacks adored their masters and were cared for with affection and tenderness. By 1898, Page had turned bitter, however, and began depicting blacks as sinister characters that could not be trusted in freedom. No author was more racist or more popular than Thomas Dixon, whose novel, The Clansman, published in 1905, blamed all of the South's woes on the inferior blacks who roamed the land unchecked following their emancipation.


Instead of the idealized Southern view of "Plantation" life depicted by Harris' works, it is better to read the real thing. The website, Slavery in America has narratives, biographies and stories about how the slave trade, plantation life and emancipation was really like. The oral accounts (recorded after the "Emancipation Proclamation") are stunning. These narratives and stories provide a dichotomy to the perception of life described in Georgia by the author of the "Uncle Remus" tales.



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 05:08 AM
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Yes, dgtempe, I have lived in various places across the country. Most of my relatives are from a Southern "red state", so I know about certain sayings. And even tonight, on the radio I have heard the word "tar baby" by a reporter when referring to the Iraq War. But, even though that the people uttering the word might not mean anything by it, it still is a type of word that is offensive to me.

It doesn't mean that they are racist. I am just posting this information. I am not an "Anti-White" racist. It is just material like the beginning posts, so that people can read up on the term and its various uses.

For some people, the word might not mean anything. And that doesn't make them racists.

It has to do with the emotion and the intent of the word in order for it to be hateful.

But for me, the word means something in a historical and cultural context that goes beyond the such "beloved" stories of Mr. Harris. I just don't think his perception of "Uncle Remus", "Br'er Rabbit" or the "Tar Baby" is quite benign as people make it out to be. But I found out that a lot of apologists make it so.

I won't go saying "tar baby", but like I mentioned on another thread I am not going to be the "word police".

People will have to use the word and live with their conscience. I'm just presenting another side of the word so that people can see that it does have an offensive connotation.

That's all.

I'm not screaming for the head of Tony Snow. Yet.







[edit on 22-5-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 05:10 AM
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What a total bunch of crap, how long before I'm a racist for disliking black coffee?



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 05:15 AM
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Did you read the exerpt about "Jim Crow America"? Steve Gilliard's piece about explaining racism? Or are you just saying that what I'm posting is not to your liking?

[edit on 22-5-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 05:22 AM
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What I am saying is, the minority of people who are pushing this viewpoint, like yourself, obviously have an agenda. Obviously, he was referring, as has now been stated many, many times, to a sticky situation, you know, sticky? Like tar? And you know what, of course there is no white equivalent, and I'd point out why, but I'm not sure I even want to type the word anymore, for fear of some nut with issues calling me a racist, something I am not, and have never been. This is a total non-issue. As stated above, there are plenty of things wrong with your government, it seems lunacy to me, to focus on such a piffling little innocent remark made by a guy first day on the job, and hold it up to be proof of some sort of Nazi ideology. In fact, it's quite pathetic.



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 05:31 AM
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Wow, you're up early


I'm not picking on you, i feel i am and that s not my intention. I just would never associate tar baby with racism. But that's me.

I'd like to see Bush, Snow, et al tar and feathered, lord knows!!! That isnt racism, thats just pure meanness on my part and would love to see the day. Think the day will come?



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 05:33 AM
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Originally posted by Implosion
What a total bunch of crap, how long before I'm a racist for disliking black coffee?
That's it!!! Another person who wont call it by its proper name! African-American coffee!!! Get with the program, wont you?



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 06:44 AM
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Originally quoted by Implosion23
What I am saying is, the minority of people who are pushing this viewpoint, like yourself, obviously have an agenda. Obviously, he was referring, as has now been stated many, many times, to a sticky situation, you know, sticky? Like tar? And you know what, of course there is no white equivalent, and I'd point out why, but I'm not sure I even want to type the word anymore, for fear of some nut with issues calling me a racist, something I am not, and have never been. This is a total non-issue. As stated above, there are plenty of things wrong with your government, it seems lunacy to me, to focus on such a piffling little innocent remark made by a guy first day on the job, and hold it up to be proof of some sort of Nazi ideology. In fact, it's quite pathetic.


What agenda do I have? Why is it a non-issue? Where's the Nazi ideology? What is the issue that I have? Why is it pathetic?

Since you know all the answers, would you please explain it to me? Because that is what everyone says when something contrary to their belief system is posted.

I only posted the information so that people would know that tar baby has two types of meanings.

What is wrong with that?

Does it amaze you that such a "piffling" little word can be used to demean people? Or does it bother you that there is another meaning to the word? Or is it because of your experience, you have never thought twice about this word until it was brought up here in another context?

Do me a favor. Read the first two paragraphs of Steve Gilliard's piece because he voices the same type of frustration when trying to explain things such as this to people not of his race.




[edit on 22-5-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 07:28 AM
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Originally posted by ceci2006
But, even though that the people uttering the word might not mean anything by it, it still is a type of word that is offensive to me.

People will have to use the word and live with their conscience. I'm just presenting another side of the word so that people can see that it does have an offensive connotation.

I'm not screaming for the head of Tony Snow. Yet.




Thats whats great about this country; we can say what we want and if it turns out that it offends some people then ohh well. Word of advice: Deal with it and move on. There are too many other things to worry about in life!

They will use the term and live with it and not lose a minutes sleep. i know i have used it and slept like a baby right after with a clear conscience since i know im not a racist.

Wouldnt matter if you were screaming for his head as im sure neither he nor his bosses would offer it.



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 07:41 AM
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Originally posted by ceci2006
Do me a favor. Read the first two paragraphs of Steve Gilliard's piece because he voices the same type of frustration when trying to explain things such as this to people not of his race.
[edit on 22-5-2006 by ceci2006]


That says it all for me, because no-one from out side of his race could possibly understand right? Because we're so vastly different? Because I'm white?!? That sounds a lot like racism to me.

I'm afraid there are many more types of persecution than racism, felt by people the world over of all races and creeds. They're generally all the same, rooted firmly in ignorance.

I don't know, Surely it isn't the words that do the damage, but the intent behind them, no? he clearly meant he did not want to get caught up in a sticky situation. Being that them's the facts, how could you possibly be offended? Even if you think in some parts of the world the term "tar-baby" is a racist slur, he certainly didn't mean it in that sense, if he had, it would have been the shortest white house employment in history.

Anyway, enough idiocy for me tyvm.



[edit on 22/5/06 by Implosion]



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 10:07 AM
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Escromutus and Implosion23:

Of course, it's idiocy for you. And that's okay. Maybe you don't want to try to understand the other side of the issue. Maybe you want to use "tar baby" all around the block. It does not bother me. I don't care. The word is in the eye of the beholder.

However, I do find the term offensive to me. And always have been. That word is a negative part of my culture. That's all I wanted to share. My side of the story.

But, like Mr. Gilliard's article, I have had to explain notions like this so many times I had to count because I have faced the same round of insults, blindness and refusal to understand. So, I think that his article will just be my answer for now on because for each topic about culture, I could explain it ten times and no one understands because they don't see it. I could post a plethora amount of information, but I have an agenda. Or, if I say a word is offensive, I have issues.

Just because I explain my side of the story, I've been called an idiot, a racist, a stupid fool and a one-trick pony. I've been called someone who has an "agenda". Or stupid. Or a hypocrite. Or crazy. Or a nut. Go figure.

Until I read Mr. Gilliard's article, I felt that I wasn't alone. He and many others like me have had to experience in this sort of abuse for just telling our side of the story because people just don't want to see it and they refuse to understand. They rather insult instead of being curious.

I would have felt better if you just say you understood my position and be done with it. But you can't even say that. Now, I'm a "nut with issues". And that's why, Mr. Gilliard's excerpt is exactly how I feel in situations like this. He articulated my very emotions in having to post the same information multiple times in order for people to get it. But even then, as it was demonstrated, they don't. And they are not polite about it.

But if you won't even extend kindness, I'll tell you something else:

But one day on this board, someone is going to talking about what Rev. Jesse Jackson has said. Or what Rev. Al Sharpton has said. Or what Rep. Cynthia McKinney has said. Or what Rep. Maxine Waters has said. Or what the NAACP had said. And they'll be complaining that they're racists and they have a agenda. Not to mention that they are hypocrites. And crazy. Or idiotic. Or that the people who support them are "fools". Or they're playing the "race card".

And like Vonnegut says, "So it goes".


(In fact, go into the Liberal Section of the PTS board and read the threadBlack Liberals Need Tough Love. ) See how that went. That was written by a fellow who felt he had to give "advice" to the Black community.

And I wonder, did he have to explain his position multiple times?



[edit on 22-5-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 11:12 AM
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Originally posted by ceci2006
But one day on this board, someone is going to talking about what Rev. Jesse Jackson has said. Or what Rev. Al Sharpton has said...


Oh .. THESE people? They aren't anti-white. Naaaaaaaah.


Rev. Jesse Jackson – (Reverend of what?) Adulterer. Shakedown Artist. Racist.

en.wikipedia.org...

Jackson said that when he worked as a waiter in a Greenville, South
Carolina restaurant, he would spit into the soups and salads of white
customers. "[Spitting into the food] gave me a psychological gratification,"
Jackson said

www.frontpagemag.com...
www.newsmax.com...

NASCAR shakedown - $$$ From NASCAR went to pay for his Mistress’ expenses
www.sierratimes.com...

Al Sharpton - Racist. Racial Hoaxer. Preditory Lender.

en.wikipedia.org...

It is also alleged that after calling a Jewish shopkeeper a "white
interloper," he looked on while an associate of his suggested the Jew's shop
should be burned down
- later he admitted calling the Jew a ‘white
interloper’.

eightiesclub.tripod.com... - Tawana Brawley. Remember that gem?

COMMENT ON TONY SNOW SUBJECT -

dbates is still correct .. from page one -
politics.abovetopsecret.com...


Originally posted by Implosion
he clearly meant he did not want to get caught up in a sticky situation. Anyway, enough idiocy for me


Yeah .. what Imposion said. It has already been shown numerous times on
this thread exactly what Tony Snow was saying. dbates said it perfectly.
Nothing more needs to be said. Dragging in Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton
are just off topic rants. The end.

[edit on 5/22/2006 by FlyersFan]



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 12:11 PM
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The origins of the term seem to be different from the usual meaning of it. Snow seems to have used it in the older sense, in, something you don't want to touch, because its a mess that will stick to you. It became a derogatory term for blacks after wards, possible, if the above information is accurate, because the story was told by blacks.



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 05:41 PM
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True, Nygdan. However, as I researched the literary criticism behind Joel Chandler Harris, not all theoreticians think the same way about Mr. Harris' "altruism". As I read both sides of the "tar baby" issue, I find that it is the Southern apologists that congratulate his work as "genius". However, there are others that see his view of the South and the discussions of slavery as "patronizing", if not "inaccurate".

But for what it is worth, there are those that are revisiting his work. And they say that he has implicitly explored the relations between Blacks and Whites.

And Toni Morrison even reworked the theme of the "Tar Baby" in one of her novels. In this text, she explores the myth of the "tar baby" and repositions it as a position of strength.

But Alice Walker, who came from the same hometown as Chandler, thinks that Chandler "stole" the stories of her African people and made money from them.

So, these stories are not as benign as it seems. And for Black people, the constant image of the "tar baby" has been used for negative means--especially with the connotation with dark skin being ugly and sub-human.

So, what's in a word? Nothing to most folks. They can sleep at night knowing that they can say the word all day long.

However, it might behoove them to think cautiously and carefully where they throw the word around. And that's even if they care. I've found out that some people just don't have empathy or sensitivity. And that's a dangerous thing in the make-up of the human personality.


[edit on 22-5-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 06:04 PM
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Originally quoted by dgtempe

I'm not picking on you, i feel i am and that s not my intention. I just would never associate tar baby with racism. But that's me.

I'd like to see Bush, Snow, et al tar and feathered, lord knows!!! That isnt racism, thats just pure meanness on my part and would love to see the day. Think the day will come?


dgtempe,

I know you aren't. You have a good heart and a wonderful personality. And that's okay that you have another connotation of tar baby. I understand what you're saying.


I'm just expressing my take on Mr. Snow's word--probably much to everyone's chagrin.

The day will come. For Mr. Bush, I think he has done enough things out of pure meanness. I just think that as POTUS, he has steered this country down the wrong path with an attack on the Constitution. Now that, is an entirely different thing!


Like I said before, we both have a common enemy.






[edit on 22-5-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 07:27 PM
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You wanted to know about the term of "white male privilege". And I had written that I would look it up for you because I had used it in one of my posts. This is for your information where the word came from. Wikipedia discusses what it is, how it is used and its criticism of the term.

This is for your own information.



White privilege (sociology)

White privilege, or White Skin Privilege, is a term of analysis used to denote a particular kind of alleged social relation, one which typically involves a right, advantage, exemption or immunity granted to or enjoyed by white persons beyond the common advantage of nonwhites. In the view of those using the term, it is the primary benefit of racism expressed as preferential treatment within a society.

As racism is usually understood to be punitive towards people of color, white privilege is claimed to be the pattern of social benefits accruing to members of the socially privileged and oppressing group, at the expense of members of the socially underprivileged and oppressed group. To adherents, white privilege can be used to explain such phenomena as white boxer Gerry Cooney receiving a very large amount of money for his 1982 fight with African American Larry Holmes, even though he was an untested contender.

Examples from popular music include Elvis Presley, credited with popularizing "black music" with white audiences, as well as Eminem's popularity as a rap singer. It is put forward by some scholars as an explanation for why social groups have used racism as a form of social control and oppression: namely, to benefit themselves at the expense of others. It is also used by some historians to explain the historical trajectory from exclusion to acceptance of Irish and Jewish émigrés in the United States.

Parallels are often drawn between white privilege, male privilege and heterosexual privilege.


Hope that helps.

[edit on 22-5-2006 by ceci2006]



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 10:37 PM
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Re: Tar Baby

Well, I guess I should stop going to those "White Elephant" sales that are held from time to time.



posted on May, 22 2006 @ 11:58 PM
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This debate ranks right up there with everyone giving Tiger Woods a hard time about a month ago for using the word "spaz" to describe his erratic putting on the golf course one day. It shows how hypersensitive the world has become. Making issues out of non-issues. Apparently almost every word in the dictionary is offensive to someone.






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