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]