So, here I am sanctimoniously feeling that Joe Biden has insulted African Americans by his comment--when speaking of Republicans seeking office--that "they'll put y'all back in chains." Then along comes Russell Simmons. Simmons supports what Biden said. Says he's right. And Simmons is a well known African American.
So go figure. Perhaps my own sense of insult in response to Biden's comments was itself patronizing rather than respectful, of African Americans. They can stand up for themselves, thank you very much.
I still say that all of us need to choose our words carefully when we are speaking. Especially in a public forum.
But as I write this I realize that for all his foot-in-mouth comments, Joe Biden does tell things as he sees them. Perhaps even worse is the unspoken prejudices that show themselves in hidden ways. Kind of Ku Klux Klan style, some people hied their feelings of racism, of prejudice, and demonstrate them in ways that are hard to detect, but can have impact nonetheless. I'm convinced, for example, that the whole "birther" movement regarding President Obama was really racism in disguise. Maybe unconscious racism on some people's parts, but racism nonetheless. Might have been better if they had just come out and said what they were thinking, i.e. that President Obama was somehow not appropriate as a President of this country because he is "different." We could at least respond to that kind of talk.
Not easy, this gift we have of conversation. Can get us in all sorts of trouble.