‘Arrogant': The New Uppity

by matttbastard

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dnA’s broadcasting on the same frequency re: Ron Fournier:

You know, if there’s anything that can keep Barack Obama from being president, it’s the downright smoldering resentment some people feel at seeing a black person in a position of authority–let alone the position of authority.

It’s kind of like they way white sportscasters talk about black athletes–they hate the swagger, the confidence borne of jumping the extra hurdles America tosses in your path. Professional sports organizations have spent more than a century trying to cut that swagger and style out of the sport by changing the rules at every opportunity, so it’s no surprise that they’d do the same thing in politics.

So John McCain saying he’s doing “The Lord’s work in the city of Satan” is sincere and down to earth, while Obama joking about his charisma is “arrogant”.

Or, as Steve M rhetorically puts it, “[j]okes, Ron. Jokes. Or are only white people allowed to be ironic?”

(Must. Resist. Simple. Answer.)

Also see John Cole and Robert Stein, both of whom also heard Fournier’s whistle blowing loud and clear.

Elsewhere: Attaturk provides some other recent examples of thinly-veiled insinuations from mainstream pundits that Obama is just another uppity negro arrogantly oozes entitlement, while this Kos Diary from February 2007 (OMGWTFBBQ?! someone took the kid gloves off prematurely?!) screen-captures Salon with its slip showing (oops!):

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So much for Bill Bennett’s backhanded post-Iowa compliments.

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6 thoughts on “‘Arrogant': The New Uppity

  1. Okay, question: do you agree with the quote that there’s a “swagger” or “confidence borne of jumping extra hurdles”? Because…it kind of seems to me just like, you know, presenting oneself as competent and capable. Like everybody in the public eye has to do, whether they feel that confident or not.

    Obviously, the extra hurdles are there when race is involved, and people who have overcome them have certainly earned some pride and self-satisfaction…I just don’t think they’re actually expressing any more of it than the white dudes who got there without having to jump all those hurdles.

    I mean, I think this is apparent: it doesn’t get called arrogant or uppity when white people do it even if they do it more (as evidenced by the John McCain quote). I don’t think the “additional hurdle” point is needed to mitigate the issue, is what I’m saying.

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  2. I do think that’s true. But that’s true of anyone who makes it to a certain level, regardless of race/class. It’s just that people of colour are expected to show due deference at being afforded the privilege of being treated like a white male (ie, fully human, no qualifications).

    Think about sports, and how the press treats black athletes who aren’t properly humble and unassuming with regards to their ability and place (Terrell Owens, Barry Bonds, Ron Artest). Or think about “ambitious” women and the way they are framed (ie, calculating bitches). There’s a subtext of naked fear in this framing; white/patriarchal supremacy is threatened when non-whites/women show equal (if not advanced) accomplishment and acumen.

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  3. Yeah, that was pretty much what I was getting at. Black athletes can be plenty arrogant, sure, I just don’t think they’re any more so than white athletes who didn’t have all those “extra hurdles” in place. As such, I don’t really think the “extra hurdles” have anything to do with their confidence. Their confidence is exactly the same as that of the white athletes (or politicians) and born of the same thing–being good at what they do. People just freak out more about it.

    Which is why I find it troubling that dnA’s post pointing out the double standard in the treatment includes that note about the “extra hurdles”, because to me, that suggests that there *is* a level of “extra” arrogance not present among white athletes, but that it’s okay because they’ve earned it.

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  4. It could be inarticulate phrasing, or it could be born of personal experience. I can only speak from my own personal experience as a person of colour (which, it should be noted, is coloured by the environment in which I grew up *hums Oh Canada*).

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