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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Hillary's Ethos of Pandering


Hillary Clinton is a chameleon. She can't help it; she's been around Bill too long. The difference is that Bill Clinton could pull it off. People actually thought he was one of them. He was called the "first black president," and not altogether ironically. When he said "ah feel yer pay-uhn," a good number of Americans felt it was sincere.

Hillary wants that so badly. She tries, you've got to give her credit. Recently, she boasted about her love of hot sauce to Charlamagne Tha God in an interview to build up her base in New York. Granted, she's mentioned this before, but in this context the intention was obvious. I love hot sauce, too, but I'm not going to randomly bring it up in an interview with a couple of African-Americans.

Bill Clinton, on the other hand, really did love a good Southern-style barbecue. He was from Arkansas, after all. His nickname as president was Bubba. He didn't randomly mention to black people how much he loved ribs and fried chicken--he just ate it at every opportunity. (Besides, anyone with a lick of sense knows that virtually all Southerners love that stuff. People just attribute it to black people because much of Southern culture migrated to the cities during the Great Migration.) Now I think he's a vegan, but he still gets credit for growing up a poor Southern boy.

This is far from the first incident of pandering that backfired for Hillary, however. Perhaps her most infamous episode was when she slipped into a "blaccent" when quoting James Cleveland. Actually, it was an attempted urban African-American accent that evolved somewhere in the middle of the quote into something that resembled a Massachusetts, Kennedy-style accent. You can witness it here.

She wants black people in America to see her as a sympathetic friend, and thus she portrays herself. Sadly, according to insiders, she's not the same person in her private views. In 1994, her more authentic feelings emerged, possibly on accident, in a speech on "super-predators." (See her in context here.) Dick Morris and other insiders constantly heard her and Bill using racial slurs, especially with regard to Jesse Jackson.

Hillary wants to be everything to everybody. Obama managed to accomplish that, she thinks, so why can't I? Both of them suffer from the same dilemma, though--in trying to stand for everything, you really stand for nothing.




Thursday, August 18, 2016

Race and Ethnicity in Grammar




"A grammar post? Brain...officially...bored."

Okay, I get it. When we think of interesting subjects, grammar is usually among the most remote. However, I have some questions and concerns over how we refer to racial and ethnic groups in written English and what that says about our inherent biases.

I'm a Spanish teacher. In Spanish, racial and ethnic groups aren't capitalized. Granted, lots of things aren't capitalized: languages, months, days of the week, words in a title besides the first one... Still, that fact both reveals and shapes how people consider issues of race and ethnicity. Most Latin-Americans are racially mixed. In fact, it's often difficult to impossible to nail down your racial roots, although it's safe to make a few broad generalizations in most cases. For example, if you are from Mexico and have naturally dark-brown skin and very Caucasian features, you are most likely part Spaniard and part Indigenous. I notice that I'm confused even now--do I capitalize the word Indigenous in this case? In Spanish, I don't. My theory is that nobody cares what race you are enough to capitalize it. Heck, we don't say "white people" in Spanish, we say "people light-in-tone" (personas rubias)-- the color comes after the fact that they're people.

So why does the APA style guide say we need to capitalize colors when they refer to race? It doesn't make any sense to me. Besides, as humorously noted in the film Cry Freedom, "black" people are more brown than black, and "white" people are more pink than white. Why reinforce these artificial extremes by making them proper nouns, names rather than adjectives?

You will notice that I go back and forth between capitalizing these terms and omitting that capitalization. My natural inclination is not to do so. I will capitalize nationalities; it seems close in intent to capitalizing the names of the countries from which people come. Luckily, I am not alone in my opinion of capitalizing racial labels. College campuses are gradually coming around, although they still capitalize in the case of African-Americans, but advise not to do so when referring to races in general. I personally don't comprehend that distinction. How are races imaginary colors in one case, but legitimate names of ethnicity in another? Also, such usage assumes that all American black people feel part of a common ethnic culture. This is false and, frankly, demeaning, just as demeaning as suggesting that there is one uniform white ethnic culture in this country. It is so obviously untrue as to be laughable.

I will try never to capitalize races in this blog again. Capitalizing them seems unnatural, so it shouldn't be that hard. If I do, it will be evidence that political correctness is still lodged in some deep, undeveloped crevice in my psyche. I apologize for that if it happens. I blame my Liberal college professors. (Liberal is capitalized here to demonstrate that they are not liberals in the classical sense.)

By the way, I also resent capitalizing, and referring to in general, hyphenated Americans. I'll do it so people will comprehend what I'm writing, but I long for the day when it will no longer be necessary.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hillary's Leaky Campaign

Uh-oh... They're on to me.
It's no secret that I'm anti-Clinton. Let's put that out there. No secrets, unlike other commentators who pretend to objectivity. I'm also a resigned Trumpist; I would have preferred Carson or Cruz, but if I have to pull the switch for a lesser evil than Hillary, so be it. Trump will be amenable to working with a Republican legislature. If Hillary is elected, we'll have at least four years of the legislature serving simply as damage-control.

Still, it can't be denied by even anti-Trumpers that the Left is in full defensive mode over the Wikileaks so far and the promise of more to come. "Crap! They outed us to Bernie's folks! What if they go beyond the tip of the iceberg?"

No Democrat administration is going to convict a Democrat presidential nominee. The hope this would happen is like hoping for a Star Wars sequel as good as the original trilogy. Ain't gonna' happen. Neither are the problematic emails in question going to be released, ever. They weren't classified, but they're too classified for the public to see, as if such a position makes any rational sense.

So who comes riding in astride a white horse but a shirtless Putin. Okay, we can't prove it was him, but come on. Should we care who it is? No. We're inventing enemies out of thin air here. We're even coming around to admitting that Syria might not be as bad, at least for our interests, as we've cast them, so Putin's support of Assad shouldn't be a factor except as an embarrassment to "red-line" Obama. Forget the Russians--the truth about the people we're voting for is what should matter, but the media don't want us to know that truth. Indeed, they are angry that someone has managed to circumvent their control over what the American public is allowed to know. They've felt that way ever since Rush Limbaugh busted through their Iron Curtain in 1992. (By the way, 1992 is the year I started caring about politics. Thanks, Rush!) So now we get to find out about people besides Republicans like Nixon. Dang it!

I, for one, am ecstatic about this particular Wikileak. The site is generally anathema in my sight, but it's having a redemptive moment. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Even Hitler loved animals and passed laws against animal cruelty (unless they belonged to Jews, in which case losing your beloved master isn't exactly happy time). We get to know exactly what Hillary cares about and what she's saying to her co-conspirators! Awesome! We get to see the Democrats' opposition research on Donald Trump! Score! We get to know the good, the bad and the ugly about both sides. This means we get the truth about both nominees. Why is it that the Left is apoplectic over this? Don't they want us to know Trump's dirt? Or is it perhaps that Trump's dirt pales before Hillary's infected filth?

We'll see, I guess. Donald Trump doesn't seem worried. He seems to be an open guy--too much of an open guy, if you ask me. The man can't shut up! However, in that way he reminds me a bit of George W. Bush. When asked the name of the prime minister of India, Bush admitted he didn't know it off the top of his head. He didn't pull the classic political maneuver of answering the question he wished they'd asked. That's how Trump would handle the situation as well. In fact, he'd call them out and lambaste them for using gotcha journalism.

(By the way, it may seem conspicuous that there is no link to Wikileaks here. There are, after all, usually a good number of relevant links in my posts, and there are a good number in this one. However, on principle, I won't link to an organization that endangers U.S. personnel by revealing our classified information about them. You'll have to find them, rather easily, on Google.)