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"Smart-Ass White Boys"

By       Message Anthony Barnes     Permalink
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Prophetic: Andrew Young was clearly on to something

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I honestly can't remember when or where I first heard it , but when I did, it provoked a somewhat knowing chuckle.   Someone had said something about a concept he'd heard about called the J.A.C.K.A.S.S. theory with "jackass" being an acronym for Just Acting Caucasian Kills A Simple Solution.

So, earlier this week, not long after having to listen to former Mitt Romney wingman Paul Ryan blame voters from "urban" (read: "black") areas for getting in the way of his putative boss's Presidential Victory Parade , I'm reading a post-mortem story about the Romney debacle where I took note of a quote attributed to a Romney aide concerning the campaign's belief that in 2012, fewer "minorities" (read: "blacks") would show up to vote than did in 2008.   A higher turnout, this unnamed aide insisted "just defied logic."

Okay.   But whose logic?    Perhaps it's the same logic used to construct a long-standing stereotype about blacks being lazy. This logically, would translate into laziness by black voters when it comes to getting up off our lazy asses to go vote for Obama again.    

Perhaps this logic has roots in another long-standing perception attached to "urbanites" about how this trait of laziness engenders a tendency to avoid carrying out civic duties -- like voting. I was once ignorant enough to believe that myself.   But that was a quite a long time ago when that perception was closer to reality.   Today, any fool knows that the steady uptick in black voter participation began long before the 2008 emergence of Barack Obama.    

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I have difficulty getting around a presumption that there was an assumption (or hope) among the virtually all Caucasian Romney campaign "brain trust" that our innate laziness would kick into overdrive on November 6, 2012.   If so, how would that stereotypical perception square with the prediction that blacks would put our laziness on temporary hiatus in order to get up off our asses to vote for the man who'll give us four more years of "free stuff?"     Wasn't that the concern that sparked all those GOP efforts to suppress our vote ?  

Who knows?   But the way the Romney campaign handled its "urban" problem did little more than provide an illustration of former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young's  infamous characterization of the folks running Walter Mondale's presidential campaign back in the 80s: "smart-ass white boys" he called them.

Indecorous?   No doubt.   But that hardly means that Young wasn't on to something back then. After all, the "Gipper" did annihilate Mondale, winning 525 electoral votes and 49 states to Mondale's 13 and 1.   Nevertheless, what's inarguable today is the existence of a train of thought within the Romney campaign which leads to a premise that blacks are lazy.   Uber lazy.   Too lazy in fact, to put in even the slightest effort required to ensure we can freeload off Obama's government for another four years.

If so, it would certainly explain why for at least one of the smart-asses running the Romney campaign, the thought of the 2012 black turnout exceeding that of 2008 -- which, in fact, happened -- "defied logic."

For many of us, it's just that kind of jackass thinking that makes Obama's victory all the much sweeter.

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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a free-lance writer who leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to (more...)

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