WTF Wednesday: Fighting “I Guess I’m a Racist” with “I Guess I’m a Lazy Ass”!

December 16, 2009

in imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway,this i believe

UPDATE (12-17-2009):

I realized that my attempt at satire actually makes it even more confusing. My apology. I will lay it out straight: The “I’m a Racist” ad is ridiculous also because it predicted on the faulty assumption #1 HCR is mostly about the African Americans #2 Ergo I have been accused of being a racist because I am against HCR. OR, if you criticize my criticism of HCR, you are accusing me of being a racist. In my mind, #1 is incorrect, and therefore #2 is incorrect. (This is the argument I was trying to make by invoking the fact that there are also a lot of POOR WHITES who are trapped in the poverty cycle AND the arguments, on both sides, seem to have overlooked their plights).

The new ad “I Guss I’m A Lazy Ass” I am proposing here is for the Pro-HCR camp as a comeback. And it is satirical. Hard to convey “satirical” tone with words since you can’t see my Quote Fingers or Jazz Hands… It plays upon #1. The assumption by many in the anti-HCR camp (anti-Public-option) that people without health care are lazy asses who cannot hold a job, etc. Why should we help those people out? #2. This proposed ad would confront that assumption. #3. The prominent representation of white people (a la the prominent representation by the final Black guy in the “I’m a racist” ad), as sarcastically proposed, refers to the common assumption that Poor White People are Poor NOT because they are lazy but because they are unfortunate…

Anyway, it serves me right to be smug enough to think that I can tackle such a controversial and complex issue. This is such a charged subject and as you can see I am confused myself. There is probably no need for this update either since you either got me (for which I am very grateful and would you please come to my house and explain me to my husband?) or you have moved on to more important things (I would have done this if I were you too so no hard feelings), but I feel that I need to clarify things because I am anal retentive. The bottom line is:

I would like to see the government TRYING to help the truly unfortunate out, esp. the millions of children that are not ensured, and if that means I have to pay more taxes, I am fine with it. Will they make some bumbling mistakes along the way? You bet ya. But the expectation of imperfection should not be the excuse for not doing it at all. Have all the countries claiming to be a democracy really adhere to the democratic principles all the time? Are there not corruptions, nepotisms, all sorts of Jackassery going on? You bet ya. Does that mean democracy failed and we should just write it off? I am sure the answer is no.

This I believe:

“No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and nobody should go broke because they get sick.”

The Original Post (as published on 12-16-2009):

Many of you have this feature called Wordless Wednesday every, eh, Wednesday. But me? Not talking? When I have my own soap box right here? Ha. Therefore I decided to start my own tradition called WTF Wednesday.

And conveniently, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, together: what do we have here?!

My token male reader called me out on an evasive post last week, half-assedly commenting on the “I guess I’m a Racist” anti-healthcare reform ad.

Yeah yeah I know I just also wrote this big giant navel-gazing post about how I am going to ignore all of you and just do whatever I want. So I am going to ignore you right now for mocking me…

You are a dick, dick!

Although I have blogged about how I feel about HCR, his comment struck a cord. I was caught red-handed for not following through with my oh-so-big announcement of how I am going to just go ahead and be myself. YOU GOT ME DICK! (No, he really is a dick. I mean, that’s what his blog is called. Eh, never mind…)

So here it is, a week later, assuming (hoping, actually) that I am preaching to the choir, FWIW:

The video is asinine to say the least.  As Professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell succinctly puts it, “THIS sucks the rhetoric air out of the room.”

  1. First of all, the ads (and many comments circulating on the Interweb) unquestionably assume that RACISM operates on the individual level, rather than on the institutional level. Regarding institutionalized racism: You either agree with this, or you don’t. This is my pessimistic conclusion.
  2. Furthermore, the ads (and the subsequent celebratory comments around the Interweb) wrongfully, yet effectively, turned the entire HCR debate around and recast the issue in an ultra emotional light, since most people do not deliberately practice racist beliefs and activities, and most people take it very personally, understandably, when they feel they are being accused of being a racist.
  3. The real issue of HCR, in my opinion, is one about class: the Have’s vs. The Have-Not’s. And we need to recognize that in the U.S., the class issues are inextricably linked to race issues, due to our unique histories. Although many in the African American academia have challenged the “code words” used in the HCR debate, e.g. “Welfare Queens”, “under class”, etc., it does not mean that they are trying to “hijack” the HCR issue with race issues. The poor Whites will also benefit from an improved health care system. And do you know approximately 2/3 of all welfare benefits administered by the government went to poor Whites? Why is that in a discussion on HCR that could benefit all the people who currently do not have any form of health insurance across the board, we don’t hear about these non-non-White folks’ plights?
  4. Somebody should make a video with all sorts of people speaking to the camera, “I guess I am a lazy ass,” to move the dial all the way to the other end: “You cannot afford health insurance, it must be your own damn fault!” Preferably featuring WHITE PEOPLE since as the thinking goes (as exemplified in the “I Guess I’m a Racist” vid) :

    BLACKS <> NOT RACISTS : WHITES <> NOT LAZY ASS
    Ergo, all these people that you saw just now? NOT Lazy Ass.

  5. And definitely remember to show a mother with an innocent child who looks at her mother and asks, “Am I a lazy ass, mom?” That’s going to be some powerful shit.

  6. I would have suggested Asian Americans in the vid to make the strongest point because of the whole “Model Minority” stereotype — You know: We work hard. We pull ourselves up by the bootstraps. We are good workers. We hunker down and keep our goddamn mouths shut. We never complain. Yada yada yada — were it not for the other stereotype of Asian Americans being immigrants and foreigners. THAT would have served the enemy’s purpose: LOOK. The HCR IS going to provide insurance to foreigners. OMG!
  7. Some random lady “engaged” me on a debate on Twitter. Imagine debating someone on such a complex issue 140 characters at a time?!… Her argument comes down to: I have done my part. Why should I give more? The government should get out of the business of trying to tell ME how I should spend my (husband’s) hard-earned money. AND, this sort of sums up her position: “I pay tax because I HAVE TO. I give money to charity, through my church, already.” At that point, I said, “Do you seriously want to engage in a political debate with someone who was just talking about tits on Twitter?”
  8. That was the moment when I became deeply convinced that there is NO way we are going to change each other’s mind. None.
  9. That was the moment when I fell in love all over again with Jon Stewart.

p.s. Comedy Central’s blog post on this vid is calledI Guess I’m a Racist, Sexist, Puppy-Killing Psychopath Who Never Calls My Mom“…  The title IS the comment.

p.p.s. The funniest, most scathing, most intelligently sarcastic, and in my mind, the most effective comeback was found on The AWL:

“I’m of the opinion that it’s always great to see an oppressed group of people attempt to reclaim a word that has been used in the past to cause hurt and shame. I’m thrilled for Republicans that they’re trying to take the ‘racist’ label back.”

GOLD.

{ 20 comments }

peedee December 16, 2009 at 6:13 am

My god its 7:10 am, I’ll come back later and reread this when I can wrap my racist brain around it a little better. Whatever happened to plain old Happy Hump Day?
.-= peedee´s last blog…The sun will come out tomorrow. =-.

Diane December 16, 2009 at 8:40 am

Amen! Indeed! Ya huh! That’s what I’m talkin’ about! Hear hear! What she said!

magda December 16, 2009 at 8:43 am

the dipshits of all colors shall remain dipshits. you cannot reform or negotiate with a dipshit and we cannot legislate stupidity, unfortunately. which is the greatest problem,historical and ritual ignorance.. people are fighting for the right to remain stupid and sick. which in fact would be fine if it did not affect the rest of us. i want to live in a world where people can rise from ignorance and illness inextricably linked in many cases. too sick without healthcare, quit job, lose house, drop out of school, move your kids around 42 times from one place to another and then vote down a great bill presented by our president because he is a “nigger”or worse a democrat. sorry for the n-bomb. exhausted by reports of poor “white trash” and retards from the ghetto lining up en masse to rage against the machine and reserve the right to remain as is. that closing quote fucking rocks. holy cow, when will i have time to go back and read through all of the related links and comments to come? what a relief to hear that you have no intent to be wordless EVER. i signed up for twitter but seem to suffer from twitter jitter. in true FT fashion, i registered using my blog name. must start new account so i can get as raw and stupid and vulgar as necessary in expressing myself exclusively to those who do not actually know me. the odds of having more followers must increase exponentially the further removed you are.
.-= magda´s last blog…The Facelift =-.

Absence Alternatives December 17, 2009 at 10:07 am

I have to say, even at this day and age, even after Jackie Chen used it in Rush Hour (in a humorous context I should add that invites the discussion on who is “allowed” to use that word). the N word still fills me with unease. My husband and I talked about how even behind the close doors, even just between the two of us, we were still unable to utter the entire word when we were discussing, for example, what the POTUS has been called. There is an entire discourse on how the African American community (esp. the youth culture) is reclaiming the “N” word as an empowerment, and of course, there are supporters and detractors of this theory/”cultural/social” movement. To me, the fact that I can say Cunt, Motherfucker at will all day long, I can even say “Chink” (with my quote fingers of course) albeit with a wince, but am not able to pronounce the N word, or even the F-g word, says how powerful these words remain to me personally.

Mama Zen December 16, 2009 at 9:28 am

Jon Stewart always fill me with hot, liberal lust!
.-= Mama Zen´s last blog…Mystery =-.

mepsipax December 16, 2009 at 9:33 am

I am a token male reader. WTF. That is sexist. Ahahahahah. I am such a Dick. Seriously, the answer to number 6. Titts on Twitter. Twittitters.
Anyway, I have been without insurance before and it sucks. It sucks not being able to go to the hospital or have your credit fucked for ridiculous bills even when you have the insurance. Thanks for pissing me off today.
.-= mepsipax´s last blog…Of poo and potpourri =-.

Absence Alternatives December 17, 2009 at 9:54 am

You are very welcome. I thought you are in Maui. I am sure it is covered by your health insurance for recovering from being pissed off so often. 😉

mepsipax December 17, 2009 at 10:18 am

I leave for Maui tomorrow morning. Does no one actually read my blog. Damnit. Well, my memory sucks too.
.-= mepsipax´s last blog…Shit not to do =-.

Absence Alternatives December 17, 2009 at 10:46 am

Of course I read your blog that’s how I know you are going to Maui and tan your ass there while the rest of us freeze to death in the midwest. Dick. Have a nice flight. Start drinking the moment you get on the plane. Promise me. (Actually, I have a long list of what to do and where to eat in Maui. I should have sent this to you a long time ago. Sorry. Aging is not being too kind to me…)

TheKitchenWitch December 16, 2009 at 11:17 am

Mepsipax is a Dick. A Dick who is totally unafraid of our racist, liberal asses.

I heart Jon Stewart and WTF Wednesday and people who call themselves Dicks.
.-= TheKitchenWitch´s last blog…Whimsical Wednesday =-.

Jane December 16, 2009 at 12:49 pm

From one of those bloggers who features “Wordless Wednesdays” on her blog I’m likin’ the sound of “WTF Wednesdays.” Especially this post where you call a spade a spade. (oops! Not to be taken racially)…….I think this WTF Wednesdays just might catch on.
.-= Jane´s last blog…Almost Wordless Wednesday =-.

Unknown Mami December 16, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Nothing eloquent to say, but I do want to claim that I am racist. Here’s the thing, we all are. Some things are ingrained. Of course there are different levels, but no one is immune. Just because I strive for equality in society doesn’t mean I get to stop examining myself. People are afraid of being called out as racists and I say we take the fear away. So I will start. My name is Unknown Mami and I am a recovering racist. I take it one day at a time and try to free my mind of biases as I become consciously aware of them. Admitting we have a problem is key. Turning a blind eye because these issues make us uncomfortable does not mean we live in an equitable society. I don’t have the answers, but I’m willing to look for them.
.-= Unknown Mami´s last blog…Excuses =-.

Absence Alternatives December 17, 2009 at 9:53 am

Mami, you crack me up. Yet you make me think, of course. I agree with you: we need to confront what’s deep inside within us before we can work it through. I command you for your bravery. And I am a racist too because I DO make assumptions about White Women, esp. blond white women at the bus stop every morning, all manicured and made-up sitting inside their Lexus SUVs. They irk me. Sorry.

Elly Lou December 16, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Sigh. I think it would all be ok if people just tried a little empathy. I get too riled up to say anything funny on this one. So just, thanks.
.-= Elly Lou´s last blog…Confessions =-.

Mama Zen December 17, 2009 at 9:39 am

Now, I’m going to have to try to make an intelligent comment!

I don’t see that ad as a reference to which demographic would utilize the public option. I see it more as exploiting the suggestion that anyone who opposes Obama’s health care agenda is a racist. Remember President Carter’s suggestion that much of the hostility to Obama’s agenda could be attributed racism? Well, predictably, the right grabbed hold of that, and this ad is the result. Nicely played, I guess.

And, Jon Stewart still fills me with hot liberal lust!
.-= Mama Zen´s last blog…Review: TI Nspire =-.

Absence Alternatives December 17, 2009 at 9:49 am

Mama Zen, I 100% agree with you. What you said here makes a lot more sense than what I am trying to convey in my 10000 words rambling. Thank you!

(We will need to battle over Jon Stewart. And I believe Mary over at Pajamas and Coffee will be a fierce contender in this fight as well…)

Merrilymarylee December 17, 2009 at 5:37 pm

I’m so glad you wrote this.
Last week I listened to a book on CD by Faye Kellerman. The fringe group of people in her story used the n-word frequently. It threw me so that I couldn’t concentrate on the novel. It is a toxic word.

I found the “racist” commercial offensive–another way of trying to give people permission to give in to their worst selves.

Absence Alternatives December 18, 2009 at 11:56 pm

“… give people permission to give in to their worst selves.” Well said. Exactly.

Falling December 22, 2009 at 12:46 am

Well, I’m coming to the party late, as usual, but I wish I’d known about WTF Wednesdays and this post, because I could have posted over on my site about how I spent my Wednesday: trying to figure out how to help a family get speech therapy for their almost entirely non-verbal 3-year-old. Their insurance covers 2 1/2 visits a year. Granted, they are also getting free services through the county (us), but our numbers mean that we can’t do one-on-one therapy twice a week, which is what this kid needs.

And I know that there are people, people I know, for whom health insurance means life-or-death decisions, and this isn’t that. But, for this mom? Her kid can’t talk. And she can’t get help.

WTF, indeed.
.-= Falling´s last blog…For People Without Kids, There’s a Joke at the End =-.

Absence Alternatives December 22, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Never late for the party. Wherever you go, there is THE party! Thank you so much for commenting on this. Sorry that you have to deal with things like this at work, and I assume, on a daily basis. Like I wonder (on your blog) over and over, I don’t know how you and your co-workers keep positive and not become jaded after witnessing so many WTF moments. Carry on the good fight, m’lady!

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