Sunday, October 23, 2011

Herman Cain's attachment to the "plantation" analogy

Did you think that Herman Cain's recent reference to a "plantation mentality" was a new thing for him? Then think again.

Apparently this is one of his favorite analogies and he's used it to talk about both the federal income tax and social security. Think Progress found these gems in Mr. Cain's writing for "The New Voice" from 2005-2010.

It took our nation nearly 250 years to end slavery and live up to the self-evident truth that all men are created equal. It should not take us another 250 years to cease the involuntary negative return most working people receive from Social Security, or the involuntary servitude imposed by the oppressive income tax code.

And...

It is now evident that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not apply to the Social Security system. Due to the rising retirement age, differences in life expectancy between Blacks and Whites, and mandatory payroll tax deductions, the system by its very nature discriminates against black men and women...

Instead, black Democratic leaders are willing to see the next generation of Blacks remain in economic slavery on the Democratic plantation, so long as they can deny any Republican a perceived political victory.

The article goes on to say that his claims about Social Security are "wildly inaccurate."

Indeed, the nearly 5 million African Americans who receive Social Security benefit more from this essential program than the average white American. Studies show that they “receive modestly more in Social Security benefits for each dollar they pay in payroll taxes than whites do” because of the progressive benefit structure and that they benefit more from SSDI because they are unfortunately more likely “to become disabled or die before retiring.”

But I'm even more curious why Cain would choose the analogy of slavery for these political debates. I suppose you could say that Cain was trying to speak to African Americans and chose an analogy he thought they could relate to. But it cheapens the reality of slavery when you compare it to everything you oppose politically. It would be similar to thinking you need to bring up the holocaust every time you wanted to convince Jews to agree with you politically or colonialist genocide when talking to Native Americans. These issues deserve the reverence of respect for the horror they perpetuated for generations and should not be used casually to score cheap political points. If Mr. Cain thinks this kind of thing endears African Americans to his point of view, I suspect it fails miserably.

The recovering therapist in me is tempted to analyze why Mr. Cain would continue to go back to this kind of analogy. But I'm going to resist that temptation because I don't happen to like it when he says things like President Obama "has never been part of the black experience in America." I look forward to the day when African Americans can simply agree or disagree politically without having to rely on racially-charged historical scare tactics or question each other's authenticity.

2 comments:

  1. He's not speaking to African Americans. I would say that the overwhelming majority of African Americans would find it offensive to make these analogies. He is speaking to whites scared of "white slavery." They are scared that if black people gain even parity, they will enslave white people. So they keep driving on these slavery analogies. That is part of the reason I started my series to raise awareness of the true nature of slavery, not the pseudo bs the Republicans push.

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  2. Great point princss6!!!!!

    Thanks for adding to my learning today.

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