In 2008 and in 2012, the African-American vote went soundly to President Obama. The GOP insinuated repeatedly that the only reason for this support is because Obama is a Black man. The fact that African-American’s have a long history of voting their rights has been soundly ignored. This is purposeful because it allows the GOP to ignore the impact of the racism they regularly engage in.
During the Super Bowl, former South Carolina GOP executive director Todd Kincannon took to twitter to follow the party line and attack Katrina survivors and Trayvon Martin.
Predictably, he received some push back on this tweet and rather than apologizing and retreating as any decent person would do, Kincannon decided to push forward.
In one finally parting shot, as though the twitterverse didn’t get a large enough helping of Kincannon’s bigotry, he tweeted the following.
“One of the things I like to do on Twitter is I’ll tweet something inflammatory, kind of borderline crazy-sounding just for fun. And I enjoy watching people go nuts. One of the best things about it is if you say something that’s borderline offensive or if it is offensive, the people that attack you and say just the awfulest [sic] things about you, they do the very thing that they accuse you of.”
“I think it is time for a conversation in this country about why a conservative isn’t allowed to state an opinion that other people happen to disagree with, without having death threats and being threatened with all kinds of various ridiculous things,” he continued. “This is real problem we have. People talk about political discourse in this country — you might think what I said was tasteless, you’re welcome to. But should I get death threats as a result of it?”
Wow, it’s fun to joke about a young man who was shot dead for being Black and wearing a hoodie at night. It’s fun to then claim that this same young man would have ended up as drug addict, because no Black man grows up to be a good father, earn a university degree, serve in the military, run companies or be good citizens in any way. No of course not, Black men are a threat to personal security and disposable members of society.
Kincannon didn’t just state an opinion, what he did was a form of verbal violence that negatively impacts the poor and the African-American community. People like Kincannon fail to realise that attacking historically marginalized people in the vein that he did is not something as benign as a simple opinion, it is violence because of the impact on our lives and because it serves to dehumanise us.
What Kincannon is doing by attacking his detractors is nothing but a weak attempt to deflect the conversation from his tweets. This isn’t some cheap childish game of tit for tat. I don’t mind that he didn’t make an apology because we all know that it wouldn’t have been heartfelt or worth the paper it was written on. People have a right to defend themselves and that is exactly what the response to his comments is about. The devaluation of life, will absolutely lead to the loss of more life and you can be sure that it won’t be amongst over privileged White men like Kincannon. Just recently, a young man was shot to death for the crime of sitting in the back of an SUV because someone decided that the music which was playing, was too loud. Every damn day, Blacks live under a death threat because they live in a White supremacist state filled with racist, hateful assholes like Kincannon. I don’t have one moment of sympathy for this man.
What conservatives want is not free speech, they want consequence free speech. Since when is anything we do in life without a consequence? This isn’t about free speech, or having an open and honest debate; it’s about a desire to engage in verbal violence, which upholds White supremacy at will. Men like Kincannon think that their privilege should render them immune from facing the consequences of their actions and that is exactly why his feet should be held to the fire.
He didn’t pause for a moment and think about how Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin’s mother) would feel. Hasn’t this family suffered enough with the loss of their child? He didn’t think about what Trayvon represents to the Black community, or the history of violence that African-Americans have suffered because of White supremacy. He didn’t think because he doesn’t have to. This isn’t even academic to men like Kincannon, it’s a non-issue.
To be clear, I am not wishing Kincannon dead but I fail to see why anyone who engages in violent speech expects a non-violent reaction. His problem is that he has spent so much time in a world in which Whiteness has appropriated MLK, he has no idea that many African-Americans are damn tired of turning the other cheek. The difference between African-Americans and Kincannon is whatever rage they may feel, is more than justified by hundreds of years of violence and dehuamanisation.