That’s What Democrats Think

Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

I’m originally from the Upstate NY village of Waverly in the Southern Tier region along the Susquehanna and Chemung rivers. Waverly has always been a Republican town and has become a Trumpy kind of place as Republicans have become a Trumpy kind of party. A liberal Rockefeller Republican growing up during the 1960’s and 70’s, I didn’t start voting Democratic until 1980 when I was living in Chapel Hill, NC and in my third year of grad school at Carolina.

Forty years later, I’m estranged from my Republican siblings, have no Republican friends, and have blocked pretty much all my GOP facebook friends, including three cousins in Texas, an aunt in South Carolina, folks from Waverly, and favorite former students. Like other Democrats I’ve stopped debating Republicans about issues like abortion, taxes, government regulation, and police murders. And I think that’s an extremely important thing. Liberal v conservative debates were one of the few things that lib/left whites and white conservatives shared over the last couple of decades and now that’s gone. Like other white Democrats, I’ve lost so much respect for white conservatives that I don’t view myself as sharing a common culture with them and view them as despicable for their support of a pathological liar, con man, rapist, flaming bigot, and traitor like Trump. Like President Biden, I view the MAGA/Trump movement as “semi-fascist” and think they’re moving to full scale fascism in a hurry.

That’s why New York governor Kathy Hochul’s statement that conservative and MAGA Republicans should just leave New York made so much sense to me even if Republicans are outraged.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y., sparked intense outrage after lambasting New York Republican candidates during a speech last week, telling them to “get out of town” and “head to Florida” where they belong . . . We’re here to say that the era of Trump and Zeldin and Molinaro – just jump on a bus and head down to Florida where you belong. Get out of town,” she said.

It will be interesting to see what the mainstream media does with Hochul’s statement if anything. Mainstream media outlets rarely interview Democratic voters and are especially averse to interviewing Democratic voters on their opinions concerning Trump voters. IMHO, it’s because the media does not want to engage with the contempt in which everyday Democrats hold their Trump voting fellow citizens.

If the media did interview Democrats, they would find out that Hochul’s views are just what Democrats think.

Comic Substance

Two important points for my argument on minstrelsy:

  1. Blackface performers adapted a concept of black people as “comic substance” whose humiliation, torture, and dismemberment could be enjoyed.
  2. The shared enjoyment of black humiliation and suffering became an anchor point for white identity.

There’s an example of the concept of black people as “comic substance” in “Lucy Long” which was written before the formation of the Virginia minstrels but was the most popular minstrel song of the 1840’s

Yes Lucy is a pretty girl/Such lubly hands and feet/When her toes is in de market house/Her heels is in Main Street,/Take your time, etc.

There was a stereotype that black women had large heels and feet–in this case that her feet extended 30 feet or more. The stereotypes themselves are what Patricia Hill Collins called a “controlling image” but minstrelsy multiplied the stereotypes concerning black hair, size, lips, and noses to the extent that they conveyed a general idea of black people as comic monstrosities, or “comic substance.”

A Contemporary Note:

When conservatives complain about being condemned for racist language, they express a longing to treat black people as comic substance and rage over current taboos on the n-word, racist jokes, etc. The ability to use and enjoy racist language has long been a significant part of being white and they feel the loss.