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…
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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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!
- 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?”
- That was the moment when I became deeply convinced that there is NO way we are going to change each other’s mind. None.
- That was the moment when I fell in love all over again with Jon Stewart.
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.
p.s. Comedy Central’s blog post on this vid is called “I 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.”