Nothing brings out the racist inclinations in right-wingers like a line of poor black people trying to get food assistance. From exaggerating minor line-impatient scuffling into a "riot" to ignorant comments about cell phones and weight issues, the line forming on 12th and Vliet for food assistance yesterday had it all for those looking to take pot-shots at the underclass.
First of all, it wasn’t a riot. After reading that it was, I looked at the news footage from the local stations (who had their eager cameras trained on the line all day) and found nothing even slightly violent or all that unusual for a line of thousands that show up where the authorities running the show are woefully unprepared for the predictable mass of people. I’ve seen ten times worse in lines for rock concerts. You want a riot, I’ll show you a riot. This was no riot.
But that didn’t stop local embarrassment James T. Harris from calling it a riot and using it as an excuse to heap more dirt on what he says is his own community. "In one day, thuggish ugliness raised its shiftless head as Americans of African descent in Milwaukee managed to reinforce every negative stereotype under the sun." Well, only if you are there to help the reinforcement, J.T. "The riot very well could have been a rally for Barack Obama. Maybe not. Too early in the morning, and there was nothing in it for the greedy, except false hope and misguided pride." Man, you just can’t make idiocy like that up. Best of the Blogs, indeed.
But for outright racist crap, you had to hand it to gun-porn purveyor and MSM right-blog golden boy Owen Robinson. Robinson finds a picture of the line on the internets and plays the tiresome game of Find the Leaching Negro. He is outraged to see a "woman talking on cell phone." Oh, Owen, tell me it isn’t true! Is it a nice one? What kind of service does she have? How much food could she have purchased with those pre-paid minutes? Oh, the shame of it. His trained spot-the-leach eye finds a "man with designer jeans". No, not that! What are designer jeans these days, anyway? Anything other than Wrangler? Alright, Owen, now sit down and write what people looking for food assistance should be wearing. Sackcloth and ashes? If they are wearing bed sheets, will you criticize them for excessive thread counts?
And that’s not all. Robinson also sees "fat people" in the line. This is a well-tested racist device in the kick-the-fat-people-off-welfare wars of the ‘90s. What do they need food for if they ate so much yesterday? seems to be the logic. And then there is my favorite: "stylish pink-streaked hair". Methinks Robinson is a bit too easily impressed by not-in-nature hair color. Yeah, that woman definitely has it all goin’ on, doesn’t she? Are you thinking L’Oreal, Owen? Looking at it, I’m thinking cherry Kool-Aid, myself.
The fact that a long line of poor people showed up for just a little food assistance is a sign of distress, not of greedy avarice by people don’t need it. And, unlike what Harris and some of Robinson’s sheep-like commenters say, the same line – or longer – will appear when good jobs are declared available. But, again, when the opportunity for racist stereotyping knocks, Harris and Robinson are there to open the door. The real question is why both race-bomb throwers are accepted as legitimate commentators on TV or anywhere else in the mainstream media.