Why Black Folks Should Thank Rick Perry For Niggerhead
Perhaps we should thank Rick Perry rather than attack
him. The Perry family tried to use white paint to obscure the sign, but
Niggerhead is always there, still visible just below the surface,
underneath the hastily applied whiteface. The duplicitous design of
conservatives like Perry and the Tea Party brigade is that America is a
vast and level playing field that is only being stymied by
government-engineered efforts to give special advantages to particular
groups, like blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, the poor. If we take away
those government efforts and let everyone fend for themselves, jobs will
abound, home prices will rise again, the citizenry will be happy and
America will soar. In other words, the only thing holding any of us back
is government intervention. Let the marketplace decide who should
thrive and who should suffer.
By Nick Chiles
As Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry grapples with the fallout over reports that his family leased a hunting lodge with the name “Niggerhead,” it serves as a reminder that the skeletons and ashes of this country’s violently racist past are buried and scattered all around us, lurking in the soil, just waiting to pop up at any moment and embarrass the hell out of white folks who try to pretend such a history never existed.
Though the election of Barack Obama for many in this country served as a convenient but misleading signal that America’s racist past was behind us, Niggerhead reminds us that black people in this country are still suffering from the effects of a methodical and consistent 300-year-old campaign of bigotry.
Our childrens’ schools are underfunded, our paychecks are smaller, our neighborhoods don’t receive as many resources, our hospitals are understaffed and our unemployment is more intractable. It’s no accident, no coincidence. This is business as usual in the United States and has been since the day the 13th Amendment abolished slavery.
But oh, how easy it is to forget, with Barack, Michelle, Malia and Sasha roaming the halls of the White House, with Herman Cain winning a Republican straw poll in Florida, with Oprah ruling the world. Even black people could be forgiven for at times believing that across the land finally we have been accepted as equals and all of our problems now are entirely of our own making. But just in time to wake us up, to provide a much-needed reality check, we get Niggerhead.
But it is the marketplace that brought us Niggerhead in the first place.
Left to its own devices, the American marketplace created slavery and
then Jim Crow to give a continuing advantage to the white American
male—to strengthen the power of the ruling class. We can’t let the Tea
Party fool us—a few decades of government intervention have hardly made a
dent in the American tradition of white male privilege. The Justice
Department has merely been tinkering around the edges of white
bigotry—and only during Democratic administrations. If Perry and the Tea
Party get their way, the U.S. Justice Department will be converted into
condos on the National Mall and Republican-controlled state
legislatures will have black people once again proving land ownership in
order to cast a vote. If we think things are bad for black and brown
folks now, just wait until the marketplace gets a free, unencumbered
shot at us. The only jobs we will be able to find will be lugging around
paint brushes and rewriting “Niggerhead” on the street signs in black
communities across America—communities where we will be living in
anguish and agony, alone and forgotten.
Nick Chiles is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author.
Date Submitted: 10/3/2011 11:14 PM
PostedBy: Single In The City
Get More News And Videos About: rick perry barack obama niggerhead