“Chains” is a Racist Word? Sorry, I Don’t Speak “Code”

The idea that Joe Biden was making a racist remark when he said if Wall Street were unleashed it would put us all in chains is such a stretch that I wonder why anyone even mentions it on the air.

Why would  the word “chains” be especially offensive to African Americans? Or any other ethnic group? Throughout history every race has been in chains at one time or another. And, certainly, today the vast majority of Americans – white, black and every other shade – are in economic chains.

Yes, Joe Biden, Wall Street has tied and hobbled us, and theywill shackle us even more heavily if they get the chance.

In that context, “chains” seems to me to be an entirely appropriate metaphor. And the fact that your audience included African Americans is completely irrelevant. I don’t hear any African Americans complaining; they’re too smart for that chip-on-the-shoulder, knee-jerk kind of preciousness.

It’s getting so that the most innocent words are misconstrued to produce outrage. I got into trouble the other day for observing that someone was acting like a lunatic. Apparently that’s now a banned word – along with a lexicon of other terms that were quite ordinary in my childhood.

I realize that some people deal in euphemisms and “code” words to communicate shameful ideas under the radar.

But to accuse Joe Biden of using code words is a joke.

Joe Biden? Plain ol’ Joe with his foot-in-mouth candor, his Irish bull-in-a-china shop manner, his slap-you-on-the-back-and-buy-you-a-beer persona?

Believe me, Joe doesn’t deal in code. Joe says what’s on his mind, and smiles amiably at you, the Mr. Magoo of politics, everybody’s clumsy but lovable uncle.

Of course, that doesn’t matter to people like John Sununu, Sarah Palin and John McCain, or the rest of the pack of (non-black) jackals baying at the president to replace Joe Biden with Hillary Clinton on the presidential ticket.

You and I know they’re being ridiculous. They know they’re being ridiculous. Everyone knows they’re being ridiculous.

But they’re using this silly charade to  hog the airwaves and send “dog-whistle” messages to their “base.”

They’re the ones who’re communicating in “code.”

And the naive media are helping them do it. Don’t they have anything more important to talk about at a time like this? America is facing the most frightening election in modern history, and they find time to examine the hidden meaning of “chains”?

Like Nero, the pundits are fiddling while the flames sweep toward them – and us.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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2 Responses

  1. Liz Ayers says:

    INSANITY RULES!.

  2. Bill Moore says:

    Yes, totally futile, insane and corrupt. But unfortunately, No draft = No protest. We could use a new Sec of Defense (why was Gates retained anyway?) and a Sec of State willing to step up and speak for prompt disengagement …I think Hillary used to sing that tune, among others including her boss. I guess Kucinich is the only one who meant it. There has to be more clamor about this.