In Which I Defend Michael Steele (and Then Point Out He's Still an Asshole)

Yesterday, HoosierAccess posted video of RNC Chairperson Michael Steele meeting with bloggers at the Young Republicans convention in Indiana. In the video, Steele is asked: "Regarding your inclusion of diverse populations of the Republican Party, what is your plan moving forward?" To which Steele responded: "My plan is to say, 'Ya'll come!'"

At that point, there is supportive laughter, and someone in the audience can be heard to say: "I'll bring the collard greens!" There is more laughter; Steele laughs and responds, "There you go. I got the fried chicken and potato salad!"

This is being reported in several prominent liberal outlets as Steele saying: "My plan is to say, 'Ya'll come!' … I got the fried chicken and potato salad!" As if he said he was planning to entice people of color with fried chicken and potato salad, as opposed to responding to what is quite obviously a good-natured and totally typical human exchange.

Steele says a lot of stupid shit, but this is only stupid if it's deliberately mischaracterized. HuffPo's headline—Steele: I'll Woo Blacks To GOP With "Fried Chicken And Potato Salad"—is unconscionable, reducing "diverse populations" to "blacks" and relying on stereotypes about what foods "blacks" eat.

Anyone else have a problem with using racist tropes to sell a constructed story about racism?

The sad part about the focus on this aspect of the video is that immediately afterwards, Steele asserts: "The goal of this party has been, from its inception, about inclusion. … We welcome and embrace all, no matter their background, their walk, their orientation, their views." Yeah, well, Elle's got a little something to say about that. And she didn't have to take anything out of context to say it.

He also asserts that the Republican Party wrote equality for African-Americans into "the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and they made it very clear, and defined very clearly, that we are one nation under God indivisible." Okay, the Republican Party didn't exist until abolitionists founded it in 1854, so they didn't write anything into either the Constitution or the Bill of Rights (though it would be fair to say they amended the Constitution), and "one nation under God indivisible" is part of neither the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights—it's from the Pledge of Allegiance to the US Flag, which was written (without the "under God") by a socialist.

So, yeah. There isn't any need to make up something to show what an inveterate dumbass Michael Steele is.

And I managed to do it without relying on any racist stereotypes, too! Imagine that.

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