Herman Cain's Hustle

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

Adam Serwer flags this laughable comment from Herman Cain:


"I'm an American Black Conservative - an ABC -- and I'm proud of it," Cain said. "And because I've been affiliated with the conservative movement, and had the audacity to go on talk radio and do a talk show, and promote conservative principles, I've been called a racist too. Go figure" 

Cain then went on to say he thought liberals were upset with him "because I won't stay on the Democrat plantation like I'm supposed to." "It may shock you but some black people can think for themselves," he added.

Yes. And those black people happen to be Republican. From Adam:

....it's hard to imagine Cain talking like this to the average black audience, because the average black person doesn't really enjoy being compared to a slave. But it's the sort of thing white conservatives really eat up, which is why black conservatives often draw these kinds of comparisons. 

I don't mean to trivialize the fact that some black conservatives really do have to weather racist arguments about intelligence or racial authenticity from liberals just because they're conservative. But there's a way to respond to that without accusing black Democrats of being mindless or stupid.

I think this is exactly right. Moreover, the victim-mongering is fairly astounding, if typical. The accusation of racism is now, officially, a racist act. It also sends me back to a debate from comments yesterday regarding Alan Keyes and the Confederate flag. Cain is black man, engaged in white populism. It's an unoriginal hustle, but still a marvel to behold.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/03/herman-cains-hustle/73159/