Cornbread Cometh

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

I'll have more to say tomorrow, but this is the dagger:


Ms. Bialek is the first woman to come forward publicly with such allegations. In her statement to the press, Ms. Bialek said that she had been fired at the association after about a year working for the group's educational foundation in its Chicago office. 

She said she sought Mr. Cain's help to find other employment during a trip to Washington about a month after he left the group. During that trip, she said Mr. Cain had secretly upgraded her hotel room before drinks and dinner that the two had to discuss possible future employment. 

She said that after dinner, he put his hand on her leg and ran it under her skirt and pulled her head toward his crotch. "I was surprised and shocked and I said, what are you doing? You know I have a boyfriend," Ms. Bialek recalled saying. "This is not what I came here for." "You want a job, right?" she said Mr. Cain responded. "I asked him to stop and he did."

This is a serious charge that sounds a lot like sexual assault. 

I would not trivialize the matter. But it must be said that this is not Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill. Herman Cain stands accused of something very old, and very different. Which is, by no means whatsoever, to say that Cain -- who has been accused of sexual harassment by four different women -- is a victim. 

But it is to say the following: Herman Cain has spent the past year peddling a thin tax policy, fumbling the names of foreign countries, and extolling his love of cornbread. Now, today, he stands accused of crudely fondling a white woman. Surely this is someone's portrait of blackness, but not anyone who would feel at home in Harlem.

Measuring himself against Barack Obama, Herman Cain once threatened give the country a "Real Black Man." From the addled recesses of the white populist imagination, Herman "Cornbread" Cain is charged with delivering.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/11/cornbread-cometh/248063/