“The best thing politically would be to stay as far away from that tar baby as I can,” he told a crowd of about 100 supporters in Ames, Iowa.The tar baby dates a lot further back than Br'er Rabbit. According to Random House - who might know a thing or two about words - the tar baby "is a form of a character widespread in African folklore. In various folktales, gum, wax, or other sticky material is used to trap a person." A person like Mitt Romney, no doubt.
Black leaders were outraged at his use of the term, which dates to the 19th century Uncle Remus stories, referring to a doll made of tar that traps Br’er Rabbit.
Now it's obvious that there's no comparison between Romney's phrase and - to take a current example - Mel Gibson's. In fact, one has to reach very far indeed to make it even appear to be offensive. It's apparently worth that effort when Romney says it, but I don't seem to recall any outrage when Salon Magazine said that Peggy Noonan, "is ready to do her dance with the psychological tar baby that is HRC" or when the Daily Kos said, "Having fallen into bin-Ladin's trap, aided by 'intelligence' reports as reported by the Bush regime, we have grabbed the Tar Baby."
I would have a lot more respect for the GOP if once, just once, they would stand up to the professionally aggrieved and say, "You are the biggest bunch of crybabies this great nation has ever seen." Then simply turn and walk away.
What is gained by sucking up to these people? Apology for offense? There's no real offense because Romney wasn't being racial and no reasonable person could believe he was. To apologize for something you didn't do doesn't make you meek, it makes you craven. These 'leaders' are simply trying to humble Romney for the sin of being a Republican. If that's a sin, then apologize for that and go sin no more.
Is Romney trying to get their vote? The professionally-aggrieved will not vote for him anyway, and if I was a black voter considering voting for the GOP, I suspect I would be far more impressed with the character of a man who stands his ground when he's right than a gutless jello governor who is afraid that someone might call him a racist or who thinks that black people are too stupid to understand their own cultural references. If there's any racism here, it's the presumption that blacks are such children that their tender ears can't bear to hear any words that others have used to offend in the past. I just hope they don't watch BET.
Maybe the reason the aggrieved don't howl every time a black person asks for crackers with his chili is that they figure whites are grownups who can differentiate between common language and epithets. That these crybabies can't make that distinction themselves makes them walking stereotypes of the very kind they would try so hard to erase.
(hat tip: Sniffer)