Thursday, August 03, 2006

Lamont/Lieberman blackface fallout.

Politics: Jane Hamsher has this to say about the blackface graphic.

I sincerely apologize to anyone who was genuinely offended by the choice of images accompanying my blog post today on the Huffington Post. It’s also important to note that I do not, nor have I ever worked for Ned Lamont’s campaign. However, at their request, I removed the image earlier today. Unfortunately, Senator Lieberman’s campaign has used this in attempt to hurt Ned and score political points, mustering their own faux indignation in attempt to further distract from the issues important to the voters of Connecticut. For weeks, Senator Lieberman has attempted to woo African Americans by pretending to be someone he clearly is not. Meanwhile, his campaign has liberally distributed race-baiting fliers that have the "paid for by" Joe’s campaign disclaimer at the bottom, lying to the press about their intended recipients. But for some reason, more questions have been asked about me, a blogger. With so much at stake this election, is the choice of images used by a mere supporter really newsworthy? To the extent that rightwing Republicans like Michelle Malkin are trying to harm Ned Lamont with this ginned up controversy by "defending" his opponent with these absurd charges of racism — I regret it and I invite them to take it up with the person who did it, namely me. I answer to nobody and I operate entirely on my own volition. If you have a problem with something I’ve written, you know where to find me.
The fact she didn't believe doing anyone up in blackface would be offensive to anyone before she used the picture says something about her character. Even more astonishing is Arianna Huffington doesn't see anything wrong about blackface via the Washington Post.
Lamont spokeswoman Liz Dupont-Diehl tried to distance the campaign from the photo and said campaign manager Tom Swan had called Hamsher and asked that the picture be taken off the blog. "This was not the campaign's doing," she said. "We find it offensive and inappropriate. We asked that it be taken down, and it was." But Dupont-Diehl said the campaign will not bow to the Lieberman campaign's demand that Lamont cut any ties with Hamsher. "She's not part of the campaign staff," Dupont-Diehl said. "She's an independent blogger covering the race." She called it "an isolated, nonrepresentative incident" and added: "Ned has been committed to affirmative action and equality. He's been more active in achieving those goals than many people." Lieberman spokesman Dan Gerstein scoffed at the Lamont campaign's effort to separate the candidate from Hamsher and her posting. While noting that Hamsher is not a paid staffer, Gerstein argued that she has been an integral part of the Lamont operation. "She's been an active part of their campaign," he said. "She travels with him, she's raised money for them and has become the primary mouthpiece for him in the blogosphere." Hamsher did not return a message left on her cellphone. Arianna Huffington, the founder of, said that no one from the Web site has asked for the photo to be removed. "We did not ask her, nor would we have asked her," she said. "It was a satirical point she made in the picture, and there was nothing in the text that was racist, and there is nothing about Jane that is racist."
As pointed out on Justoneminute.
BY ODD COINCIDENCE: Just last weekend the NY Times Book Review "Editors' Choice" included "Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult & Imitation in American Popular Culture". Let's clip a snippet of their book review: Still, John Strausbaugh argues in the persuasive, provocative "Black Like You," blackface continues to hold an especially vilified place in American culture. "The swastika, the 'N-word' and blackface, because of their special historical significance, are the ne plus ultra of hate speech," he writes.
So did I miss the memo the powers that be that blackface is not racist?

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