Amid four sexual harassment charges and a claim by a fifth woman that she and Herman Cain had a 13 year extramarital affair, former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain withdrew from the race. Prior to his quitting, the muck in the trench was getting so deep that I was expecting any day to hear Cain borrow a line from former Washington, DC mayor Marion Barry who – when caught with a woman during an FBI drug sting in January 1990 – spewed “The bitch set me up.”
To his credit, Cain did not go out that way. His downfall was women, not drugs. He claimed that he withdrew from the race to spare his wife and family pain and embarrassment. I’m not pinning a “guilty” button on his lapel, but two well-known sayings keep replaying alternately in my mind, “Where there is smoke…” and “Liar, liar, pants on fire.” I’m just saying. Let’s move on.
On October 9th, during an interview on CNN, Cain made the following statement, “I don’t believe racism in this country today holds anybody back.” During the same interview he added, “People sometimes hold themselves back because they want to use racism as an excuse for them not being able to achieve what they want to achieve.”
Racism is not always the holdback for Blacks pursuing a goal in a white privilege society, but to pretend that it is entirely non-existent is ridiculous. Have you ever noticed that when some Black men are running for political office they continuously deny racism, until the moment that they see the deck stacking against them. Then, what is the first thing they do? Play the race card.
Flash back to 1991 and the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearing. Anita Hill claimed that while working for Thomas he made comments of a sexual nature to her; comments that she felt constituted sexual harassment. Thomas, while referring to the nationally televised hearing as a circus, claimed that “From my standpoint, as a Black American, it is a high-tech lynching.” He conveniently played the race card.
Mr. 999 back-peddled and played a card from the same deck on the “10 Most Fascinating People of 2011,” a Barbara Walters special that broadcast on ABC on December 9th. While questioning Cain about suspending his presidential campaign, Walters asked if he thought any of the accusations against him “have to do with the fact that you are Black.” Cain without hesitation answered, “Yes .”
Cain, like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and some other Black, political conservatives, work at persuading the public to believe that they believe racism no longer exists and that the playing field is equal for all. I agree with Bill Maher who pulls no punches when he says that “Denying racism is the new racism.”
The issue isn’t whether or not race matters. The fact is that it sometimes does. And what’s obvious is that many Black politicians feign denial, but then play a crafty card game where the race card is the Joker and the Joker is wild.