When Race and Politics (and Hot Sauce) Collide in the Dumbest of Ways

Posted: April 19, 2016 in News, Politics
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hot Sauce

You know, twice today race came up in things when they probably shouldn’t have. One place was so bizarrely an out of context place for the comments that started that it was as funny as it was sad. The other place you kind of expect race to pop up in, but this was an example of race card stupidity that makes me worry about the fact that some of the people I was discussing the matter with are allowed out on their own without any adult supervision, let alone that they’ll be voting in November.

The first of the two places was in a discussion about a wrestling company. Not in and of itself a place you don’t expect the topic to ever come up. Pro wrestling has a long and not so glorious relationship with both cultural and racial stereotypes. To this day a Japanese wrestler joining an American wrestling company runs a huge risk of walking to the ring with entrance music that sounds like it’s from The Mikado despite having spent years in Japan walking to the ring to thrash metal.

But this was just flat out goofy. The news started breaking that TNA, a wrestling company that has certainly seen better days, may be about to be purchased by a company run by two former mid-card wrestlers. Lots of people were lamenting various things, but a few started lamenting what this meant when it came to treatment of minorities in wrestling.

TNA was a company that, unlike WWE we were told, promoted minority wrestlers. If these guys got in charge, well, then TNA might start being just like WWE and start turning minority wrestlers into jobbers. Certainly, we were told, the WWE doesn’t give belts to minority wrestlers.

This was a little hilarious for two reasons.

The first was the progression of the conversation. One of the WWE’s big tag teams, a team who just had a long run with their tag belt, is the all black team of The New Day. Their US champ is Kalisto. Their world champion is Samoan. Various title holders were brought up. The claim shifted a bit. Now it was just main event world championships that the WWE kept out of the hands of minorities.

Okay…

The easy answer to that was the list of world and heavyweight champs the WWE has had in the last 10+ years. The Rock, Booker T, Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, Batista, Eddie Guerrero, Mark Henry, and the Great Khali have all been world champs. Some have held the belts for fairly long runs as well.

This then changed their argument in two ways and presented an added twist on a current champ. First, one of the world straps run by the WWE during the brand split didn’t actually count, and now “minorities” only meant “black” and no one else. Oh, and, yeah, the current WWE champ is a Samoan, but he was “the least Samoan looking Samoan” the WWE could find in wrestling. Roman Reigns looks Samoan to pretty much everybody, and the people complaining dodged ever answering exactly how he doesn’t look very Samoan or not Samoan enough.

Oh, and apparently the Rock doesn’t count because no one knows his dad is black. This was the argument put forward despite the Rock being brought in as a third generation wrestler, and his dad, Rocky Johnson, was mentioned heavily during that period and often in later years. It was a part of his bio, it was a part of some video packages, and it was a part of the various DVDs and behind the scenes they did on the Rock for things like the WWE Confidential television show. JR and the King, and especially JR out of that pairing, brought it up on commentary fairly regularly when pushing the Rock and his status as a third generation wrestler. But this fact was called one of the “best kept secrets” in wrestling designed to keep his “racial ambiguity” with fans.

Okay…

Then it shifted into even more nonsensical realms. It became about “colorism” with the black world champions the WWE would allow on their TV. Darker skinned guys couldn’t be the champ like Rock could. Because, you know, Booker and Henry are so light skinned.

Mark Henry

But the even dumber thing, the second thing here, was that going by their own standards of measurement made TNA look no better or maybe even worse than WWE when one looked at the history of the TNA World Heavyweight belt. Ron Killings held the title briefly back in the day of TNA being an NWA member, and Bobby Lashley has held it a few times in recent years. In all, combining the run of the title from its TNA/NWA days with its recent TNA without NWA days, two black wrestlers, and damned few other minority wrestlers, have held the TNA World Heavyweight title in 14 years of the company’s history. Killings and Lashley have a combined hold on the title that equals out to a little over six months in fourteen years’ time.

But facts have no place in these discussions. Once the statement was made, once the position was taken that TNA has been pushing minority wrestlers to major championships while WWE was racist and has been keeping minorities down and/or hiding their minority status while only letting such light skinned stars as Mark Henry have the top titles, that was now “reality” no matter what the facts actually were. WWE has been just so racist, and TNA being bought by these two white, former mid-card wrestlers (ignoring the fact that TNA was started by a white guy who was a wrestler and largely run and owned recently by a white woman) meant TNA was likely going to start being just like the racist WWE and squashing minority wrestlers.

Because, you know, once the race card has been played there’s no way the one playing it will withdraw it despite all facts and documented history proving their initial assertions wrong.

Now, this exchange likely seems dumb as hell to many I’m sure. It’s probably seen as dumber to some people because it’s about wrestling. Well, the second bit that started up on race this evening is connected to the current presidential political scene, and it’s amazingly even dumber than this.

Hillary Hot Sauce

Let me say this upfront for those who don’t know. I’m not a big fan of Hillary’s. I’ve actively bemoaned the fact that she’ll be the likely Democratic nominee in 2016. Granted, she’s worlds above Cruz or Trump as a possible pick for President, but, frankly, I’m not looking forward to choosing between a candidate I don’t like and a candidate that’s borderline insane. But, even given that, this is laughably stupid criticism of her.

So, Hillary was on a chat show called ‘The Breakfast Club’ that caters to a predominantly black audience. She was discussing various things with three hosts, all black, and they asked her what was one thing she always made a point of traveling with. She responded by saying she always travels with hot sauce.

Somehow, this is racially offensive. Granted, I’ve largely seen this being initially pushed as racially offensive pretty much just by Bernie Boosters, but others are starting to pick up the story of this “offensive” remark.

Hillary was playing race games. Hillary needed to have the white slapped off of her face. Hillary was treating the black voters like they were ignorant children.

I actually got into this conversation across a number of groups and with a number of individuals. The responses I got to any facts presented were… well… I’d say interesting, but mind bogglingly stupid would be more on the mark accurate.

The reasons for this being racially offensive were rather mercurial in nature. Present a fact that knocked down a claim or statement and it just get met with a brand new but equally weak rationale.

I was told it was pandering. How was it pandering. Black people love hot sauce, and she was trying to play it up like she eats like black people do.

Okay…

The last time I looked, lots of people liked hot sauce on their food, and there was no limitation on who did or did not like it based on skin color. Hell, I grew up watching my longtime favorite chef from back in the day, Justin Wilson, whenever I could. He occasionally made some hot stuff. He was somehow even paler than I am.

Justin Wilson Cooking

Well, okay, so lots of other people like hot sauce. But Hillary was still pandering! Why? Just look up Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’ video and you’ll see why! Beyoncé sings about always having a little hot sauce in her song, and Hillary is pandering by trying to claim she’s that way too since the song and the singer are so popular in the black community.

Except Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’ was released in 2016. Hillary talking about putting hot sauce on everything she eats- up to and including salad -dates back years as seen here, here, here, here, and here. I could add more, but adding additional links is already getting redundant.

Statements were made over and over that her entire claim of liking and traveling with hot sauce was all about pandering to the black voters of New York for the 2016 election. It was insulting! It was racist! It was treating blacks like they were stupid!

Well, no. The people pushing this idea are treating blacks like they’re the ones who think they’re stupid, not Hillary as, again, this has been something discussed about her since before the last time she ran for President.

So eventually we get to the point where no one can still stick to the idea of this being something she pulled out of nowhere just for the 2016 election cycle and/or New York’s black voting block or that she copied from Beyoncé. But it’s still offensive. Why?

She’s white and running for office, and she was talking to black radio hosts.

No, seriously, that’s it. She’s white and running for office, and she was talking to black radio hosts.

It may be true that she always makes sure to have hot sauce when she travels, but, I kept being told, she picked the wrong time and place to say it. It may be true and something she’s said for years, but it’s made racially offensive by the fact that she said it to a black audience in response to a direct question while running in an election. Of course, no one could actually explain how it was supposed to be offensive without somehow trying to claim that liking hot sauce or packing hot sauce for trips was something almost exclusively seen in the black community. Hot sauce was somehow becoming a “black thing” in order to make the argument work despite hot sauce being popular with pretty much everyone in the reality based community.

Okay, I’m white, but my wife can vouch for something here. When we travel, either on a long day trip or when heading off for a vacation, she packs various things for all of us. One of the things she packs is hot sauce. Why? Because I like it on various road foods. It’s not for her, it’s not for the kids. It’s for me and she packs it now because it’s something I used to take with me sometimes even before we got together.

She can also vouch for this. I’m Southern. I grew up in Virginia. It doesn’t seem like it to some folks I know very often, but it’s what I am. I grew up in a house with a lot of Southern cooking (and a lot of Asian cooking) and there are some foods I love that are falling out of favor with most newer generations of Virginians. One of those foods, one of those big foods, is gizzards. I love freshly fried gizzards covered in hot sauce. They’re getting harder to find in these parts, and I’ll occasionally drive a good haul to get some and feed that craving when it hits bad.

When I grew up it was a common thing in a lot of areas around here. You’d find lots of people getting it in diners and little quick stop gas stations. There was also no limit on who was eating it. You’d see men and women buying and eating it, and you’d see people all across the racial spectrum chowing down on gizzards with hot sauce. These days it does seem more common (in my area at least) in the black community. I’ve actually had people comment to me that they don’t see too many “white boys” who enjoy gizzards with hot sauce the way I do. I never know how to answer that because, again, when I was growing up there was no racial component to the food in my area.

Ukrops

And, yeah, one of my favorite lunches is an absolute humdinger in these conversations. For years I would hit up the Ukrop’s deli counter (now Martin’s) when getting groceries or even just out and about. Why? Because, depending on which location it was, they had some great fried chicken and potato wedges. You could get a two-piece snack with a side and a biscuit for a pretty damned good price. On the way to the register I’d round it out with a soda and a container of watermelon. Yup, one of my favorite lunches, stretching back decades, was and is fried chicken and watermelon.

Here’s why what’s being said by the various “IT’S OFFENSIVE!” screamers is mind bogglingly stupid and, frankly, offensive in and of itself. According to their final default fallback for their claims of this being offensive no matter what, you can’t be honest with black voters during an election cycle. That’s their position, that you have to lie to black voters during an election cycle.

If I’m just being me at any other time, those various things about how I like to eat and what I like to eat are, per their arguments, just fine and dandy. But, by their logic, and I use that word as loosely as possible, these facts magically become racially offensive if I choose to run for an elected office. If I tell any other group these facts any other time, they’re okay. If I tell them to black radio hosts while running for elected office, I’m being racist, offensive, and insulting to black voters while pandering to them.

Their position is that something can be 100% true and spoken about with no issue over the years, but somehow you have to change your story and lie to black voters during an election cycle or you’re treating them like they’re stupid and you’re being offensive.

I’m sorry, no.

There is something here that qualifies as stupid and offensive, likely even as pandering, but it’s not Hillary saying the same thing she’s said for years now. It’s the claims being made by some, largely by Bernie supporters from what I’ve seen tonight, that liking hot sauce has somehow now become a “black thing” or that her saying she likes it and keeps it with her is offensive and somehow something blacks can’t handle hearing during an election cycle without feeling hurt by it. What’s offensive is people faking outrage to pander to race baiters and the stupid with mindless claims and idiotic arguments in support of their mindless claims.

And, you know, some people should feel embarrassed as hell over acting exactly as she said they do. Young people (or not so young people) not bothering to do their own research on a topic that she’s been pretty public about for years now and thus sounding uninformed and foolish when speaking on it.

But what’s truly staggeringly offensive here is the people puffing their chests in their fake outrage and playing the race card for all their worth on something so innocuous and trivial as this. There’s real racism out there. There are actual examples of people pandering to various groups based on their race, religion, etc. This isn’t one. But the fact that so many people are so damned and determine to water down and dumb down the definition of what is or is not racially insensitive or offensive in order to try to get their guy elected in a primary? You are more offensive and damaging to racial issues in this country than just about anyone else, and certainly more so than anyone talking about a food product they like.

And, seriously, this is how stupid you want to be? This is how stupid you want our politics to be? This is what you want our system and the process to be about? Fake outrage and fake offenses? Congrats. You’re an idiot.

You’re not helping to fix the country or taking part in a revolution. You’re not making this a better country to live in. You’re an example of what’s wrong with this country.

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