Tim Wise’s fundamental prejudice is revealed in his recent attack on Herman Cain and his supporters:
“thinks it’s funny how so many white folks who hate Obama love Herman Cain. He’s like their “black friend.” In this case, one who is incredibly Stepin Fetchit-like in demeanor–a walking, talking stereotype from the past–and thus, one they can respect, because he doesn’t challenge their position. They want a black person to whom they can feel superior, and in Cain, they have found it. No Harvard degree here, by God!”
This is another example of Wise dismissing black conservatives by accusing them of having some character flaw. Wise also believes that Republicans are undeniably racist, and when they act in a way that contradicts this belief, Wise constructs a strange narrative to explain that contradiction. Similar to how most conspiracy theorists work when facts contradict their position, it can be explained by more conspiracy, and therefore the conspiracy becomes unbeatable. The strange narrative Wise creates is completely nonsensical yet probably taken as a brilliant insight by his gullible followers. Wise compares Herman Cain to Stepin Fetchit, and believes this similarity is the reason he is popular. Stepin Fetchit was a black actor in the 20’s and 30’s who portrayed a demeaning black stereotype for comedic relief. There is no similarity, at all. Comparing a black public figure with a wealth of accomplishments to a slow-witted black stereotype from the past is fine when you’re Tim Wise, but for most people it would accurately be called out as a vicious racial slur. What if someone compared Obama to Stepin Fetchit? It would be further proof in the minds of Wise and his followers of widespread racism, but instead it’s acceptable.
Wise believes that because Cain doesn’t have a Harvard degree, “white folks” can feel superior to him, and therefore like him… or something. According to Wise, people are supposed to like people they feel “superior” to. It makes sense, you know all those KKK members and Nazis actually like black people and Jews. This is an incredibly backwards statement when it comes to Cain. People (not just “white folks”) like Cain for a number of reasons including his inspiring story and his ideas. This is something Wise is less concerned with, rather Wise is more interested in Cain’s skin color and comparing him to a black stereotype.
What’s strange about Wise’s comments is that they contradict his other silly narrative regarding Obama, which he wrote a book about. Wise says:
[Obama] won because of white privilege. What I mean by that is simple: he downplayed race, appealed to white voters by coming across as “different” than black folks in general, and thereby was able to be seen as the political equivalent of Cliff Huxtable (the old character on the Cosby Show). He won precisely because white voters, who still have the power to determine electoral outcomes carved out a space for him as “exceptional.”
Wise thinks that Obama won because he was playing against black stereotypes so that whites would like him, yet apparently Cain is popular for playing into negative black stereotypes to get white people to like him. Wise needs to choose which contradictory narrative to adhere to because it just looks like he’s getting desperate. This is just more proof that Wise, and racialists in general, observe the world looking for racism even when it’s not there. They don’t accurately assess problems, and they certainly don’t get anywhere close to solving any problems.