Welcome to RedMom-Bluestate.org, featuring commentary by conservative columnist and Massachusetts resident, Jennifer C. Braceras. In addition to an archive of Jennifer’s published articles from the Boston Herald, Boston Globe, and other news outlets, this site contains occasional blog posts, a recommended reading list, Jennifer’s favorite political cartoons, and links to some of the best political commentary on the web.
At MSNBC, race-baiting is a team effort
What do you get when you ask for a bowl of Cheerios on Super Bowl Sunday? That depends on who’s doing the serving.
If it’s MSNBC, you’re likely to get a toxic helping of race-baiting along with your cereal.
On Sunday, Cheerios ran its first-ever Super Bowl spot. The ad featured the same mixed-race family from one of the company’s earlier TV commercials.
The fictional family is composed of a white mother, black father, and their adorable mixed-race daughter.
Unfortunately, the first ad elicited some pretty despicable on-line racist commentary. Thankfully, the overwhelming reaction to the ad was positive. And the crazies were quickly put in their places.
After Cheerios released the ad’s sequel on YouTube last week, MSNBC tweeted the following:
“Maybe the right wing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/biracial family.”
The assumption, of course, is that racism is endemic in conservative circles and that Republicans are sickened by biracial families.
Conservatives were, rightly, offended by the stereotype, but none more so than those who are themselves bi-racial.
Faster than you can eat a bowl of cereal, they lit up the Internet with photos of their own racially mixed families accompanied by the hashtag #MyRight- WingBiRacialFamily. Take THAT, MSNBC!
The network quickly removed the offensive tweet.
But the head of the Republican National Committee nevertheless urged GOP lawmakers to boycott the network. MSNBC President Phil Griffin responded by formally apologizing for the “outrageous and unacceptable” tweet and announcing that the person responsible for it had been fired — prompting conservative commentator John Daly to wonder why MSNBC would fire an anonymous tweeter (probably some naïve 20-something intern) for making a statement that presumes racism in conservatives while continuing to employ “people like Chris Matthews who routinely do that very same thing in front of the MSNBC cameras?”
Daly has a point.
Matthews has a long history of trying to smear Republicans by calling them racist. He has referred to Republicans as “the Grand Wizard crowd,” a not-so-veiled reference to the Ku Klux Klan, and routinely accuses any Republican who disagrees with President Obama of being racially motivated.
Matthews, however, is not MSNBC’s only TV personality to make race-baiting a central part of his shtick. Below are just a few recent examples of the race-hatred peddled by the network’s on-air personalities:
• Talk show host Melissa Harris-Perry recently led a discussion in which panelists ridiculed and laughed at Mitt Romney for having an adopted black grandchild;
• Contributing analyst Toure — so self-important that he goes by only one name — accused Romney of participating in the “niggerization” of Obama;
• Daytime anchor Thomas Roberts famously claimed that Republicans want to go back to a time when “slavery was cool;”
• Reporter Lawrence O’Donnell accused Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell of using a “racial double-entendre” when McConnell complained that Obama spends too much time golfing;
• Host Ed Schultz compared Tea Party activists to Nazi brownshirts and said that the Republican Party stands for racism; and accused Texas Gov. Rick Perry of referring to Obama in racial terms when he described the national debt as a “big black cloud” hanging over the heads of the American people.
And let’s not forget that since 2011 the network has employed and legitimated the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of the nation’s most virulent and notorious race-agitators.
“Earlier, this account tweeted an offensive line about the new Cheerios ad. We deeply regret it. It does not reflect the position of MSNBC.”
Except that, unfortunately, it does.
Tiger mom shows culture counts
Are you Jewish, Chinese, Indian, Iranian, Lebanese, Nigerian, Mormon, or a Cuban exile?
Yes, Amy Chua, aka “Tiger Mom,” is back.
And once again, she is embroiled in controversy.
Three years ago, the Yale Law professor set the parenting world on fire with “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” her memoir of raising children “the Chinese way.” Excerpted in The Wall Street Journal under the provocative headline, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” “Battle Hymn” was a personal, and generally positive, reflection on the strict parenting style of many Chinese parents, including Chua.
In “The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America” (due out in February), Chua and her husband, fellow Yale professor Jed Rubenfeld, single out Jews, Chinese, Indians, Iranians, Lebanese, Nigerians, Mormons, and Cuban exiles as groups that have achieved significant success in the United States, as measured by income, occupational status, test scores, etc.
• a superiority complex;
• and impulse control.
What does this mean?
The authors argue that, generally speaking, members of these groups regard their culture as exceptional. Accurate or not, group members often believe that their culture’s values, resilience, and/or lineage are special. They believe that they have an obligation to maintain this exceptionalism, and that failure discredits the group.
Chua and Rubenfeld’s critics argue that this so-called superiority complex is fundamentally at odds with the second common trait the authors identify: insecurity.
And, yet, it is not. The superiority complex refers to a person’s beliefs about his specific culture, whereas, insecurity refers to a person’s feelings about his own ability to live up to group expectations.
In addition to personal insecurity, many members of highly successful sociological groups remain insecure about their place in America — about factors beyond their control, such as the economy, racism, or religious bigotry. Yet, members of the eight groups identified by Chua and Rubenfeld are driven by their superiority complex to work harder than members of other groups to overcome such challenges (real or imagined) in order to maintain group honor.
Which brings us to impulse control, or as Chua explains, the ability to resist the temptation to take one’s eye off the prize or to give up in the face of hardship.
The authors believe that impulse control, or self-discipline, is not something derived from within the individual; rather, it is a culturally enforced norm.
Although critics argue that “Triple Package” relies too heavily on anecdotal evidence, they, ironically, attempt to prove the authors wrong with a silly anecdote of their own: the African-American Barack Obama defeating the Mormon Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. (Apparently, these critics fail to understand, as Chua and Rubenfeld do, that Romney’s financial and occupational successes support, rather than detract from, the “triple package” theory).
Where “Battle Hymn” sent millions of angst-ridden “Western” mothers into a collective frenzy of self-doubt and defensiveness, “Triple Package” has been attacked as “cringe-worthy” and outright “racist.”
And yet, those who attack Chua and Rubenfeld gloss over — or ignore altogether — their central thesis: That certain groups succeed in America not because of innate racial or ethnic traits, but because of specific cultural beliefs and practices.
Perhaps what angers people most about “Triple Package” is that it articulates in scholarly, yet provocative, fashion what most of us already believe: Culture matters.