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Richard Crowson Commentary

Richard Crowson: Talk-In-Code-To-Racists Month

Crowson self portrait.jpg

It’s just a week and a half from February, Black History Month. But the way things have been going lately, January should be called the “talk-in-code-to-racists” month. You know what I’m talking about, wink, wink. I’m talking about the “Food stamp president” and his wife, “Mrs. Yo-mama.” Wink, wink.

When disgraced former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, railed against the President in a South Carolina speech recently, calling him “the food-stamp president,” everybody knew what he meant.

And when the sitting Speaker of the Kansas House, Rep. Mike O’Neal, forwarded emails to people about the First Lady in which he called her “Mrs. Yo-mama,” everybody knew what he meant.

I certainly know what Gingrich and O’Neal meant. I was raised to be a racist, I’m not particularly proud to say. But in Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1950s, my blue-collar Southern family of origin was as racist as they come. One of my earliest memories is of my 4-or-5-year-old self with a neighborhood friend, peeking out from behind a tree in my front yard at an African-American lady who was walking down our sidewalk. We yelled the N-word at her and giggled and ran to my front porch.

When I was in the 4th grade, the school PTA had a fundraiser one night. The dads dressed up in black face, put pillows in their shirts and had a “womanless-wedding” skit on stage in the cafeteria. The audience dissolved in laughter at the “Amos and Andy” antics.

Folks didn’t have to use code talk back then.

But nowadays you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

Here’s a little more code-talk for you: In my book, Ingrich-gay and O’Neal-a are trying to appeal to the hateful acist-rays. Wink, wink.