Richard Cohen: De Blasio Family Makes Tea Party ‘Repress Gag Reflex’

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Richard Cohen

In an op-ed reeking with condescension, homoantagonism and passive-aggressive racism, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen classified the Tea Party’s need to stifle a “gag reflex” at the sight of NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and his family “conventional.”

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Not racist. Not prejudiced. And certainly not a sign of the kind of hatred that permeates the radical right-wing of U.S. politics. Cohen opines that the involuntary need to vomit at the sight of a White man with his Black wife, strolling with their bi-racial children, is “conventional.”

Read the offensive paragraph from Cohen’s piece, “Christie’s Tea Party Problem,” below:

Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled—about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York—a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts—but not all—of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.

Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in his spot-on deconstruction of Cohen’s op-ed that this statement, and Cohen’s subsequent justification, is “horse-sh*t” — and it is.

This is not a statement that was taken out of context, as Slate’s J. Bryan Lowder suggests. Cohen’s statement is placed in the context of While male privilege and supremacy. It is placed in the context of a default smugness that perpetuates the othering of Black women and their wombs, and the LGBT community.

At its root, Cohen’s argument attempts to legitimize hate, intellectualize racism and justify homophobia as nothing more than good ole’ apple pie Americana.

The tragic irony is he has no idea how right he is, nor that there is nothing more racist than that.

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