Kirsten West Savali is a cultural critic and senior writer for The Root and was awarded a 2015 Harry Frank Guggenheim Fellowship. Her provocative commentary explores the intersections of race, social justice, religion, feminism, politics and pop culture. Follow her on Twitter.
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.”
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.
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.
Continue reading NYC Mayoral Hopeful Bill de Blasio & Family
NYC Mayoral Hopeful Bill de Blasio & Family
NYC's Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio has made his family a focal point of his underdog campaign, and with good reason. de Blasio, his wife of nearly 20 years Chirlane McCray, and their children, 16-year-old Dante de Blasio and 18-year-old Chiara de Blasio, have given America a glimpse of itself that is usually obscured by a White power structure struggling to maintain a sense of supremacy.
Standing bold and loving before the nation, the progressive de Blasio family shatters long-held stereotypes about race, sexuality and interracial relationships. And they do it with no apology.
Running a surprise come-from-behind campaign, de Blasio's folksy, endearing qualities are matched by his fiery commitment to ending legalized racial profiling in the form of New York's controversial Stop and Frisk policies, and loosening the stranglehold that Wall Street has over the mayor's office.
And though his quest to reform politics in NYC has caught the nation's attention, it is his family that has captured our hearts.
Click through our gallery to see photos of the de Blasio family throughout the years.