Thursday, November 02, 2017
"...Translated: Kelly publicly defamed Wilson -- and, by implication, Myeshia Johnson -- as being a loud, stupid, ignorant person. But words can also mean more than a superficial reading would suggest.
Language derives power from the social, political and historical context in which it is used. The meaning of language is also a function of the relationship between the individuals and groups in question.
Kelly is one of the most powerful men in the world. He is also one of the most powerful white men in America. Black women and girls are undervalued and dehumanized in American society. White supremacy endures as one of the most powerful forces in all of American political and social life. It works through and not apart from sexism and misogyny.
For centuries, black women and girls in America have been stereotyped as being loud, aggressive, hypersexual, lazy and violent. Simultaneously, black women and girls have also been viewed by the white gaze as being natural caregivers, unselfish and possessed of unique emotional and physical strength which makes them immune (unlike white women) to pain and suffering. In total, these stereotypes transform the complex and diverse life experiences and humanity of black women and girls into caricatures such as "the mammy," the "black harpy" or the "Sapphire."
At the website for the Jim Crow Museum, sociologist David Pilgrim explains the "Sapphire" stereotype in the following way: "The Sapphire Caricature portrays black women as rude, loud, malicious, stubborn, and overbearing. The Sapphire Caricature is a harsh portrayal of African American women, but it is more than that; it is a social control mechanism that is employed to punish black women who violate the societal norms that encourage them to be passive, servile, non-threatening, and unseen."
Wilson immediately decoded the racist and sexist invective in Trump's and Kelly's attacks on her character.
Stacey Plaskett, the U.S. Virgin Islands' delegate to Congress, also understood the deeper meaning of Trump's and Kelly's slurs against Rep. Wilson. Plaskett told The New York Times, “He continually called that fallen soldier ‘your guy’ to his wife. That was his wife. . . . It was almost as if he doesn’t believe that we have husbands and wives as black people. And that I find very disturbing, that he would not give her the respect of calling that soldier her husband. . . . I think he challenges anybody who goes after him and corrects him, whether they are black or white or male or female," she continued. "I think the attack is more stark when it is a woman of color.”
Ultimately, John Kelly, who served the United States as a four-star Marine general, and is now White House chief of staff, basically called a congresswoman a loud, stupid black bitch.
It does not matter to Kelly, Trump, the right-wing media or Trump's deplorable foot soldiers that Wilson has a graduate degree in education and worked for decades as a school principal.
It does not matter to Kelly, Trump, the right-wing media or Trump's human deplorable foot soldiers that everything Wilson said was correct and that Trump and Kelly's accounts have proven to be lies.
For Trump and his cabal, all that matters is the political power that comes from slurring a black woman, and how such an action inflames and arouses the racist voters who installed him in the White House.
Trump was in fact correct, however, when he tweeted over the weekend that: "Wacky Congresswoman Wilson is the gift that keeps on giving for the Republican Party, a disaster for Dems. You watch her in action & vote R!" Social scientists have repeatedly demonstrated that racially resentful white voters can be motivated to support Republican policies by the mere act of showing them the image of a black person.
Perhaps the United States will always remain a racist country, whose idea of democracy is inseparable from white male supremacy. At any rate, Donald Trump reminds the world of that heritage nearly every day.
“Empty barrel”: The real meaning of John Kelly’s slurs against Frederica Wilson - Salon.com