Why is the GOP So “Infatuated” by Dr. Ben?
The Pet Negro Syndrome is a phenomenon where whites determine to “set their affections” upon certain “types” of black people to the exclusion of other “types” of black people. Since first establishing the institution of chattel slavery in the colonies, the practice of separating the good negroes from the bad, the house slaves from the field slaves, the light-skinned from the dark-skinned has an historic reality that continues to exist to this day. One might want to reframe or redefine the practice as more akin to a “class thing” than a race thing in these contemporary times, but the reality of how it manifests itself is still very much demonstrated along racial and color lines. The term Pet Negro was first used by author Zora Neale Hurston, “And every white man shall be allowed to pet himself a Negro. Yea, he shall take a black man unto ’himself to pet and to cherish, and this same Negro shall be perfect in his sight. Nor shall hatred among the races of men, nor conditions of strife in the walled cities, cause his pride and pleasure in his own Negro to wane.”
The Republican Party, and in particular, the evangelical wing of the GOP have chosen Dr. Ben Carson as their “Pet Negro.” No matter where the Republican Party used to be, the party of Lincoln and the Emancipation, where it is now has little to do with embracing equality and inclusion and more to do with reclamation of “states rights” and BIG money. Many people of color look around the GOP and have to ask themselves, “What the hell am I doing with these people?” However, given the reality of changing demographics in the electorate of the USA, there’s a growing tolerance among whites for blacks that share their conservative values. Negroes such as these have to compensate for the fact that they are not white by sounding more ultra-conservative than the whites they serve. In order to be invited “in”, they have to be more “white” than whites themselves. It’s absolute insanity. They must distance themselves from who they are and where they came from while, simultaneously, assuaging white guilt by validating the “American Dream” and the age old premise that in America, anybody can “make it” if they try.
The politics of Pet Negroes demand that they go through all sorts of intellectual and moral contortions to make sure they stay on the good side of the White Over-class. As long as they maintain this well-established and historic connection with their white folks, Pet Negroes do very well in the marketplace and that’s the bottom line. Most whites, who are either too lazy or too scared to personally engage or actually connect with the lives of black folks for themselves, can conveniently depend upon their Pet Negro to provide them with personalized services that, simultaneously, excuse them from guilt and shame and validate their flawed morality and situational ethics with regard to their white privilege and latent white supremacist tendencies.
The GOP, and in particular white evangelicals, have invested their time and treasure in Dr. Ben Carson, and they are now reaping the benefit of what they have sown in all of its glory! Ultimately, they will not choose Dr. Ben as their nominee for President of the United States, but they will have laid their sacrifices at the altar and made their peace with the absolute disrespect and vitriolic racism with which they met the presidency of the Pet Negro of the opposition party, President Barack Hussein Obama. The truth about pets is that their very survival is determined by the will and whim of their benevolent masters. Dr. Ben will be taking a backseat once his usefulness has been realized. Pets do not last forever. When they get old or worn…. they get put down and another “pet” is chosen.
Up Next Week: National Native American Heritage Month