When did tar baby, when directed at an African American, mean something that’s not racist? Well that’s the term that Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) used on a post-election conference call and gave a half ass apology for the remark.
In an email to Politco, who first reported the story, Barbour acknowledge making the statement saying, “If someone takes offense, I regret it . . . But, again, neither the context nor the connotation was intended to offend.”
Barbour claimed he was referring to the The Oxford American Dictionary definition of “tar baby” which is sometimes used to describe a sticky situation. Using the Tar-Baby doll that was used to trap Br’er Rabbit as an example.
Barbour used the term in reference to whether or not Democrats would run from or embrace the President’s Obama’s policies and record in 2016. Claiming “that once candidates embraced the President’s policies and record they will be stuck with them — no matter how unpopular they are.”
Now, I understand that the Republicans have reclaimed the Senate and are working hard to repeal the President’s Affordable Healthcare Act. They may even question how the next two years are going to go. But that does not give them the right to use a term, that despite what any dictionary says, has been used as a racial term.
Barbour isn’t the only Republican to use the term. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) used it in 2012 when she slammed an Obama proposal for more federal oversight of oil markets as “waving a tar baby in the air. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) and Virginia state Sen. Frank Ruff (R) both have used it making the term the go to Republican phrase when questioning anything President Obama does.
I’m not sure how dumb the Republicans that used the term think we are; or how slick they think they are. But by using a term that can be considered racist, but is found in the dictionary, they are toeing the line with a built in ready made excuse . Probably waiting to yell reversed racism if called on the bullshit.
I have no doubt that Republicans don’t like the President’s policies. And likely think that anybody that aligns themselves with his policies may be asking for trouble. But instead of using tar baby to describe a sticky situation, Barbour could have simply used a “sticky situation”. The fact that he doesn’t makes me question his real intentions.
What do you think? Do you think that Barbour was being racist, in using “Tar-Baby?”
Talk to me, I’ll talk back.