When I was a child, and into adolescence, my mother told me when I stepped out of the door, I was not only representing myself, and my family, but my whole entire race. Right or wrong, I grew up feeling that if I went out into the world and behaved poorly, it would cast a negative reflection on the entire Black community.
Now, as much as I am a champion to the individual, and I wholeheartedly agree that I should be judged on my actions and my actions alone, that is an idealistic yearning, and it does not take the realities of being Black in America into account. When one Black person has a shortcoming, the whole race has a shortcoming. When one Black person has a triumph, the triumph is theirs alone; they are the exception. Growing up with this mentality has made me a harsh critic of the way that Black people conduct themselves, particularly when they are under the scrutiny of the public eye.
This is why I was particularly outraged by Herman Cain and his antics. Herman Cain is a disgrace to the race.
About a month ago on Hannity Ann Coulter made the following comment, “our blacks are so much better than their blacks.” The next day on the Joy Behar show, when asked to clarify her statement she said, “I’m saying Google Maxine Watters, Cynthia McKinney and John Conyers, or Google Allen West or Michael Steele or Herman Cain. Ours are more impressive. There is no question about that.” I waited for the backlash. I expected that a man who claimed to be qualified to be the President of the United States would not stand for such a public display of disrespect, not only of himself but of his whole race. I waited for a public announcement from Herman Cain, or even one of his representatives, but there was nothing but silence, and that silence spoke volumes. His lack of response was an endorsement of her statement.
Herman Cain’s presidential campaign was a circus followed by one spectacle after another. Allegations surfaced in October of 2011 that Cain’s campaign may have been illegally funded by Prosperity USA. These allegations were formally denied, but the suspicions still hang over the Cain campaign. It also is no secret that the Republican Party endorsed Cain in part because they hoped introducing another Black candidate might divide the Black vote in some way. Such a notion undermined the intelligence of the Black community, but Herman Cain has had no scruples with benefitting from this notion.
On Herman Cain’s website it says, “Herman Cain is the epitome of the American Spirit … he is a self made man who has never been fazed by what is expedient or easy, but has spent his life pursuing his American Dream by first considering what is right.” This is an interesting assertion from a man who has been accused of multiple counts of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and as of late a 13-year affair with a woman from Atlanta. While Cain officially denies the claims, the financial settlements made with the accusers tell a different story.
Herman Cain’s political position on most issues was ludicrous. Cain dismissed global warming as “poppycock.” Despite research and empirical evidence to the contrary, Cain insisted that global warming is just not real. As such, he opposed subsidies for wind power and solar power, while favoring offshore oil drilling, including drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Cain also opposed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and instead believed we should privatize Medicare. Cain believed that while minorities should have the same advantages as everyone else, the “quota style” policy otherwise known as affirmative action should be abolished altogether.
The most disturbing of Cain’s proposed initiatives, was his idea for the fence securing America’s border. On October 15, 2011, Cain proposed to build an electrified fence on the border with Mexico that could kill people trying to enter the country illegally. Cain said, "It's going to be 20 feet high. It's going to have barbed wire on the top. It's going to be electrified. And there's going to be a sign on the other side saying, 'It will kill you—Warning'." At another campaign rally he added that the sign would be written in English and in Spanish.
Herman Cain has been called everything from a minstrel to an Uncle Tom.
The Republicans who once endorsed him quickly recanted and are now considering other options. Cain himself has finally admitted defeat and has shamefully stepped down with his tail between his legs. So just what was the point of this short-lived political disaster? Did Herman Cain and the other conservatives really believe it would be that easy to sway the Black vote? Ann Coulter can keep “her Blacks.” I wonder if she would still be willing to claim “her Blacks” after his embarrassing fall from grace. Herman Cain’s candidacy was at best a personal embarrassment and at worst a blight on the entire Black community.