Herman Cain’s dance with whiteness

I know this space shouldn’t be dedicated to the shenanigans of Herman Cain, but I find his candidacy fascinating.

The Republican presidential candidate on Friday recounted a story in which he thanked God a doctor he was seeing was a Christian. Cain told the story during a campaign stop at The Holy Land Experience, a Christian-themed amusement park

Cain speaks for nearly a half an hour and despite a couple fleeting “999” mentions, keeps his speech to topics of faith and his recent battle with cancer. He begins with a story about how he knew he would survive when he discovered that his physician was named “Dr. Lord,” that the hospital attendant’s name was “Grace” and that the incision made on his chest during the surgery would be in the shape of a “J.”

“Come on, y’all. As in J-E-S-U-S! Yes! A doctor named Lord! A lady named Grace! And a J-cut for Jesus Almighty,” Cain boomed.

He did have a slight worry at one point during the chemotherapy process when he discovered that one of the surgeon’s name was “Dr. Abdallah.”

“I said to his physician assistant, I said, ‘That sounds foreign–not that I had anything against foreign doctors–but it sounded too foreign,” Cain tells the audience. “She said, ‘He’s from Lebanon.’ Oh, Lebanon! My mind immediately started thinking, wait a minute, maybe his religious persuasion is different than mine! She could see the look on my face and she said, ‘Don’t worry, Mr. Cain, he’s a Christian from Lebanon.'”

“Hallelujah!” Cain says. “Thank God!

Herman Cain’s anti-Muslim sentiments are nothing new. He has said he wouldn’t hire Muslims and noted Sharia law is set to invade the Good Ol’ U.S. of A. He’s also expressed his belief that homosexuality is a choice and blacks are brainwashed by the Democratic Party. Not to mention his condescending tone towards the women who’ve alleged sexual harassment against him.

It’s perfectly clear that Herman Cain’s candidacy and his rise to the top has happened because of his willingness to validate intersecting oppressions of The Others. The business man has charmed crowds and courted votes by repeating and accepting these forms of oppression over groups whiteness deems inferior.

While Cain’s race makes him a member of an oppressed minority, he doesn’t allow his Otherness to stop him from trying to gain access into the good ol’ white boys club. By not challenging  ignoring the intersecting oppressions placed upon him by whiteness, Cain demonstrates to the public how far he’s willing to do whatever it takes to gain admittance into the club, even if it means shuckin’ and jivin’ along with whiteness’ fiddle that subjugates The  Others. Herman Cain’s candidacy has proven he’s all too willing to dance and sing along with whiteness.

While I understand some may believe dancing with whiteness is sometimes necessary for survival, I can not accept the rationale behind members of one oppressed group, utilizing their privilege granted to them via kyriarchy, creating a pyramid of oppression used to recreate a system in which they come out on top. I can not accept any reason where one oppressed group would feel compelled to justify their subjugation of another group. Any group’s belief that they must do this in order to survive is one of many examples of how whiteness tries to divide and conquer the groups of people they’ve classified as The Others.

It’s truly disappointing to see a fellow person of color participate in the xenophobic, evangelical Christian bigotry perpetuated by those on the far right. It’s truly disappointing to watch a man of color passively accept intersecting oppressions placed upon his shoulders each day, while upholding those same oppressions on others who aren’t members of the exclusive club just so he can become the Republican presidential nominee in 2012.

It wouldn’t shock me if Herman Cain looks at himself in the mirror each day and refuses to ask if playing along with whiteness is worth it.

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