Is “Break” A Racist Term?

I was curious recently about a statement by Ed Schultz, host of MSNBC’s the Ed Show, that Sen. Jim Demint, R-S.C., used racist langauge in his opposition to Obamacare when he said “If we are able to stop Obama on this [health care law], it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.” There are ample reasons to criticize this statements — not the least of which is the notion that we will destroy health care simply to gain a political advantage. However, is “break him” a racist term?

Schultz also accused Herman of pandering to “white Republicans out there who don’t like black folks.” I am not sure how that tracks either.

However, I was most intrigued by the support given to Schultz for his view that “break him” is racist. Dr. James Peterson, director of Africana studies at Lehigh University, agreed that “break” is a racist verb, “a term that was used to destroy, mentally and physically, slaves.” He insists that the Demint comment is proof of “how dark some of these racial discourses can be in presidential politics.”

I may disagree with Demint about many, if not most, things. However, I do not believe that his comment was racist or that “break him” is a racist term — anymore than denouncing “dark” politics. I do not question Professor Peterson’s account of how slaves were often “broken.” However, the term “break” someone goes back to Roman times if not before. A broken man is a common expression in literature and common language.

I also do not believe that Cain is pandering to white people by running against Obama and advancing many of the same positions as his Republican colleagues. There is no doubt that there is racism in this country and in this election. However, it does not advance the effort to combat racism by manufacturing controversies. We have plenty of real racists and racist comments around.

Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson, however, insists that Cain and others need to address “post-intentional racism” – racism that people don’t intend to have or to act upon. I am not sure how one defines “post-intentional racism” (which sounds like unintentional racism), but I am pretty sure that the verb break is not a racist term. Moreover, I am not sure how much of a burden Cain should have beyond other candidates in fighting “post-intentional” comments.

What do you think?

Source: Washington Examiner

137 thoughts on “Is “Break” A Racist Term?

  1. With all the “real” racism that we (blacks) have to deal with, there is no time to make up things like this. Some people are so smart that they are just dumb, if that makes any sense to anyone…

  2. “Idiots comes to mind, but the word seems so inadequate.”

    “This kind of crap makes me very angry … ‘nough said …”

    Combining OS and Blouise sentiments is the only way I can express my feelings for Buchanan,West and Cain,for I still see the dogs the water spraying and the beatings by police with night sticks on Men and Woman during the days of civil disobedience and these clowns spewing their nonsense.

  3. eniobob,

    I hear ya …

    BTW, UAW and GM negotiated and signed their new contract with no problem. Improved healthcare for both active and retired, signing bonus … good contract. GM profits are continuing to do very well and their cars are selling well. Shelby and Corker, another couple of republican good ol’ boys who have much in common with Buchanan,West and Cain, are probably most upset that they weren’t able to better serve their foreign masters by driving American industry completely into the ditch.

    The other day I heard George Bush try to take credit for saving American auto … Obama did it before he even took office which is what Bush is trying to pass off as his accomplishment.

  4. Blouise:

    Speaking of Unions,I hear James Hoffa jr and his teamsters are partnering with get this Congressman Ducan Hunter jr,and a Democratic Congressman to fight this Trucking bill that is up for passing involving truck drivers from Mexico bringing goods into the US with unqualified drivers and trucks.
    I think its going on today or tomorrow,the administration is supposedly on board,this has been going on for awhile now.Hoffa called it “zombie”legislation he said each time they think they have killed it,it keeps coming back. Well Bush can take credit for this one.

    · Sun, 02/25/2007 – 06:26 · Importance: 1

    Bush administration lets Mexican truckers past border zone
    http://24ahead.com/blog/archives/006368.html

    Here it is:

    Teamster Chief, Congressmen Blast Mexico Truck Access To U.S.
    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    http://www.kpbs.org/news/2011/oct/19/teamster-chief-congressmen-blast-mexico-truck-acce/

  5. eniobob,

    We’re dealing with many republican zombie bills here in Ohio. I’m glad Hoffa has joined the fight on this particular bill.

  6. Swm:
    Toure,has it so right.

    Every time I look at “CORNBREAD”aka Herman Cain,after his interview with David Gregory.I picture him hiding in the house while his classmates are out on the front lines of the struggle,the man is pathetic.

  7. eniobob, I think J.C. Watts started this black conservative republican thing, but these new guys have taken it to another level.

  8. I say get over the slavery thing already. Just about every group of people was enslaved during some point in time in human history. Anyone with a brain and who is not trying to be hyper partisan knows Mr. Demint is talking about breaking Obama politically.

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