Not that Mitt Romney’s support among African-Americans could go any lower — it’s at zero percent in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll – but that doesn’t make Clint Eastwood’s rant against invisible Barack Obama on Thursday night any less insulting and possibly racist.
I’m certain that Eastwood didn’t set out to send a message that some black people might regard as racist. But it shouldn’t be difficult to understand how they might be offended by the way GOP delegates laughed raucously as Eastwood talked down, in sometimes-vulgar ways, to the chair where invisible Obama was “seated.”
Consider the open paragraph of Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man. While it was published in 1952, I think it’s safe to say that it still captures the sentiment of millions of black Americans who find themselves, too often, invisible, to white society.
I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as thought I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination—indeed, everything and anything except me.
- Clint Eastwood loses the plot but makes Mitt Romney’s day (standard.co.uk)
- ‘Eastwooding’ makes the rounds on the Web (news.yahoo.com)
- Jon Stewart Basks In The Glory Of Clint Eastwood’s ‘Awesome’ Speech While Tearing Apart Romney’s (mediaite.com)
- Eastwood skit inspires @InvisibleObama (twitchy.com)
- Old Man Yells At Chair: Eastwood Speech Overshadows Romney (lezgetreal.com)