Cain's Audience

Herman Cain is doing an excellent job of both indulging the conservative id and pressing liberals' buttons in a manner that allows him to maximize his media coverage.

"I'm an American Black Conservative - an ABC -- and I'm proud of it," Cain said. "And because I've been affiliated with the conservative movement, and had the audacity to go on talk radio and do a talk show, and promote conservative principles, I've been called a racist too. Go figure"

Cain then went on to say he thought liberals were upset with him "because I won't stay on the Democrat plantation like I'm supposed to."

"It may shock you but some black people can think for themselves," he added.

White conservatives really like it when black conservatives draw parallels with ideological and racial persecution in a way that allows them to imagine they're a persecuted minority even as they assert themselves as the singular, genuine voice of Real Americans. For this reason, remarks like Cain's go over really well, even though he's actually saying something profoundly racist (most black people vote for Democrats because they're practically slaves who can't "think for themselves"), no one bothers to point that out. This is actually a manifestation of political correctness that appears on the left as well, the idea that black people are experts on race by virtue of being black and therefore can't be corrected even if they say something profoundly stupid or offensive.

Again, it's hard to imagine Cain talking like this to the average black audience, because the average black person doesn't really enjoy being compared to a slave. But it's the sort of thing white conservatives really eat up, which is why black conservatives often draw these kinds of comparisons.

I don't mean to trivialize the fact that some black conservatives really do have to weather racist arguments about intelligence or racial authenticity from liberals just because they're conservative. But there's a way to respond to that without accusing black Democrats of being mindless or stupid. 

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