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Archive for February 21st, 2011

Somebody should tell the Blue Devil mascot

An Ohio Democratic legislator used the term “buckwheat” in a Facebook comment to a black constituent Saturday. He says the term is not racist and that he’s been using it since he was a kid. (Does that make it all right?)

If “Buckwheat” is not a racist term, someone should tell the Duke Blue Devil mascot who, in 1988, wore a “Buckwheat” headband to the Duke-Notre Dame game. The headband was a dig at Notre Dame’s David Rivers, whose Afro hairstyle resembled the hairstyle used on Saturday Night Live by Eddie Murphey in sketches in which he played a grown-up Buckwheat from the old “Our Gang” comedies. (Remember “Unce, Tice, Fee Times a Mady” on the late-night TV album “Buckwheat Sings”?)

The mascot, Jeff Wilkinson at the time, did not mean it in any racial way, but he caught national hell for it. And he didn’t even claim to have used the term since childhood. In fact, upon reflection, he understood the reaction:

Clearly, the nickname was a reflection of Rivers’ afro hairstyle (if John Paxson came to Duke with a cowlick and the mascot wore a headband that said “Alfalfa”, would anybody have noticed?). But that doesn’t excuse my lack of awareness of the perception of the character. A roughly parallel example might be the Confederate Flag issue in South Carolina. Traditionalist claim that the flag stands for all good things of the Confederacy. Maybe, but the flag has huge racial overtones. This illustrates how two people can look at the same thing and see something completely different.

Unfortunately, Democratic State Rep. Hagan hasn’t had a similarly mature epiphany.

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Pot, Meet Kettle

Blogging at the Weekly Standard’s site, Mark Hemingway makes an excellent point about the Wisconsin schools and state legislature shutdown orchestrated by Democrats and their labor union supporters, considering that Democrats are decrying the prospect of a federal government shutdown over spending.

The obvious point here is that if it’s so “reckless” to shutdown the government, why have Wisconsin legislators, the President and the DNC all supported the government shutdown in Wisconsin? Not only that, they have shutdown the government by fleeing the state and breaking the law, not to mention the illegal union strikes shutting down schools and national Democrats helping to organize the angry mob descending on Madison.


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“It’s the calm, credible [and] intelligent censor of an increasingly chaotic news landscape.”

That quote comes from former Washington Post Managing Editor Phil Bennett, now a Duke professor, on why he believes public broadcasting is indispensible and should be preserved in the federal budget. His nose-in-the-air elitist view comes in a Duke Chronicle story about the House vote that, among other things, defunded public broadcasting as part of $60 billion in cuts to begin attacking the monstrous deficit.

The House bill will now go to the Senate where Democrats have said they will not agree with all of the substantive cuts. From there, it could reach the White House where Obama has already threatened a veto. Phil Bennett, Eugene C. Patterson professor of the practice of journalism and public policy and former managing editor of The Washington Post, acknowledged that as long as the deficit remains as large as it does he could not imagine CPB coming out unscathed, but he added that the industry offers an indispensable service to consumers.

“When it comes to news, public media is the eye of the storm,” Bennett said. “It’s the calm, credible [and] intelligent censor of an increasingly chaotic news landscape. The richness of the discussion, of news coverage and of analysis [of] public television and public radio provides a very important news function.”

Apparently Americans have too few sources of news, too little intellect and common sense, and lots and lots of cash. No. No. And no.

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February 2011
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