Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pandering and Patronizing? No Thanks, I'd Rather Just Be Ignored.

[Editor's Note: This isn't technically politricks, just a post about something that really irks me with some appropriate contextual examples. The moratorium's still on.]

First, some definitions to set the table.

Pander: Accommodating special interests without any principles, for instance, a politician who says to whatever group that he/she is addressing what they want to hear to win their support, contributions or favors.

Patronize: To treat condescendingly.

Now, watch this bullsh*t.

Seriously, who the heck says "Who Let The Dogs Out?" "Bling! Bling?" It's 2008, not 98'. Doesn't this cat have some semi-young staffers who could have helped him update his slang? Does he spend any time around people of color? Who told him this was hip? Why does he need to be "down"?

He coulda just holla'd "Ay! Bay! Bay!" or "Woooooooowwww!!!" and kept it movin'. Instead, he only looks more like the pompous, out-of-touch, unlikeable jackass he truly is.

Just in case you were wondering what Mitt Romney was doing around all these young Negroes anyway, it was MLK Day, so technically, he sorta kinda had to do it. You know, since his Dad marched with Dr. King and whatnot, I guess this is his way of paying homage.

Pandering/Patronizing is borderline condescension. It's a nice way of saying I want to get something from you, without bothering to know enough about you to engage you in a respectful manner. The Clintons practically wrote the modern-day book on this. Watch Hillary C.H.I.N. morph into Shirley Caesar last year in Selma, AL.

Last time I checked, that wasn't exactly a Chicago accent. Then again, all these preachers are paid consultants anyway (just Google the term "street money"), so at least somebody's getting something out of this whole charade.

For real, for real tho', if you don't have nothin' nice to say to me, just don't say jack. I'd rather be ignored than marginalized. At least my intelligence wouldn't be insulted. I'm just sensitive like that. Call me AB Tresvant.

Since we're on the topic of patronizing/pandering, I thought I'd throw this one out at ya'll. I'm still here in Minneapolis (Temperature? Negative 13. Wind chill? Negative 38. My face? I can't feel my face.), and still working with the same group of folks I've been with for months now, including Mr. C.Y.I.N. himself, whom I've got firmly in check now. Needless to say, as the only dark spot in the whole crew, I'm always a little on edge when people's conversations start veering beyond basic workplace chatter. There were some carefully worded jabs at the Obama SC victory yesterday. Semi-edgy pre-Superbowl discussion about ex-Viking Randy Moss. Something about Jessica Alba's black(ish) baby daddy. I pretty much stay focused and let this stuff go in one ear and out the other, but today, two of the young female analysts I'm working with had an inside joke moment, of which I was the butt. And I don't like being the butt. [||]

One of the chicks (they're sitting side by side) asks me if it's okay to start running a program on her machine. I concur. She acknowledges me by asking again.

"AB, I'm going to run this program. Are you 'down wit' that'?" {stated with "you go girl" type voice inflection}

I normally wouldn't think too much about this, I know that jive talk is a typical white dude's defense mechanism when he either feels uncomfortable or threatened by his environment and wants to lighten the mood. Been there, heard that. But what made this a little different is how the two chicks started lightly giggling (and bumping elbows) after the first one made the 'down wit' that' statement. It was like the embodiment of some sorta ladies-room giggly jibberjabber.

Again, I felt like the butt of a joke I'd never get the punchline to. And while it's more annoying than anything else, it makes me wonder just how often this kinda stuff happens to other folks.

Question: How often do you get "jive talked" and pandered to? How does it generally make you feel? How do you usually react?

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