Arizona Racist David Stringer Just Can't Stop With All The Crazy Racist Talk
Kyrsten Sinema flipped a Senate seat in Arizona, but we shouldn't gloss over the fact that the state is still pretty racist. For years, Arizona refused to take a day off if it had to thank a black guy for it. But Republican State Representative David Stringer ranks pretty high on the Cindy Hyde-Smith scale of racism even for Arizona!
Back in June, Stringer said that immigration was "politically destabilizing" and an "existential threat" that will drastically alter US demographics for the worse. He pointed out that 60 percent of public school students were minorities, so there weren't "enough white kids to go around" to keep those schools from being shitholes, I guess. Republicans tiptoed away from him after these comments. He never actually apologized and later appeared at an event held in the "Chicken Coop" room of a local Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles, where he tried to convince a crowd of black people that they'd been "supplanted" by an influx of not-good-immigrants, "principally people from south of the border."
Black folks' newest BFF was re-elected on November 6. A couple weeks later, he spoke with Arizona State University students, at least some of whom are black, and pointed out how much we sucked. He claimed diversity in this country is "relatively new," which is an interesting statement considering European settlers -- and some less-than-willing folks from Africa -- literally diversified the existing population. But for totally non cross-burning reasons, Stringer has no problem with the European immigrants.
"They were all European," Stringer said. "So after their second or third generation, everybody looks the same. Everybody talks the same. That's not the case with African-Americans and other racial groups because they don't melt in. They don't blend in. They always look different."
I hate to dwell on this, but black people seriously didn't ask to come here. White people built boats and took very long trips to bring us to America cargo class and all we've heard since are complaints. It makes us feel unwelcome. You could be better hosts. Also, what does Stringer mean when he implies that black people don't "talk the same" as other Americans. We all be speaking that English. Does he only hear "jive" when we speak and can't find someone to translate?
A student asked Stringer why he thought "looking different" mattered.
"I don't know. Maybe it doesn't. Maybe it doesn't to a lot of people. It seems to matter to a lot of people who move out of Detroit, who move out of Baltimore. You know we have white flight in this country."
I have some personal experience with "white flight." I grew up in a neighborhood that was originally working-class white and over time became predominately working-class black. The remaining white families threw bags of cash at Realtors to get them into overpriced -- but predominately white -- "good" neighborhoods. The pressure was so great, a white neighbor resorted to embezzlement. He wound up in jail and his family remained in the neighborhood. They both had to endure living near black people.
Stringer went on to express his skepticism that non-European immigrants could ever successfully assimilate on account of their crippling brownness.
"The difference between the Polish-American immigrant and the immigrant from Somalia is the second-generation Polish immigrant looks like the Irish kid and the German kid and every other kid. But the immigrant from Somalia does not."
You notice how Stringer keeps implying that blackness is a fixed state that could never possibly alter over succeeding generations? How disconnected from historical reality is he? As Richard Pryor once said, we didn't look like this when we came from Africa. P.B.S Pinchback was the first black governor of Louisiana, which also made him the first black governor of a US state. He also looked like this.
Pinchback's mother was a slave, and his father was his mother's former "master" (and likely rapist). Clearly, there was a lot of "assimilation" going on. There were laws forbidding interracial marriage until just 50 years ago precisely because white Americans in fact did believe black people could "melt in" and "blend in" with them. There was a primal fear that as William Faulkner wrote in Absalom! Absalom! "in a few thousand years" every American "will also have sprung from the loins of African kings." Hell, for all he knows, Stringer himself could be black. I'm joking, of course, but if even if true, we'd probably still claim him over Diamond and Silk.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).