Monday, August 25, 2008

Did Emil Jones Drop the Tom Bomb?

Bonnie Grabenhofer, Illinois NOW president, is calling for Emil Jones "to resign immediately from the Illinois state Senate," according to Sun Times reporters Dave McKinney and Abdon M. Pallasch. Of course, he's already announced his resignation, but for Ms. Grabenhofer, this cuts no ice. Emil is alleged to have said a very bad, unforgivable thing - and he said it to a woman. Delmarie Cobb gave the Daily Herald (Nick Shields and John Patterson) her version of the incident:

She told the Daily Herald she walked away from Jones on Saturday night after he began trying to sell her on Obama. As she walked away, she said Jones yelled across the lobby: "Uncle Tom."
"And I came back and I said: 'What did you say?' And he grabbed me and started laughing. And I said, 'No, no, no. What did you say?' And he wouldn't say anything. And I said, 'Did you just call me an Uncle Tom?' And he didn't say anything. And then I just sort of let him have it. That part I won't repeat what I said."
From thence came the demand-for-resignation flap. Reactions? Mild and measured, as left-leaning feminists go. From the Sun Times exclusive report:
Feminists who make up the Illinois Clinton delegate contingent at the Democratic National Convention were outraged to learn of today’s exclusive Chicago Sun-Times report about Clinton delegate Delmarie Cobb’s accusation that Jones directed the racially loaded slur at her. . . .
“I’ve never heard anything as awful or as sexist or as racist as to call her that for supporting Hillary,” said Clinton delegate Gay Bruhn, another NOW member in Illinois who called for a public apology from Jones.
Awful and sexist and racist. She never heard anything like it. (Some of us could wish that was the worst thing we'd ever heard, but it was awful for her. Sheltered life, evidently.) Here is a partial transcription of the interview with Bonnie Grabenhofer from a Sun Times video:
I think what Emil Jones said was dispicable and evidence of the incredible pressure that has been put on particular women to support Barack Obama - women in Illinois have had that pressure and it was particularly hard for African American women who were put in the untenable position of having to choose between their race and between their gender, and it was very clear throughout this entire campaign that gender and sexism was less important than racism, and that comment was typical of that kind of attitude that it's okay to be sexist, but it's not okay to be racist. Race was supposed to be more important and he thought that because of her race she should have chosen Barack Obama as her first choice, and she didn't do that and was condemned by him for doing that, and that's unfair.
Of course, Jones denies the whole thing, albeit belatedly:
The Senate president added today to his version of what happened, saying he called Cobb a “doubting Thomas,” not an “Uncle Tom” in a Saturday night exchange in the lobby of the Denver hotel where the Illinois delegation is staying. Jones did not offer up that explanation when confronted by the Sun-Times late Sunday.
Recognize this, ladies? Husband, speaking of her treasures stored in the basement to his buddy: "One day I'm just gonna throw all that crap out." Wife, hand on hip: "What did you say?" Husband, after long pause: "I was just saying, I have a way to stow all that nice stuff about . . . a foot off the floor. You know. On a new shelf. Like you said." (Innocent grin.) "You look great today, honey!" And the buddy will always chime in with aid for his fellow man:
As the embarrassing episode rippled through the Illinois delegation here, Mayor Daley, weighed in and suggested Jones simply misspoke.

“I think it’s a misuse of words. There’s no ‘Uncle Toms,’ anybody supporting Hillary, Obama. It’s just a mischoice of words,” the mayor said.
There. That'll smooth things over. Just tell the angry feminist "it was a mischoice of words". Works every time. Right, guys? Yup. Good luck with that.

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