Alabama State Senators Refers to Blacks as “Aborigines”

Wearing a wire can come back to bite you.

Alabama is currently going through a major federal corruption trial regarding alleged bribes offered to state legislators (four are on trial) by representatives of the state’s gambling industry.  The overall issue of gambling in the state is an ongoing political battle.  The state has dog tracks and bingo halls, but the focus of late has been the question of electronic gaming machines.

Part of the investigation was conducted by witnesses wearing wires, including State Senator Scott Beason (R-Gardendale*).  Transcripts of Beason’s wiretaps became of issue this week at at the trial in Montgomery.

Via the Birmingham NewsAlabama Senator Scott Beason, witness in State House vote-buying trial, grilled over ‘aborigines’ remark:

In one conversation, Beason and others discuss their fears that many black voters would turn up at the polls if a constitutional amendment on electronic bingo was placed on the ballot.

“Every black in this state will be bused to the polls,” said a person who was not identified on the transcript.

Larry Dixon, who was a Republican state senator from Montgomery at the time, said the voters will be taken to the polls on “HUD-financed buses.”

Beason responded, “That’s right. That’s right. This will be busing extra.”

In another conversation, Beason and others are discussing the distressed economy of Greene County, home to Greenetrack.

“That’s y’all’s Indians,” said former state Rep. Benjamin Lewis, R-Dothan.

“They’re aborigines, but they’re not Indians,” Beason responded.

After the remarks became public, Beason claimed he didn’t remember the conservations, and indeed, didn’t know why he used the term (via the AP):

As a Republican state senator who secretly recorded conversations for the FBI testified Thursday that he couldn’t explain why he called black customers of a casino “aborigines,” Alabama’s Democrat leader called for his resignation and the Republican Party chairman defended his reputation.

“I don’t use that term normally. I don’t know where it even came from that day,” Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale testified Thursday in federal court, where he is a key prosecution in a statehouse corruption case.

WSFA’s Courtroom Chronicles blog adds:

When Segall asked Beason if he meant the people of Greene County were descendants of the Australian indigenous group when he used the word “aborigines.” Beason said he didn’t recall what he meant. When Segall asked him if he meant it in a derogatory, offensive way, Beason also responded that he couldn’t recall what he meant by the remark.

This reminds me of when George Allen claimed he didn’t know why he said “Macaca.”   Although, I must confess, I do think it unlikely that he uses the word “aborigines” will great frequency, but if this is an example of self-censorship due to the presence of a wire, one does wonder, as defense attorney Bobby Segall asked during testimony over the transcripts: “What must you say, Senator Beason, when you don’t know you are on tape?”

Yes, I do understand that of the things that one could say, this is hardly the worst one might conjure.  Still, there is something highly problematic about a politician, especially one from the deep South, finding it necessary to group black voters under a label that is clearly not intended to be a term of affection.  The entire tenor of the discussion comes across as condescending towards a segment of Alabama’s citizenry because of the color of their skin.

And there is the irony, of course, that African-Americans are hardly aboriginal to the region (nor are Anglos for that matter) and that the ancestors of most of that segment of our populace hardly came here of their own volition.

Beyond demonstrating that race remains a factor in Alabama’s politics, Beason actually helped the defense.  Beason has helped reinforce the notion, that is already part of the discussion in the state, that the heart of the gambling issues in this state is one about politics and, specifically one that targets poorer blacks in the state.  This is because many of the casinos that have been the focus of the ongoing controversy are in predominantly black counties and therefore hire predominantly black employees.

Indeed, Kyle Whitmire blogging at Second Front, makes the following point:  “Beason’s testimony was supposed to be the opening chapter of the government’s case, but instead, the defense has the beginning of a different narrative.”

I think that providing an alternative narrative for the defense to use is likely what Beason has done.  Instead of a narrative about corrupt politicians (and who likes those?) the defense will likely try to weave a narrative about white Republicans trying to, yet again, stick it to black Democrats.  Indeed, it has allowed one of the defendants, State Senator Harri Anne Smith (I-Slocumb**) to call for Beason’s resignation (in what comes across as a grandstanding move more than anything else).  The politico-racial angle was going to be an issue in any event, but it seems that Beason may have just help enhance it.

Some background on the trial:  Lawmakers, Casino Owners Face Corruption Charges.

___

*For those unfamiliar with the state, that’s the Birmingham area.

**Smith was a Republican, but was booted from the party after she lost the nomination for the AL02 US House seat in 2008 and and ended up endorsing the Democrat (Bobby Bright) in the race.  Bright went on to win (but lost his re-election bid in 2010).  Smith was not allowed to run for the GOP’s nomination because she endorsed a Democrat.  She went on to win re-election to her state Senate seat as an independent.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Ben Wolf says:

    I don’t understand how Republicans can continue to be tone-deaf to this sort of thing. At this point I can only assume they just don’t give a damn.

  2. Jay Tea says:

    Here’s one factor, Ben: just in living memory, the “acceptable” terms keep changing, and the old “good” terms become “bad” — without any seeming rhyme or reason. Negro, colored, Afro-American, African-American, black or Black — what’s the current politically correct opinion on each of those?

    I tend to go for “black,” without the capitalizing. “Negro” is too easily slurred. I’ve been unable to take “colored” seriously since I saw Dr. Detroit, where a black woman was called that and said (paraphrasing) “Nobody ‘colored’ me, Judge, I was born this way!” I don’t like hyphenating American in any context. And “Black” is just a bit too forceful for my tastes.

    Then again, I have never met a truly “black” person; they’ve all been various shades of brown. And I’m hardly “white,” more of a pinkish-tan. (Pale, too — I need more sun.) Nor, for that matter, any “yellow” people. (Albinos and jaundiced sorts excluded, of course.) Not to mention that in the US, racial purity is pretty much obsolete (I’m a mongrel of several Northern and Western European nationalities, and President Obama is half whitebread US, half pure African) to all but the nuts at both ends of the spectrum.

    J.

    1
  3. @Jay:

    This is an old objection, but I don’t buy it. “African-American” has been standard for over two decades. “Black” while considered problematic by some, perhaps, has also been mainstream for a rather long time.

    “Negro,” “colored,” and other terms are so clearly linked to the overtly racist that it is pretty obvious that they need to be avoided.

    And in regards to the old “I have never met a truly “black” person; they’ve all been various shades of brown. And I’m hardly “white,” more of a pinkish-tan” bit–yes, this is true in an absolute sense, but it is also what I would consider a largely childish and simplistic way of eliding the actual issue.

  4. Indeed, your comment strikes me as an example of the tone-deafness that Ben is referring to.

  5. john personna says:

    In this context “aboriginie” has to be an illiterate reach for “primative.”

  6. An Interested Party says:

    The entire tenor of the discussion comes across as condescending towards a segment of Alabama’s citizenry because of the color of their skin.

    From Alabama Republicans? How shocking!

    …but it is also what I would consider a largely childish and simplistic way of eliding the actual issue.

    But of course, after all, we can’t actually admit that there are actual racists out there, it has to be a matter of avoiding/changing the subject…

    I wonder how many other people worry about blacks getting to the polls to vote on HUD-financed buses…

  7. Hey Norm says:

    If only this was out of character for the party of the southern strategy.

  8. Jay Tea says:

    Steven, perhaps not so much tone deafness, but a fed-up-ness with having to keep up with what are, in the end, inconsequential matters instead of tackling actual issues.

    I think of “tone-deaf” as a congenital, innate condition. It’s separate from ignorance. It’s also separate from apathy (“I don’t care what the current ‘in’ term is”) or fatigue (“I’m tired of keeping up with the constant redefinitions.”)

    I see it as a way to keep the issue alive and allow one side to maintain its sense of moral superiority, by casting the other side as “insensitive” — which is one step up from “racist.” And by fighting over definitions, we avoid actually dealing with the root issues.

    And I disagree with “African-American” being the standard. “Black” is still widely used, and not generally seen as pejorative, like the others that have fallen from favor.

    Finally, I’ll point out that — taking your “two decades” as definitive for the point of this argument — that represents not only about half my life, but the latter half — not the formative half. “Two decades” would be the tail end of the first George Bush administration, and I can remember when he was running against Ronald Reagan for president. And others can probably remember his days in Congress during Watergate.

    J.

  9. @Jay:

    The thing is: reducing this discussion to a white guy not liking to be told which words he can use in a polite conversation about people of another color, or pretending like we are talking about a color wheel at the paint store is to take a very series long-term problem and attempting to minimize, if not ignore it.

    And really, what is the big deal about a group of people preferring to be called one thing over another?

    Finally, I’ll point out that — taking your “two decades” as definitive for the point of this argument — that represents not only about half my life, but the latter half — not the formative half. “Two decades” would be the tail end of the first George Bush administration, and I can remember when he was running against Ronald Reagan for president. And others can probably remember his days in Congress during Watergate.

    Yes, this is all true. However, the point is not whether the terms in question changed since regardless of how long you have been alive, twenty+ years is a long time. If we are to go by the “formative years” test, then nothing can ever change. When I was growing up in Texas I recall being told n****r jokes in elementary school. I recall adults in my like using that word and others. So what?

  10. The truth of the matter is, I used to be more on your side of the issue in the sense that I wanted to believe that most of the ugliness was in the past and that the Republican Party was no longer the party of the Southern Strategy and/or home to a significant number of racists (and don’t just mean the fringe/David Duke types). However, empirical observation has led me to change my mind.

    And no, I do not think that all Republicans are racists, not by a longshot. Nor do I think that racism should be used as a cheap debating tactic. But I do think that it is sufficiently a real problem that it need to be called out and not explained as nothing when, in fact, it’s real.

    I will say, of course, that things are better and the ugliest of the ugly is in the past. However, it isn’t gone. And until it is gone, it needs to be addressed out in the open.

  11. ponce says:

    And no, I do not think that all Republicans are racists, not by a longshot.

    Maybe not, but I’ve never met a Republican who wouldn’t vote for a racist.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    FWIW, I tend to call people what they want to be called, even if I think it is a bit foolish (anyone remember “sanitation engineer” rather than “garbageman”? I think we finally settled on “trash collector”) After all, it is usually very important to the person involved and not very important to me. Jay Tea: On the other hand, it seems such things are very important to you, as you don’t like to be told what to call someone. I’m glad it doesn’t bother me, as it means I don’t get caught up in frustration and resentment over what is essentially an inconsequential matter.

    I do draw the line at “Native American”, and as a rule, I refuse to use the term. It seems to imply that I, my wife, my children and hundreds of millions of others like me who were born in the US are not native Americans.

  13. Jay Tea says:

    Marked, I generally agree with you — I tend to use the term for a group that they define for themselves. That’s why, on abortion, I use “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” I don’t let either side define the other.

    But I have a resistance to any kind of hyphenated American. It’s a philosophical point with me. And I’m kinda with you on “Native American.” Just to tie it all together back to the original point, I once encountered someone who pushed for “Aboriginal American” for Indians/Native Americans. I winced a bit at it, but I had to acknowledge that it had some merit…

    J.

  14. Franklin says:

    So what do you guys call Native Americans? Because they’re not Indians.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    I usually say “Indian”. Partly because I don’t think that term was ever particularly derogatory (there are other terms for that) and partly because a couple of friends I’ve had over the years who were from east coast tribes referred to themselves either as Indians or by their tribal affiliations. But if Indians want to be called something else, I’m find with that. As long as it’s not a term that boomerangs back on me, like “Native American”.

  16. Trumwill says:

    So what do you guys call Native Americans? Because they’re not Indians.

    The CIA World Factbook uses the term Amerindians. I wish that would catch on. But it’s a real head-scratcher. I used to go with “Native Americans” until I moved near a reservation and discovered that they go with “Indians” (when not their specific tribes). I typically go with “tribes” and “tribespeople”, which saves me from having to say indians or Native Americans and, unlike Amerindians, people understand who I am talking about and don’t think I am making the term up.

  17. Bernieyeball says:

    I do not know what the inhabitants of the North American continent called the land they migrated to before the Honkies arrived. I suspect it was not “America”. How then can they be Native Americans?

  18. Bernieyeball says:

    I wish I could remember who the black, female author was that told this story. She was being interviewed about her recent book. This was sometime in the last 15 or 20 years on some radio broadcast.
    The issue of race came up. The author told how her mother raised her to be colorblind.
    The author stated that when she was 5 or 6 (?) years old a man came to the door and she told her mom. “Is he colored or white?” her mom asked.
    The author said she had never heard her mother use those words before and she did not know what they meant.

  19. Jay Tea says:

    Trumwill, I’d forgotten about that — or “Amerinds.” I like it, too, but I don’t think it will catch on.

    J.

  20. john personna says:

    I used to go with “Native Americans” until I moved near a reservation and discovered that they go with “Indians” (when not their specific tribes).

    I’m comfortable with Indian for that reason.

  21. James Joyner says:

    @Trumwill and @john personna I tend to use “American Indian.” Since there are now so many occasions when a conversation might be about actual Indians, that eliminates the confusion.

    @An Interested Party : The business about being bused to the polls is actually a legitimate concern, although I don’t know where the “HUD-financed” bit comes from. Black churches do indeed tend to bus constituents to the polls, especially on hot button referenda. They did it during the big education lottery vote in the late 1990s, helping defeat an initiative that was polling 2/3 positive by turning out the opposition. That’s not illegal, of course, but it’s something that has to be factored in tactically.

  22. Kylopod says:

    I use “Native American” and “Indian” pretty much interchangeably. My problem with “Indian” is that it’s confusing–you’re not sure whether the person is talking about American Indians or Asian Indians. (Yes, “Native American” also has the potential to invite confusion with “someone born in the U.S.,” but this is much less likely, and the term “native-born American” has arisen to take its place.) It’s a confusion that goes back a long way–I recently came across a 19th-century novel in which some children from a family with Anglo-Indian roots get the mistaken impression they’re of AmerIndian stock. “Native American” avoids this ambiguity.

  23. Hey Norm says:

    “… That’s why, on abortion, I use “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” I don’t let either side define the other…” what unmitigated garbage. Show me one parson who is anti-life. Try pro-choice and anti-choice if you want to be accurate.
    Need another example of the small tent republicans…John McCain blaming illegal immigrants for the Arizona wildfires with ZERO proof to offer.

  24. superdestroyer says:

    The humorous thing about using the term “Native Americans” is what does one call the equivalents in mexico, Canada, or the Caribbean?

    I laughed one time when hearing CNN where the term is always Native American referred to protestors in Mexico as Indians since the term Native American did not make as much sense.

  25. john personna says:

    Super, remember that The Americas include more than North.

  26. @superdestroyer:

    The humorous thing about using the term “Native Americans” is what does one call the equivalents in mexico, Canada, or the Caribbean?

    I laughed one time when hearing CNN where the term is always Native American referred to protestors in Mexico as Indians since the term Native American did not make as much sense.

    Let’s not forget it was the Spaniards who originally made the mistake that led to the use of the term “Indian” in the first place (or indios in Spanish).

    My experience in the region is that they are often referred to by their linguistic affiliation or are called indígenas that is: indigenous persons).

    And JP is correct: the entire western hemisphere makes up the Americas (North America and South America) and so you actually could use the phrase “Native American” with accuracy if one was so disposed.

  27. Franklin says:

    I tend to use “American Indian.” Since there are now so many occasions when a conversation might be about actual Indians, that eliminates the confusion.

    That is also clear (for the people who were in the Americas when Columbus arrived). But in reference to people from India, I’ve actually had to say “Indian Indian” to clarify who I was talking about. Annoying, but nothing can be done about that now.

  28. john personna says:

    @Trumwill and @john personna I tend to use “American Indian.” Since there are now so many occasions when a conversation might be about actual Indians, that eliminates the confusion.

    Context sorts it out. Indian restaurant versus Indian casino.

    BTW, “actual Indians” is wrong, given that native Americans themselves use the term, without qualifier.

    It gets down to being more something than something (fill in the blanks) when you can’t use the term a people use for themselves, because it isn’t good enough.

  29. Kylopod says:

    >Context sorts it out.

    Not always–I’ve encountered many situations where it causes confusion.

  30. Franklin says:

    Context sorts it out. Indian restaurant versus Indian casino.

    I do believe this was a joke!

  31. john personna says:

    I’ve encountered many situations where it causes confusion.

    If the confusion is non-humorous and non-harmless, I’d recommend a modifier … for those limited situations.

  32. Jay Tea says:

    “… That’s why, on abortion, I use “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” I don’t let either side define the other…” what unmitigated garbage. Show me one parson who is anti-life. Try pro-choice and anti-choice if you want to be accurate.

    Sorry, Norm, but “pro-tolerating baby-killing” is just too danged much a mouthful.

    And no, I’m not going to get into a debate about abortion. As I said, it’s a courtesy to refer to a group by its chosen designation — unless there’s a valid reason not to. For example, I’d like to refer to the SPLC as “voluntary attack dog for the left that sells its credibility to smear any non-liberals,” but they prefer to be known as a civil rights group, so I use that. Occasionally, with quote marks, but I give them that courtesy. It’s a semantic game, a way of asserting some kind of dominance by defining the language to get an advantage on the actual issue. And it’s BS.

    As I say, simple courtesy.

    Oh, I’m sorry, is that a term you’re not familiar with?

    J.

  33. mattb says:

    At the risk of a thread hijack:

    The business about being bused to the polls is actually a legitimate concern, although I don’t know where the “HUD-financed” bit comes from.

    @James, it seems to me that this concern is the real reason for the Voter ID acts. Rather than it really being about vote fraud — which as you have pointed out, there is little evidence for — I suspect it’s much more about combating busing.

    This may be unfair, but I suspect the chances are that those people on the bus don’t have easy access to the sort of documents (like a Drivers License) or the infrastructure necessary to get a Voter ID card.

    Or, put a different way, I wonder if the backers of the voter ID laws would feel about adding clauses that would allow organizations like African American Churches, to be able to host “get a voter ID days” where they could do mass sign-ups (with a government representative present).

  34. mattb says:

    @Steven:

    The thing is: reducing this discussion to a white guy not liking to be told which words he can use in a polite conversation about people of another color…

    I think you’ve just summed up one key “platform” of the conservative/repulican/tea-party movement: “Please stop the changes in culture until I’ve died.”

    Note that a subset of this is also: to what degree a group (or individual) have the right to decide *what term* they want to be referred to by. This is of course a tenant of the Multiculturalism movement within the US.

    Oh and on the Native Americans — if you’re not referring to them by tribe, that is usually the preferred term. American Indians is usually acceptable too. Indigenous People is typically ok to. The one place where this gets complex is when you start to deal with Canadian tribes as the term up there is “First Nation(ers or people).”

  35. ponce says:

    I think you’ve just summed up one key “platform” of the conservative/repulican/tea-party movement:

    More like: “Nobody tells me what to do, especially a minority!”

  36. Clovis says:

    mattb,

    I think he was groping for “indigenous” and came out with “aborigines” instead. Read it that way and see if it doesn’t makes more sense. Not the word I would have chosen, but he is talking about multi-generational residents.

    I’m inclined to let this one go as a derailed train of thought.

  37. john personna says:

    Covis, doesn’t the title say “refers to blacks as aborigines?”

    I actually thought this was a big digression, Indians and Native Americans.

    From another source (Bloomberg Businessweek) on the story:

    A defense attorney for indicted casino owner Milton McGregor presented a transcript in court Wednesday from a recorded conversation that Republican Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale had with two other GOP legislators. The three were joking about economic development in predominantly black Greene County and the customers at one of the county’s largest employers, the Greenetrack casino in Eutaw.

    “That’s y’all’s Indians,” one Republican said.

    “They’re aborigines, but they’re not Indians,” Beason replied.

    Now, these articles are certainly positioning this story for us, but the State Senator did NOT say, “wait a minute, I was just correcting on the East Indian confusion.”

  38. wr says:

    JJ — What is your concern with voters — presumably poor voters who don’t have cars — being bused to the polls? I understand the Republican party’s concern — they simply don’t want poor people and minorities to vote. But I would never think that you would share that feeling, so I’m curious why this is a problem for you?

  39. hey norm says:

    “…Sorry, Norm, but “pro-tolerating baby-killing” is just too danged much a mouthful…”
    And therein lies the reason you cannot have an intelligent conversation with close-minded zealots.

  40. lankyloo says:

    WR – I don’t think Joyner had a problem with it. He was just saying that it is reasonable for the Republicans to plan strategically for voters being bused to the polls. The HUD thing is weird though, and I think also a bit racist.

  41. john personna says:

    Here is an early copy of the story, I think from before it went national. From The Montgomery Advertiser

    Other Republican legislators talking to Beason in the conversations made other comments, when talking about black voters who would support electronic gambling, that included referring to them being given bus rides to vote, about HUD money, and being offered buffets to vote.

    “That’s y’all’s Indians,” one Republican said referring to Greenetrack, according to the transcript.

    “They’re aborigines, but they’re not Indians,” Beason replied.

    Other Republicans in the recorded conversations were then-Sen. Larry Dixon of Montgomery, then-Rep. Benjamin Lewis of Houston County, and Sen. Ben Brooks of Mobile. They were talking about what would happen if a vote for electronic gambling was on the ballot in 2010.

    Casino owners, they said, would offer buffets and bus rides to get black voters to the polls.

    The buffet surprised me. But from an unrelated California story I see the explanation:

    Charles said gifts, while banned in federal elections, are allowed in state and local contests — as long as candidates’ names or ballot measures are not mentioned.

  42. Jason says:

    So are you saying that “white” churches and evangelical groups don’t do the same when there are “hot button referenda” issues on the ballot that they care about? What planet do you live on?

    @An Interested Party : The business about being bused to the polls is actually a legitimate concern, although I don’t know where the “HUD-financed” bit comes from. Black churches do indeed tend to bus constituents to the polls, especially on hot button referenda. They did it during the big education lottery vote in the late 1990s, helping defeat an initiative that was polling 2/3 positive by turning out the opposition. That’s not illegal, of course, but it’s something that has to be factored in tactically.

  43. mattb says:

    @Jason: I’d be interested in seeing two statistics related to busing:

    1. what the actual breakdown is of busing and what communities are being served by the busing (not just black/white/etc, but also on age and demographic breakdowns).

    2. Using the demographics, I’d also love to see a breakdown (albeit theoretical) of the chances that members of each group would have “easy” access to everything they need to secure voter ID cards.

  44. mantis says:

    You’ll have to forgive Jay. Being from White Hampshire, his only experience with people who look different from him is from the TV.

  45. I stil prefer to call everyone people. As Ta-Nehisi Coates once wrote, “Race is such bullshit.”

    ponce, maybe you should get out more. I understand Dr. Taylor’s upbraiding of Jay Tea, but I’ve never understood why your careless, callous accusations of racism are allowed to go unchallenged.

  46. An Interested Party says:

    I stil prefer to call everyone people. As Ta-Nehisi Coates once wrote, “Race is such bullshit.”

    Of course race is bullshit, as all of us are members of only one race–the human race…but racism is also bullshit, and if that didn’t exist, we wouldn’t talk about race…alas…

  47. mattb says:

    As Ta-Nehisi Coates once wrote, “Race is such bullshit.”

    The phrase is true and deceptive at the same time. The problem is that while there is not scientific basis for “Race” that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist or doesn’t continue to have a huge effect within the world. Personally, I look forward to the day when we’re all pleasantly brown (or perhaps grey).

  48. Clovis says:

    Sorry to be getting back to this so late. Tomorrow is the beasts’ last day of school, thus I’ve been putting together thankee baskets for the teachers. Fortunately my penmanship is as frightful as theirs.

    In another conversation, Beason and others are discussing the distressed economy of Greene County, home to Greenetrack.
    “That’s y’all’s Indians,” said former state Rep. Benjamin Lewis, R-Dothan.
    “They’re aborigines, but they’re not Indians,” Beason responded.

    Y’know? Without a fuller transcript or tape I would not be willing to use the word “blacks” in my headline.

    Is there anything in that selected quote that indicates “black”? No.

    Fashes this Steven? No.

    Put the card back in the deck unless you’ve the chips, lad. This in and out running in the matter of “context” is violating the purity of the turf.

    When brushing up on my Spanish I had the great pleasure of sitting with a professor who spoke very little English. When she was trying to translate “indegene” (I can’t be arsed to do the accents here) she translated it as “indigent” and I was forced to correct her. Kind’a felt bad about it, too. Sometimes people use the wrong words. Sometimes it is a simple mistake, sometimes it is ignorance.

    On this very site I’ve seen the word “cohort” used correctly only once, “begrudgingly” is a staple although it is a staple of the most abominable sort, and the Oxford comma abounds. See. There’s one.

    Yet these are the bright minds.

    Is it possible, even probable, that a brainfart occurred?

    Should not a man look for the full tape before writing a headline such as that?

    Sherrod you are, Steven.

    And, yes, I’ve been saving that one. I do find you thought-provoking, if a touch over-reactive. I just wish you would spread your criticism around a tad. For It’s been many a moon since I’ve seen a budget. You know, that thing that Congress, by law, has to produce.

    So stagger on my fine young chum, and Heaven reward your efforts.

  49. anjin-san says:

    Race is such bullshit

    I have no doubt the people who end up eating shit because they are the “wrong” race would agree.

  50. @Clovis:

    Well, the population of Green County, AL is over 80% African-American, and the general context of the comments was clearly about blacks in the state. Further, Beason could have corrected the impression that he was talking about blacks in the courtroom. He did not. And, as I noted in the post, the entire gambling issue has had racial components for some time now.

    When brushing up on my Spanish I had the great pleasure of sitting with a professor who spoke very little English. When she was trying to translate “indegene” (I can’t be arsed to do the accents here) she translated it as “indigent” and I was forced to correct her. Kind’a felt bad about it, too. Sometimes people use the wrong words.

    I am pretty sure Beason’s first language is English.

    And btw, “lad” and “my fine young chum”? Is this really Adam West? If so: cool. 😉

  51. john personna says:

    Heh, Batman reference. Well-spotted.