In the last post about Sen. Jason Rapert1, I noted his lack of growth as a person and how he is basically the same dolt now that he was nine years ago. That post focused on his continued ignorance of constitutional law, despite nearly a decade of blathering about it. However, that is far from the only area where StanJay has not shown any positive growth in the nine-plus years in the public eye.
For example, we wrote a post in March 2015, entitled, “Jason Rapert Likes Bigotry and Murder,” and one in February 2015 about his belief that the US and Europe were “the civilized world” and ISIS/people in the middle east were “barbarians” who should be dealt with by dropping a nuclear bomb on them. Arkansas Blog had a post in 2013, showing a video in which Jason ranted about “not allow[ing] minorities to run roughshod over” his values, and another 2013 post about Bro. Rapert believing that Muslim people should not be allowed to march on 9/11 (despite that pesky Constitution).
With all that in mind, it should come as no surprise that Rapert liked a tweet that asked the kind of question that is exactly what you would expect a convicted felon who received a pardon from Donald Trump to ask.
gREaT qUeSTiOn, sEnAtoR DiPShIt!
Sigh. Ok. Deep breath. For the sake of argument2, let’s pretend for just a minute that Jason Rapert is really this clueless and that he’s not just a giant, syphilitic elephant scrotum who inherently likes any sort of “white people vs. ____” dichotomy that he can use to pander to his smooth-brained base.
“Black Power” is a term, drawn from earlier sources,3 that became widely known through the 1966 Meredith March against Fear in Mississippi, when Stokely Carmichael rallied marchers by chanting “we want Black Power.”
The “Black Power” movement “emphasized racial pride, economic empowerment, and the creation of political and cultural institutions.” The phrase, essentially, was (and is) shorthand for a movement designed to combat systemic, structural racism in an effort to place Black Americans on equal footing with whites. Notably, “Black Power,” like “Black Lives Matter,” did not refer to the subjugation of other races or rest on a belief that no other group should have power.
“White Power,” on the racist other hand, was none of this. That phrase came to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s as a response to the “Black Power” movement. Unlike “Black Power,” however, “White Power” as a movement and viewpoint was expressly embraced and shared (and shouted) by neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other racist groups.
Even that sort of analysis shouldn’t be necessary, however. Because anyone (including Jason Rapert) who would ask why folks can say “Black Power” but can’t say “White Power” is ignoring the realities of political and economic power disparities between the two racial groups.
Just look around the Capitol, Senator: the Governor is white, like all 45 governors of this state before him. The other constitutional officers? All white, like every one of their predecessors, because Arkansas has never elected a Black person to a statewide office.
Your Senate chamber? Three Black people out of 35, in a state that is over 15% Black, including none from the First Congressional District where the population is nearly 17% Black. The House of Representatives? Twelve out of 100.
Arkansas’s federal Congressional delegation? White, white, white, white, white, and *checks notes* white. (Total number of black people elected to Congress by Arkansas, ever: Zero.)
Economically, socially, medically/healthcare-wise? Black Americans face disparities in all of those as well. By pretty much every available metric, the type of person wanting to yell “White Power” already belongs to a group that has the “power” (read: lack of structural and system race-based barriers) that the folks chanting “Black Power” have been trying to obtain for generations.
But maybe even this discussion is too deep for Senator Rapert. Maybe he needs it spelled out more simply. So let’s do it as a Q&A and see if that helps.
Q: “If [Black people] can say ‘Black Power,’ why can’t [white people] say ‘White Power’?”
A: Because it’s a racist phrase, and white people saying it invariably are racist assholes.
If it’s still unclear, maybe next year, he could ask some of the folks at Juneteenth, since he totally wasn’t just using the celebration as a photo op.
I should note, I suppose, that the entire premise to the question is flawed. Anyone is free to say “White Power” if he or she wants to. That’s one of the guarantees of the Constitution.
But just because someone is free to say something without being punished by the government does not mean that someone saying “White Power” should be immune from being fired or facing other consequences for those actions. Remember, kids: freedom of speech does not equal freedom from non-governmental consequences for the words spoken. Nor should it.
And for the sake of better dragging this racist P.O.S.↩
Most likely, either Richard Wright’s non-fiction work Black Power, published in 1954, and/or the 1964 Lowndes County [Alabama] Freedom Organization (LCFO), who used the slogan “Black Power for black people” for its political candidates. Source.↩