Ben Carson reaching out to blacks, Airplane!-style
"Oh, stewardess, I speak Jive!" That line from the movie Airplane! is well-known to many. A pair of African-American (or, in those days, simply black) gentlemen are talking in stereotypical black street language, and they make it so convoluted that it sounded like a foreign language. When one of them gets sick and the stewardess can't "dig their rap," a little old lady volunteers to speak to them in jive.
Flash-forward to 2015, and Ben Carson is doing much the same thing. Ben Carson is reaching out to black voters with an unusually terrible-sounding rap song. I say unusually terrible because while, musically speaking, most rap sounds bad, this somehow sounds even worse.
A loud, aggressive, in-your-face voice yells "Vote! Vote! Inspire! Vote Ben Carson for president – he would be awesome!" while a flute plays distinctly off key over and over again. Carson culturally soils himself while speaking seriously in the background, with the drug-addled-sounding flutist playing again and again.
The scene in Airplane! was funny because it pretended that black people speak a foreign language and treated them as if they needed translators. It took a stereotype that applied to one subset of black people and applied it to all of them, hence the joke (which probably would not be permissible today).
Unfortunately, it looks as though Ben Carson is doing the same thing, sans the humor. Some black people like rap, but rap is strongly associated with street gangs and criminals and blacks with bad attitudes. It is not associated with the overwhelming number of middle-class blacks who work hard and don't wear five earrings and don't have gold teeth and know what direction to point a baseball cap on the head. Why not speak to black audiences in the same exact way he speaks to white audiences? Will blacks be turned off if Carson speaks normally?
The ad sounds like a Damon Wayans skit from In Living Color and stereotypes black people as people who will not listen to politicians unless they talk "jive." I think many black people would agree with angry afro man #2 from Airplane!, who, when asked if he understands English, tells Barbara Billingsly, "What is it, big Momma? My Momma no raise no dummy, I dug her rap!"
This article was written by Ed Straker, senior writer of NewsMachete.com, the conservative news site.