This “Daily Show” interview cost racist GOP official his job

131024_dailyshow_605_scrnA Republican official resigned after The Daily Show aired an interview with him. He did call black people lazy. But anyone who calls him out clearly missed the part of the interview where he explained that one of his best friends is black.

In an interview with The Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi, the Republican precinct chairman of Buncombe County, North Carolina, Don Yelton explained that the voting ID requirements he and his GOP cohorts are trying to pass wouldn’t hurt black people per se, but rather democrats. In a way Yelton should be commended for his refreshing honestly. It’s not everyday that someone admits on television to trying to intentionally disenfranchise people of a certain party. And on top of that, Yelton goes to make overtly racist comments:

The law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt. If it hurts a bunch of college kids that are too lazy to get up off their bohonkas and go get a photo ID, then so be it. If it hurts a bunch of whites, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, then so be it.

Lest you think Yelton or laws that restrict voting access are racist, the totally non-racist explains, “The bottom line is the law is not racist.” Mandvi responds, “of course it’s not racist. And you’re not racist.” Yelton, in a moment of unbelievable self introspection pauses, squints his eyes and says, “Well, I’ve been called a bigot before. Let me tell you something. You don’t look like me. But I think I’ve treated you as I would have anybody else. As a matter of fact, one of my best friends is black.” As a matter of fact, Mandvi is Indian-American, but same difference.

Then Yelton reminisces about the good old days and his non-racism: “When I was a young man, you didn’t call a black a black. You called him a negro.” Sure, he may have posted a picture on Facebook of Obama as a witch doctor, but that was actually making fun of Obama’s “white half.” And, of course, Yelton reflects on the injustice of re-appropriating racial slurs, lamenting that black people get to say “n***** this, n***** that and it’s OK for them to do it. ” NO FAIR!]. His verbal diarrhea prompts Mandvi to say, “you know that we can hear you?”

Since the Republicans prefer to keep their racism, and their gays, in the closet, Yelton was fired resigned. But, not at all surprisingly, he stands by his comments: “There’s nothing I said that I would take back. So be it.”  That doesn’t make syntactical sense, but that’s the least of his problems. Sadly, people mistake Yelton for a racist, when he’s actually an anti-racist activist: “I said, ‘A n***** can call a n***** a n***** and that’s no problem, and that’s racist… That’s the most racist thing you can imagine.” It’s true. Slavery, lynching, disenfranchisement, none of these holds a candle to the racism of the black on black n-word use.

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Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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