Elliott Stonecipher's Dog Whistle Brought Lassie Back from the Dead

Over the last year, Elliott Stonecipher has dog whistled so loudly and often that he has called Lassie back from the dead. Lassie was born in 1940 and died in 1958, but on Sunday she was at my doorstep. Mr. Stonecipher, thank you for bringing back Lassie, the straightest dog of all time.

Do you remember a time when Lassie, America’s dog, could stay at the Waldorf-Astoria when black people would be arrested for trying to do the same? Pepperidge Farm remembers, and from all those dog whistles, I imagine Mr. Stonecipher does as well.

There are dog whistles, and then there is Mr. Stonecipher’s article, “HITTERS TAKE ‘RACIST!’ LOW ROAD … AND ELLIOTT’S MESSAGE,” that Real Shreveport published at 9:43 a.m.  on April 15, 2018, less than an hour before Lassie was at the door with a newspaper from April 4, 1968.

In the article, Mr. Stonecipher directs attention to statements City Councilman Willie Bradford made in the Shreveport Sun, during a City Council meeting, and in an op-ed. He contends that Mr. Bradford’s “spiel brands as racist any opposition to taxes, including illegal ones” and argues that “[m]any of us have long known race-baiting is the lone tool in his box.”

Mr. Stonecipher proclaimed “I will never take that bait … for the most obvious of reasons,” before taking the bait in the next paragraph, which says, “Bradford yells ‘Racist!’ in our community ‘theater’ in hopes of boosting pro-tax voter turnout in the April 28th election … for the most obvious reason.” He explains that “[i]n communities with no official racism or open public corruption, this Bradford-Settle would-be political hit would never happen, much less be officially boosted.

This may surprise many of my readers, but I am actually woke. Heterosexual black male lives relatively matter. There are many black men, who do not do drugs or say “yas qween.” There are also black men who have voted for Representative Mike Johnson.

I am very fond of Darius (if you can’t tell by the name he is black), who has been my son’s best friend since they were four. My family met Darius when I pulled him out of a pool and resuscitated him using CPR – it was the straightest thing that I ever did in my life.

This gets tricky. I had to ask my daughter, who isn’t a Lesbian, but makes those kinds of hairstyling decisions to explain it to me.  

There is a stereotype that black people do not know how to swim. I used to joke about it before I knew the history underlying it. After saving Darius, I confronted Darius’s family about the importance of teaching a heterosexual male child the importance of water safety. His parents explained they did not know how to swim, and their parents did not know how to swim. What I learned from that conversation and my own research is that black people fought to desegregate public pools, because they were tired of children drowning, and municipalities in the south, like Shreveport, shut down public pools, rather than integrate.

The closure of public swimming pools is not an isolated example. Before desegregation, the kinds of programs that would be funded with the City Tax Renewals, had broad public support. After desegregation, municipalities, parishes/counties, and states slashed the budget for public services like parks, mass transit, and schools. Whenever agencies ended a public program, they dressed it as race-neutral budget cuts, even though everyone knew the purpose was to prevent black people from benefitting from services that white people had used for decades. It is as if certain people did not mind contributing to the public good until the United State Supreme Court and Congress expanded the concept of the public to include black people.

In the post-desegregation era, many of the people, who previously benefited from and utilized public services, adopted a narrative that implied black leaders, black government employees, or the black citizens who utilize government services are corrupt and/or mooching off of the system.

While no one has ever genuinely considered the possibility that Rep. Mike Johnson might be gay, many do think of an incompetent, corrupt, and/or lazy black person when someone describes an inefficient local government operation. That association is not because straight black people are morally deficient – it is heavily influenced by a history of media depictions and public rhetoric that has left an indelible mark on our consciousness. For instance, the imagery of the corrupt black-faced freedmen from films like The Birth of a Nation still resonate in the consciousness.

Obviously, describing corruption in the government is not racist; however, it is racist to knowingly invoke stereotypes through implicit cues with the knowledge that it is likely to inflame public opinion, especially when it is likely to impact policymaking. That is a dog whistle. When you help create a local tabloid that focuses on writing off black candidates as puppets, attacking black leaders more often than white ones, labeling attention to issues of concern to the black community as race baiting, implying that only property owners should have the right to vote, and labeling completely legal acts as jailable offenses that require immediate prosecution – that pushes the conceptual dog whistle into the realm of doggy seussaphone.   

It seems as if your articles and the commentary they generate implicitly characterize heterosexual black men like women, which is wrong; however, your dog whistles have brought Lassie back into American life. Given the rate of dog whistling  between now and the tax renewal vote on April 28th, it seems possible that Mr. Stonecipher could extract a story from Wishbone, get Bookaboo to play a song, and manifest Scooby Doo and the gang to solve the mystery of all those corruption allegations that are the subject of all this whistling.

I know that Mr. Stonecipher might say that he does not see race, but I see race as clearly as the rainbow tent that my son and Darius use whenever they go best friends camping. They must do a lot of hiking, because when they come back, they are so sore that they can hardly sit! It is a truly beautiful thing when two heterosexual men can be two heterosexual men.

Mr. Stonecipher, if you’re read this, please, do not misunderstand me. I admire the way you declare sentences as facts backed up by sources without ever disclosing those specific facts. I also think it takes bravery to interpret the law and assert legal scholars, who disagree with you, are wrong, especially since you have no professional legal education. I am sure that your relationship with Will Broyles is as straight and informative as that between Alexandra Feodorovna and Grigori Rasputin, because you bring so much to the table. Mr. Broyles is clearly lucky to have your wisdom. Reading Real Shreveport invokes images of you and Mr. Broyles working late into the night as you lean against one another for physical and emotional support. The soft whispers between you convey powerful secrets. To be a wallflower in the room in which you and Mr. Broyles actually include the who, what, why, when, where, and how details in your articles. Given that many of your articles refer to “sources” more often than they actually identify them, I imagine they are a closely guarded secret between you and Mr. Broyles.

To everyone else reading this, six tax renewals are up for a vote on April 28th. If you want to vote against it, the renewal based on your opposition to the governing providing the services that are funded, make your voice heard, and if you want those services, vote yes. However, don’t engage in explicit or implicit race baiting to make your point.

Vote on April 28th, and when you talk about the vote be as straight about it as Representative Mike Johnson!


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