In a recent Bayou Brief interview, James Carville sat down to talk about ongoing events related to power, politics and protests in the United States. Among the comments made were Carville’s suggestion that Joe Biden’s infamous “You ain't black” comment on the Breakfast Club should have been replaced with, “A Black person voting Republican is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders,” backing up his comments with the notion that there is a lot of truth to the statement.
Carville’s undeniably racially prejudiced comment not only ignores the agency of Republican-identifying African American voters and elected officials across the country, but it also attacks their racial identity based on how they prioritize political issues before voting. Furthermore, Carville, an instructor at Louisiana State University, completely undermined the university’s commitment to be an all-inclusive institution.
Taking the most offense to his comments should be South Carolina voters, who elected Republican U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, a Black man. Scott also, in response to the death of George Floyd, introduced a police reform bill that would curb police brutality, especially serving Black Americans. However, after offering his Democratic colleagues 20 amendments and a manager’s amendment, the Democrats blocked the bill from proceeding.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, even suggested Scott was being a token. If Carville was correct about anything in the Bayou Brief interview, it was when he suggested conservatives were all about action and liberals were too scared to take their own side.
Possibly the worst part of Carville’s comments is that it changes voting from being a prioritization of political policy to a commitment to a racial identity. Not only does this suggest that Republican-voting Black Americans reject their race, but Carville’s comments further polarize an already divided United States, founded on the ideals that the country should have a marketplace of ideas where people, regardless of their race, could speak their minds in open debate. Evidently Carville would rather that not happen, as his comments box African Americans into the Democratic Party and shame any dissenters.
Carville proudly wore the LSU name on his shirt during the interview. Carville’s comments were anything but welcoming to Black Republicans. Current and former students of Carville and LSU should expect more from their professor.
In a time where the expectation is to call out racism in America, Carville should be no exception.