Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Race hustlers like DeSantis, Aldean and Giuliani are all the rage

by admin
Race hustlers like DeSantis, Aldean and Giuliani are all the rage

The term “race hustler” — or “race pimp” — has historically been used as a slur against Black civil rights activists by people accusing them of speaking about race-related issues for their personal, political or financial benefit. 

Such language has become popular among some conservative bigots who want to silence discussions about racism

Over the past few weeks, though, I’ve been thinking about how “race hustling” perfectly describes the behavior of people at the forefront of today’s conservative movement. It certainly describes Donald Trump, who launched his 2016 presidential campaign with a racist diatribe about Mexican immigrants. But we’ve seen multiple examples of this recently with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, country music singer Jason Aldean and conspiratorial Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani

Let’s take a look back, shall we?

In DeSantis’ case, we’ve seen race hustling in his administration’s efforts to whitewash the history of slavery. His support of Florida’s new educational standards, which require schools to teach that slavery sometimes came with a personal upside for enslaved people, underscores his eagerness to traffic in versions of history that appeal to many white conservatives. He has publicly attacked Black officials who disagree with this warped worldview, and the crux of his political identity — touting so-called anti-wokeness — is staked in similar anti-Black revisionist history. 

DeSantis is using racial bigotry for his political benefit. This, my friends, is true race hustling. 

Aldean is in a similar boat. As I wrote earlier this week, his video for “Try That in a Small Town,” which appears to promote racial violence, is essentially bigot bait. It’s a poppy, formulaic insult to quality country music as it seeks to capitalize on white nationalist symbolism — and maybe a little bloodlust as well.

And conservatives have been eating it up, to Aldean’s delight. Singing a twangy tune at the site of an infamous lynching has carried the artist near the top of the Billboard charts. And Aldean’s framing of the backlash to his video as an effort to cancel him — which has made many conservatives even more resolute in supporting him — seems to me like a blatant effort to cash in on their racial angst. 

Again, more race hustling. 

And then there’s Giuliani, who just this week admitted to lying about two Black election workers in Georgia — Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss — whom he claimed tried to defraud Trump out of a 2020 election victory in the state. These lies were at the heart of Trump’s 2020 election denialism, which Team Trump allegedly used to raise millions of dollars

Pimpin’ ain’t easy, as the saying goes … unless your base is Republican voters.

Those familiar with Giuliani’s history know he has a history of race hustling. Back in February, for example, I wrote about an MSNBC documentary, “When Truth Isn’t Truth: The Rudy Giuliani Story.” Part of it tells the story of Giuliani’s alliance with a mob that formed outside New York City Hall in 1992 to denounce Mayor David Dinkins, the city’s first Black mayor.

That mob reportedly included several people who hurled racist epithets, as I note in both the blog post and this TikTok:

Giuliani seemed all too willing to cash in on this racist vitriol en route to the mayorship himself. And he used Freeman and Moss in much the same way he used Dinkins: as Black targets he could subject to violent vitriol for personal gain.

Giuliani deployed racist tropes against the two election workers, including claims they had behaved like drug dealers “passing out dope” and even referring to Freeman, then 62, as a “hustler.” 

How rich is that?

Rudy Giuliani, Jason Aldean and Ron DeSantis are the real hustlers. They push bigotry out to the masses, and then wait for the spoils to roll in.

Is this a moral indictment of each of them as individuals? Absolutely. But the fact that their bigotry still holds valence in today’s GOP is an indictment of Republican voters as well. They’re the ones lapping up all of this.

Ja’han Jones

Ja’han Jones is The ReidOut Blog writer. He’s a futurist and multimedia producer focused on culture and politics. His previous projects include “Black Hair Defined” and the “Black Obituary Project.”

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