“That One” “You People” “Toby” It’s all the same!

In July 1992, Presidential Candidate Ross Perot was at an NAACP event. He made a statement about who gets the short end of the stick when an economic downturn happens in this country. “I don’t have to tell you who gets hurt when this sort of thing happens – you people do. Your people.”

In October 2008, Presidential Candidate John McCain, in the second presidential debate, made a statement about an energy bill on the senate floor that was, according to him, loaded with “goodies” for the big oil companies. He asked, you know who voted for it? “That one,” (pointing to, but not looking at, then Senator Barack Obama, who was sitting on a stool next to him).

What’s wrong with this language? Simply, it sustains the notion that the person or group being talked about somehow has this (contemptuous) alien quality, this inferior, unequal or dangerous “otherness” that regular folks should be leery of. The spirit of such language highlights who has power and privilege and who does not. In the historical context of a white man talking to a black man or a group of black people, it’s easily considered racist.

For your convenienc, check the “That One” video:

On another note: If McCain were a child, he would be the spoiled, bratty, whining five year old, playing in the sandbox…needing to do anything to get his way. The more McCain drops in the polls, the more un-presidential and un-gentlemanly he becomes. Did anyone peep how, after last night’s debate, McCain did the “don’t touch me” fake out with Barack? Real Wack!