Kansas Congresswoman Say GOP Seeking "Great White Hope"!

@anniepa (27216)
United States
August 27, 2009 7:34pm CST
She has since sort of "apologized", but Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins said this at an August 19 forum in Kansas: "Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope. I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington." She told the Lawrence Journal-World that she did not intend to make a racist comment, and was simply saying that "Republicans have been suffering in recent years and we need a bright light. Obviously I was discussing the future of the Republican Party in response to a question about is there any hope for Republicans," Jenkins said. "I was explaining that there are some bright lights in the House, and I was unaware of any negative connotation. If I offended somebody, obviously I apologize." http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/08/27/congresswoman-apologizes-for-great-white-hope-comment/ "...unaware of any negative connotation"? Does ANYONE here really believe that? Don't you all love the "If I offended somebody, obviously I apologize" non-apology? Any thoughts? Annie
2 people like this
11 responses
@Rollo1 (16659)
• Boston, Massachusetts
28 Aug 09
Yes, I agree. We should all have a filter on our minds and mouths in case we ever utter anything that anyone, anywhere can take offense to. Otherwise, we will be called racist and there's no way to defend yourself against that charge. Once it is levied, it is automatically believed and taints you for life. Can I say taint? I know I can't say it's a black mark on your record. Honestly, as you suggested above, this woman probably has no clue where the phrase originated. She inadvertently used what is now a common phrase without any knowledge of its origin. What kind of apology could she make other than the one she did? This reminds me of a story I read about some organizations in the UK which are banning phrases like "gentleman's agreement" which means an agreement of honor and not necessarily contract, because it might offend women. I hate to think that women are considered to be that petty that they are likely to take great offense at that phrase, but some will. And we must never offend. Here's an example of the craziness: "Advice issued by the South West Regional Development Agency states: “Terms such as ‘black sheep of the family’, ‘black looks’ and ‘black mark’ have no direct link to skin colour but potentially serve to reinforce a negative view of all things black. Equally, certain terms imply a negative image of ‘black’ by reinforcing the positive aspects of white. " Okay, they admit that these phrases have absolutely nothing to do with race or color, yet because stupid people might not know that and hysterical people might not care that they don't have anything to do with race but feel like being hysterical anyway, we all should stop using these perfectly good English words. But wait? What about when a business is "in the red"? Will that offend even though it refers to the color of the ink in the books? What about a profitable business that is "in the black"? Should we stop using that term because it might imply a negative image of white by reinforcing the positive aspects of black? She apologized. It didn't mean anything to do with race to her. She said so and I believe that. You probably believe that too. I don't know what more she could say or do. What do you want her to do?
• United States
28 Aug 09
What she said was stupid, when I heard it, I didn't get all offended, I just said to myself "what an idiot"....the terms that you bring up have nothing to do with race, people who want to make those terms seem that way are trying to just stir the pot, but it has nothing really to do with what the Rep. said, the term "great white hope" goes back to when a black boxer was champ and a white boxer was wanted to beat him, to prove that whites were better than blacks. What she said wasn't smart, it was stupid, when she makes a statement like that and she is in such a important position, she SHOULD know what she is saying before she says it...and no it does not sound good to say that the republicans are looking for a great white hope, when we have a black (half black) democrat president. SHE WAS STUPID, plain and simple, we should all strive to sound intelligent, especially if we are in a position such as hers.
1 person likes this
@anniepa (27216)
• United States
28 Aug 09
I really think it's a stretch to compare this to phrases like "black sheep of the family" or "in the black". As far as this Congresswoman goes, I know nothing about her, she was just elected in November so I'd never even heard of her before. Maybe because she just took office a few months ago she should be given a pass on this but hopefully she'll learn a lesson from it. I'm not sure but it seems like she may have had her speech prepared in advance for this rally or at least have had some idea of what she was going to say. In the future maybe she'll be more careful about what she says. I honestly didn't think there was anyone who DIDN'T realize the origins of that saying. Maybe not the names and dates but the premise of looking for a white person to defeat a black one. Maybe it's a regional thing or something. Annie
@Rollo1 (16659)
• Boston, Massachusetts
28 Aug 09
It's not a stretch, it is an illustration of how the English language is being hijacked by interest groups and the politically correct so that one is not safe using even inoffensive, everyday phrases. great white hope: idiom Something or someone that is expected to succeed. For example, Mark is the great white hope of the international division. This expression dates from the early 1900s, when heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson, who was black, seemed invincible and the term was used for any white opponent who might defeat him. It gained currency as the title of a Broadway play and later (1970) a film. By then it had been transferred to anyone of whom much was expected. In her lifetime it has been used commonly as "anyone of whom much was expected". She can't possibly be held to have used it in any other manner, since she didn't even know there was any other connotation. Therefore, she didn't utter any racial slur at all. The only racism here is in those that assumed she meant otherwise because of their own mindset. That mindset, unfortunately, is to see racism everywhere.
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
29 Aug 09
On one hand maybe she really did mean "Light" not white. On the other hand she should know better than this. Also I doubt her remarks even further since she mentioned harnessing great young Republican minds as I know full well the dinosaurs that are already in office and in power have ZERO intention of doing this (they have to protect their own power and position after all and this goes for both parties). Or maybe its me being too cynical in that case. Anyways Annie, here's something for Con-man-gresswoman Jenkins (best if viewed in Arial font) ............................................________ ....................................,.-‘”...................``~., .............................,.-”...................................“-., .........................,/...............................................”:, .....................,?......................................................\, .................../...........................................................,} ................./......................................................,:`^`..} .............../...................................................,:”........./ ..............?.....__.........................................:`.........../ ............./__.(.....“~-,_..............................,:`........../ .........../(_....”~,_........ -,_....................,:`........_/ ..........{.._$;_......”=,_.......“-,_.......,.-~-,},.~”;/....} ...........((.....*~_.......”=-._......“;,,./`..../”............../ ...,,,___.\`~,......“~.,....................`.....}............../ ............(....`=-,,.......`........................(......;_,,-” ............/.`~,......`-...............................\....../\ .............\`~.*-,.....................................|,./.....\,__ ,,_..........}.-._\...................................|..............`=~-, .....`=~-,_\_......`\,.................................\ ...................`=~-,,.\,...............................\ ................................`:,,...........................`\..............__ .....................................`=-,...................,%`--==`` ........................................_\..........._,-%.......`\ ...................................,
2 people like this
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
29 Aug 09
ah so the engine didn't accept the bottom comment, I forgot mylot's engine can be tricky. It's supposed to say Stop Now. At least the main art came out okay.
2 people like this
@anniepa (27216)
• United States
29 Aug 09
Yep, the Pro is BAAACCCKKK!! Annie
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Aug 09
OMG where have you BEEN progamer? You've been missed! I'm your old friend who you probably knew by another name the last time you were here, here's the list of my incarnations: MSV1016 AngryKitty FantasmFeline MSV1313 AngrierKitty AngryKittyMSV Each name has a long stupid story as to why it is no longer in use, but I am still the same idiot I have always been and I am SO VERY happy to see you!
@jerzgirl (7933)
• Gloucester City, New Jersey
28 Aug 09
As much as I love seeing the hypocrisy of the right as well as believing in the underlying bigotry behind much of the anti-Obama rhetoric, I can't find it in me to believe that every single slip of the tongue while using an otherwise common phrase that has more than one connotation was a hidden use of the negative connotation. I think that sometimes we say things and know what we mean when we say them, but as soon as they're out of our mouths, the other meaning suddenly flashes before our eyes and it's too late to undo. But, I just don't think that every single use has a hidden meaning. Sometimes it's just poorly timed rather than coded innuendo. But, that's me. She obviously chose the wrong phrase, but did she mean it the way it sounded? I can't say that she did. If she did, she was stupid. But, that's a pretty public display of stupidity, so I have my doubts.
2 people like this
@anniepa (27216)
• United States
28 Aug 09
Thank you for a very thoughtful response, jerzgirl! I think many of us from both sides of the aisle could take a lesson from you. We all have our share of "slips of the tongue", it's just that most of us don't do it in front of a crowd of people and video cameras! I suppose it's just human nature that some of us are more willing to accept these slips when someone on "our" side does it but not be so generous when it's the "other guys"...lol! YOU stepped up and showed yourself to be bigger than that. Annie
@jerzgirl (7933)
• Gloucester City, New Jersey
29 Aug 09
I speak from experience as the Queen of Lingual Faux Pas. I'm surprised I can still walk as many times as I've put my foot in my mouth or said things that I didn't even come close to meaning once I heard how they sounded. That's why I prefer the written word. I'm a lot less likely to trip over my tongue since my hands and my brain can coordinate. So, I do understand how something that can be misconstrued under certain circumstances could be blurted out without thinking about that very fact.
• United States
28 Aug 09
I'm not familiar with Jenkins, but I think perhaps it was a poor choice of words considering how hypersensitive the politically correct crowd is these days - but I honestly don't think she meant that the party was literally looking for a white person. While I feel she could have phrased it better and I don't think she should be crucified over her comment, I do actually agree with the underlying point she was trying to make; the Republican party desperately needs a GOOD, STRONG leader to rise up, someone like Ronald Reagan comes to my mind as he was the last Republican I truly admired and believed in and is actually the reason why I became a Republican when I was old enough to vote. The GOP has had some real "clunker" politicians the last 15 years AT LEAST; they are either just horrible, corrupt incompetent, crazy, or trying to pretend to be democrats - in other words NOT what we need. (Not that the other party is any better LOL) My party has harmed itself by focusing on things that they have no business meddling with, such as people's personal lives (gay marriage for example) that has left a bad taste in the mouths of many republicans and former republicans. We're supposed to be the party that OPPOSES big government and government interference in people's personal lives, not the party that attempts to screw with the constitution to keep consenting adults from marrying just because they happen to be gay. We're supposed to be the party that supports lower taxes, smaller government, and preservation of individuals' rights to live their own lives and find their own destiny with as little obstacle as possible created by the federal government. My party lost its was a long time ago, and has yet to find it again. As a lifelong registered republican I will not even vote for them until they pull their heads from their arses and get back to what I stated above and away from all the other crap they've been making so much nuisance of themselves with over the years.
1 person likes this
@iriscot (1290)
• United States
28 Aug 09
Well said Kitty, I have two close friends who are(were) staunch die hard republicans and they seem to agree that their party has lost it's way. I was totally shocked when both of them said they voted for Obama in the Presidential election, they both voted for G.W. Bush and his father, but just couldn't stomach McCain after he picked Palin to run with him. I haven't talked politics with them since the election and will wait until they bring the subject up. I voted for the republican candidate twice, once for "Ike" and once for GW's father. But they truly have lost their way.
2 people like this
@anniepa (27216)
• United States
28 Aug 09
I'm not familiar with her either and since she just took office in January I have no idea what her philosophies are. I don't think she should be crucified for it either and I'll admit that maybe there has been an overreaction to it. Perhaps it's a generational or a regional thing but, as I said before, I'd honestly been very familiar with that phrase for as long as I can remember and I've known as no other meaning other than what I said. I remember the movie about the fighters it had originally referred to. I agree with you about how hypersensitive some people are on this subject. It IS a sensitive subject and I guess I think it has to go both ways in that some people should choose their words more carefully as in this case and others should learn to "lighten up" a bit and not jump to conclusions. Annie
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Aug 09
They are iceskating in hell right now because I agree with you! LOL
1 person likes this
@iriscot (1290)
• United States
28 Aug 09
"The great white hope", I remember years ago they were using that phrase when a white man was to box Joe Louis. She must have gotten it somewhere! I wonder who these "bright lights" in Washington are that she is talking about? I don't know of any! (sniker)(LOL);-(
1 person likes this
@anniepa (27216)
• United States
28 Aug 09
She couldn't be referring to Palin or Sanford since they're not currently in Washington...lol! Annie
• United States
28 Aug 09
I AM a freaking Republican and I can't think of any "bright lights" in the GOP lately either!
@ZephyrSun (7387)
• United States
28 Aug 09
Some people never think about the words they are going to say, they just say them and then realize how ignorant they sound.
1 person likes this
@anniepa (27216)
• United States
28 Aug 09
You're so right, Zeph. And then they say "I'm sorry IF I OFFENDED ANYONE"...grrr! Annie
@ZephyrSun (7387)
• United States
28 Aug 09
That's funny but do you want to know what's really funny to me? I can't believe all the times that conservative officals say stupid things and when Obama said put lipstick on a pig EVERY conservative was screaming about how he was talking about Palin yet, McCain had said the same exact words earlier in the year.
@bestboy19 (5482)
• United States
28 Aug 09
I take it someone make an issue of the statement. I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of always having to tip toe around blacks because they hear everything as a racial slur. Why are they always getting their panties in a wad? And why is it all right for them to make racial slurs but not all right for anyone else to even make an innocent or accidental statement that could be perceived as racial? Whether or not her apology is sincere, doesn't matter to me. She should not have had to apologize at all.
1 person likes this
@anniepa (27216)
• United States
28 Aug 09
Actually, I don't tip toe around anyone because I don't use anything that could be taken as a racial slur. IF I ever did accidentally or innocently say something that was perceived as such it definitely WOULD be innocent and accidental and I'd apologize for my mistake. Even if this woman had never heard of the phrase being used as it had been originally intended she shouldn't have used it in the context in which she did! It remains to be seen whether she pays any consequences for this "insensitivity", to put it lightly, but if she were my Representative I'd probably not vote for her in the future. Annie
@bestboy19 (5482)
• United States
28 Aug 09
Are you saying, if your representative made that statement, it would override all the good work he had done in the past and he would not get your vote the next time he is up for office? That sounds extremely petty. Neal Boortz is right, some people shouldn't be allowed to vote.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Aug 09
Its been brought up already, "oh why does someone have to tiptoe"...blah blah blah. I am sensitive to racist comments, I don't like racists, but when I heard that this woman said that, did I think "omg she said something racist!!!!!!" NO, I thought to myself, this woman is stupid and didn't even realize what she said. So many people want to turn this into a black/white racism issue, when really what it is is "think before you speak" issue. Yes I see the offensiveness in what she said for sure, she should have given a better apology, yes, do I think she is a racist, no. So many people want to say that it shouldn't be an issue, that we shouldn't have to "tiptoe" around saying something negative about black people, well the fact is also that in this time, if a black Rep. had said something that could be seen as racist against white people, there would be a stink about it as well, and there should be. Politicians need to be politically correct, no matter what race they could be offending. This woman was not politically correct, she was stupid in my view. And so I just see her as stupid, not racist, just stupid
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Aug 09
Politicians need to be politically correct, no matter what race they could be offending. Maybe that's why they call it "politically correct" LOL, even the president had to learn that lesson the hard way when he joked about the Special Olympics. I do think that if you are in the public eye, you should choose your words carefully not only to try not to offend different groups but also to avoid having even well-intentioned, seemingly innocuous comments getting misconstrued. I'm pretty sure the president has nothing against special needs people, but I think he unintentionally hurt many of them and the people who care for them with that careless comment on the Tonight Show, for example. I know politicians on both sides of the aisle make these kinds of gaffes often, that's just the first example that sprung to my mind. They ALL should think before they speak (and that goes for celebrities too).
@xfahctor (14126)
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
29 Aug 09
Oh my freakin gooddess did I walk out of an adult policical discussion room and on to a 3rd grade school yard? You have got to be kidding me, THIS is the latest controversy? For real, this is the big news now? Wow, lol! Thanks for this annie, I had just finished responding to an email from my ex wife and was mad enough to put my fist through a wall, but this REALLY made my day, thanks, lol, I REALLY needed this, as usual annie, you are awesome, thank you so much for this.
1 person likes this
@us2owls (1681)
• United States
28 Aug 09
I wonder what kind of hope a lot of these Democrats will be lookng for when they are un-employed like their bad management has made thousands of people. And they don't need to blame Bush - he suffered with them in the majority.
@anniepa (27216)
• United States
28 Aug 09
So you have no opinion about what this Congresswoman said? Annie
@us2owls (1681)
• United States
28 Aug 09
The phrse she used has been around for years and her even apologizing is what made it sound bad. I do not get involved in racial discussions. I have a mixed race great grandchild who is related on her fathers side to the Martin Luther King family. We have constant battles over things people say to her. We tell her shes not coloured, black, white or anything else like that. She is a HUMAN.
2 people like this
• United States
28 Aug 09
I read this as well, and had to laugh, this comment is even worse when you look back at where this saying comes from. She should have come out and did a better job of apologizing, but it doesn't surprise me coming from an elitist like Jenkins.