Toni Morrison: ‘I want to feel what I feel. Even if it’s not happiness’ | Books | The Guardian

by peterjukes

Now every other week from the stump Newt Gingrich refers to Obama as the “food-stamp president”; Mitt Romney accuses him of wanting to turn America into a “welfare state”. Morrison does not take this language to be racially neutral. “Oh, that’s very deliberate. Welfare, food stamps; gangs. They have a whole vocabulary of code. Some overt, come covert.” She finds it “hateful”, but beyond that embarrassing – “Really embarrassing for my country.”

Look, she says: “I used to think there was a Republican attitude and language that, although I vehemently disagreed with it because I thought it was fraudulent, it wasn’t dumb. It made some sort of sense. If you really and truly think that the United States is free, and capital is free – none of that’s true, but if you really believe it – you can develop an argument that’s not embarrassing. But they don’t do that any more. They use coded words. Did you see that the other day – Rick Santorum said ‘the man in the Whitehouse is a government nig – uh?”

Yes, he says he misspoke. Morrison bursts out laughing. “He said he didn’t say that! They used to say ‘government nigger’ when black people got jobs in the post office, stuff like that. And that’s what he was saying. And earlier he said, ‘I don’t want to take your money and give it to bla – people.’ He catches himself right at the vowel. Man. I guess it was worse in South Africa before Mandela, but I can’t do it any more.” She sighs. “At some level, you know, it hurts. It really hurts.”

via Toni Morrison: ‘I want to feel what I feel. Even if it’s not happiness’ | Books | The Guardian.

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