Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

Herman Cain calls himself “Haagen-Dazs Black Walnut” flavor of the week. Is he putting himself down? Is he putting his race down?

Asked by wundayatta (58349 points ) October 13th, 2011

According to the Christian Science Monitor, Herman Cain is now the GOP presidential front-runner, a new poll says. When asked if he’s the flavor of the month, Herman Cain says ‘Black Walnut tastes good all the time.’ In the article he is referred to as both “flavor of the week” and “flavor of the month.”

I’m just not sure how to take his comment about himself. Black walnut isn’t a putdown, but it also seems to me that he is poking fun at himself and in using race to do the fun poking. By making fun of his blackness, I think, he is diminishing himself and also the seriousness of his candidacy.

Maybe he is only being self-deprecating. But he could have been self-deprecating in so many other ways. By choosing race, I think he is suggesting that his race is a reason people shouldn’t actually take him seriously.

What do you think the impact of this toss-off line is? Is it self-deprecating? Or should we take it purely at face value? What is the face value? Is it poking fun at the color of his own skin? If so, is that a form of racism? Does a comment like this give people an excuse not to take him so seriously? Does he not take himself seriously? Does his ability to make fun of his race show he has humor about a touchy subject and disarm people who might otherwise use his race against him? Or does none of this matter now that we already have a black president?

Sorry about so many questions. I find this fascinating. I’d be interested in your perspectives on this.

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16 Answers

TexasDude's avatar

It sounds like self-depreciating humor to me.

Or it could be a conspiracy.

Blackberry's avatar

Cain is a blithering idiot. That is all.
I guess for a real answer, I don’t know his real motives. He has referred to himself as a “black republican” before, so maybe he is doing some race thing to attract voters, I don’t know. Maybe showing it’s not a sensitive issue to him by using humor, so white people others will see he’s a “cool guy” that is laid back or something.

Mariah's avatar

Some people think that being a part of a group gives them the right to make fun of that group as much as they want. Because, you know, then it’s self-deprecation. Never mind everyone else in that group. I’m not sure if that’s what’s going on here, but if it is, I’m not into it.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

See… I think it gives him EVERY right to poke fun of himself personally because it’s none of my damn business what he says or thinks… as long as it isn’t about me.

*I happen to come from a place of perspective where I believe that political correctness has pretty much destroyed the entire premise of the human race in relation to just about everything it touches.

Political correctness has invented a generation of super babies that are offended by everything EXCEPT the reality of what they do to whomever they do it to because like I said earlier their intentions are concealed so that makes it okay.

Nay Nay Nay… Just because you call a kick in the ass something else… doesn’t make it any less a kick in the ass I say.

If he wants to poke fun at a portion of what makes him who he is… That is his perrogative. WHat he doesn’t have the right to do is direct it with intent at anyone else.

And God help us if we have to get into specifics for every single instance of seperation considering it.

It will be like the Rufus Xavier Sasparilla song on repeat, until infinity or everyone went completely insane trying to sort out what should be funny to whom or why when everyone already knows that and just opts to deny it for personal gratification or some fake sence of social bandwaggoning.

janbb's avatar

Personally, I am very happy when any politician makes a humorous, self-deprecating remark instead of acting like they’re a god. I don’t think he was making fun of the group but of the fact that his blackness adds to his appeal.

Jaxk's avatar

Cain doesn’t see being Black as either an advantage nor disadvantage. Merely a fact. He has said many times that race isn’t a barrier to success. Both the media and pundits seem to be obsessed with skin color but Cain is not. I see nothing offensive here.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

In Japan, they have different words that they use to imply different levels of respect and even different rooms in their homes where certain people are assumed acceptible, as well as other rooms where certain people do not go and are not welcome, as well as they understand this person to person so it doesn’t have to be requested, it is the way many people there are/were raised so nobody get’s offended if they enter a home and they are not immediately invited into the kitchen.

They have specific words in their language that imply intent as opposed to having to constantly hammer the hell out of every little detail to every little inference of every little belief or level or distinction between things.

Shouldn’t people use their brains and understand what things mean just because they are what they are and say what they do?

Do we really have to obscure the hell out of every little portion of everything just to get over?
I seriously believe that’s what it’s about. Don’t people have a natural sense of right and wrong anymore or the common sense to know the difference without having to invent these bullshit classifications and distinctions to classify label and rename everything?

If it’s funny it is, if it insulted someone connected to it it should in the very least be assumed that the intent wasn’t aimed as a trajectory point of contention against ALL people who are black because he said this about himself. Political correctness lumps everyone into one mold and assumed for everyone like some collective hub mindset.

What happened to individuality? What happened to thinking for ones own self?

I mean come on now… Is it really that difficult?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

He’s not poking fun at his race or putting his race down. He’s poking fun at the question and capitalizing on racial tension to get his point across. Aside from the fact that it is not his responsibility to put down or pick up ‘his race’ no more than your actions have to be read as representatives of your race, the white race.

Qingu's avatar

Out of all the things Herman Cain has said, this thing easily ranks as one of the least troubling.

majorrich's avatar

It was in fact funny though.

Facade's avatar

I just see it as one more stupid thing he’s said.

martianspringtime's avatar

I don’t know much about the man – I’ve been pretty out of the loop as far as politics go lately – but I really don’t see this as a big deal whatsoever. It sounds more like he’s making fun of the ‘flavor of the week’ comments. How is him referring to his skin colour at all offensive?
I don’t think it’s necessary to pretend no one notices skin colour (whether it be a completely different race or just varying degrees of one colour) in efforts to not be ‘putting down his race.’ I think the fact that this is being made into a big deal at all is troubling. Why does he have to be seen as a representative of his race? Why does any comment he makes have to be about his entire race rather than just himself? He’s just a person, speaking about himself.
He seems to be the one least focused on the colour of his skin here.

Blackberry's avatar

The first stupid thing I heard Cain say was that bills should be 3 pages long, so people don’t have to read so much. Yep….legislation that affects millions of people should really skimp on the details to make it easier.

ETpro's avatar

Did Cain know when he claimed he was people’s all-time favorite flavor that Haagen-Dasz discontinued Black Walnut ice cream about 18 months ago?

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