This week, Richard Cohen wrote a column for the Washington Post about New Jersey Governor Christie and the problems he would face when dealing with the Tea Party portion of the Republican party in the primaries if he chooses to run for president. In the middle of the op-ed, the conversation took a turn towards race and ‘conventional’ Americans gagging at the sight of biracial couples, particularly New York Mayor Bill De Blasio.
Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.
After receiving a firestorm of criticism from many bloggers for his statements, including being called a racist, Cohen came out to defend his piece.
The word racist is truly hurtful. It’s not who I am. It’s not who I ever was. It’s just not fair. It’s just not right. I didn’t write one line, I wrote a column. The column is about tea party extremism and I was not expressing my views, I was expressing the views of what I think some people in the Tea Party held.
Letting his words get himself in trouble is nothing new to Cohen. He’s had a long history of upsetting women, black people and the LGBT community with things he says, like blaming rape victims(and Miley Cyrus) for being attacking, blaming gays for AIDS and supporting store owners wanting to ban blacks from their places of business.
That’s where Stephen Colbert steps in to give his best shot at defending the “Washington Post Columnist and homeless Colonel Sanders”, because he believes that “it’s not racist to gag when you see an interracial couple. A real racist would actually throw up on them.” Also, Colbert gave a quick rundown of Cohen’s other kind-of-not-really-ok-maybe-a-little racially insensitive statements.
Check out the entire segment in the video below.