A Rogues Gallery: High Profile "House Negros"

House Negro (also House Nigger) is a pejorative term for a black person, used to compare someone to a house slave of a slave owner from the historic period of legal slavery in the US. The term comes from a 1963 speech, "Message to the Grass Roots", given by African American activist Malcolm X, wherein he explains that during slavery, there were two kinds of slaves: "house Negroes", who worked in the master's house, and "field Negroes", who performed manual labor outside.


He characterizes the house Negro as having an easier lifestyle than the field Negro, and thus as unwilling to leave the plantation and more likely to support existing power structures that favor whites over blacks. Malcolm X identified with the field Negro, who worked outside and faced harsher conditions and . The field Negro, he said, was more likely to revolt against repressive conditions and owners.

The terms have been borrowed to critique individuals and attitudes within the African American community as well as parallel situations unrelated to race. (Wikipedia)

A "rogues gallery" of some of the current high profile "House Negros":

Herman Cain

Benjamin Carson

Clarence Thomas

Allen West



                                                                                                     Juan Williams


                                                                                                    Alan Keys                                          Michael Steel 


Are they politically shrewd, self serving opportunists, window dressing hacks, a bunch of "Uncle Tom" sell-outs, or are they hopelessly and irrevocably confused?




Views: 795

Comment by JMac1949 Today on March 31, 2013 at 10:10am

As you know, in the the term "House Nigger" has much deeper roots in the antebellum South.  I've heard it used by so called progressive folk  in California as well as Tea Party wingnuts in Texas to describe, Barack Obama.  Nonetheless a worthwhile post.  R&L

Comment by Ron Powell on March 31, 2013 at 10:40am

JM; As used by the Tea party wingnuts, the term, when applied to President Obama, is used to deride his posture as President and to justify any, and all, measures taken to prevent his being acknowledged as such...It is consistent with my repeated assertions that the current wave of obstructionism is born of, and based, not on loyal opposition, but couched in racism, pure and simple....

Comment by Myriad on March 31, 2013 at 10:56am

The latest of these guys to come to my attention, Carson, presumably a smart man to become a neurosurgeon, revealed himself to be incredibly dim with that recent statement that, well, brought him to my (and media-wide) attention. Like, he's not even being an effective HN. Strange when dim and bright co-exist in the same skull.  (Well, to some extent that describes all of us, I suppose.  But REALly!)  Question:  Can these guys or others in the HN category have genuine right-wing-awfulness like some whites apparently do?  I.e., Born That Way rather than being HN sell-outs who should know better?  Is that true of white right-wing-awfuls too, many of whom betray themselves and their class?  Shouldn't all these people know better?  I think so, but that's due to my limitations, being hopelessly left-leaning.  Certainly 'discussion' doesn't seem to affect either side when these traits manifest on blog sites!)

Comment by Ron Powell on March 31, 2013 at 1:28pm
Myriad; The last thing that white people should worry about when this type of black person rises to a position of power and authority, is retributive behavior on the part of that black person....The most likely behavior is that the black person (HN) will do all that he or she can to 'out-white' the white people in similar positions or circumstances....This, in my view, is reverse racism!
Comment by Myriad on March 31, 2013 at 1:50pm

Oh, I wasn't thinking that these guys would be able to wreak any retributive action or much of anything, since they are used by the establishment to pretend to diversity.  In addition to their possibly authentic wing-nuttery, they embarrass themselves by acting as if they think they're *accepted* instead of used.  Tho Thomas is in a position to possibly help impose some bad stuff.

Comment by Ron Powell on March 31, 2013 at 4:40pm
JS; The black people identified as "house Negros"are often characterized by white people as being "a credit to their race", while simultaneously being a danger to to the black community....Obama hasn't done anything that might be construed as particularly helpful unlike these HNs he hasn't done anything that might be interpreted as being particularly harmful.
Comment by Ron Powell on March 31, 2013 at 6:37pm
I would tend to agree. However, his policies don't target black people in the same way that Republican policies would. I have several bones to pick re his apparent lack of spine, but I don't believe he is hostile to the interests of the black community as these others are.....
Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on March 31, 2013 at 7:01pm

Granted that these fellas are, to varying degrees, odious scoundrels who have no interest in race or class fairness. That said, I see little value in a simplistic announcement that these guys may well reflect Mr. X's sense of the "house negro" term, just stating that w.o a program for defeating them and the ill they do. Without that, my only response to this can be "Duuh. And?"

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on March 31, 2013 at 8:50pm

@ Jan-- 


Few expect comprehensive or near-comprehensive solutions in a blog post. I don't and you know that I don't.


It's not unreasonable, however,  to expect something more potentially useful than a photo-enhanced list of people abt whom the epithet "house negro" arguably applies.  You don't like "Duuuh. And?"  Ok, then I'll say it even less tactfully:  a  mere list of those whom someone/anyone considers candidates for "house Negro" status, absent any useful analysis of issues? Big Fucking Deal.


Comment by Ron Powell on March 31, 2013 at 11:55pm

I've been playing poker all night and while able to check in on my phone from time to time trying to craft responses on the small keypad of my android phone is tedious and quite maddening...It t took me too long to prepare, and post, one response and when I posted it came up in two comment boxes...Late....So I waited to get to my laptop and concentrate my attention and efforts...

 Conclusion: Poker and blogging don't mix..... 


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