Politico Runs Racially Charged Headline, Calls Rob Portman “Vanilla”

The headline is a multiple entendre, but one of those entendres, intentionally or not, that is evocative of a nasty racial stereotype about white men*: Politico

When I first saw the headline this morning, the multiple meanings were clear: Rob Portman is in serious need of some sunlight, the notion of a Portman VP is unexciting, Rob Portman is…..whiter than white bread. That’s not a nice thing to say about any potential VP pick, but like it or not, it becomes a more loaded accusation when leveled at a guy who is whiter than Casper the Friendly Ghost.

Just to be sure it wasn’t just me, though, I asked several friends about the banner, and four out of four pointed out, unprompted, the stereotype of the “honky,” “good grief, the man should hit the tanning bed” white man. One of the people I called was John Boehner, who, upon hearing my description of the headline, said “Are you kidding me? You have got to be kidding me.”

The two Politico writers should immediately be suspended for this racially charged headline, which reinforces ugly stereotypes about white guys who’ve apparently never stepped outside.

What’s that? That’s not what the article is about? I’m reading too much into it? Well, my goodness. But, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Portman, in contrast – possibly reflecting his strategy but certainly reflecting his personal style – is following a different approach: making himself one of the most boring characters currently on the national stage.

Portman is vanilla, wonky and unflappable. Maybe he’s a safe, conventional, swing-state pick for Mitt Romney, but he’s not exactly the guy who would bring down the house at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

I don’t know, that seems to be stereotyping boring middle aged white men who are boring as….zzzzzzzzz…..where was I? Oh, yes, boring as water.

Just in case, the * leads to a post on a race baiting article by Christopher Hitchens.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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