I guess it’s pretty good news that Harriet Tubman is trending so heavily on social media tonight. Ever since the fourth grade when my outspoken nature led my teacher to recommend I read the Tubman biography Freedom Train, she’s been one of my favorite icons of US history, possessing a bravery and unflinching resilience that inspires anybody who feels as outnumbered as a conservative at punk rock show or underground poetry reading.
Of course her Wikipedia article has been scrubbed clean of any nod to the fact that the heroic leader of the Underground Railroad was actually a Republican (as has Frederick Douglass’s, for that matter), which makes her sudden upsurge on social media swerve from being one of those hope-for-the-future moments, into the fast lane where it crashes head-on into the debate over women’s issues and race.
Russell Simmons, hip-hop mogul and Democratic-campaign donor extraordinaire, has decided that a video depicting Tubman being comically (as if…) raped by her white master would fit right in among the rest of the juvenile prolefeed on his All Def Digital YouTube channel. I’ll embed a re-upload here, although it is extremely offensive and definitely NSFW:
Even though the original video was deleted with haste from Simmons’s YouTube account, he later issued a stock, form letter apology at the behest of the NAACP; a stark departure from the self-congratulatory (and now deleted) tweet he sent out earlier upon the video’s release:
Ironically, Simmons and his Democratic cronies will be first in line to lambast conservatives for their much-touted (and imagined) “war on women”, while his employee and friend Kanye West boils over at President Bush for not caring “about black people”.
By the time this story has made it out of the blogs and into the news cycle, I half expect Bill Maher to be calling Tubman the C-word tomorrow night, and if anybody complains, the left need only edit her Wikipedia entry and expose her for the West-esque self-loathing racist Republican that she was.
That will ensure they get a pass, right Sen. Reid?
I think what really bothers me most about this deplorable video (aside from the obvious visuals) is the dirt being thrown on one of the most courageous and exemplary individuals in American history. If this country were the canonizing-type, Harriet Tubman would be near the top of the short list for beatification.
Russell Simmons is practically on the Jedi-council of mass media, but instead of using the power in his speech to inspire young people with the true stories of heroic Americans, he would rather hand them a spurious and degenerate farce in which such figures are not paragons of our nation’s conservative values, but rather participants in the progressives’ endless quest to leave nothing sacred.
Follow Rich Greene on Twitter @VivaRichGreene.