You know that meme where the sweating guy tries to decide which red button to push? We’re reminded of that meme in the wake of the vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. It seems that progressives can’t quite decide which narrative to embrace. Is the correct narrative “Black women are strong, independent, and capable of doing absolutely anything that a white man can do?” Or is it, “Black women are tender, gentle creatures who need to be treated with kid gloves when involved in intellectual contests with white men?”
In the aftermath of the vice presidential debate, it seems that many on the left went with Narrative #2.
“Just going over it all in my head,” tweeted actor Mark Ruffalo. “The way Mike Pence constantly interrupted and spoke over @KamalaHarris was the prime example of white male supremacy and its common dismissal and disrespect for black women.”
Ah. Do tell.
Marvel’s Incredible Hulk was not the only progressive to express this opinion after the debate was over. Both Dan Rather and George Stephanopoulos accused Pence of “mansplaining” to Harris during the debate. Over at CBS, reporter Major Garret said that Harris was a shining example for little girls and women all over the world when she stood up for herself against Pence’s arguments. Apparently, it was unseemly for Pence to debate Harris at a debate.
Then there was NBC’s presidential historian, Michael Beschloss, who lamented Pence’s “lack of respect” for both the female moderator and his opponent. This lack of respect was demonstrated through Pence’s interruptions, even though Harris did plenty of interrupting of her own. That, of course, is just fine, given the history of oppression faced by black people and women in this deplorable country. Pence should have simply sat quietly throughout the debate, except to occasionally mutter, “Black lives matter.”
Former conservative S. E. Cupp told a CNN audience that Pence’s “mansplaining” ways were infuriating to her.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got her dander up about Pence using her “AOC” nickname, and she said that Pence having the gall to directly ask Harris a question was “exemplary of the gender dynamics so many women have to deal with at work.”
Meanwhile, feminist Jill Filipovic said it was “condescending” and “sexist” for Pence to call Kamala Harris by her actual name. Surely he should have addressed her as “your highness” to satisfy the rules of man-woman interactions in the year 2020.
Sorry, but we’ll never understand how it pushes equality forward to insist that women and black people have to be treated in a special, gentle way when they share the space with white men.