MSNBC host Ed Schultz believes that GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain is pandering to "white Republicans out there who don't like black folks" and accused Sen. Jim Demint -- a potential VP pick for Cain -- of using racist language in his opposition to Obamacare. The "racist" language in question? The word "break."
That's right, "break" is apparently a racist term to Schultz and his guests.
Schultz quoted Demint saying, "If we are able to stop Obama on this [health care law], it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."
According to Schultz, "break" is an "old southern racist term" applied, in this instance, to "talking about defeating President Obama during the health care debate."
To corroborate his claim, Schultz brought on Dr. James Peterson, director of Africana studies at Lehigh University, who explained that "break" is a racist verb, "a term that was used to destroy, mentally and physically, slaves."
Thus the Demint line revealed "how dark some of these racial discourses can be in presidential politics." Peterson said that Cain, by naming Demint as a possible VP pick, "gives those folks a pass" on racism.
The Washington Examiner adds:
Peterson's claim echoed and extended Schultz's conclusion the previous evening that Cain, a black Republican, is appealing to white racists in order to win the Republican primary. "You think about white Republicans who don't like black folks," Schultz explained. "It's almost as if this guy is trying to warm up to them and tell them what they want to hear."
Schultz cited Cain's belief that education gaps, rather than racism, accounts for the poverty and unemployment among black Americans. Then, Schultz asked his guest if Cain "is doing a disservice to his race" by denying that "racism in this country today holds anybody back in a big way."
Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson agreed with Schultz's suggestion and accused Cain of denying racism for the sake of his "great machinery of self-promotion." Dyson said that Cain should especially recognize "post-intentional racism" - racism that people don't intend to have or to act upon.
Are Schultz and Co. grasping at straws here? Watch for yourself and weigh in below: