Netroots Nation 2012 Conference MC Elon James White told conference attendees that he feels nervous speaking as a minority at progressive conferences.
“This happens to be the third time that I am hosting for Netroots, and I am not going to lie to you,” White said. “I’m a little bit nervous, okay? Especially because over the past year or two I keep going places, and they keep bringing me in, and when they when they bring me they want me to come and to bring diversity.”
“I get literally brought all the way across the country to bring diversity, and it’s confusing because I really think that at some point someone just wants to come out and go, ‘Heh? We have a negro. How awesome it is that we have a negro? Pat yourselves on the back — we saw a negro and we didn’t shoot,” White joked. “Congratulations! We should have shirts made. I saw a negro and I liked it.'”
“But there’s a lot of pressure with that — with bringing diversity — because let’s be honest here: What if you guys simply hated me?,” said White, while the audience objected.
“Okay, you say that now,” he replied, “but there’s some people in here that are like, ‘Really? If that’s diversity, fuck diversity! I hate diversity. Diversity is just a black dude with a loud voice and a hat and a blazer. Fuck that guy. Fuck diversity. As a matter of fact, you know what? Diversity sucks. Diversity told me that I’m an asshole for saying that white privilege doesn’t exist. I hate diversity!'”
“Well, I don’t know if that was for or against white privilege — that was confusing,” he continued.
White later joked that progressives need to work on some “goddamn propaganda,” saying that they rely too much on “facts” and should take a cue from their political opponents on the right.
Later that evening, former Vermont Democratic Gov. Howard Dean likened former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and the Republican party to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“When people say that Mitt Romney wants to take us back to the ’50s, they’re not talking about the 1950s, they’re talking about the 1850s with the Know-Nothing Party,” Dean said.
The Know-Nothing Party, also called the American Party, was a U.S. political party active during the 1840s-1850s strongly opposed to immigrants and the Catholic Church.
“You know, I think it was President Ahmadinejad in, back those days in 1850,” Dean said, referring to the anti-American and anti-Semitic rhetoric of the Iranian president.