Bachmann's Latest Offensive Remark: She Says Obama Is ‘Waiving A Tar Baby In The Air’
In a taped interview with Florida conservative blog The Shark Tank, Rep. Michele Bachann (R-MN) used a racially-charged term while attacking President Obama’s economic record. Asked about Obama blocking the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, Bachmann said Obama is “waving a tar baby in the air” — a term that carries a long history of controversy in the South:
BACHMANN: This is just about waiving a tar baby in the air and saying that something else is a problem. I have never seen a more irresponsible President who is infantile in the way that he continually blames everyone else for his failure to first diagnose the problem and second to address the problem.
The term “tar baby” was popularized by the 19th-century Uncle Remus Br’er Fox stories, as a synonym for a sticky situation, but it’s always had a racial undertone. The Oxford English Dictionary says that tar baby is a derogatory term used for “a black or a Maori.” Famed poet Toni Morrison once said of the term, “Tar Baby is also a name, like ‘nigger,’ that white people call black children, black girls, as I recall.”
Presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney had his own “tar baby” situation when he used the term in 2006 to describe Boston’s floundering “Big Dig” construction project. The then-head of the NAACP said Romney “made a bad choice” of words, and a Romney spokesperson promptly issued an apology.