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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Loath Connection

I used to watch the 'Love Connection' with Chuck Woolery. This was on NZ television in the late 80s and early 90s. It was pure America. Chuck was so smooth.
Apart from how smooth Chuck was and how pastel everything was at that time...
... which was very, there was one other quirky feature that I will always remember about that show. It was racially segregated. No inter-racial dating was allowed on Chuck's show. That would have been un-American.

Of all the hundreds of episodes I must have watched as a kid and as a youth there was not one single instance, ever, of people from different ethnicities getting the chance to go out together. In the twisted place America is I guess this wasn't seen as racist because blacks and whites were both on the show... but NEVER together. Maybe they tried a special inter-racial episode, but I never saw it.  Maybe to the Yanks and the Apartheid South Africans at the time it was socially responsible, but to me it was creepy. Creepy and wrong.

And like all of the soft small 'r' racism that exists it is not immediately obvious because there is no glaring official signs, warnings or pronouncements about the rules. It only becomes apparent through constant observation and who was and wasn't represented. And when I worked it out it became a yucky, weird show and even though Chuck may have had snappy lines and a snazzy suit he might as well have been wearing a Clansman's white robes and ranting race hate.

No-one seems to remember these embarrassing episodes (of which there were over 2,000!) and when you try to alert wikipedia to it it gets rebuffed and so people get to keep their rose-coloured glasses on when they imagine the past. This wasn't the 1950s or 1960s - this was the '90s.

So when the scion same-race dating pops up again in a modern context, I go: hmmmmm, no shit.
In Racial Rhetoric, America Has Not Quite Made a Love Connection

The Age of Obama has proven to be a fascinating era. On one hand, the presence of the first African-American president of the United States is such a powerful symbol of racial progress that it’s hard for Americans not to feel a strong sense that progress has been made in our national attitude toward race and ethnicity.

On the other hand, however, this in an era when prominent Americans seem to feel a sense of perverse freedom to utter any racially insensitive pronouncements that their hearts desire, often presenting harsh and mean-spirited views of African-Americans in the process. 

Now, the public unleashing of racist views has even included the man who once hosted the television show Love Connection, Chuck Woolery.

It seems that Woolery offered some pretty strong racist rantings after a meeting with former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. As it turns out, Mr. Love Connection is a staunchly conservative advocate and is one of the founders of the political action committee RestartCongress.org.

Black and gay Americans, Woolery said, don’t need any civil rights or legal protections against discrimination.

“Majority rules,” Woolery said, referring to the
Proposition 8 vote in 2008 in California, which is a referendum that barred same-sex marriage after state’s legislature voted to allow gay residents to marry.

“We were born with national rights,” Woolery continued. “We don't need civil rights. [African-Americans] don't need civil rights. They don't need them. They have inalienable rights granted by God in the Constitution. I mean, I'm discriminated against all the time. I don't care. It doesn't bother me. [I'm discriminated against] because I'm old.”

The insensitivity spewed by Woolery, the ultra-conservative champion of family values and Hollywood celebrity who has been married four times, is only a symbol of the era in which we now live.


He so won't be back in 2 and 2.


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