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Schlapp, Santos, Black Men, and a Chinese Balloon

Chinese balloon and Schlapp

A hovering white bloat is a metaphor for white, conservative Christians floating over people of color.

Did anyone see the irony during Black History Month of a white balloon from a repressive country hovering over the United States like an existential threat, and then shot down over the coast of South Carolina, a state where 40 percent of Africans passed through on their way to slavery and torture in North America?

Centuries after those cruel days, conservative white men still cannot control themselves over objectifying Black men. George Santos, the vice king of narcissism, coming in second to the king of self-love, Donald Trump, proclaimed his obsession for a Black man last week during a secretly recorded conversation he had with a volunteer, who was interviewing to be part of the Santos staff.

That staffer has his own story. He has filed a sexual harassment complaint against Santos. But it begs the question. Why on Earth would anyone want to be a part of the Santos staff? That’s a topic for another discussion.

According to the recording, the conversation with the dissed aide was interrupted when Santos received a text from a man that he sounded fixated about, “Don Lemon just texted me — I’m sorry, I’m listening to you — Don Lemon just texted me!” Santos cooed.

Previously, Santos had said something a bit cagey about Lemon during a social media post, “Don Lemon, girl, you’re a black gay man with a white husband and you make $4 million a year.” This comment is perverse and so obviously racist, and while it should be condemned, I’m questioning Lemon and why he would even acknowledge this quote from the irrelevant Santos.

Santo’s fixation with Lemon is superficial, but it’s telling in its depiction of the smug attitude of a self-proclaimed conservative towards a Black man.

Take the case of CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) and American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp and his fraught-filled trip to Georgia last fall to campaign for Republican Senate candidate Hershel Walker, the GOP’s shiny, Black candidate that the far-right rallied around — which was over-the-top hypocritical since they do and say nothing about different kinds of rallies, those organized by white supremacists.

Schlapp has a history of talking down to men of color. Schlapp once referred to a Black male colleague as a “dark skinned conservative.” Lovely words coming from a so-called Christian. Schlapp also stood by while one of his colleagues tore apart former RNC Chairman Michael Steele by saying, “We elected Mike Steele as RNC chairman, because he was a Black guy; that was the wrong thing to do.”

Raynard Jackson, a Black Republican writer and political consultant said last year that he stopped attending CPAC events because, “It reminded me of The Flintstones and The Jetsons; Blacks were noticeably missing from both cartoons. There were no Blacks in the past and there were no Blacks in the future.”

As we all know, right-wing conservatives flocked to Georgia in droves to shower their support all over Walker, whose life was the antithesis to the rigid beliefs of white, Christian conservatives who detest abortion (Walker had reportedly paid for several) — however, this sanctimonious group lost all credibility on this issue when they supported a waffling pro-life man who paid off strippers and grabbed genitalia.

Allegedly, Schlapp isn’t as interested in a woman's private parts as he is in a man’s. A former campaign aide for Walker accused Schlapp, the married father of five (Schlapp is wed to former Trump comms director Mercedes Schlapp) of groping him. This supposedly occurred while Schlapp was in Georgia campaigning for Walker, a father of four from four different women. How does the ultra-conservative Christian Schlapp explain supporting Walker to his kids?

And how does he explain the lawsuit the aide filed accusing Schlapp of unwanted sexual contact? The accuser claims that after an appearance with the Walker campaign in Georgia in October, Schlapp hit on the staffer before allegedly assaulting him.

Schlapp’s lawyer denied the allegations in a statement: “The Schlapp family is suffering unbearable pain and stress due to the false allegation from an anonymous individual. No family should ever go through this and the Schlapps and their legal team are assessing counter-lawsuit options.”

There are more accusations, though. Schlapp purportedly made moves on freebooter and former intern to Marjorie Taylor Greene, Milo Yiannopoulos, and his comeback to Schlapp’s touchy-feely was ironic, to say the least. Yiannopoulos said, “Matt Schlapp tried to touch me, too, at his offices in 2016/17 when we were negotiating my headliner spot at CPAC. I recoiled, made a joke about him being the wrong skin color.” Of course, Yiannopoulos made a name for himself with racist tirades and rebutted accusations of such hatred by saying he slept with Black men.

Given Shlapp’s history of talking down to Black men, I’m going to go out on a pretty short limb here and theorize that to Schlapp and Yiannopoulos, skin color is a sexualized joke.

I’m not a psychologist by any stretch, but through slavery, voting rights, systematic racism, and equality measures, white conservative men have a history of marginalizing Black men to the point of obsessing about them, and for all the wrong reasons.

Today Black men — and women — are about as welcome in the Republican Party as LGBTQ+ people or a Chinese spy balloon, and the hovering white bloat is a perfect metaphor for how the party’s white, conservative Christian wing feel about floating above people of color.

John Casey is editor at large for The Advocate.

Views expressed in The Advocate’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.

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John Casey

John Casey is a senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the United Nations and with four large U.S. retailers.
John Casey is a senior editor of The Advocate, writing columns about political, societal, and topical issues with leading newsmakers of the day. John spent 30 years working as a PR professional on Capitol Hill, Hollywood, the United Nations and with four large U.S. retailers.