As several readers have reminded me, the reason I had to look up whether “Mau-Mau” is racist came in the aftermath of a spat I had with Julianne Malveaux in December of 2002 on CNN. To be diplomatic, there was always “friction” between myself and Ms. Malveaux and myself — she had a habit of inssinuating that I am racist (like every other conservative). One Sunday, during the brouhaha over Trent Lott and after Ms. Malveaux had already insisted Lott was a “Klansman” Jonathan Karl asked me what I thought about Senator McConnell’s defense of Lott. The transcript of what followed is below thought it doesn’t really capture the tension (or my rage):
GOLDBERG: Well, you know, first of all, I do think you’re right, that McConnell has gotten himself into a position of basically arguing that this is a high-tech lynching of an uppity segregationist.
And I think it’s an indefensible position.
MALVEAUX: Jonah, why would you even use the term, “lynching,” in this context?
GOLDBERG: I don’t think you understood the sarcasm of the context.
GEORGE: It was a joke.
MALVEAUX: Well, this is something I just don’t joke about, I guess.
GOLDBERG: Yes, you can call people Klansman, but I can’t — whatever, that’s silly, Julianne.
Regardless, I think…
MALVEAUX: It’s not silly, Jonah, it’s principled. It’s not silly. There is nothing silly about this at all. And it’s not silly to use words like “lynching” and to use words that hark back to 1948. There is nothing silly about this.
GOLDBERG: Julianne, you’re not going to get me into some corner where I’m going to get mau-maued on this. That’s just silly.
GEORGE: When Jonah used that phrase…
MALVEAUX: You’re using racial language yourself here. You are two steps away from Trent Lott.
GOLDBERG: Oh, that’s absurd.
ROBERT GEORGE: Julianne, that’s unacceptable. I’m sorry, that’s just unacceptable. The phrase that Jonah just used there, the high-tech lynching, you may remember, was used by Clarence Thomas when he was talking about being assaulted…
MALVEAUX: Why are you…
GEORGE: … on a personal level. And what Jonah was making the point was that the McConnell was almost doing that.