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New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio with his family.
Does this picture make you "suppress a gag reflex"?
Richard Cohen is a longtime Washington Post columnist. That's the thing to remember, as your gag reflex is perhaps triggered by the words you're about to read. This is not a random crank, it's someone being paid good money by one of the nation's leading newspapers.

Cohen's latest is typically unfocused and incoherent, circling around at one point to the subject of the Republican Party and race. The state of the GOP in Iowa "suggests ... the Dixiecrats of old." But don't worry! "Today’s GOP is not racist." It suggests a breakaway third party formed to preserve segregation, but it's not racist. Okaaaay, let's see where he's going with this ... "but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde." Hmmm. The first item on that list is often a cover for racism, the second item is all about race, and you might think the fourth was about LGBT rights right up until you read Cohen's next sentence:

People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?)
No, really. Richard Cohen was paid by the Washington Post to write those words. To claim that gagging at the sight of a white man and a black woman married with two children is an expression of "conventional views." In fact:
Poll showing rising approval for marriage between blacks and whites, going from 4% in 1958 to 87% in 2013.
Being just fine with interracial marriage is a pretty damn conventional view these days, it turns out. Cohen would likely claim he was just interpreting the hearts and minds of Iowa Republicans; he ends the paragraph by writing "To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all." But that gag reflex bit ... that doesn't come from an imagination channeling what other people might be thinking. That comes from Richard Cohen, a writer who just happens to have more than a little history of racially questionable writing. While remaining employed by the Washington Post. All you can really say in his defense, maybe, is that at least he didn't follow up "Chirlane McCray used to be a lesbian" with a trenchant observation on the "ex-gay" movement.

By the way, if you're curious, the core message of the column, as Cohen apparently intended it? Something about Chris Christie. Yeah, I don't understand it either.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 08:09 AM PST.

Also republished by Black Kos community and Daily Kos.

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