it’s a desert because
because it’s a desert
—Rickie Lee Jones
In her $120-million campaign to not become governor of California, Meg Whitman continues to dine on her feet.
Last Tuesday Whitman told the editorial board of the San Jose Mercury News that the California city of Fresno “looks like Detroit—it’s awful.”
Two days later Whitman was flapping into Fresno itself, assuring everyone there, via Fresno’s hate-radio outlet KMJ, that “Fresno is a great town,” and that her previous assessment, which she admitted “didn’t go over well,” was meant to refer to the city’s unemployment rate, which she deemed “unacceptable.” She did not, she stressed, intend to condemn the city itself.
Whitman was born on Long Island, and attended Princeton and Harvard, preparing for life as a pencil-pusher. She first moved her graphite through Proctor & Gamble and Disney, then scribbled over to Hasbro, where she oversaw Mr. Potato Head, and was responsible for inflicting the Teletubbies on America. Finally she pushed her pencil to eBay, where she assaulted a coworker, and, after paying her off, decided she would like to buy the governor’s office. Whitman lives in Atherton, one of the most exclusive enclaves in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before she set out to purchase the governorship, Whitman had probably never been to the Central Valley in her life.
In comparing Fresno to Detroit, maybe Whitman meant there are too many people there with melanin. Detroit is 85% black, and Fresno is getting there—officially 50% black or brown, but in reality more than that, as people with melanin are notoriously undercounted in official surveys. The white people who founded and for decades ran the town are Scared: they know the Valley was once Mexican, and fear it will be again. Which it will. No doubt about it. It would make sense for Whitman to play to these fears, because the elections of 2010 are, at root, and throughout the country, all about fear of a black planet.