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The harassment and poor treatment of the refugee families and children in Murrieta,  California by Tea Party militia hooligans and thug nativists is embarrassing. I am not bewildered, although I will confess to being disgusted, by how those who wrap themselves in the flag of American Exceptionalism and tired bromides that "America is the greatest country on Earth!" do not understand that a truly great country offers aid and comfort to those in need.

The 24/7 news media is a circus. The Right-wing echo chamber is the center ring, and is in many ways, the greatest show on Earth. As I wrote here regarding D'Souza's propaganda piece "America", and have mentioned many times elsewhere, there is a special role to be played by black and brown people in the Right-wing's human zoo and freak show.

Black Americans (and other people of color) are loathed by conservatives because conservatism and racism are one in the same thing in the post civil rights era. Black Americans are loved by conservatives when they can be used as part of a political blackface routine or passion play, acting as human proof that white conservatives are not racists because they have a "best black friend" who can vouch for them.

Racism involves a mix of fascination with and disgust for the Other. The Tea Party GOP's relationship with people of color is a clear object lesson in that dynamic.

The protests against Hispanic refugee children and their families which are occurring in Murrieta, California are not spontaneous. Organized anti-immigrant activist groups are coordinating the "protests" with the Right-wing media. Consequently, the optics of the events must be managed and massaged: the crowd should be cross generation, multiracial, and multiethnic. People of color, "Latinos" and "Hispanics" especially, should be foregrounded, as their presence excuses away the ugliness, meanness, xenophobia, nativism, and bigotry on display in Murrieta, California.

The ultimate trump card in this act of political theater is the obligatory black person. Because black folks are identified in America's public memory as having a unique historical experience with racism and discrimination, their presence is a magical salve which fully insulates the White Right and other nativists from the charge that they are bigots.

Thus the irony, for all of the White Right's claims to be "colorblind" and how "only liberals see race", their media and propaganda apparatus are fixated on featuring black people--distinguished only by the fact of their color--who support the Tea Party GOP's agenda.

There is a need for a serious public conversation about how illegal immigration has a particularly disparate and punishing impact on the job prospects of the black working class and poor, and is especially harmful to young low and semi-skilled African-American men. In these moments, the White Right loves to trot out Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams to offer their standard (and very much discredited) libertarian talking points about illegal immigration, labor markets, and how the minimum wage hurts black people.

Of course, the White Right is not interested in improving the life chances of black folks: their policy positions across a range of issues have a disproportionate and negative impact on communities of color. Moreover, the White Right advances a political agenda which actually subverts the concerns about jobs and economic well-being as expressed by the African-American "protesters" in Murrieta, California.

A black face prominently displayed is a pawn in their game. The Right-wing media will slum and cherry pick one black person who can then stand in for Black America's public opinion. The outlier is transformed into the norm. Alternatively, the White Right can search through its database of black conservative race hustling operatives whose only purpose it so shuck and buck as professional shoeshine artists for the Tea Party GOP. Both are tokens for the White Right's political slot machine.

The choreographed political "protests" in Murrieta, California is just one more spectacle where the "talents" of the "black conservative" are in demand.  

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