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Nuts — Coconuts! — to Donny Deutsch’s Pseudo-Apology

Posted on February 25 2010 2:20 pm
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Donny Deutsch may be celebrating because he thinks he’s put “coconuts” like Marco Rubio behind him; but in truth, Deutsch still has a lot of explaining — and apologizing — to do.

Donny Deutsch belatedly apologized late yesterday for uttering a deliberate anti-Hispanic ethnic slur against Florida GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio. Unfortunately, Deutsch’s apology is disingenuous, halfhearted, and incomplete.

For starters, Deutsch’s apology occurred online via Twitter. It thus lacks the emotional and contextual power and reach of Deutsch’s original slur, which was delivered on national television. So if Deutsch is truly contrite and genuinely wants to apologize, then he should do so in a high-profile venue on national television.

Second, Deutsch is still feigning ignorance as an excuse for calling Rubio a “coconut.”

In discussing Mr. Rubio, I used a word intended to describe his inexperience on the national stage.

I now realize the word has connotations as an ethnic slur and is, therefore, inappropriate. I apologize to Mr. Rubio and to anyone else [whom] I have offended.

As I explained yesterday here at NewsReal Blog: Bull. Deutsch is highly educated, worldly, and sophisticated. He’s also a strong supporter of Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who is running against Rubio for the GOP Senate nomination. The idea that Deutsch didn’t understand the real meaning and import of what he was saying simply isn’t credible.

In truth, Deutsch knew exactly what he was saying and why he was saying it. His slur was deliberately designed to stigmatize Rubio as an inauthentic Hispanic who is unworthy of Hispanic support in heavily Hispanic Florida.

Deutsch, after all, is no backwoods bumpkin innocent to the ways of the world. Far from it: he is a rich advertising executive who lives and travels in politically correct circles in Manhattan and Miami. And, in such circles (amongst the left-wing cultural elite), slurs like “oreo” and “coconut” are commonplace and acceptable.

Indeed, the left-wing cultural elite would never use the word “nigger,” but don’t hesitate to use the word “oreo.” They would never use the word “spic,” but don’t hesitate to use the word “coconut.”

Of course, all of these slurs are wrong, demeaning, and culturally toxic. But the left-wing cultural elite is so blinded by its own political bigotry that it cannot see its own intellectual prejudices.

And so, for Deutsch and the denizens of pop culture, left-wing ethnic slurs are OK and legitimate — just as for an earlier generation of cultural elites, minstrel shows and blackface were considered an acceptable form of entertainment.

Thus if Deutsch were honest and truly contrite, he would say something like this:

“I never really thought much about the word ‘coconut.’ Like the word ‘oreo,’ it was always part of my vocabulary and something often said by me and my leftist friends.

“We always just assumed that Hispanics and African Americans had to be left-wing and culturally segregated in order to be authentically Hispanic or authentically black.

“And so we heaped scorn and ridicule on conservative Hispanics and conservative African Americans who didn’t comply with our unfair and inaccurate stereotypes.

“I now realize just how wrong and racist I was to think that. The reality is that you don’t have to think, look or act a certain way in order to be ‘truly Hispanic’ or ‘truly black’.

“There are many different types of African Americans and Hispanics — just as there many different types of people in all racial and ethnic groups. This intra-racial and intra-ethnic diversity is a good thing, not a bad thing.

“So I was wrong to disparage African Americans and Hispanics who chart their own course. I was wrong to mock and belittle them for not fitting within our left-wing intellectual and cultural straitjackets.

“What I now realize is that there is a veritable rainbow of political thought within the Hispanic and African American communities — a rainbow that includes many outstanding conservative thinkers such as Hernando de Soto, Thomas Sowell, and Shelby Steele.”

Deutsch also should acknowledge that his slur was demeaning to all Hispanic immigrants and all Hispanic Americans who deign to think independently and to think for themselves.

Yet, Deutsch apologized to “anyone else I have offended,” without acknowledging the very real and very particular offense given to Hispanics (and, by logical extension, other minority groups, including, principally, African Americans).

Finally, Deutsch apologized only belatedly, after Newsbusters, NewsReal Blog, Hot Air, Redstate, and other conservative media outlets first had exposed his political bigotry. This, in turn, caused the right-leaning Hispanic Leadership Fund — and the nonpartisan National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials — to condemn Deutsch’s slur.

But Deutsch’s apology would have been far more convincing had he done the right thing right away instead of trying to disingenuously pretend that he thought “coconut” meant “simple” or “goofy.” Please, Donny, be serious and don’t insult our intelligence.

In any case, Deutsch has a national platform and will be heard from again. And, when he is heard from again, Deutsch should be asked to apologize again, and this time for real.

John R. Guardiano is a writer and analyst in Arlington, Virginia. Follow him on Twitter.

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