The story so far: Congressman Lynn Westmoreland called Sen. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, uppity. Eighth District Congressional hopeful Rick Goddard called black MSNBC reporter Ron Allen uppity. Both men are white Republicans. Reaction, ranging from "who cares" to "I'm outraged," ensued. Except I'm not sure anyone has actually been outraged.
Here's an interview with Herman Cain, an Atlanta radio talk show host (7-10 p.m. on WSB 750 in Atlanta), former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, Republican candidate for Senate in 2004 (he lost to Johnny Isakson) and "a conservative who happens to be black."
Me: Can you use the word uppity to refer to anyone who's black and have it not be — is that automatically a racial term or a racist term?
Cain: No. It is not automatically a racist or a racial term... I'm not familiar with that incident, but the word uppity, it does not suggest that it's being used in a racial context in my opinion. I know some uppity white people. Okay? Just like I know some uppity black people. It is a term, in my opinion, and I grew up here in Atlanta, that refers to anyone who thinks that they are all that and a bag of chips, as my son would say.
Me: Would Barack and Michelle Obama qualify? (Note I'm too scared to even repeat the word in a question).
Cain: As being uppity?
Me: Yes sir.
Cain: Some people might think that they do, but I don't really see that. ... These labels, in the end, I think, do more harm than they do good and I don't think that any of these labels... have any real solid meaning to them.
Me: As a member of the media, does the media spend too much time on stuff like this, not enough time, or just the right amount?
Cain: Waaaay too much. Do you know the story that's dominated (the news today)?
Me: Something tells me lipstick is going to be involved.
Cain: All friggin day. It's unbelievable. Now I'm just wondering: How many news cycles will the lipstick line be the top story? The first thing that I will say on my radio show tonight when I come on at 7 o'clock: I am not talking about the lipstick line. Don't call, don't ask me about it. It is a waste of our time.
Bottom line: Herman Cain is cool.
UPDATE: I edited slightly at 8:25 p.m. to shorten and remove redundancies. I also added the line "Except I'm not sure anyone has actually been outraged."