Fox News recently showcased another example of why white Americans need to check their privilege. In a heated conversation between David Bossie, former deputy campaign manager for Donald Trump, and Democratic strategist Joel Payne, Bossie used a common turn of phrase that has a deep history of racism.
The debate centered around Trump’s immigration policies with Payne making the point that Trump uses coded race baiting when addressing his core supporters. Payne said:
You don’t have to be a golden retriever to hear all the dog whistles coming out of the White House these days.
It was then Bossie shot back:
You’re out of your cotton-picking mind.
There are many phrases that are rooted in a racist past, like “selling up the river,” “getting gypped,” and yes, “cotton picking mind.” Several of these terms have become such a part of American language, people often don’t know or don’t care about their history. This is why it is crucial for people to do their research and understand how hateful these words can be.
One can fully understand why Payne was offended by the term.
On Fox News, David Bossie, former Trump Deputy Campaign Manager, telling a black panelist that he's “out of his cotton-picking mind.” pic.twitter.com/wpoqHKbINw
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) June 24, 2018
Bossie sent out the following apology for the offensive term.
During a heated segment on Fox & Friends today, I should have chosen my words more carefully and never used the offensive phrase that I did. I apologize to Joel Payne, Fox News and its viewers.
— David Bossie (@David_Bossie) June 24, 2018
White Americans seriously need to educate themselves, but from the reactions, sadly we don’t see that happening.
If you’re of a certain age you realize that phrase was common in the 70’s and means the person is out of their minds…no common sense. It’s an idiom. People are sensitive but the sensitivity is one sided. What @JessicaTarlov was far more bothersome.
— Leesa FL (@leesa_fl) June 24, 2018
Age is no excuse to turn a blind eye.
Know what else was common in the 70's?
— This Fkn Guy (@BCozReasons) June 25, 2018
The excuses poured in.
I grew up in the south and yes I picked cotton. I often heard this phrase in a joking way. The left has lost their mind cause they are losing and we are winning.#Liberlismisamentaldisorder
— Nancy Knittle (@NancyKnittle) June 24, 2018
@David_Bossie I was watching and it was apparent that was just an expression used in frustration… 100% nothing racist about it. I’m from the south and we use that all the time. BTW MANY MANY whites picked cotton!!! Including many of my relatives!!!!
— Shari L (@slouise2004) June 24, 2018
And some simply didn’t get that the phrase is racist regardless of who you’re talking to. If you call a white person the N word, it doesn’t make the N word un-racist.
@foxandfriends I have told White, Hispanic, Asian & so many more friends of mine they were “out of their cotton pickin mind” many times! Only thing offensive to him was it was something to fuel his hate…. classic democrat strategy.
— Ron Gabbard (@RonGabbard66) June 24, 2018
I say it every day! Mainly to my kids!
— Courtney from the South (@courtneylspence) June 24, 2018
This Twitter user gets it.
Consider his slip up your public service announcement. It may have been common for our Grandparents and Parents to use racial terms but we need to do better in 2018. Ignorance is understandable but when you know better you should do better.
— Nicole (@Nicole85895066) June 25, 2018
You might not want to throw out the IQ challenge when you haven’t done your own research.
Phrase denotes daydreamers; akin to “your head is in the clouds.”#notracist
— (@TRUMPtheRAPPER) June 24, 2018
The phrase was coined by a slave owner and used frequently to express frustration with slaves in the field picking cotton. It doesn’t denote daydreamers. Let’s at least be honest about its origins whether it is offensive to you personally or not.
— IceandIce (@IceIce718) June 24, 2018
Would you like me to perform a seance with former slave owners, would that satisfy you. I found it very easily so you didn’t try very hard.
Once again whether you are offended or not is personal but I won’t pretend it doesn’t have racial connotations.
— IceandIce (@IceIce718) June 24, 2018
Some folks understood completely why the term is offensive.
Anyone thinking “Are you out of your cotton pickin' mind” is just a common phrase, probably thinks it's ok to say “I Jewed down the price” & “I had to n••••r rig it” & they are racist. Most won't see this. We have to show them. See something say something.
— Jenna Wright (@JennaWrightHC) June 24, 2018
Ultimately it comes down to this –
— trump is gaslighting America (@mishegaas) June 25, 2018
If we ever want to heal the racial divide in the United States, we have to go all the way back to the beginning and stop brushing off or making excuses for our history. We can not care more for words, slogans and symbols than we do for other humans.
H/T: Huffington Post