Goddard Steps Uppity to the Plate

Rick Goddard, AKA the guy who drew the short straw among Ross Tolleson, Austin Scott and John Douglas for the privilege of running against Rep. Jim Marshall this year, was scheduled to have a coveted speaking slot at the RNC last week until Hurricane Gustav came along and scattered the schedule leaving no room for poor Rick. As the only Georgia Republican running for Congress in a toss-up seat whose campaign isn’t managed by Phil Kent, Goddard was hoping to emerge as a rising star at the convention. Instead Lynn Westmoreland stole his thunder by telling a reporter that the Obama’s “think they are uppity.”

Well, not to be outdone, Goddard is actually the OG when it comes to calling prominent African Americans uppity. Even though it was just noticed today by Jim Galloway, Goddard bragged to a Macon morning show last week that former Speaker Newt Gingrich had “disarmed a very uppity newscaster” hours before Westmoreland made his gaffe. And I’m sure NPR’s Word for the Wise will give Goddard extra credit for actually using the term correctly — he at least knows that one is either uppity or not (by birth) and that no one aspires to the status as Westmoreland seems to think.

Before you try to claim that Goddard and Westmoreland constitute a modern day English Speaking Vernacular Society whose goal is to restore glorious plantation English to the modern day tongue, I’ll let Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, surely the most prominent African-American Republican of modern times give them just enough rope to hang themselves. Thomas said of his confirmation hearings that they constituted “a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks.” Goddard and Westmoreland might have a thing or two to say about that.


  1. Let’s assume he is racist, which I do not believe. Which one will be painted as the biggest racist; Goddard or Marshall? One calls a newscaster “uppity” and the other refuses to go to his convention and refuses to endorse the first African American candidate for President.

    Quite clearly Goddard could not have meant uppity in it’s proper meaning, and Marshall is simply not endorsing Obama because he disagrees with his views. It’s all about race!

    It’s mind boggling that people can infer what a person means when they use a word. Sure it’s a gaffe, bu if you listen to the audio clip General Goddard doesn’t sound like he’s feeled with some deep rooted disgust – which I would expect to be found in a racist using the term as a racial slur.

  2. slyram says:

    I was watching that interview with Speaker Gingrich live and I started to think that guy was pushing him too much. Comparing the Westmoreland deal with the Goddard statement is awkward because Westmoreland was talking about Senator Obama and his wife—not cool.

    Ronald, you beat me to the punch because Marshall blowing off Obama and the Democrats is gigantic. Some Dems quietly hope Goddard would position himself to get those “we will show Marshall” votes.

    Did you guys see the “Branded” video I posted our Project Logic Ga blog about Marshall slighting the Democrats. Funny.

    GA Congressman Marshall skips Historic Obama Speech « Project Logic Ga

    (I am new to blogging, is linking like this permitted.)

    Finally, as a Dem staffer in the Georgia delegation while Newt was speaker, I appreciated him looking out for Georgia projects and I appreciated the fact that he had a Black chief of state in his personal office. So, if the General got defensive about Newt and an “insistent” reporter, I half understand since I spent an hour yesterday trying to convince my African American mother that uppity has certain connotation.

  3. atlantaman says:

    I think there are a lot of people, like myself, who had no idea about “uppity” and its connotation. If you look the word up in the dictionary, nothing racial is mentioned. I suppose you could say that’s a positive thing, that there are folks in the south who just use the word for it’s definition and are not aware of any old stereotypes connected to it.

    But, there are those who obviously don’t want to advance and want to hold onto words like “uppity” or invent new negative ones, like “tar baby”, and play some sort of perverted racial gotcha game.

    Of course these strange rules only apply to Republicans, because when a Democrat, like Biden, who sticks his foot in his mouth on a weekly basis, Byrd, or Hillary, etc.. says something racially insensitive or politically incorrect – well they are Democrats and they get a free pass.

    But I suppose Chris, you could go down to Marshall’s district and help him campaign on the fact that Goddard used the word “uppity.” Something tells me the folks down there, black and white, just aren’t as concerned with the word as your New York Times reading, soy latte sipping, Midtown crowd.

  4. Chris says:


    If I might humbly pick a nit. You said, “he at least knows that one is either uppity or not (by birth) and that no one aspires to the status as Westmoreland seems to think.”

    My understanding of the term uppity is that one is uppity more by their actions than by their birth. The racial context is that of a black person trying to rise above his (in the quaint and biggoted practices of the Old South) subservient social position.

    Spacey however, is not an uppity blogger because of who she is, rather she is an uppity blogger because she dares to question the standing of the MSM.

    Buzz is not an uppity blogger because of who he is, but rather because he chooses to question the wisdom [sic] of his betters on the Gwinnett County Commission.

    A Baron could be uppity for wanting to be a Duke, and a Prince could be uppity for wanting to be King.

    In fact, being uppity is pretty much the American Dream. Its the idea of working hard, using your God given talents and moving above your station in life. Its what differentiates this American Experiment from the culturally static Europe, India, Japan and China where if you are born into a caste, you and your great-great-grandchildren are expected to remain.

    A pox on the House of the South for turning the term into a slur and not a compliment.

  5. slyram says:

    I turn on CNN at 6 this morning and Joe Johns was reporting on the number of African Americans at the RNC Convention. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies reports that only 36 of the delegates at the 2380 were African American—which is a 78.4 percent decline from the 167 African American delegates at the 2004 GOP convention.

    And that is not counting that “insistent” reporter or members of the Timber wolves.

  6. atlantaman says:

    I think what’s more interesting is how few blacks there are in Obama’s commercials. Sometimes there are none, just a bunch of old white people hugging him. Forget about putting many black people or muslims behind Obama when he’s speaking, cause they might get on TV, put those folks in the cheap seats.

  7. onthefence says:

    atlantaman: “But, there are those who obviously don’t want to advance and want to hold onto words like “uppity” or invent new negative ones, like “tar baby”, and play some sort of perverted racial gotcha game.”

    As a dark-skinned black woman, “tar baby” is now a NEW negative term by far. It’s been around since American slavery and it’s been used in reference to me by blacks, whites and others. It’s a very derogatory term and bears no comparison to the usage of the word “uppity.” I don’t even understand why you brought it up in the first place!

  8. griftdrift says:

    Seriously? There are people in the south who don’t understand the connotation of uppity? Did your family just move here in the last generation, were you that sheltered or are you in denial? For God’s sake, even David Gergen called out Republicans on national TV for using code words that implied “uppity”. He actually said something to the effect of ” people from the south like Donna [Brazille] and me understand what they are saying”.

    I can only shake my head in disbelief.

  9. Doug Deal says:


    I think the only time in my life I have ever heard the word “uppity” spoken in my life was probably Rednecks in Ohio using it to insult their neighbors who would do things like mow their lawns and drive a car that actually had a working motor.

    It surprises me that you, someone who seems to try to use reason, would support this mindless racism chorus that reaches it’s loudest crescendo on the most ridiculous of accusations.

    Someone who recognizes the word as racist who is in the public eye, and has a reputation to protect would never use such words, knowing the consequence. So, we are left with a bunch of whiners complaining about the alledged racism of someone who is obviously not a racist.

    If anyone truly cared about the future of this country, they would head the old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me.” Of course politicos of today have the collective maturity of a 5 year old. (MOM! He’s touching me!!!!!) Waaaaaaaa.

  10. Doug Deal says:


    If you find that the word has racist beginnings, then the Br’er Rabit series (where the term “Tar Baby” originates) is racists. It may well be, as my knowledge of it is sketchy, but that is where it comes from.

    As for the “tarry” object causing problems for a character in a story theme. That is as old as civilization, and it a great metaphor for something that is difficult to shake. Perhaps ultra sensitivity to racism claims is the tar-baby of literary references.

  11. griftdrift says:

    Doug, please don’t try to distract me from your peeing on my leg with compliments.

    I did not accuse Goddard of racism. As far as I know he may just be either stupid or incredible sheltered. Two qualities which would not encourage me to cast my vote in his direction.

    And the people here who unbelievably are still trying to deny there is a connection between the term “uppity” and racism in the south are not necessarily racist. They also may be either stupid or sheltered.

    It doesn’t make it any less ridiculous.

  12. onthefence says:

    Br’er Rabbit really? give me a break. the individual who used it initially on this posting did not use it as an example to Br’er Rabbit. It was in comparison to “uppity” and whether the word has racist/derogatory meaning, which is what this discussion is about.

  13. I was born in the South, raised in the South, went to school in the South every grade and for every degree earned, was married in the South, had our children in the South, and Lord willing, will die in the South.

    And I have NEVER thought of the word “uppity” in ANY kind of racial context, in all of my decades of living.

    And since when has ANYONE thought of David Gergen as a Southerner? Being born in the South hardly counts, if you then went on to Yale & Harvard and settled in Massachusetts. Massachusetts, for heaven’s sake!

    Who ARE these people, anyway? Sheesh.

    P.S. I have also only heard “tar baby” used in two ways: as a situation one gets in that one shouldn’t have and then finds impossible to get out of (e.g., Iraq); and in “Song of the South,” one of the most delightful movies of all time, which the P.C. brownshirts have effectively stopped from being released on DVD. (Had to buy an import!)

  14. Doug Deal says:


    Not all of us circulate with racists, so your characterization is out of line. For me, it is an immediate disqualifier of friendship. Blind hate is not my thing. The white left, however, curiously seems to be intimately aware of the racism that goes on in society. Perhaps there is a reason for that familiarity?


    You mentioned Tar-Baby as being a long time offensive term. Defend your own comments. If you claim that Br’er Rabbit was a racist children’s series, then you will at least be consistent.

    Try to stop looking for reasons to hate and label people and perhaps you will lead a happier life.

  15. onthefence says:

    see this is where debate goes haywire. why now do i have to hate and label. i said i did not understand why atlantaman felt it necessary to use “tar baby” in comparison to “uppity” when it’s obvious that the two aren’t even in the same league when comparing racially motivated terms.

    this is an intellectual discussion on the issues not a personal attack on people who have an opinion. i didn’t call atlantaman racist nor do i hate him. i simply stated that i don’t agree with his logic. =)

  16. griftdrift says:

    Seriously Doug. Your best argument is because you haven’t experienced it must not exist? And then you try to turn it around on the people who have actually suffered the slings and arrows? This is the best argument you have?

  17. And NO, I haven’t been sheltered, and I would guess that my degrees mean I’m not stupid. Maybe.

    I’ve traveled quite extensively, and been involved in cultures and subcultures that “griftdrift” would likely shy away from.

    So let’s ridicule the ridiculous, shall we? Like, people who have been convinced that “uppity” and “tarbaby” are racist terms, when they NEVER were (except in the minds of those who like to brand innocents as “racist”).

  18. Icarus says:

    I watched the UGA game with a bunch of 20 somethings, politically aware, and all raised in the south. The uppity quote was brought up, and four of the five looked at the other two of us like “so?”, which I admit, surprised me.

    I’ll acknowledge that it can be a racially charged code word, and I would suggest anyone in politics avoid using it. I must admit that I was surprised that the majority of the folks in our gathering didn’t understand the reference.

    As for the term “tar baby”, this one was new to me only a few years ago. As an elementary school student, I took no less than three field trips to “The Wren’s Nest” in Atlanta’s West End, home of African American author Joel Chandler Harris, who wrote Uncle Remus’s fables.

  19. Doug Deal says:


    Seriously? You mean that I cannot see how accusing someone of being racist simply because they used a phrase that you personally deem to be racist is ridiculous. In order to be a racist, one has to have intent to exert the superiority of one’s own race above that of another. You are taking offence because you want to see racism in the mere words, and not in the intent or character of the person speaking them. That is patently silly. Sorry.


    I was only responding to your comment that the single term “tar baby” was a “new” negative term. I do not have any desire to enter the debate further than to challenge that statement, you claim that is is a long term “negative” comment.

    When one is looking for racism in another person, one is going to find it. You are going to interpret whatever people say to fit that template. It is a form of hate, because you want to disparage the other person. Why not give people the benefit of the doubt and not assume that any word uttered by a white person is potentially a code word for some deeply held racist belief?

  20. onthefence says:

    ok now i’ve looked up br’er rabbit and tar baby.

    however, i still stand by the fact that “tar baby” is a much more obvious term that was used frequently to characterize dark-skinned blacks in a negative way. toni morrison wrote a book entitled “tar baby” which expresses the inner conflict of being a dark-skinned black person in American society.

  21. Icarus says:

    sorry, hit submit by accident.

    The Tar Baby has always been a fable about not involving yourself in other people’s business. I’ve grown up hearing variations of “you don’t want to get stuck in that tar baby” and it never, ever involved a racial implication.

    Then, a couple of years ago, it seemed there was a rash of people using a similar line in a public speech, followed by outcries of racism, intolerance, etc. I don’t know when this happened, or why. I am truly sorry if some idiot used this cultural reference to you, OnTheFence, and that is intolerable.

    Sadly, in the early 70’s, Joel Chandler Harris was one of the first black men I was taught to honor and respect. It’s a shame that a man that made a great contribution to both literature and southern culture now has his iconic character as a code word that is added to the growing list of words that can’t be used.

  22. onthefence says:

    i have never felt that way. i don’t even believe the “uppity” statement is racial or a code word for racism.

    what i understand that i didn’t want to believe before is that you guys haven’t experienced this stuff. your thoughts are that b/c a person wrote a book and used a word/term that no other person would use it out of context to express a negative belief about another group of people. but, i’ll let it be.

    think whatever you’d like of me but i know what my experiences have been in relation to that word and they were not good. but of course i was born in columbus, georgia to army parents, one from alabama and the other from south carolina. i was raised in the metro area and spent summers in alabama and south carolina. i have history with this word and i will never forget it. doesn’t make me racist nor does it mean that i’m calling atlantaman racist. i was stating what was my personal experience with the term he referenced.


  23. bowersville says:

    Grift, I spent 10 years of my life as a child in that same little piney woods town you speak of. Before that, I lived with my parents on land they grew up on that can best be described as a truck farm in Alabama.

    My parents were the first in their family to earn college degrees. When we were around people who new of our background, we were referred to as “uppity.” The term “uppity” equally referred to blacks and whites that forgot where they came from.

    Some of you wouldn’t recognize a racist unless he placed a cone on his head. A racist will drag you out of your house and lynch you. Bury you under a dam in Mississippi. Deny you employment, unless it’s in a field picking cotton.

    Uppity, insensitive, maybe. Racist, not only no, but H#LL NO!

  24. griftdrift says:

    Doug, so we are going to play the semantics game? Fine. Please point to one instance in this thread where I called someone a racist.

    And Taft Republican, since you don’t know me from Adam, your judgment of what “cultures” and “subcultures” I would shy away from rings a little hollow.

    Icarus, maybe its a generational thing. It certainly isn’t used that often anymore. Maybe with time it will fade away. I certainly hope so. You advice on using it would be well heeded and not only by politicians.

  25. onthefence says:

    no i meant i looked up br’er rabbit and tar baby. i’ve stated my response to the uppity issue. i don’t think it’s racist whether westmoreland or goddard said it.

  26. Doug Deal says:


    Then what is your object to the words mentioned here? If the people speaking them are not acting in a way to harm another (i.e. in a racist way) then why is this any sort of deal at all? I will make it easier for you, it is because the implication is that the people speaking them are racist.

    When an ostrich sticks his head in the sand, the lion doesn’t go away.

  27. griftdrift says:

    Well Doug, if you actually go back and read what I wrote, you will see that I am objecting to some people denying “uppity” has any racial connotation.

    In fact if you scroll up just a little ways you will actually see where I explicitly say I am not accusing people of being racist.

    And I’m the one accused of sticking my head in the sand? There’s enough pretzels in your logic to fill a baseball stadium.

  28. bowersville says:

    No Grift, I don’t. Blacks where offended by the term “boy.” So whites had to become sensitive to using it.

    No one could use the term “you boys” any more because blacks were offended because they saw it as an attack on masculinity. So decent society quit using the term “boy.”

    Now, if the straw, boss said “Git over here boy.” I get your point. But you and I both know, southern society has moved a long way in the last 200 years.

    I get sick and tired of people trying to drag us backwards.

    I so much hoped this election would point out to the world how far American society has moved away from racism and sexism. But d#mn, the progressives have become the sexist, and the conservatives are accused of racism for not supporting Obama.

    Where are we going with all this trash talk, the burning of Atlanta?

  29. Icarus says:

    O.K., mark this date down. I have to call BS on myself.

    Decided to do a little research on Joel Chandler Harris, author of the Uncle Remus tales. See if the Wrens Nest was still open (it is), see how modern culture like wiki treated him (not well), and…

    He was a white dude.

    My entire public elementary education was a lie.

    We’ve been about 50th in education for a long time. I am merely a victim.

  30. boyreporter says:

    Sheer heaven. Sittin’ here witnessing bunch of Republicans arguing over race and not getting it. The topic seems to be as baffling as can be. Oh, my, what can these words possibly mean? ‘Splains why all the heavy lifting in the area of racial progress in this country has come about courtesy of Democrats and liberals (and a handful of oldline Northern Republicans). Sheer heaven to see “conservative” knownothingism confirmed over and over. Sheer heaven. Nice white convention, btw.

  31. Progressive Dem says:

    While this would have been appropriate in the previous thread about Westmoreland, it is worth remembering how astonishingly stupid this man is.

    See this to recall the laughingstock he is:

  32. Doug Deal says:

    Then attack him for being stupid (I do not follow video links, so I will take your word for it that that link proves what you said).

    You are indeed calling someone a racist implicitly when you say that they said something offensive. What is there to take offense against, if there was no intent behind the spoken words?

    You are trying to, on one hand, claim to be reasonable, while on the other hand, using the racism stick to batter a political opponent. To use your words, you are “either being stupid or sheltered”.

  33. Progressive Dem says:

    DD, Don’t take my word (I wouldn’t take yours.) See for yourself. The digital age is a click away. If your jaw doesn’t drop, or if you don’t cringe, you aren’t human. I guarantee you this video will single-handily keep Westmoreland from advancing politically. He could get a bagful of free upitty cards, but this video will stick to him like white on rice.

  34. boyreporter says:

    PD is right, Doug. You owe yourself this trip down Westmoreland Lane, politics aside. But be warned: It will make you want to run screaming from the room if you have any political, personal or philosophical relationship to this guy. If it doesn’t, your soul is full of lead. Don’t be shy. Watch it.

  35. atlantaman says:

    “As a dark-skinned black woman, “tar baby” is not a NEW negative term by far. It’s been around since American slavery and it’s been used in reference to me by blacks, whites and others. It’s a very derogatory term…”

    When did “tar baby” become derogatory?

    I used the term as an example of out-of-control political correctness and to see if I could bait somebody into claiming the term was racist.

    As already stated before, it comes from the Br’er Rabbit series, which is based on generational slave tales. The term has nothing to do with describing a black baby’s skin color. I’m always amused at people who find the term racist as they are advertising their literary shortcomings.

    The “tar baby” reaction reminds me of the whole “niggardly” controversy with the Washington Mayor’s office. I think Julian Bond’s comments about the incident can be applied to the use of “tar baby” as well. He said, “You hate to think you have to censor your language to meet other people’s lack of understanding[…]seems to me the mayor has been niggardly in his judgment on the issue. […] We have a hair-trigger sensibility, and I think that is particularly true of racial minorities.” He was being nice when he used the term “lack of understanding”, but you know he was thinking “ignorance”

    In a sense it’s encouraging folks not to use the English language to its fullest and best extent. If we allow the P.C. police to take over, Webster’s Dictionary will eventually be whittled down to a few pages.

  36. onthefence says:

    The term as used in Br’er Rabbit is not racist. The same term as used by others in southern states where I grew up was racist. if you intended to use it in reference to Br’er Rabbit then say so. The conversation is about the implication of racism in terminology. I am well within the lines of this debate to state that it has derogatory connotation. Just ’cause no one ever used it in reference to you doesn’t make my sensibility hair-triggered, nor illogical. It just means that we have had different experiences as Americans in this country, simple as that.

  37. Doug Deal says:

    PD & br,

    I cannot watch video atm, but I may take a peak when I get back to my digital palace. I am rarely shocked at the stupidity of elected officials, whether Republican or Democrat. It is why we are in such a sad state to begin with.

    Those that are smart enough to know better stay out of politics in the first place.

  38. atlantaman says:

    Just for the record, it’s the 10 Commandments video. Nothing worth racing home to see as it’s already been discussed here ad nauseum.

  39. Doug Deal says:


    I really hate when people rely on video instead of just saying what they want to say. Most video is several minutes of watching a lot of boring nonsense, poor video or listening to poor audio to extract what could have been read in 15 seconds.

    It is one reason that I do not feel that I am not at a loss during the times I cannot view it.

  40. bowersville says:

    That’s right PD & BR, that video will guarantee he won’t get a single progressive vote.

    Maybe you two need to start an operation chaos and get enough cross over votes to insure Westmoreland is the party nominee and then spring the video. That should do him in.

  41. Uppity may still have a negative connotation with some people, but those people are living in the past.

    Was that the best choice of words? No. Does it automatically make Goddard a racist? No. Does it make him stupid? No. Does it mean he has been sheltered all his life? No.

    I’ve lived in Rhine Georgia my entire life, and for those 22 years I knew that everyone around here essentially segregated themselves. There were plenty of racial tensions. The only time, and I mean the only time I have heard the word uppity used in a racist fashion was in old news archives and such.

    I’m not racist. I’m not sheltered. I’m not stupid.

    The fact that we are allowing a word to be empowered in such a fashion is completely absurd. The word is not inherently racist. It may have been used as a racial slur earlier in the century, but that does not mean it must adhere to that meaning.

    My Granny use to tell stories of how she got confused one year watching a speech from the DNC (and this was back in the 60’s). Someone stepped up and started talking about gay rights – she didn’t know what they were talking about and my Papa laughed at her. The word gay at one point meant happy, but by then and now we accept it as meaning someone is a homosexual.

    A word’s meaning is not fixed. We can adapt and change. Claiming uppity is a racial slur only succeeds in doing one thing, and that is making it a racial slur. I’ll ask you, if you honestly think it was being used as such – go investigate the person who said it and tell me if they are a racist.

  42. tb says:

    Not that it matters, but where I lived in connecticut, ‘uppity’ did have a certain connotation to it while I was growing up. I really think it just depends where you live and where you are from. I lived in a marginally middle class/lower middle class neighborhood at the time . It was something you would never say to a person of color in school, let’s say. At least that was my observation and experience of the word at that time.

  43. Thats sort of the problem. We could go in circles arguing that a word is racist. What if Palin was black, would it be racist to continually call her a former mayor or city council woman?

    Community Organizers are good people, I don’t know if it provides the most experience to run the country but it is a noble enterprise. Last time I checked community organizers helped the people with low and moderate incomes; which if I recall includes white people too. So how is that inherently racist?

    it seems to me, that all of this is a form of ace baiting by the Democratic party. I mean, we know all politicans want to get elected; we also know to get elected they have to win a majority. Why would Republicans pick up a racist stance when they know there are many african american voters in their district? That is simply a dumfounding argument. So essentially, hings are getting blown out of porportion in order to strengthen support for the Democratic party.

  44. atlantaman says:

    In Chicago, I don’t know if being a community organizer is a noble enterprise. Instead of code for “black”, I always thought “community organizer” was code for “Daley Machine hack.”

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