Thursday, October 16, 2008

What About Jamal The Plumber?

We heard a lot about Joe the Plumber at last night's final Presidential Debate, but what about Jamal the Plumber?

I met him over coffee early this morning to get his opinion.

"I don't want to sound petty," he said, "but it should have been my turn to shine. I have issues and concerns too."

"Like what, Jamal?", I asked.

"McCain been yapping 'bout what he's gonna do for Joe Sixpack forevah. I know Joe; we're in the same bowling league. He drinks entirely too much and ain't seen the crack of dawn since he caught the school bus 20 years ago. Last I heard, he was chilling in that Pennsylvania bar, clinging to his Bible and his gun and waiting for Hillary to visit again. He's not gonna even vote for McCain..."

I interrupted him. "Why not?"

"Joe got problems that John McCain said he won't fix, and Joe figured this out. He's been dying to get into a rehab for his alcoholism, but has no healthcare. McCain's plan ain't universal and thus, ain't gonna help him. That's the third reason why he was digging on Hillary so much."

"What were the first two?"

"She's white and can chug-a-lug."

"Jamal, come on, did he tell you this?"

"Not the white part, but I ain't stupid. When Joe got all pissy that 'the black guy' beat her out, he said he was looking at McCain a lot harder 'for his service to his country'. It was all I could do to keep a straight face."

I chuckled, knowing what he meant. Jamal looked at his watch and sipped his coffee before continuing.

He said, "McCain act like he don't really want black votes other than from handful of Negro GOP suck up politicians, and that strange fella in his audience last week who was begging him. Geez! That man looked like he had died and gone to heaven when McCain touched him! As a black man, I was embarrassed for him."

We both cracked up laughing.

"So McCain ain't got the black vote," Jamal said, "and I overheard Joe Sixpack say he might as well be black too for what the GOP will do for him, which is nothing, except keeping the White House white, so he's voting for Obama."

I asked, "So what about this new guy who McCain was talking about, Joe Plumber? Do you think he'll vote for him?"

"There's more than one Joe Plumber out there," he said. "The one I know told me last night that he didn't like his name being put out there like that. He thought it was funny a couple months back when McCain was bouncing Britney Spears name around without her getting her endorsement first. Upset the girl so much I think she wanted to go back to the hospital to get away from the paparazzi. Joe Plumber was pissed when it happened to him. He had a dozen camera crews outside his house last night. He refused to talk to any of them."

"Why wouldn't the Joe Plumber you know enjoy his 15 minutes of fame?"

"He's been going through a lot lately," Jamal answered. "I talked to him an hour ago about a job we'll be on this morning. Joe P. said his wife is four months pregnant and they want the baby, but she's having big time problems. The doctors are watching her closely, and they say she might need a late term abortion if her health becomes endangered, but McCain made it real clear last night that he don't play that."

"Was he a McCain supporter before?"

"His family has always voted Republican, but they ain't been happy during the Bush years. Joe Plumber said he lost his stomach for McCain after coming back from one of those hate rallies. He was standing near the guy that screamed "Kill him!" about Obama, and he was worried to death that the cameras panned on him. He knows how that guilt by association thing works in the media, and he don't want no one thinking he's a pal of a domestic terrorist threatening a public official. As Joe Plumber said, "I was just in the room, the same as Obama was with that Ayers guy. I didn't have a thing to do with what that man said or did." I couldn't agree more. I know Joe Plumber, and Joe Plumber is no domestic terrorist."

Jamal looked at his watch again. The sun was shining now, and I knew I had time for only a few more questions.

"So Jamal, what was your favorite part of the debate last night?"

"That's easy," he said. "Barack rocked it with all his answers. For one, he ain't gonna freeze all spending except defense like McCain will. He has a banging tax and health plan, and maybe best of all, he didn't renounce that black Congressman, John Lewis, for saying McCain's campaign rallies and ads had been planting seeds of hate. My man Obama is tired of being bullied for words that don't come out of his mouth. Lewis told the truth, but McCain and the haters been trying to back Obama into a corner like the racism don't exist. He stood his ground, yet at the same time, was cool about it."

"Have you experienced being hated on more in the past month or two?"

"I can feel it and see in the eyes of some white folks in certain areas, especially when I wear my Obama tee-shirt. I used to ignore the frowns, but I had a run in at a gas station with some yahoo boys who seriously were trying to bait me into a fight. Sometimes, late at night before I fall asleep, I wonder if I'll be attacked or shot or worse in a random act of violence by a bigot with a grudge when Obama wins."

I nodded, agreeing. "That's been on the minds of a lot of black folks."

"Yes," he replied softly, "and if it happens to me, I wonder if anyone in the media will care enough to ask one question."

"What's that?"

His voice became even softer.

"What about Jamal the Plumber..."


10/16/2008 - I gave permission for Macon D. to reprint this article at his amazing, educational anti-racist blog, Stuff White People Do (not to be confused with Stuff White People Like). If you would like permission to reprint it, email me. ~ Kit


  1. Thank you for giving Jamal the plumber a voice (and by proxy, the black "working class"--though I guess there's still a gender problem there--not that I think it's a problem with your post). It sucks how the equation "'working class' equals 'white'" obliterates any mainstream conception of a black (or otherwise non-white) working class.

    And where's the missing black or otherwise non-white counterpart to Joe Six-Pack? Or, as Jon Stewart dubbed her, Jane Wine-Box?

  2. Kit, this was very clever and had me laughing. I loved the ending too.

  3. Kit, Your inner black man is a very contemplative and funny guy. Not surprising.

  4. Funny stuff, kit.

    Your inner Jamal had me laughing until it got to the end-- when he talked about the possible random acts of violence out of grudge. I think it's quite likely that that will happen.

    But from a writer's point of view, that's what satire does: it makes us laugh and relax and address more calmly our fears, hopes and aspirations.

  5. Angel, Sagacious, & MacDaddy, Thank you! Glad to smile on your faces. I don't do political satire often so this was a nice change of pace for me.

    Macon, you're on point as ever and this election has truly spotlighted the bs that otherwise flies under the media and public's radar.

  6. Thank you. I loved this piece, you would think there are no working class Black folks.

  7. What a delightful read, and a delightful blog also. I do believe I will return. Will there be a sequel to the saga of "Jamal the Plumber"?

  8. Black Girl In Maine, thanks, and ain't that the truth?

    Mad Mike, you asked, will there be a sequel to Jamal The Plumber? Hmmmm. Sounds like a hint!

    I hadn't thought of this, so thank you for the idea. Indeed, Jamal may have more to say before this thing is over... lol.

  9. Kit, what a great article. I came over here from madmike's. Like blackgirlinmaine said, Thank you. I loved this piece, you would think there are no working class Black folks..

    Thank you for this "Jamal the Plumber" post.

  10. Dig, Joe the Plumber is a fake! Check the Huffington post. But again, what about the Jamal's of the world, the Shanita's of the world, GOP folks never come around to talk politics with us, they come when they think that we will join in on some bigoted notion that they want to sign into law such as immigration or Gay marriage or in some cases abortion.

  11. Kit, thank you for your kind words to me and the link to your blog. I'm glad to have found it. Even though Stella arrived first, (a little history and professional jealousy is involved here), these are friendly confines and plenty enough room for both of us!

  12. Oh! and I just noticed Mad Mike and MacDaddy, too!

    In the future I'll try to be more focused and not so O/T!

  13. Kit, this post is one of the reasons I love your blog. Girl, you can write! Someone else hinted at a follow up of Jamal The Plumber. I second the motion. Funny, powerful, and true. Thanks for making my day AGAIN.

  14. Love how you narrated...

    I've never actually thought about possible retaliation due to Obama's victory...naive, I know.

    Things that make you go, hmmm.

    Always a pleasure Ms. K.I.T.

  15. Stella, Glad you liked it so much and found your way here!

    Mista Jaycee, I caught that earlier and just laughed b/c McCain's Joe the Plumber ain't even licensed. I don't know the media goofed or if this was another example of McCain blowing it with a plant, but it's all good for Obama.

    SBF, speaking of possible plants... I delete comments by rightwingers in disguise, and your story was too fishy after I thought about it. Wanna prove me wrong? Invite me to view your 'by invitation only' blog.

    Vigilante, I'm glad you found your way here too, and without knowing too much about it yet, that's a team you're with.

    Avg Bro, it was fun last night on debate chat at BMWKs. See you there the next time.

    Shelton, Thanks a lot! Love your comments. This was the first political satire I've posted here. I'll do Jamal again.

    Mimi, thank you, very nice. I added in 'Jamal's' fear of retaliation from an Obama victory b/c I read about these on several black blogs, had a couple comments on mine about fear, have received some hostile looks in late summer after I got an Obama tee, and last weekend my own son was partying with a black guy and a white guy down by U. of MD and three white guys started trash talking and wanted to pick a fight. Plus there's this youtube a black girl run down on her bicycle.


  16. KIT I finally followed the link to your blog from averagebro, I'm wondering what took me so long. This post was great. I hadn't thought too much about retaliation, it's a saddening(sp?) thought and I hope it doesn't happen. But seeing those videos where people we talking about how they are so afraid of Obama and people wanting to kill him. One of the people even said he's gonna give the country to the black....WTF?!? That made me laugh out loud for real. Somehow to me it shows that they know their forefathers were wrong for slavery and fear what will happen should one of the people from a race or people they oppressed for so many years get picked to run the country their (blacks) forefathers helped to become prosperous.

  17. I have been reading your posts for like two hours, lol. You are truly talented and funny.

    My husband is a blue collar black man, working hard for him family. It pains me to see that he is so invisible in American politics.

  18. Awesome KIT!

    That was fuckin awesome!

    Tell Jamal to be sure to keep paying his child support. If he fucks up and gets behind, Obama won't bail his ass out. Especially after giving that personal responsibility speech at that church and all.

  19. Rippa, Re: child support, Jamal said to tell you that he threw a big party this year when his youngest kid turned 18 - for himself. Ssshhh. Don't tell his son that. Lol.

    Huemanity, agreed, the invisibility is stunning, considering that the majority of blacks are working class. I'm glad you're enjoying my blog. I like yours too.

    MissJay, true. Under hate we'll generally find fear, insecurity, misunderstanding or entitlement. Such a shame since we have more in common than different.

  20. OMG so so so true and so funny, kit! Great post!

  21. that's some funny ish, nice read. I've also been thinking of any black names that begin with "J" besides Jamal. What about Junior, Julius, Juwan, or Jajuan? LOL!


  22. I haven't been commenting as of lately but this made me have to stop.

    I wondered aloud the same thing about the debate; say had Joe actually been Jared the barber trying to open his own barbershop. Would anyone have cared?

    What kills me is that somehow, making $250,000 a year doesn't mean that you are well off. Wtf do they come from? Where I live, you may as well be a millionaire to the people barely surviving on minimum wage. It just seemed like another talking point.

    And even more astonishing? That McCain not only brought it up but tried to slam Obama's whole tax plan over one guy. The Tax Foundation found that under Obama's plan, he would pay just $804 more a year.
    Are you kidding me?

    I wrote about it in today's post.

    This election season is just getting more and more ridiculous and above all eles, I can't believe so many people refuse to acknowledge the blatant racism that is going on in so much of it.

  23. this was off the hook.

  24. Jamal makes 18k, and has 3 kids and two baby momma's too politically correct - now this was classic

  25. i have to write a post on this thing right here

    i think you know better kit but for the others i think i reaaaaaaly need to clear something up




    this is the biggest hoax ever put on the people because its constantly run in the media

    everyday you see the cameras following obama and mccain

    the biggest ploy ever run on the american people

    they dont have any decision power whatsoever

    the script has already been written before they even get into office

    that feels so much better lol

    im sorry kit (meow lol)

  26. Gwen, Cheri, Emeritus, and Ed The Sports Fan, lol, glad you all liked it.

    Tubman, lighten up, babe! Only 17 days to go!

    Torrance, hmmph! Stereotypes! Not this Jamal.

    La, Yes, a lot of us have been angrily wondering why the working class Jamal's, Jared's and Tyrone's - who make up the majority of black Americans far more than whites who have a larger middle class - are 100% invisible, especially in this election.

  27. Excellent. Very clever and thought through -- and great points made.


Hi, this is Kit.

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