City Desk

Richard Cohen, Still Making Friends

The Washington Post's seemingly unable-to-get-fired columnist Richard Cohen is back at it, with yet another grotesquely clumsy piece opining on the political issues through the rose-tinted statement glasses of yesteryear.

It's not worth getting too deeply into what Cohen is writing—something about Chris Christie's tea party problem and his chances in Iowa—but one line of his column is generating minor outrage tremors on the Internet. Entering the head of, one supposes, the typical Iowa Republican, Cohen writes:

People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.

It's not entirely clear what point Cohen is trying to make with this—he says "conventional," we say "bigoted"—but he impressively manages to offend lots of different groups in a single nugget.

This isn't the first time he has written a column with not-so-subtle racist undertones. Take the infamous column in which he weighs in on the Trayvon Martin case:

I don’t know whether Zimmerman is a racist. But I’m tired of politicians and others who have donned hoodies in solidarity with Martin and who essentially suggest that, for recognizing the reality of urban crime in the United States, I am a racist. The hoodie blinds them as much as it did Zimmerman.

And women? Well, Cohen doesn't do too well with that demographic either.

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  • Corky

    I stopped reading this bigot's columns a long time ago. Just anothre Patrick Buchanan style race baiter. He really is a disgrace to the Post--and that's saying something.

  • noodlez



  • SEis4ME

    If I read the entire article correctly. Wasn't Cohen discussing the problem Christie would have w/that crop of Republicans who are more inclined to have those resentments?

    Or did he somewhere suggest he harbored those resentments?

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  • Joe

    Oh I get it…Cohen attempts to analyze the mindset of the conservative portion of America…suggesting he himself must be a closet fascist…?

    It sounds as if Perry Stein is just jealous of Richard Cohen: while the quality of The Washington Post's journalism has long been of dubious quality, who even notices or cares what some hack from the free city entertainment rag thinks?

    Me, because I am leaving this comment? Nope, not really. I just happened to be looking at the Arts calendar and noticed your unprofessional, worthless tirade about a journalist I would not have even heard of…but for your hissy fit. Thanks, Perry, because I will be sure to catch up with Mr. Cohen's column from now on.

    I hate to break it to you, Perry, but only a radical left-wing kook would find anything offensive in the excerpts of Mr. Cohen you quote. His comment about Trayvon Martin and hoodies is shared by many, and merely because you do not agree with the analysis does not automatically validate the racist allegations you fling so recklessly. So next time you decide to write something so mean-spirited yet utterly lacking in clarity or substance, perhaps you would do well to think about journalists who really are on the way to getting fired.

  • Corky

    Joe--if you read Cohen more regularly, you would know that this was not a one off comment. That's why I stopped reading his offensive tripe years ago. He has a history of making racists statements against Blacks in particular in his commentary. Cohen does not get a pass. He is slimeball a racist and he said exactly what he meant.

  • Joe

    Corky--sounds fair enough, but your own comment offers far more substance and detail than anything in Stein's entire rant to justify flinging around an allegation such as "racist."

    You have read Cohen regularly and I have not so I am in no position to argue about the "one off" issue or his past work. But I maintain that there is nothing in the quotes proffered by Stein to actually verify that Cohen is racist. In fact, the Trayvon Martin comment is spot-on in the view of many Americans. Does that make them "racist"? Maybe, maybe not, but it is far more healthy and productive in the long run to have a dialogue about controversial issues than for someone like Perry Stein to spew out hateful rhetoric lacking in any logic or clarity.

  • Chris hauser

    Cohen's a dork and a fud, been that way a long time.

    He has tenure, aye, in the ivy choked postie okeefenokee.

    Used to be a lesbian, cool.

    As opposed to a plutocrat sexist royalist republican who wanted to outlaw big sodas and stuck around four years too long, therefore deblasio.

  • Whoa Nelly

    This from a froglike gigolo...!

  • SEis4ME

    @Joe, I'm still waiting for more context..something corky failed to provide. What history of making racial comments against blacks? Certainly not his Trayvon Martin one.

    What Perry wrote here fits squarely w/in the hands of those inclined to believe the anti-black/gay/interracial marriage/racial/ conspiracy.

    See Corky's comments for further evidence...

  • Corky

    SEis4Me--if you can't see the the racist tone in Cohen's comments about the Trayvon Martin case, then it is no wonder you see no problem with his latest racist tirade. "The reality of urban crime", as Cohen dog whistles to other like minded bigots, does not give people license to stalk and shoot unarmed Black kids wearing a hoodie in the rain. Apparently, you have no problem with people shooting Black kids preemptively just because they are wearing hoodies. You could also Google Cohen's ridiculous columns if you can figure out how to do that.

  • Chgobluesguy

    The guy just can't write, and he does not even live in the Washington area. To be charitable, I thinks he's trying to show how progressive he is, but he doesn't understand that if you are weighing in on the inter-racial marriage debate, you are at least 40 years behind the times. Time to let his contract lapse, WaPo.

  • SEis4ME

    Corky, are you telling me that if you were walking towards a group of unseemly teens (who happened to be black) and because you assumed they were up to no good, you crossed the street to avoid them, then you would be racist? And if you happened to tell someone about what happened that you would be "dog whistling" to those folk who fear people who look/act that way?

    I don't know anyone who believes in shooting black kids preemptively. Cohen surely didn't...and neither have I. But continue w/the usual left-leaning strategy of accusing anyone of condoning violence/racism just because we might disagree.

  • Typical DC BS

    Maybe you should have been paying attention during the trial Corky, and not been asleep like so many liberal morons. Based on the EVIDENCE, Trayvon attacked Zimmerman and got shot. Spare me the "stalking" bit. There is no law that says you can't follow someone walking around. Trayvon tried to get tough with the wrong person.

    Let's hear the inevitable whine of "racism" next.

  • SEis4ME

    Typical, well that's an odd way of looking at reality.

    According to the Stand Your Ground law, you can kill someone who's following you IF you feel as if your life is in danger and (as was this case) the stalker had a gun.

    But I agree w/you, Trayvon tried to get tough w/a man who had admitted to profiling him and ended up dead.

  • Typical DC BS

    SEis4ME: I work at construction sites and had a run-in with a group of young ones who accused me of "profiling" them as I was walking a site with an Ipad checking out excavation progress against drawings. Considering they were inside the temporary fencing and didn't have hard hats on or reflective vests, it was obvious they didn't belong there. After the three of them crowded around me, telling me they didn't have to listen to me when I politely told them they needed to be outside the fence, they were startled by two site supervisors coming up to meet with me. Once the odds went from 3-1 to 3-3, they quieted down quickly.

    That's why I commented as I did regarding Trayvon. I have dealt a few times with young DC residents who immediately feel "disrespected" and respond inappropriately when an adult asks them a question when they are doing something suspicious or downright stupid.

  • SEis4ME

    @Typical, thanks! But your clarification doesn't really explain why you suggested that the evidence suggested that Martin "attacked" Zimmerman and was killed. In fact, the evidence didn't prove that at all and we'll never know who attacked whom first. If we did, we would all understand the "attack" angle you offer here.

    If Zimmerman hit Martin first, most people (not inclined to turn Martin into the 3 guys they met on a construction site) wouldn't say that Martin "attacked" Zimmerman and was killed. They likely would say Martin responded to Zimmerman's attack and was killed.