Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Quip about agitators answers Rev. Jesse Jackson's protest about color of washing machines.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2005]
Origins: In the wake of 2005's Hurricane Katrina and the maelstrom of accusations and fingerpointing slow response to that disaster engendered, this ancient piece about the
Jesse Jackson calls George at the White House and says "George, I understand that all of the washing machines at the White House are white." George responds, "I dunno Jesse, let me check it out and I'll call you back." Next day George calls Jesse back and says, "Jesse, you were right. I checked it out and all the washing machines at the White House are white, but all the agitators are black!"This well-traveled anecdote is an amusing study in double meanings: "agitator" serves to describe both a political troublemaker and the washing machine part that churns water. Yet at a deeper level, the witticism is intended not as humor but as a denigration of a type of political activism for which the
While this chronicle of a protest over the color of washing machines is fiction, it is worth noting the quip that forms the basis of it has been employed in real life by at least one African American office seeker. In 1999 during his mayoral bid in Biddeford, Maine, Rory Holland referred to himself as a "little black agitator in a white washing machine."
Barbara "he washed out in the election" Mikkelson
Last updated: 3 October 2005
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