By now you have seen and heard about Senate Majority leaders unbelievably stupid remarks about Barack Obama in which he called him a “light-skinned” African American with no discernible “Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”
Harry apologized for his “poor choice of words” and this was promptly accepted by everyone from Obama to Al Sharpton to the Congressional Black Caucus.
Two quick and obvious thoughts. Racism is clearly only a sin of the right. Ann Coulter makes this point in her own special way to Al Sharpton. African American leadership in this country is non-existent. The entrenched African-American ruling class doesn’t mind racism as long as you vote for them to retain power.
What this story is really about is condescension. Harry Reid condescending to all African-Americans with his comments and the equally egregious condescension of the black power base that is happy to look the other way on racism when it suits their politics with the expectation that all will go along with them.
Martin Luther King famously dreamed of a day when people no longer judged by the color of skin but by the content of their character. All we can dream about is when are no longer judged by the color of their state (or party membership) but by the stupid things they say.
This story is also really about condescension because Harry Reid asserts that the President turns on a certain affect when speaking to certain audiences and nobody bats an eye. That politicians routinely pander to their audiences even to the point of affecting or exaggeration a dialect is responded to with only a mild “Duh?”
The fact that the President, or any other politician, adopts a false dialect to pander to an audience is the height of condescension. So just remember in any discussion on this topic. Whether it is the lame apologies (“poor choice of words”), or the politically expedient cheek turning done by the black leadership, or the ignored pandering just remember one thing. They all think you are stupid.
As for Harry’s comments, besides racist they are monumentally stupid. How a politician in this day and age can comment on person’s skin color or even say the word negro is beyond me.
Now if Harry had instead said that Obama was a “thin-skinned ego with no discernible intellect” he may have been on to something.
January 11, 2010 at 2:51 pm
Apparently you didn't hear from Rod Blagojevich last night. http://bit.ly/5MChFl
January 11, 2010 at 4:10 pm
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January 11, 2010 at 4:22 pm
I thought the light-skin context was about Obama being electable because he’s not too dark. That shows that Democrats are not as post-racial as they pretend. Re: Obama’s ability to fake a black dialect, whether is condescension or even worse a suggestion that Obama is an Oreo i.e. black on the outside but white on the inside goes back to the racism in the Democratic party because he thinks that Obama is not really black.
January 11, 2010 at 5:18 pm
Well, you have Joe Biden saying during the primaries that Obama is respectable and clean, and then they make him vice-president. I am not shocked by the non-reaction to Reid's comments. Rather, if there had been an outcry from anyone who was not a Republican, I might have died from the surprise.
January 11, 2010 at 5:33 pm
I'm surprised to see a post about condescension from someone who is a fan of Palin. You mention people pandering to audiences, lowerin themselves to please the crowd etc. That perfectly describes a Sarah Palin event. Heavy on the folksiness and crowd-pleasing lines but light on substance and sophistication.
If Palin is really as intelligent as her supporter claims she is, then she is just as guilty of condescension as Obama.
On the other hand, if that isn't condescension on Palin's part, maybe she actually is as unsophisticated as she sounds.
January 11, 2010 at 5:43 pm
Anthony, I think you missed it. I believe Patrick was admitting that "ALL" polititians pander to the crowds (this would include Sarah Palin). I'm reminded of Hillary Clinton's southern accent that she turned on/off while campaigning throughout the south.
As far as right v left re racism, this is just a given. The left has always had a mentality of "we know what's best for them!" which negates 'their' (see: any minority which will give the party clout as a cause du jour) ability to think, reason and speak for themselves. This is racism in its highest form. And it is indeed alive and well.
January 11, 2010 at 9:31 pm
I've always wondered what it was about the term "Negro" that made it pejorative. I heard it used by folklorists well into the 1980s. Not even this …
… was much help, as it came down to whatever certain people said it was, which had no objective value for me.
As to the remark about skin tone, everybody who's anybody knows that "high yellow" is the proper term.
January 11, 2010 at 10:12 pm
I never got what Biden meant by the "clean" comment. I can't speak for all my people but I bathe daily.
January 11, 2010 at 11:54 pm
The entire media has missed the big story about racist language and continues its stories about this person said this and that person said that. The big story is this: There is NO MORE high ground when it comes to the use of racist language. None. The high ground has been totally eroded by its usage by black Rap artists, unless you subscibe to a double standard- that it is alright for black people to use offensive language but it is not okay for non-blacks to use that language. No other ethnic or racial group has ever tolerated or would ever tolerate the kind of self-denegrating language found in black popular culture. The high ground is gone forever.
January 12, 2010 at 4:31 pm
His comment was condescending and insulting …to white people.
What he was saying was that the majority of the white electorate would only vote for a black candidate as long as he wasn't "too black".
January 12, 2010 at 7:47 pm
Holy moly, I agree with Craig on something!
Reid basically said that the majority of voters are racist.