Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Light Skinned African American with No Negro Accent

That's what Harry Reid said about Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign. Oh, and he apologized for

Liberals are playing the nothing to be seen here card because, you know, Democrats aren't racist. As one commenter put it:

But my read on this is as a Democratic Party leader, Reid was wearing a strategist's hat, when contemplating Obama's potential candidacy. He was merely giving voice to a reality that exists: there are aspects of the African American identity that voters find more off-putting. The Presidency cannot be won without a plurality of the nationwide white vote, both those enlightened and educated, and not so.

I might take issue with the "lighter skin" both as a basis in fact (there surely are succesful darker skinned pols) and whether it should even be mentioned.

"dialect" is touchy of course, but it's also a fairly standard metric, as a candidate is often evaluated by how they speak, relative to their constituents. (And nearly every southerner working in business in NYC, that I've met, scrubs their southern accent pretty quick. No offense intended to those south of the Mason-Dixon.)

Emphasis mine.

Translation: Reid wasn't being a racist for saying things that any conservative would be a racist for saying because he's a Democrat. Forget the fact that Republicans went far out of their way to avoid racist stereotypes of Obama but were still branded racists.

Of course, Barack Obama had a different take on racism back in 2002 when Trent Lott needed to be run out of office for complimenting a very old man.
Illinois Senator Barack Obama (D-13th), who hosted WVON's Cliff Kelley Show, challenged the Republican Party to repudiate Lott's remarks and to call for his resignation as senate leader.

"It seems to be that we can forgive a 100-year-old senator for some of the indiscretion of his youth, but, what is more difficult to forgive is the current president of the U.S. Senate (Lott) suggesting we had been better off if we had followed a segregationist path in this country after all of the battles and fights for civil rights and all the work that we still have to do," said Obama.

He said: "The Republican Party itself has to drive out Trent Lott. If they have to stand for something, they have to stand up and say this is not the person we want representing our party."