Associated Press photo
Then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Harry Reid are shown in a photo from 2006. It’s funny that the words “honest” and “open” should appear in the background, because when it comes to the issues of race and racism, there’s no such fucking thing as honesty and openness in the United States.
I find it ironic that Americans’ overreaction to racially related statements demonstrates how racist Americans — especially whitey, of course — actually are.
This from The Associated Press today:
Washington – The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate apologized [today] for comments he made about Barack Obama’s race during the 2008 presidential bid.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada described then-Sen. Barack Obama as “light-skinned” and “with no Negro dialect.” Obama is the nation’s first African-American president. [That’s a news flash for those of you who have been hanging out in a cave; when you go back to your cave, please give Osama bin Laden the “news.”]
“I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans for my improper comments,” Reid said in a statement released after the excerpts were reported on the website of The Atlantic.
“I was a proud and enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama during the campaign and have worked as hard as I can to advance President Obama’s legislative agenda.”
Reid remained neutral during the bitter Democratic primary that became a marathon contest between Obama and then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom Obama tapped as the United States’ top diplomat after the election.
Reid’s comments are included in a book set to be published on Monday. Game Change was written by Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin and New York magazine’s John Heilemann; the pair describe the book in interviews during Sunday’s “60 Minutes” on CBS….
Now, it is a fact that Obama, being half-white and half-black, has a lighter complexion than do most fully black individuals.
It’s also a fact that Obama does not have any sort of dialect associated with black Americans; his English is quite stiff and proper — indeed, his English is superior to that of most of his detractors, many if not most of whom are white supremacists.
Vice President Joseph Biden created a stir in February 2007 when it came out that he’d said of Obama, “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
Obama is articulate and bright and clean and nice-looking, although he did punk us progressives into thinking that he had our backs.
Oops — I just slipped into a Negro dialect.
Speaking of which, um, yeah, memo to Senator Reid: We don’t use the word “Negro” anymore for black people, and that’s my main problem with Reid’s “controversial” comments about Obama’s race (the ones that I’ve seen, anyway).
One of my pet peeves is when people use the wrong name of a minority group. You use the name that the minority group itself uses for itself.
So when I hear people (usually stupid white people, of course) call Asians “Orientals,” I cringe. And it’s not “Hispanics” anymore, and it’s certainly not “Mexicans” for all people who call themselves Latinos these days, as not all Latinos originate from Mexico.
And don’t fucking call me a “homosexual.” We call ourselves gay, fuck you very much.
People who use terms for minority groups that aren’t even used anymore — like “Negro” or “Oriental” or “homosexual” — demonstrate that they are completely fucking out of touch with that minority group, or they’d be using the name that the group uses for itself.
(Of course, as I’ve noted before, sometimes the haters use the wrong name for a minority group on purpose, as a pejorative, probably especially with the term “homosexual.” The homo-haters — who are in such great company, as the Nazis hated and persecuted us homos, too — routinely use the term “homosexual” instead of “gay” because their intent is to degrade and dehumanize us non-heterosexuals. They know that we use and prefer the term “gay,” but out of disrespect for us they refuse to use our preferred term for ourselves, and also, they like to emphasize the “-sexual” part, because they have their sick and twisted [usually “Christianity”-induced] hangups over sexuality, even though their mothers had sex.)
Anyway, I doubt that Harry Reid, from the almost-all-white state of Utah, has very many close black friends. If he did, he probably wouldn’t be using the term “Negro,” which apparently was ingrained within him decades ago when the term was still widely used.
(My dead mean and racist Southern Baptist white grandmother, who was born and raised in Texas, used the word “Negro” too, only she pronounced it like “Niggrah,” which sounded waaaaay too close to “nigger” for me.)
But I digress.
I don’t like Harry Reid, don’t get me wrong. He’s weak. We need someone with balls, a real Democrat, in charge of the U.S. Senate. I hope that the Democrats can maintain their fragile 60-vote majority after Election Day this year, but if it takes his trouncing at the polls in Utah in November to remove Reid as head of the Senate, then so be it.
But let’s not dog pile upon Reid for stating the simple truth, which is that Barack Obama never would have been elected as president of the United States of America if a critical mass of white American voters had perceived him as threatening to them in any way.
I’ll be even more blunt: Obama acts whiter that I do, and I’m a white guy.
Obama’s black father split from his white mother when Obama was quite young, and Obama was raised by his white mother and her white side of the family; apparently his mother’s parents took care of him from about age 10 to his graduation from high school — quite the formative years. (A little Obama bio is here.)
My guess is that Obama’s upbringing by mostly white Americans is the main reason that he acts like a white American. Maybe he also has done the political calculus and he figured out some time ago that “angry” (my term) blacks, like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, can go only so far in U.S. politics. (Shit, even Uncle Toms like Repugnican Party head Michael Steele — whom the Repugnicans elected as the head of their party only in a knee-jerk reaction to Obama’s election to the White House — can go only so far.)
And that, friends (I’m practicing to be the Rush Limbaugh of the left, so please bear with me, friends), is the real problem here: not that Harry Reid stated the obvious, which is that Barack Obama is “light-skinned” “with no Negro dialect,” but that only a “non-threatening” (my term) black — which means, of course, that he or she never shows an iota of anger over the whole racism thing, because anger, you see, is baaaaad — can ascend to the White House.
That is the problem, and that screams RACISM.
That it’s so stupidly fucking taboo to bring up the issue of race at all, to the point that people like Harry Reid and Joe Biden feel compelled to apologize for only having spoken the obvious truth, shows how racist this nation is.
A nation that won’t even talk about racism obviously has no real interest in resolving racism, which can be resolved only if we talk about it. A lot.
The Associated Press, which continuously updates its news stories (but doesn’t always update the links to those news stories), now is reporting that Reid’s more complete words were that Obama was “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one” (emphasis mine).
I’m not sure what Reid meant by that; was Reid accusing Obama of having adapted his speech patterns to the locals’ speech patterns while he was on the campaign trail, the way that I seem to remember Billary Clinton was accused of doing? (She was accused of speaking redneck while in redneckland, if memory serves.)
In any case, I’m not even sure how much such adaptation of one’s speech would be politicking — that is, conscious deception in order to gain votes — and how much such adaptation would be human nature (to do in Rome as the Romans do).
Anyway, we’ll see how long Harrygate lasts. Hopefully it won’t make it alive past this weekend, as there’s no scandal here.
Update No. 2:
Oy, vey. Why can’t the Associated Press get it right the first time?
The AP now reports the story this way:
Washington – Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid apologized [today] for saying Barack Obama should seek — and could win — the White House because Obama was a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”
Obama quickly accepted, saying “As far as I am concerned, the book is closed.”
Nevada Sen. Harry Reid made the comments in private during the long 2008 campaign, according to a new book about that election, which elevated Obama from first-term Illinois senator to the first black president.
OK, so apparently Reid was encouraging Obama to be fake on the campaign trail if it could score Obama some political points. Nice, Harry.
Have you noticed that whenever anything racially related comes up and there is an apology to Obama, Obama always immediately accepts the apology and wants us all to immediately forget about the whole thing?
It seems that Obama doesn’t want a real dialogue about race and racism any more than the racists do…