Thursday, January 1, 2009

If you can't see the racism, then you're blind

Chip Saltsman, a candidate for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, recently came under fire for distributing a "comedy" CD featuring a song called "Barack the Magic Negro." The song, sung to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon," is a parody of a 2007 Los Angeles Times column that used the same title. Here are some of the lyrics: "Barack the Magic Negro lives in D.C. The L.A. Times, they called him that 'cause he's not authentic like me. Yeah, the guy from the L.A. paper said he makes guilty whites feel good. They'll vote for him, and not for me, 'cause he's not from the 'hood.' Some say Barack's 'articulate' and bright and new and clean. The media sure loves this guy, a white interloper's dream. But when you vote for president, watch out, and don't be fooled." That gives you some idea of what we're dealing with. Not everyone had a problem with it. Alabama Republican Committeeman Paul Reynolds said the song "didn't bother me one bit." And Oklahoma GOP Committeewoman Carolyn McClarty said, "I don't think he intended it as any kind of racial slur. I think he intended it as a humor gift." Well, if the forward-thinking folks of Alabama and Oklahoma don't see any problems ... Oh, but wait. Some people failed to see the humor of using a word that's one step away from the "N word" that nobody wants to say, including current RNC Chairman Mike Duncan, who is trying to retain the post Saltsman is seeking. Said Duncan, "The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party. I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate, as it clearly does not move us in the right direction." Saltsman and his supporters, including gasbag Rush Limbaugh, blamed the "liberal media" for blowing the whole story out of proportion. But maybe we don't truly understand Saltsman. He was campaign manager for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, so he might still believe that black people carry the mark of Cain.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

IF the Democrats would have distributed a CD containing "Sarah, The Lipsticked Pitbull" to the tune of "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer," you can bet they'd be screaming "sexism."

That said, there's a long tradition of parody in song, and not all of it is pretty. If Obama were white, they'd have had to rewrite the lyrics, but I doubt if so much offense would be taken. Still, it shows that some Republicans is really stoopid.

January 2, 2009 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Considering the history of the song (parodying a column written by a black columnist to begin with), I don't find it to be particularly offensive... And of course, I have heard it 18,000 times on Limbaugh's radio program since last summer... so that takes the edge off too... but what I do find amazing is the PR idiocy of the GOP in this matter... when one of your chief PR obstacles to overcome is a perception of racism within your party, wouldn't you take the high road just in case? If someone were accusing me of being homophobic... even if it were an unfounded accusation, I would try to avoid saying or doing anything that could be construed as being homophobic... I wouldn't be cracking jokes about gerbils... that's for sure.

January 2, 2009 at 10:38 AM  

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