described then-candidate Barack Obama during the presidential campaign as a black candidate who could be successful thanks in part to his “light-skinned” appearance and speaking patterns "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."
For as much respect as I do not have for the senate majority leader, I have to say this: he spoke the truth.
I have met hundreds of handsome black men--light-skinned and otherwise--who are able to speak with no discernable “Negro” dialect and who are able to turn the dialect on and off—an ability with which I have no problem. (Know your audience.) In fact, many such men exist who are far more gifted in the two of the three stated areas than is Barack Obama and in some areas which were not stated by the senator—demonstrable leadership ability being the most important one.
However, I think that many white voters were more familiar with the NBA player/Jesse Jackson attitude and method of elocution as it applies to black American politicians. In short, liberal white voters (and even some not-so-liberal ones) got fooled by Barack Obama's semi-slick surface. I’ve said so before, others have said so. Even Obama himself has acknowledged that some white people can be fooled in the manner specified.
It was usually an effective tactic, another one of those tricks I had learned: [White] People were satisfied so long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves. They were more than satisfied; they were relieved - such a pleasant surprise to find a well-mannered young black man who didn't seem angry all the time.
Dreams from My Father, pp.94-95
People forget that the ‘effective tactic’ mentioned used by now-President Obama was being used to calm the fears of his own mother on the occasion mentioned. (BTW, he shows particular contempt towards her in the passage.) Ann Soetero may or may not have been fooled by this tactic--Obama was her son, after all. But, many years later, a lot of other white Americans were.
Of course, many are calling for Senator Reid’s political head in the wake of his telling of this particular truth, especially in light of the statements made by former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) back in 2002 regarding the retirement of the late Senator Strom Thurmond and the Democrat reaction thereto. Former Senator Lott was forced to resign as majority leader for saying that
...[w]hen Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either.
Thurmond ran in 1948 and was an avowed segregationist at the time. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele wants the same fate that befell Senator Lott to befall Senator Reid.
Expecting the Democrats to play “fair,” especially when they are in a position of power, is moronic.
And note what one of the designated Dispensationalists of Racial Absolution says about the Reid statement.
While there is no question that Senator Reid did not select the best word choice in this instance, these comments should not distract America from its continued focus on securing healthcare or creating jobs for its people [sic]. Nor should they detract from the unquestionable leadership role Senator Reid has played on these issues or in the area of civil rights. Senator Reid’s door has always been open on hearing from the civil rights community on these issues and I look forward to continue to work with Senator Reid wherever possible to improve the lives of Americans everywhere.
What does that mean? It means that those who align themselves with the “correct side of history” are allowed leeway to say what’s on their minds without having to pay a political price in public.
This is the deal: if you’re assisting in the redistribution of wealth to its “rightful owners,” you get a pass on telling an unflattering racial truth. If you’re “doing something to for black people,” you get to let a “racist” thought slip through your lips or out of your word processor. It’s why old Klansmen like Senator Robert Byrd can even use phrases like “white n*gger” and still sit in the US Senate.
You're allowed to "abuse" black people with one hand if you’re giving them things out of the other.
And when the inevitable uproar from the other side is heard, you, a Democrat, are allowed to say “sorry” and move on. The Republicans can’t do anything about it, and, as the Reverend Sharpton implied, a few words are meaningless when measured against the importance of the Juggernaut known as Hope-and-Change and its destination—even so-called racist words.
So even though Senator Reid is telling the truth (for a change), he won’t suffer for it.
How’s that for irony?
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UPDATE: And Instapundit Readers!
UPDATE: And Instapundit Readers!