Return of the Magic Negro Posted by: MichaelW
on Monday, January 19, 2009
Perhaps you will recall the high dudgeon that the left/MSM worked itself into over one of the 41 songs that Chip Saltsman included on a gift CD to RNC members. It was titled "Barack the Magic Negro" and was not well-received by the oh-so-tolerant left.
No matter that the song was based on an Op-Ed piece by lefty Hollywood critic David Ehrenstein.
And no matter that the song was nearly two years old.
It was also irrelevant that the term "Magical Negro" was coined not as some insult to Barack Obama or black people, but as a literary critique of a tendency for blacks to be portrayed in certain roles (think Sidney Poitier in "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner").
Just as it was completely ignored by the mouth-breathers that the song was a parody directed not at Barack Obama or even the literary critique employed to analyze Obama's white supporters, but instead at the double standards of the left when it comes to matters of race.
All that mattered was that the media had "caught" Chip Saltsman in what was perceived as a moment of candor, proving once again that Republicans are nothing but racist buffoons who laugh at n***** jokes with one another when they think no one's listening. The incident was chalked up to yet more evidence that the GOP had not evolved past the good ole' boy days of all-white country clubs and segregated drinking fountains. Why? Because Chip Saltsman included a song on a CD that had the word "negro" in it.
With all of this in mind, imagine my surprise this morning, while listening to NPR's Morning Edition, when I was briefly transported into a different dimension. One of the segments this morning featured a discussion of a chapter in an upcoming book about Obama [ed. - Are there any upcoming books not about Obama?]:
Jabari Asim, author of What Obama Means, explores connections between the president-elect and a variety of oversimplified black movie characters who critics have mockingly called "magic negroes."
Further imagine my confusion when not one single word was mentioned about Chip Saltsman, the song, or the brouhaha generated by the media just a few weeks ago. Instead, Obama is once again compared to the "magical negro" character, and we're told how this is bad only insomuch as it is limiting of the almost-inaugurated President (according to the author, Barack is even better than the magic negro characters. He's super-magical!).
What's truly embarrassing for NPR about this is that less than three weeks earlier it was busy shaming Chip Saltsman over the song, and roiling dissension amongst the Republican Party:
Flap Over 'Magic Negro' Song Roils RNC
In the search for someone to lead the Republican Party out of its political wilderness, the winnowing has begun.
Former Tennessee GOP Chairman Chip Saltsman appears on the brink of elimination from the competitive race for the national party chairmanship after sending GOP committee members a Christmas CD that contained the parody song "Barack the Magic Negro."
Saltsman's stumble comes at a time when the Republican Party is struggling to define the role of loyal opposition to the nation's first African-American president. The party is uncomfortable with the minuscule share of the black vote it received in 2008, as well as the lack of African-Americans among GOP officeholders. No black members of Congress are Republican, and only a few black Republicans are in statewide office or on the Republican National Committee itself. Black membership in the Democratic National Committee is just over 21 percent, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
Chip Saltsman, one of the candidates for chair of the Republican National Committee, sent a CD full of song parodies to several RNC members — including a song called "Barack the Magic Negro." The term "magic negro" dates back to the 1950s. Used today, is it satire or racism?
Hmmm. That last question is an interesting one. I wonder which NPR decided it was in today's illuminating look at the "magical negro"-ness of Barack Obama?
In fact, maybe the whole thing was a satire of how there's a double standard in the media when it comes to Republicans and conservatives on matters of race. Perhaps NPR host Steve Inskeep was cleverly mocking the self-important tones, and affected seriousness rampant amongst the navel-gazing lefty media types. He wasn't really discussing how white guilt help propel Barack Obama into the White House. He was skewering the arrogance and Neo-syndicalism of the mainstream media, in how it routinely demonizes those with the "wrong" ideologies by jumping on any potentially twistable sound-byte, no matter how harmless in reality, that can be used as evidence of evil motives, and yet laud the very same terms when used by those with the "correct" views. NPR wasn't being absurdly hypocritical, but instead profoundly satirical. The more I think about it, that must be the case.
As I said when the song with this title was chosen for the RNC CD, every inoculating detail would be forgotten by the few who were even aware there was a background to this beyond "Republicans laugh at ni**er jokes". This should not be a surprise to anyone, least of all Saltzman.
You gotta remember, as political opposition goes, most people have a one sentence sound bite to describe every famous political opponent they know.
Michelle Obama - not proud of America Sarah Palin - Foreign policy expert because she can see Russia John Kerry - Stupid people go to Iraq George Bush - Mission Accomplished John McCain - The economy is fundamentally sound Joe Biden - Fresh and articulate Howard Dean - Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaghhhhhhhhhhh
Chip Saltzman - Barack the Magic Negro
Look at how many political careers were destroyed or severely limited by one poorly chosen phrase.
I get the sense that the complaint here is that it’s unfair. Of course it is.
It was not my intention to suggest that the examples I gave were career enders, just that simple gaffes can be career enders. I was showing examples of the most well known current figures and the sound bites their opponents describe them by.
Sarah Palin never actually said she could see Russia from her house. Tina Fey said that. Nicely played, indeed.
I didn’t quote Palin as saying she could see Russia from her house, just that she could see Russia from Alaska, because, she said it...
PALIN: We’ve gotta keep an eye on Russia. … You can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.
I think you forgot Kerry’s "I voted for it before I voted against it." That was the real kicker for him.
You’re right, this the better known definin statement used by opponents.
Captain, you can see Russian territory from Alaskan soil, if there isn’t fog.
Sarah Palin - Foreign policy expert because she can see Russia
And blew off the oil companies that were mainstays of the Alaskan Republican party to renegotiate a contract for a natural gas pipeline, using Canada resources for the culmination of the pipeline, which after waiting about 20 years will now be built—more foreign experience than Mr. "Voting Present".
Captain, you can see Russian territory from Alaskan soil, if there isn’t fog.
I never suggested she was lying about being able to see Russia from Alaska.
And blew off the oil companies that were mainstays...
Are you arguing that’s unfair to define Palin by one thing she said?
Of course it is, that’s the point here.
It IS unfair to define Palin as the lady who thinks she has foreign policy qualifications because she can see Russia from her state. It was a dumb thing to say, but it shouldn’t define her.
But since when is politics fair?
My point was this is just how it works, by both sides, for both sides, against both sides. One would think that the prospective RNC chair should be aware of such political realities. But then again, for all the dumb things these folks say and do, all of them should be aware they are saying something stupid, but I guess when folks have microphones in their faces for several hours a day, people are going to get caught being dumb, and their political opposition will define them by a single dumb thing.