Sunday, January 10, 2010

Harry Reid's "Negro" Remark: Much Ado About Nothing

Senator Harry Reid is a flaming asshat.  The people of Nevada should send him packing later this year when he is up for reelection.  Reid is a bitterly partisan leftwinger who wants to ram socialized health care down the throats of every American, regardless of whether they want it or not.  Harry Reid is a man whom I dislike.

Having said that, I can't get too worked up over Reid's description of Obama some months back.  Reid described Obama as "light-skinned, with no Negro dialect unless he wants to have one."  GOP Chairman Michael Steele has called for Reid to resign over this "racial remark."

So why is this comment so objectionable?  Is it "RAAAAACIST"?  No.  The term "Negro" may be out of style but it was never used as a hate word.  When I was in college, back when cowboys were riding horses instead of playing football, the term Negro was perfectly acceptable.  President Kennedy used the word in some excellent speeches advocating full equality for black people.  Then the black radicals begin to speak up.  I don't remember who it was (Eldridge Cleaver?  Bobby Seale?) who said they were offended by the word "Negro."  They pointed out that whites were not called "Blanco" so why should black people be called "Negro"?  Okay, they had a point, though a very minor one.  I mean really, who cares?

Some years later another black activist (Jesse Jackson, I believe) decided that black people should be referred to as "African-Americans." Anyone not immediately embracing the new protocol was to be forever banished to the wastelands of the gauche, the socially inept, the out-of-touch.  It looked like the Bobby Seale rule no longer applied:  if you don't call white people "European-Americans" why should you call black people "African-Americans"?  Ah, but consistency is not what this is all about.  What this is all about is manufacturing new word triggers that can be used to demolish reputations with hardly any effort.

Harry Reid is a flaming jerk, but not because he called Obama a Negro.  The Negro comment only proves Reid is a wingtip daddy in a Nike world.  Out of touch, certainly, but not a racist.  Now, if Harry Reid shows up in blackface on black history day and starts singing Al Jolson tunes, we can reevaluate this. But for now, when it comes to eroding individual freedoms, Reid has a solid, equal-opportunity reputation.

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