Oh, give me a super-sized break.
Leftie ’60s leftover/songwriter Peter Yarrow at the Huffington Post fumes over the “Barack the Magic Negro” parody that has RNC candidate Chip Saltsman in hot water.
Now, they are concerned with protecting the dignity of the office and with forging “commong ground and mutual respect?”:
The sending of a Christmas greeting by Chip Saltsman to the members of the Republican National Committee that includes a recording of the so-called parody, “Barack the Magic Negro” is not only offensive, it is shocking and saddening in the extreme. It flies in the face of America’s deeply held hope for a new era in which common ground and mutual respect characterize the exchanges between our national leaders.
I and my co-writer of “Puff,” Lenny Lipton, have been eagerly awaiting an end to the mean-spiritedness, outright disrespect and bigotry that was commonplace prior to this last presidential election. What might have been wearily accepted as “the way it was” in the campaign, is now unacceptable. Obama is not a candidate. He is the President-Elect, and this song insults the office of the Presidency, the people who voted for him, as well as those who did not — and taking a children’s song and twisting it in such vulgar, mean-spirited way, is a slur to our entire country and our common agreement to move beyond racism.
If the song “insults the office of the Presidency,” what about the 2007 Los Angeles Times op-ed by David Ehrenstein that inspired the parody in the first place?
AS EVERY CARBON-BASED life form on this planet surely knows, Barack Obama, the junior Democratic senator from Illinois, is running for president. Since making his announcement, there has been no end of commentary about him in all quarters — musing over his charisma and the prospect he offers of being the first African American to be elected to the White House.
But it’s clear that Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the “Magic Negro.”
The Magic Negro is a figure of postmodern folk culture, coined by snarky 20th century sociologists, to explain a cultural figure who emerged in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education. “He has no past, he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist,” reads the description on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_Negro .
He’s there to assuage white “guilt” (i.e., the minimal discomfort they feel) over the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history, while replacing stereotypes of a dangerous, highly sexualized black man with a benign figure for whom interracial sexual congress holds no interest…
…Obama’s fame right now has little to do with his political record or what he’s written in his two (count ‘em) books, or even what he’s actually said in those stem-winders. It’s the way he’s said it that counts the most. It’s his manner, which, as presidential hopeful Sen. Joe Biden ham-fistedly reminded us, is “articulate.” His tone is always genial, his voice warm and unthreatening, and he hasn’t called his opponents names (despite being baited by the media).
Like a comic-book superhero, Obama is there to help, out of the sheer goodness of a heart we need not know or understand. For as with all Magic Negroes, the less real he seems, the more desirable he becomes. If he were real, white America couldn’t project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on him.
The hysterical rush to protect magical Obama from ridicule only proves Ehrenstein’s point. And the parody is as much, if not more, a satire of race-mongering demagogue Al Sharpton than it is of Obama:
As much as I am nauseated by the left’s reaction, the overreaction of some on the right is even more gag-worthy. Current RNC chair Mike Duncan professes to be “shocked” and “appalled.” Others are assailing Saltsman’s lack of “sensitivity” and “tone-deafness” in sending out a joke CD by his good friend Paul Shanklin. Still others argue that even though the parody is not racist and is totally defensible, it’s just too much work to defend it.
If that’s the kind of GOP “leadership” we’re in for the next four years, it’s going to a long, long four years.
Stacy McCain shakes his head at the ritual denunciation.
JWF: Child Molester Reacts in Horror to ‘Barack the Magic Negro’
Quick reminder of how liberals respected the dignity of the office of the presidency over the last eight years:
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