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Harry Reid And Racial Insensitivity

Senate Majority Leader Democrat Harry Reid from Nevada has been exposed as the latest white politician to make an insensitive comment about a black person.  A new book, Game Change, says that Mr. Reid essentially made the comment that then Democratic presidential hopeful Illinois Senator Barack Obama would be an ideal candidate because he was a light skinned Negro and had the ability to sound black only whenever he wanted.  And now, conservatives are crying foul because they contend if one of their own said this, they would be deemed a racist and therefore, Mr. Reid should resign.

Okay I’ll bite.  When was the last time any high profile political conservative ever expressed the slightest concern about somebody using racial slurs against a black person?  Was it when Rush Limbaugh was playing that Barack the Magic Negro song?  Was it when South Carolina Senator George Allen referred to the minority in the crowd at one of his rallies as macaca?  Did conservatives care when a conservative bureaucrat distributed an image of all the Presidents with Mr. Obama depicted as little more than a pair of bulging eyeballs on a black background?  The answers are nope, nada, and hell no.

Conservatives are accusing liberals of having a double standard.  And that might be true.  If liberals heard somebody like South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson, who is already on their shit list for shouting out his infamous comment calling Mr. Obama a liar during a formal address to the Congress, they’d have a totally different reaction.

But the conservatives are guilty of their own double standard.  Conservatives have never expressed any concern over anyone using a poor choice of words in reference to the black community.  Rush Limbaugh makes racial offenses part of his standard operating procedure on his conservative talk radio show.  Way too many conservatives applaud when black people are the subject of some racist rant.  It ain’t black people watching reruns of Seinfeld with Michael “Did someone say nigger” Richards, Duane “My son ain’t going to date some soulless nigger” Chapman, or Don “Nappy headed ‘ho’s” Imus.  Compared to these offenders, Mr. Reid calling Mr. Obama a light skinned Negro shouldn’t even register as a blip on their offense meter.

But now that Mr. Reid is the offender, the conservatives are pulling out the stops, pointing the figure in feigned astonishment, trying to make a case on black people’s behalf.  I think the last time conservatives did something specifically for blacks was when President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves.  And even with that gesture of racial generosity on conservative’s part, it is a matter of contention whether or not it was for the welfare of black people.  A lot of white people were complaining that they couldn’t find work as long as black people had to work for free.  Mr. Lincoln’s personal opinion was that no black person would ever have the same status as any white person.  No doubt, Mr. Lincoln could have given a rat’s ass about black people.  And that conservative mindset appears to be the popular sentiment of today.

So now a lot of conservatives want to point to liberals and cry foul and we’re supposed to take them seriously.  This morning Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele wants to point his subjective finger at Mr. Reid and say if a conservative did it the liberals would be having a field day.  Yes, and if a conservative did it, Mr. Steele would be on the other side of the fence as well.  That’s what happens in political circles.

In the game of politics, nothing is done with fairness in mind.  No decision is made with impartiality.  It’s all about whatever benefits my side.  Do the conservatives care what white people in high places think about the black community?  No.  Do the liberals give a damn about the black community?  Hell no!  Nobody is saying that the Democrats have the black community’s best interests at heart.  Our politicians ignore every social problem that continues to plague the black community.  But somehow we’re supposed to believe that Harry Reid’s comment about a black man a year ago means something to someone now.

Everybody who sits in one of those high seats of government has referred to a black person some time in their life with a derogatory racial slur.  Harry Reid is definitely not the first and he certainly won’t be the last.  But now Republicans want to call for his resignation.  I say good luck.  If it didn’t matter to them then it probably doesn’t really matter now.  But in the game of politics, it’s hard to pass up a chance to score points.

Monday, January 11, 2010 - Posted by | African Americans, Bernard Madoff, Black Community, Black Culture, Black Men, Black People, Democrats, Life, Politics, Racism, Republicans, Thoughts


  1. One of my biggest pet-peaves is hypocrisy. In politics, no party, side of the spectrum, and possibly no incumbent is free of it. But I’m solidly behind the conservative outcry on this one. Sure, as you point out, they may not be outraged if one of their own made that statement, but you’d better believe Sharpton, Jackson, the CBC, NAACP, etc would be lining up to string one of them up. However, Sharpton’s actually backed Reid up — funny that Sharpton ran on the same party ticket in the past. We can’t have double standards, and still have integrity. This is why every single Democrat that was in outrage about Trent Lott, or even Joe Wilsons supposed racism, and that voiced their outrage and suggestion of censure or worse, needs to either zip the lip, or support the same for Reid.

    Comment by LOUDelf | Monday, January 11, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback LOUDelf,

      But when has Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the CBC, or the NAACP strung up any Republican politician? What Republican was every forced to resign because of some offhanded comment about the black community? Like the post said, if you’re going to call out liberals hypocrisy, accuse them of selectively saying who can get away with using a racially insensitive term, you need to do the same about conservative’s hypocrisy, they never gave a damn about anyone being insensitive to the black community before. Why now? If you’re going to say that liberals need to zip their lip, then you need to say that Republicans do the same.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, January 11, 2010 | Reply

      • I’ll serve you Trent Lott, Republican Minority leader of the Senate. There was plenty of outcry over some of his comments.

        I have no problems telling Republicans to zip their lip, but they are not the party that raises the big stink over these things. Remember Joe Wilson? He said “you lie” only, yet was branded racist by several prominent Dems. Bottom line, you can’t have outcry against one party, but not another for similar issues. I think both major parties should zip it. Neither one is perfect… heck, neither one is particularly functional.

        Comment by LOUDelf | Tuesday, January 12, 2010

      • LOUDelf,

        “…heck, neither one is particularly functional.”

        On that we can agree. But the idea that Republicans want to pretend that they care about a racially charged statement is laughable at best. Trent Lott talked about his reverence for his good old boy buddy Strom and how we wouldn’t have all these problems if we just went the segregationists route and his peers applauded. And if their not the party that raises a stick about these things, who’s doing it now? Are you trying to say that its the Democrats raising Cain here? If Republicans aren’t the ones making a stink over issues of race it is because the Republicans are the ones more likely to make racially insensitive remarks. And their track record with the minority community really isn’t such that they have the capital to afford a misstep or two.


        Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Tuesday, January 12, 2010

  2. I appreciate that this post is mostly aimed at the hypocritical reaction to Reid’s remarks from Republican politicians. But you also seem to take for granted that Reid made “a derogatory racial slur.”

    Just what slur was that? The use of the old-fashioned word “Negro,” which is a word I would never think to use, but which was commonly used as a neutral word for race when today’s older Americans were growing up? The word “Negro” was the standard word in law books, for instance, when Reid was young, and enough blacks still prefer the word “Negro” for themselves that the Census Bureau has had to add the word back as a choice for the 2010 Census.

    Or are you referring to the content of what Reid said? He didn’t say he approved of the ways in which many moderate white voters react to black candidates, and what he said is generally accepted as true in political science.

    Comment by James | Monday, January 11, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback James,

      But the point of the post is that the outrage is phony. Nobody on the left or the right really cares about the black community. And they care even less about somebody using the word Negro as a reference to black people or voice the fact that light skinned black people have an advantage over dark skinned black people. Who would’ve voted for Barack Obama if he looked like Clarence Thomas and slurred his words like Mos Def? They are both using black people as pawns in their little political games. Whether Mr. Reid used the word Negro or straight up called the man a nigger, the end result would be the same. The black community will continue to suffer.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, January 11, 2010 | Reply

      • Well, I agree that the outrage is phony. My concern is that precisely that people seem to be acting as if Reid has done something wrong.

        As for the word “Negro,” it’s still the preferred term of a great many black Americans. I find it quite offensive, but I’ve learned to live with the fact that many people alive today, black and white, learned “Negro” as the standard, polite term for blacks. Good riddance once it’s gone, but it doesn’t signify racism for someone Reid’s age.

        When it comes to how people treat those with darker skin, I couldn’t agree more. But did Reid say anything to suggest he doesn’t care about that form of discrimination? I’ve only heard him say that it’s true, which would help Obama get elected as a black man.

        I’m not saying that Reid may not be prejudiced. I don’t know him. I’m just saying that judging him because he dared to talk about what made Obama a viable political candidate, and his use of a term many people still use to describe themselves, is playing to the Republicans’ hands: judging racial politics based on phony claims, rather than demanding real progress and judging politicians on that basis.

        Comment by James | Monday, January 11, 2010

      • James,

        Like I said in the post…

        “Mr. Reid calling Mr. Obama a light skinned Negro shouldn’t even register as a blip on their offense meter.”

        You focused on four little words and pulled them out of the context of the entire article. The whole issue here is Harry Reid and what Mr. Obama himself has described as Mr. Reid’s choice to use inartful language. You say that I’m taking it for granted that Mr. Reid used a derogatory slur. Your point is that I’m the one playing into the conservatives hands by saying that the outage is phony. You got me Sherlock!


        Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, January 11, 2010

  3. Every country deals with race differently. The two biggest mistakes in American history once one gets beyond slavery: (1) forced integration by court rulings – you can’t force people to want to associate with, get along with, or respect you; and (2) affirmative action – no matter how one looks at it, it smacks of unfairness and does not make people respect you.

    Comment by Reggie Greene / The Logistician | Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Reply

    • They come by the dozens don’t they brother peacemaker? Riddle me this Reggie. So, what would be YOUR suggestions for Blacks and other people of color to gain equal access to good educations, jobs, mortgages, quality health care, you know, a decent standard of living? Especially in light of the fact that people of color are TAX PAYING citizens so we have a CONSTITUTIONAL right to demand equal access to resources that we have paid for (whether it be in money or in blood defending this racist ass system).

      “The reason that society is incapable of addressing the racial issue is because we view it from a perspective which is not conducive to real analysis. We talk all around the fundamental, underlying reasons for racism, and make it an emotional issue.” What would this perspective be Reggie? And who is making it an emotional issue, I would assume when you say “we” you are talking about White people right? Cause last time I checked Black people in this country have REAL grievances when it comes to how they are treated, and Black people have never shied away from expressing racism’s effects in real losses, whether that be in economic terms (the huge disparities in household wealth, neighborhood values, and pay) or emotional and physical well being (the high prevalence of diabetes, mortality rates, average age of death, and my favorite, the disparities in unarmed black men being shot by police). It has always been the members of the majority who have made it an “emotional” issue by getting defensive, blaming the victim, and tell us to “get over it”. Now if you are black, I would implore you to root the foundation of your analysis of “racism” and “discrimination” in our history and our “context” and not try to sanitize it into a hands off scientific study that can be PUSHED aside to address so called “more important business of our nation.” Only people with the privilege of white skin have the ability to do that.


      Comment by Umkhonto we Sizwe | Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Reply

    • Reggie,

      You are most correct. Forced integration and affirmative action are the number one causes of our racial problems. The forced integration of the African people into slavery, and the affirmative action that made black people slaves and excluded the black population from humanity. You are just too offensive to be allowed to exist.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Reply

  4. “shouldn’t even register as a blip on their offense meter.”

    Excuse me Brother P, but how could you be so is Offense-O-Meter…trademark is pending!

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Reply

  5. I’m saying that the Republicans are playing the Democrats’ game by acting outraged at a racist comment. At the very least Reid was patronizing to Obama. But because in this country, anything said that is not compimentary of a minority (or half-minority in this case) is considered racist, just like the “you lie” comment, we as non-hypocritical people have to consider it as such, even if the person is from the same party… like Byrd, right?

    Comment by LOUDelf | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

    • LOUDelf,

      “I’m saying that the Republicans are playing the Democrats’ game by acting outraged at a racist comment.”

      And that’s the problem here. It is nothing more than an act to score political points. Republicans don’t give a damn about black people so why do they want to act like they give a damn now? And at the very least Mr. Reid was patronizing. And Republicans are upset about that? You’re actually trying to say that the Republicans are offended about Mr. Reid being patronizing to Mr. Obama? Am I getting that right?

      Okay, I’ll bite…

      When was the last time any Republican stood up to somebody being patronizing to a black person. That’s an even more absurd excuse for their less than convincing act. If you want to compare Harry Reid’s private comment to Barack Obama to Joe Wilson’s very public comment to Mr. Obama during a Presidential address to the Congress, then you obviously have no clue what patronizing to black people really is. You’re so busy casting a scolding finger at Mr. Reid while all the time your hands are covered in blood.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

      • I guess you miss the point. We can’t complain about one party for doing something, and give a free pass to another for the same thing.

        “If you want to compare Harry Reid’s private comment to Barack Obama to Joe Wilson’s very public comment to Mr. Obama during a Presidential address to the Congress, then you obviously have no clue what patronizing to black people really is. ” — I never said Wilson’s comment was patronizing. Many on the left accused him of racism for his two words. Again, double standard.

        Please, tell me how my hands are covered in blood now?

        Comment by LOUDelf | Wednesday, January 13, 2010

      • And I guess you miss my point. You can’t let slide some of the most racist comments coming from your own but then point the finger at someone else and cry racism when they use the word Negro. Why do you insist on such hypocrisy? If you are going to bitch about somebody not sticking to their old behavior then bitch about the conservatives not sticking to their old behavior. DUH!!!

        The blood is reference to guilt. You’re just as guilty as anyone else. Double DUH!!!


        Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    • Also, I believe that it was said that Wilson yelling “you lie” was actually disrespectful to the President of the United States, not to black people. And why it was being called racist was because obviously Joe Wilson’s racism is what made him think that it was appropriate or within his rights to call the President of the United States a liar during a televised address to Congress.

      Now if that isn’t clear then I don’t know what else to do, to help you out. And I agree with BrotherP on this one, you by your own admission are admitting that this is nothing more than a game. The Republicans don’t actually CARE if what was said was racist, hurtful or patronizing. They only care that they PERCEIVE this may be an opportunity for them to be the aggressor in a PERCEIVED racial issue.

      And it isn’t even a case of they felt that the dignity of black people needed defending. They are just upset because they feel that this might be something that they feel they would have been busted on. And what is so funny is that the Republicans are so out of touch with black people that they don’t even know what would or could be offensive to blacks. This is the reason they are usually the ones in the hot seat for racially insensitive comments.

      Instead of taking this opportunity to explain their commitment to black issues of concern, they are too busy slinging more insults at blacks in an attempt to destroy a single man in the Democratic party. That is just how lame these people are. If they truly felt this was some sort of slap in the face to blacks. They should have tried to find a way to connect to black people but they didn’t even remotely bother with that. Instead they decided to chastise us. They don’t care one iota and never will.


      Comment by theblacksentinel | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

  6. “And why it was being called racist was because obviously Joe Wilson’s racism is what made him think that it was appropriate or within his rights to call the President of the United States a liar during a televised address to Congress.”

    So when the Democrats were roudy during a Bush speech, they were racist against white people, hence within their rights to disrupt his speech to congress? Let’s not try to stretch here, OK?

    The bottom line here, is there’s a double standard, and while I think the political gamesmanship is slimey, it is fair game as it’s been done to them.

    Comment by LOUDelf | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

    • LouDelf,

      Rowdy? Are you saying that someone from the Democratic party called Bush a liar during any of his speeches to Congress? I think not my friend. In fact there is NO problem with the Congress getting a little rowdy. Rowdy doesn’t mean that you can just be a blatant ass and start insulting the President of the United States. The problem is that there is NO double standard by what you say. You want to make one where one isn’t. No one called Bush a liar while he was in the middle of a speech. No one can prove that any Republican saying the same thing would have been run through the ringer by anyone other than the Democrats. Your argument holds water about as well as a broken sieve.


      Comment by theblacksentinel | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

      • A little rowdy is different than booing, and yelling “no” in response to a comment he made — not in support but in contradiction to his assertion… like calling him a liar. As a matter of fact, the only difference between Wilson and the Democrats at the 2005 SOTU speech, was he yelled alone, they did it in a pack. So yes, complete double standard. And being a blatant ass is different than racist. I agree Wilson was an ass, but the contention he was racist was off-base, but has never been retracted by anyone who threw it out there. So it’s quite OK when his party pulls the race card out and waves it around when someone makes a comment directly attributed to race.

        Comment by LOUDelf | Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    • LOUDelf,

      So let me get this straight…

      A bunch of white people being rowdy to another white person is racism? Is that the jest of your argument? If that’s the case then you obviously don’t have a clue why people in the black community roll their eyes when we see a bunch of white conservatives hollering about racism against black people. You don’t get it and you never will.

      The bottom line here is that there is a double standard. If you didn’t say anything then, why are you saying anything now? They did it to you first? Why don’t you stop this tit-for-tat mentality and grow the hell up?


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

  7. “A bunch of white people being rowdy to another white person is racism? ” No, not at all. Same as Joe Wilson’s comment wasn’t racist. But if people want to make it one, they have to open up the floor for similarities to be drawn, like my direct one. Same with Reid. If his party is going to be in an uproar over Wilson, Lott, or any other blabbermouth that says something that hurt someone’s feelings, they can’t cry foul when they are accused of the same thing.

    “You don’t get it and you never will.” For someone with the name “brotherpeacemaker”, you’re obviously misadvertising with that name. And frankly I have no tit-or-tat mentality. I’ve just pointed out the justification for a bunch of blowhards doing it. I think you’re calling the kettle “black” here. Based on the degredation of your argument, you’re in no position to be telling others to grow up.

    Comment by LOUDelf | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

  8. LOUDelf,

    “I’ve just pointed out the justification for a bunch of blowhards doing it.”

    Of course you have. You are much too clever for anybody here. Joe Wilson was being respectful. That’s how he greets all Presidents. He just missed his opportunity with Mr. Bush. And just because you can make a correlation, albeit a rather weak one that makes absolutely no sense to a rational mind, doesn’t mean you’ve pointed out jack. Like I said before, you don’t get it and you never will. All you’ve done is used the same old refrain, they did it first! You simply are too stuck on liberals being unfair to see that conservatives are just as ridiculous. They look the other way when “Wilson, Lott, or any other blabbermouth that says something hurt someone’s feelings”, so why say anything now? Don’t tell me let me guess, they did it first. Right…

    And as far as my name goes, a rose by any other name will smell just as sweet. The name is just a name. If you don’t think I deserve it, all I have to say is who the hell are you to judge me? Just because you call yourself LOUDelf doesn’t mean I don’t find you a total jackass.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

    • Were the Democrats in Bush’s party? Was Wilson in Obama’s? No. So were either being racist because they yelled out in response to comments? No. You find these correllations weak? Make no sense to a rational mind? Please show me one that does then, instead of showing your maturity by name-calling.

      And by the lack of logic or respect you show, frankly, calling me a jackass might just be a compliment. And who am I to judge you? I’m no better than you, who immediately judged me. See the irony?

      Comment by LOUDelf | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

      • Okay LOUDelf, you’re really are beginning to wear out your welcome on my blog. You see, as my guess I freely give you respect because I appreciate you coming to visit, and possibly learning something. As my guest, you should respect your host. If you feel that I’m not respecting you, you are free to leave and go somewhere else. If I don’t feel like you’re respecting me, I’ll delete your comments.

        If you think I don’t deserve my name as Peacemaker, you are more than welcome to state that opinion. I believe I respected your comment saying that Peacemaker was false advertising. What’s in a name? Just because you call yourself LOUDelf doesn’t mean you’re above any false advertising as well. And while I did make the suggestion with a double negative that I find you a total jackass, I did not call you a total jackass.

        Now, because you have proven beyond a doubt that you are without reason, I think your participation in this conversation is through. Your reasoning is redundant and you’re not even listening to the arguments being made. Suffice it to say that we’re just going to have to agree to disagree. Harry Reid is just as racist as your boy Trent Lott, Joe Wilson, Strom Thurmond and anybody else you can think of rolled into one. It still doesn’t explain why Republicans want to beat the drum of racism on black people’s behalf now. You never cared about black before.

        Bottom line, if black people find Mr. Reid’s comment so offensive then let the black community handle it. If the black community is so influential that it can take care of Trent Lott then it can take care of Mr. Reid as it so sees fit. Thank you so much for your concern.


        Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, January 13, 2010

  9. LouDelf,

    I see you talking out of your neck (I’ll be polite). But you CLAIM you cited apples to apples and I, ME, MOI, showed you point blank how it WAS BOGUS. Where is your rebuttal to anything I said. I see where your comments were also torn apart by the site owner. But you wish to play this game of “no one listens, just calls names.” I listened, and found you to be WRONG! And so, what you really want to say is since no one agreed with YOU, there is NO discussion. I felt that you really had nothing to say. You made my points by agreeing that it IS a game. So now what?

    What is it that you are looking for? You want someone here to tell you that making a true statement about how lighter skin blacks who can utilize English in a way that puts the white majority at ease would do better than lets say Shaft, is somehow equal to a man telling people that yes he and his town voted for a person who wanted to keep the races separate thus keeping blacks even more downtrodden than they are now, and that if his bigoted friend had won that election we wouldn’t have “the problems we have now.”

    And what those were one can only guess to be something related to race, since that was the bigots only platform for election. And so again you believe that these two statements are of equal value and everyone should be equally upset. Are you MAD? This is what you want for everyone to listen to? This is what you feel is worthy of a conversation? If this IS what you are trying to pedal then it is with great pleasure that I say so long! I don’t need someone who is this detached from reality that he feels that using the word Negro, which by the way is or isn’t offensive depending on the black you speak to, and someone claiming I should be segregated like an animal or better yet a runaway slave.

    So as far as I can see, it is YOU who is NOT willing to listen to reason. You wish to continue your ranting about things that are as connected as an elbow and an asshole, but somehow no one is listening to you. I still can’t get over that. I must have entered the twilight zone this morning. Oh, I forgot, why don’t you go baa at some of those right wing grazing fields! I got your sheep right here, and since I am being polite, I won’t give commentary as to where I am grabbing. But at any rate, see ya, and don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | Thursday, January 14, 2010 | Reply

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