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January 09, 2010

Whoa: Reid Said Obama Could Win Because He's "Light-skinned" With "No Negro Dialect"

How did I miss this story?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apologized Saturday following reports he had privately 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."

Journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann reported the remarks in their new book “Game Change,” which was purchased by CNN Saturday at a Washington-area bookstore. The book is slated for official release next Tuesday.

Convenient that this will be forgotten by Monday, though.

Musing: I guess the shock value here is the use of the term "negro." That's a big no-no, even for a 70 year old like Reid who, well...I view with some suspicion just because I figure everyone from generations older than mine are carrying around all this race baggage. (I know, sounds like I've got some age-ism baggage of my own.)

The negro thing compounds Reid's problem, but isn't the whole picture. Folks also objected when then-candidate Joe Biden called Obama "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." I mean, Biden even used the much more PC hyphenated-American and he had pretty much everyone from the Right and the Left jump all over him.

Will Reid get the same treatment? Doubt it. They're not gearing up for a contentious primary and the Democrats have closed ranks, particularly when it comes to congressional "leaders" like Reid and Pelosi.

Here's what Joshua Micah Mickey Pacey Paisley Marshall wrote about Biden back in 2007, right about the time Reid was remarking on Obama's lack of accent:

Biden suffers from what one might with real generosity call chronic racial grandpaism. That is to say, the penchant for making comments that are not only racially offensive but also extremely silly and the sort of things that are sometimes excused or at least passed over from men, say, over 80 on the reasoning that they're from a different era and why get into it.

Excused?


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 02:14 PM

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