Re Senator Reid and the “light-skinned Negro,” I agree with much of what’s written below, and obviously any Republican Senate Majority Leader who started musing on such matters would be dark-skinned toast in nothing flat. But this comment by Matthew Yglesias (full disclosure: Mr. Yglesias has no use for me) tiptoes ever so tentatively toward the heart of it:
It’s good that Reid apologized, but at the same time you can’t really apologize for being the sort of person who’d be inclined to use the phrase “negro dialect” and it’s more the idea of Reid being that kind of person that’s creepy here than anything else.
One understands the realities of power. You can talk about how light-skinned and clean the Negro is and that’s perfectly okay as long as you support the president’s policies or (as Mr. Obama put it in his acceptance of Reid’s apology) “social justice.” But, if you go along to a town-hall meeting and say you oppose the health-care bill because you’re very concerned at what you hear about waiting times for MRIs in Canada, you’re obviously a knuckledragging racist who’s itching to string that uppity Negro from the nearest tree. (It’s been scientifically proven!)
Okay, fine. But, even if you accept all that, you’re still left with what Mr .Yglesias calls the “creepiness” — the fact that the Senate majority leader and to a lesser extent the vice-president think in this way. To those of us who find identity politics repugnant, it would seem to confirm that an unhealthy obsession with “anti-racism” eventually becomes so condescending it’s indistinguishable from racism — or, at any rate, the micro-classifications of apartheid — to the point where bigtime Dem honchos are sitting around saying, “What we need here is a clean octoroon.” “Well, this high yaller from Chicago might do the trick.” I mean, in what sense are Harry Reid’s remarks any different from this? The Weekly World News’ “Ed Anger” commenting last week on Obama’s first transsexual appointment:
I saw some pretty lousy looking she-males back in Korea, and I gotta say: this new one at least can pass…