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Guess what, world? Barack Obama is a negro. So are Kobe Bryant and Oprah Winfrey, and so was Martin Luther King. And Barack Obama has light skin. So do Mariah Carey and Will Smith. And Barack Obama speaks standard, business English, but sometimes employs African-American dialect for effect. So does Henry Louis Gates, Jr. And you know what else? Barack Obama’s light skin and standard unaccented English were assets in his quest for national office in 2008. If Obama had darker skin or heavily inflected African-American diction and accent, it would have been considerably harder for him to get elected president.
Not only was it not racist for Harry Reid to mention these things; it wouldn’t have been racist for George Will, Liz Cheney or anyone else to mention these things. Not a single conservative has ever been criticized in the press for saying anything equivalent to what Harry Reid said, nor should they be.
What Reid was saying was that Americans still retain unconscious racial prejudice towards dark-skinned blacks, and semi-conscious racial prejudice towards people who speak black English, in the political sphere. This is correct. Republicans who are accusing Reid of “racism” are saying one of two things. The first is that to observe that racial prejudice exists in America makes you a racist. This is something that many conservatives say all the time, and it’s idiotic. The second is that saying the word “negro” makes you a racist. These people have watched bits of the movie “American race relations in the 20th century,” but they didn’t get the point.
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