January 11, 2010

Is Harry Reid a racist? It depends on what the meaning of racist is.

"It was all in the context of saying positive things about Senator Obama. It definitely was in the context of recognizing in Senator Obama a great candidate and future president." So said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine, about Harry Reid saying that Obama would be a fine candidate because he's "light-skinned" and has "no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

Is Harry Reid a racist? It depends on what the meaning of racist is:

If by "racist," you mean somebody who feels antagonism toward black people, then Harry Reid isn't a racist. Harry Reid thinks we are racists.

If by "racist" you mean somebody who would use other people's feelings about race in a purely instrumental way to amass political power, then Harry Reid is a racist.

ADDED: To fight the charge of Type 1 racism, the Democrats are rolling out their Type 2 racism in all its virulence.

AND: Eugene Volokh responds to this post:
Does the term “racist” indeed normally mean “somebody who would use other people’s feelings about race in a purely instrumental way to amass political power”? I don’t think I’ve ever heard it used this way; and while I certainly recognize that words can have multiple standard meanings, I’m skeptical that the second meaning Prof. Althouse suggests is indeed standard.
The reason why I put it that way is not because I saw that as a standard meaning. It is intended to express what I think is exactly what Reid was doing. The clause begins with "if." Seen that way, I'm saying: If what Reid did is racist, Reid is a racist.

Now, it's a separate question whether racism should be defined like that. Perhaps a narrow definition of "racist" is desirable. The word is so inflammatory, you might want to reserve it for those who think people of a particular race are inferior and deserve to be treated differently. But maybe our understanding of the word should be refined so that it covers those who use race in other ways that we disapprove of. My post was intended to offer the suggestion that we ought to disapprove of what Reid did with race and for that reason we ought to adopt it as the definition of racist.

Volokh says that if my proffered use of "racist" isn't "standard"...
... then it seems to me a bad idea to try to redefine “racist” this way, because of the substantial possibility that (1) listeners will misunderstand...
I disagree. I want to challenge people to think about what is "racist," not save the word for the meanings that have already been established. Let's use it in ways that are useful. And let's talk about and develop the meaning of this powerful word, not just try to make life easy for listeners.
... and (2) will misunderstand in a way that is unfair to Sen. Reid, because it might lead listeners to think that Reid is actually being called a definition-one racist (a normal meaning of “racist”), since that’s a more standard definition.
I'm not willing to dumb down the conversation like this. I said quite clearly that Reid wasn't a Type 1 racist. I think there is something else he was doing that was bad, and I'm using a proposed redefinition of the word to inspire critical thought about how bad it is.

314 comments:

1 – 200 of 314   Newer›   Newest»
rhhardin said...

An actual racist would go unnoticed today.

PatHMV said...

Wouldn't it have been shorter for Reid to simply say that Barack Obama is a "credit to his race"?

Whether Reid is a racist or not, I can't say. But the words he uttered are racially offensive.

campy said...

If by "racist" you mean a republican, than he's not a racist.

shoutingthomas said...

This "Who's a Racist" bit is completely worn out.

It isn't even worth a posting.

Lincolntf said...

He's a racist. The condescending, paternalistic kind of racist who truly believes he's doing the "negroes" a favor by thinking for them.
It's a not uncommon affliction on the Left.

DADvocate said...

Reid was simply saying Obama is a good Negro. What's wrong with that?

vbspurs said...

LOL Campy! You won the thread already in my eyes.

Lem said...

Political controversy ensued following remarks [Senator] Lott made on December 5, 2002 at the 100th birthday party of Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina.
Thurmond ran for President of the United States in 1948 on the Dixiecrat (or States' Rights) ticket. Lott said: "When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years, either."

Thurmond had based his presidential campaign largely on an explicit racial segregation platform. Lott had attracted controversy before in issues relating to civil rights. As a Congressman, he voted against renewal of the Voting Rights Act, voted against the continuation of the Civil Rights Act and opposed making Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a federal holiday. The Washington Post reported that Lott had made similar comments about Thurmond's candidacy in a 1980 rally. Lott gave an interview with Black Entertainment Television explaining himself and repudiating Thurmond's former views.

Lott resigned as Senate Republican Leader on December 20, 2002. Bill Frist of Tennessee was later elected to the leadership position. In the book Free Culture, Lawrence Lessig argues that Lott's resignation would not have occurred had it not been for the effect of Internet blogs. He says that though the story "disappear[ed] from the mainstream press within forty-eight hours", "bloggers kept researching the story" until, "[f]inally, the story broke back into the mainstream press."


Senator Reid must step down from his leadership post.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"It was all in the context of saying positive things about Senator Obama.

Let me get this straight, commenting on his 'light skin and non-Negro dialect' was supposed to be the positive things?

Joe said...

Racist or not, Reid is an asshole.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I mean isn't that right up there with 'he speaks so well'?

Oh never mind, that's been replaced with 'he's so articulate.'

Lem said...

oh .. I got that from Wikipedia.

Lincolntf said...

Frankly, I've always found Harry Reid to be a clean and articulate white man, so this comes as quite a shock...

Chase said...

Harry Reid is an old school racist. Reid's racist attitudes come from the racism of the previous generation of Mormonism, which didn't allow full membership of blacks into the Mormon Church until 1978.

Here is how you answer the Reid question: Answer this:

Were the people who saw the talents of Sammy Davis Jr and Nat King Cole in the 50's and 60's and used them but did not let them enter by the front door or use the same bathroom racist? Or did their good deeds in hiring these black entertainers take way their aquiescence to racist attitudes and going along with clearly racist policies?

You know the answer. Harry Reid is still a racist.

If it quacks like a duck . . .

Scott M said...

I have a lot of problems with the leadership Steele is giving to the RNC, but he nailed it. If Lott's comments are the standard, Reid has no choice.

Does that mean he'll step down? Not on your life. While hearing about the story over the weekend, my first thought was, "what does the Congressional Black Caucus have to say?" This morning I found out that they gave him a complete pass.

Yet another example of the vacuous value system that dictates Democratic behavior these days.

vbspurs said...

I didn't think Trent Lott was a racist then, nor do I think Harry Reid is a racist now. What they are, are examples of their millieux and generations (remember, Harry Reid is 70 years old and a Mormon from Nevada) speaking to people who understood what they meant.

What Reid said isn't exactly racist. As PatHMV said, it's racially offensive. Today, the director of the NAACP went on Fox News to say he wasn't offended by Reid's remarks, and that is the position of his organisation.

I wonder if that would be their official position if they had heard it was "Sarah Palin" or "John McCain" who had said what Reid did, and not the Nevadan.

Chances are they would crucify them, ask for an immediate apology tour (like they did with Imus) alongside a triumphant Al Sharpton, and then tar and feather them with this incident whenever their names came up.

vbspurs said...

BTW, how many days did it take for Obama to make a public comment about the Underwear Bomber? 4 days, right?

How many MINUTES did it take for an official White House communiqué from the President accepting Senator Reid's apology?

Priorities.

traditionalguy said...

The war of throwing the "You are a ...ist" is getting boring. The 1960s opened the can of worms that MLK and the GOP finally dealt with ending the Jim Crow era. But the victors were said to be Activists and then went on to get the same favors for women, Indiginous tribes, and disabled people. Hurray. The victors now routinely claim that the mere recognition of a category named Negro, or Female, or Indian, or Cripple is illegal and requires a great public Resignation and appropriation of even more Money Grants to the wounded victims. That is the world that the Democrats claim as their own. Therefoe a Democrat leader needs to Resign too. A morman named Romney would be publicly destroyed for such thinking; so why is a Morman like Reid immune?

c3 said...

When will the Republican Party learn,

when the Democratic Parth is shooting itself in the foot, its time holster your weapon.

Lem said...

'The war is lost' Reid Must Go!

Nomilk said...

And, as far as I can tell, Queen Mary Jane Milky Loads, who led the charge against Trent Lott, has said as much about Reid's racism as he did about his own federal drug bust. In other words, nada.

Lincolntf said...

The fact that the CBC and the rest of the lockstep moonbats want to excuse Reid's use of the not quite N-word in describing Barry's "dialect" exposes them for what they are.
Hypocrites trading on the history and misery of racial minorities in order to accumulate money and power. They should all be ashamed of themselves, and their supporters share the blame.

G Joubert said...

when the Democratic Parth is shooting itself in the foot, its time holster your weapon.

Or at the very least take care to not to overplay your hand. It would be a far better thing for a wounded Reid to say where he is and be a poster boy for who and what the Dems are, and then be taken down by his constituents next November.

Kirby Olson said...

The statement isn't racist. It was an objective evaluation:

He's not saying that he wouldn't vote for Obama, or for another black fellow, but that the public might give him a chance, because he was light-skinned and didn't talk in ebonics.

It was a fairly shrewd assessment, is all.

Obama had to get a huge segment of the white population to vote for him in order to win. He got that. And that he probably did is probably partially because he hails from Eastern Africa, and he grew up outside of any black demographic that would have skewed his speech toward ebonics.

So he looked white and talked white, and yet could probably get many white leftists who wanted to feel good for voting for a black.

Now if only Hillary had more clearly resembled a man, but there was that crying jab in the restaurant, which wasn't manly!

Original Mike said...

He's either a racist or stupid. I'm pretty sure it's stupid.

G Joubert said...

say = stay

Kirby Olson said...

Hillary ought to man up if she wants to win!

vbspurs said...

Queen Mary Jane Milky Loads

The who, the what?

SMGalbraith said...

Nah, he's not a racist. At least based on these dumb comments.

It's a losing battle on my part but I do wish people would recognize the difference between racist views or comments and racialist views or comments.

Lost cause, I know....

G Joubert said...

The statement isn't racist. It was an objective evaluation...

Come on now. If it had been a Republican who had offered up that evaluation about Obama's candidacy, like, say, if it had been Karl Rove who said it, no matter how flattering and complmentary his intentions, he'd have been absolutely skewered.

Arturius said...

What they are, are examples of their millieux and generations (remember, Harry Reid is 70 years old and a Mormon from Nevada) speaking to people who understood what they meant.

I’ll have to respectfully disagree with that assessment. I’m not buying the ‘I’m old school’ excuse, particularly when they come from individuals who would not skip a beat in condemning a conservative for uttering a similar statement. What Reid said was nothing more than the typical liberal mindset that a black person can be acceptable among polite company provided they’re one of the ‘Huxtables’.

In fact, I am stunned that he would claim that this comment was supposed to be taken in context of saying something positive about Obama? I have to wonder what the African-American population who are of a shade darker and have that unfortunate accent think of the Senate Majority Leader’s comment.

Lem said...

He's not saying that he wouldn't vote for Obama, or for another black fellow, but that the public might give him a chance, because he was light-skinned and didn't talk in ebonics.

It was a fairly shrewd assessment, is all
.

I don't care.. there is blood in the water.
Put a fork in him, hes toast.

Montagne Montaigne said...

"If by "racist" you mean somebody who would use other people's feelings about race in a purely instrumental way to amass political power, then Harry Reid is a racist."

In what dictionary has this ever been offered as a definition of the word "racist"? Do you speak English?

MayBee said...

Blogger campy said...

If by "racist" you mean a republican, than he's not a racist.


Genius.

Lem said...

Get me my torch.. I'm not waiting for sundown.

holdfast said...

It is not really rascist, but it is racialist - meaning looking at everything through the prism of race, something Obama does quite routinely. Of course, had a Repub said it they would be crucified.

Remember, Reid is the guy who insulted the quality of Clarence Thomas' legal writing, and then could not provide a single example. Clearly Reid has no problem with about 80% of African Americans - the Democrat kind.

Politically, a wounded Reid is much better than a clean, articulate replacement.

Scott M said...

@SMGalbraith

No, the statement is not strictly racist. But then again, neither was Imus'...or Lott's...or Limbaugh's...or any other of a myriad of racially-charged incidents we've had over the last couple of decades.

Althouse's question is, perhaps, misworded for the discussion she intended to take place. Possibly, it should be "should Reid step down?".

The statement wasn't racist in and of itself given the words included. However, if you look at it in the context of the paternalism blacks in America are really starting to rail against (more evidence mounts all the time), this was unbelievably stupid.

I stand by Steele's comment. It doesn't matter if it was racist. If Lott's removal is the standard, Reid must go.

One further point, though. If you want a GOP senator in Reid's seat, keep yer frikkin' voice down or the DNC will pull a Dodd in Colorado.

Windbag said...

He's not racist; he's a hypocrite...in relation to these comments.

On the other hand, the progressives who believe and act as if minorities cannot make it on their own merit are racists, so in that setting, he's racist.

wv: nodygez...as in nodymoov and nodygez hurt?

jaltcoh said...

To quote a comment from a completely different blog post:

"Meade said...

"I don't like seeing the term racism being defined down.

"Preferences for and prejudices toward racial characteristics can be more or less ugly, but I think the word "racism" should denote a belief that members of certain identifiable racial groups are clearly inferior to members of other racial groups and therefore do not deserve equal human rights. Racism is an ideological belief and a racist is a true believer in that ideology."

Scott M said...

@MM
"In what dictionary has this ever been offered as a definition of the word "racist"? Do you speak English?"

Oh, I suppose it's the Webster's Emotional Knee-Jerk "That's OUR Word" Revisionist Pandering Double-Standard Dictionary" It's tough to read, though, as the words keep slipping off the page...

On other words, don't be such a putz. You know exactly what this discussion is about.

Almost Ali said...

I polled six African Americans last night; five didn't know who Harry Reid was.

Reminded me of the Mohammad cartoonist who was home minding his own business until several months later the clerics got a hold of'em.

Which brings us to the odd-man-out; he thinks he heard the name Harrah Reid mentioned yesterday in a local AMI sermon - that Harrah signs their food stamps.

rhhardin said...

"Prism of race" has to be wrong.

I'd suggest the fisheye lens of race.

The Crack Emcee said...

I just posted about this, kinda, and I think it's about time y'all payed attention to it.

rcocean said...

I thought racism meant anyone liberals dislike - I wasn't aware it was about black people.

Montagne Montaigne said...

Wake me up when Harry Reid voices full throated support for white supremacy, which is what Trent Lott did.

Keep digging, repubs. Acting offended by what Reid said is sheer opportunism fed by fantasies of revenge, and I doubt it attracts a single non-white voter to your side. Believe it or not, most people aren't as stupid as you think they are.

Balfegor said...

If by "racist," you mean somebody who feels antagonism toward black people, then Harry Reid isn't a racist. Harry Reid thinks we are racists.

If by "racist" you mean somebody who would use other people's feelings about race in a purely instrumental way to amass political power, then Harry Reid is a racist
.

There's an intermediate position, though, which is -- as Lincolntf suggests -- the paternalist position that Blacks are inferior in some way, and cannot be held to the same standards as people of other races. This isn't necessarily coupled with antagonism towards Blacks. Thus, the fact that Reid was promoting Obama is pretty much meaningless, if we're looking for racism. It's like praising a Black politician for being able to speak with a broadcast-standard US Midwestern dialect -- the fact of the praise itself encodes racist assumptions about (a) the inferiority of AAVE dialects, and (b) the inability of most Black Americans to speak the standard dialect.

That said, other than the somewhat peculiar use of the antiquated term "Negro," Reid's statements were mostly just projecting racism onto other people, without necessarily agreeing with the underlying assumptions, racist or otherwise. Even the "Negro dialect" crack is in the context of Obama's electibility. So the remarks were offensive, but not really offensive to Black people. More offensive to everyone who isn't Black, and doesn't care about whether Obama was a light-skinned Black, or whether he can speak standard English.

michael farris said...

"If by "racist" you mean somebody who would use other people's feelings about race in a purely instrumental way to amass political power, then Harry Reid is a racist."

Meaningless. Is there any politician on the national stage that _doesn't_ do that?

wv: uncro : too easy

Nomilk said...

Queen Mary Jane Milky Loads

The who, the what?



A/k/a Andrew Sullivan, the renowned gynecologist and pothead, and avocational body builder.

vbspurs said...

I have to wonder what the African-American population who are of a shade darker and have that unfortunate accent think of the Senate Majority Leader’s comment.

Arturius, they know they are behind the 8-ball socially. I have a "light-skinned" black friend, of Jack and Jill background, who tells me her mother faced enormous pressure from her family because her own dad was pitch black and socially undistinguished.

White people have been upwardly mobile in the US forever, and part of that means that you have to alter your accent, become more conscious of your grammar, how you dress, etc. to be better able to fit in with the crowd you now belong to. It is thought that Black Americans face less pressure, certainly in the post-Civil Rights era, to change because it's seen as being less "real".

It's interesting to speculate if Senator Reid would've mentioned the "Negro dialect" in the 1950s about Dr. Ralph Bunche, for example.

Back then, it was not about being ghetto but about sounding like you were raised on a plantation like Bojangles Bill Robinson or Jack Benny's valet, Rochester.

Scott M said...

He may not be racist, technically. What I believe his sin here to be paternalism. This is the "next big thing" in race politics. I say this because not only are the pundits on both side mentioning it more, the rank and file people I deal with, of all stripes, have had it with this so-called soft-racism or the racism of lowered expectations.

If you believe innately that an entire group of people produce exceptional examples that cut against the norm (dark skin, "negro" dialect) then regardless of whether you dislike that group as a whole, you're judging them by a different standard.

former law student said...

But the words he uttered are racially offensive.

PatHMV is black? Who knew?

I have never accepted vicarious victimization. Only the target group can say if a remark is racist or not.

If by "racist" you mean somebody who would use other people's feelings about race in a purely instrumental way to amass political power, then Harry Reid is a racist.

By this definition, every politician is a racist. Harry Reid commented that Obama was not black enough in his speech and appearance to trigger the white majority to vote against him. This problem was avoided in every previous Presidential election by running only white candidates.

The Ghost said...

no "negro dialect" ???

where I grew up the only people who would ever have used that term would be upper class racists.
Who uses the word negro to describe anything with respect to African Americans today ? negro music ? negro clothes ? negro attitude ? see what I mean ...

its an old fashined word and old back to the days when the word was not benign ...

I can't imagine ever thinking about things in that context unless I had always thought about them using that terminology aka "negro" ... and 30 years ago the term negro was not intended as a positive refernce ... its not really today either ...

Original Mike said...

Wake me up when Harry Reid voices full throated support for white supremacy, which is what Trent Lott did.

Oh good grief. He mumbled some platitudes to make an old man feel good on his birthday.

Now, I was happy to see Lott go, and subscribe to Glenn Reynold's observation that the incident was used by conservatives to get rid of Lott. But "full throated support for white supremacy"? Hardly.

Scott M said...

@fls

"Only the target group can say if a remark is racist or not"

Patently as ridiculous as the statement that includes all politicians. You're assuming that the target group is monolithic and this is never the case.

SMGalbraith said...

And we have the Democrats doubling down on the race card.

We are learning - again -that race and charges of racism are more about having the right political views than someones views about skin color.

Reid can't be a racist, can't you see, he has the proper voting record, unlike those Republicans.

Shameless.

The Crack Emcee said...

And, still, you go on and on and on and on. As I said to Ann once:

I'm black and I don't give a damn - it's 2010 for goodness sakes. What the fuck are you guys arguing about?

You're being stupid beyond belief.

vbspurs said...

Who uses the word negro to describe anything with respect to African Americans today ?

My mother, who is a foreigner, for one. She thinks it's politer than "black". I have tried to explain, and that one day she'll get into the exact trouble we see Reid getting into today, but she doesn't get it.

George Doe said...

If by "racist" you mean somebody who would use other people's feelings about race in a purely instrumental way to amass political power....


...then you have a firm grasp of the GOP, the Tea Party, and lots of those folks who "lean" conservative.

Scott M said...

then you have a firm grasp of the GOP, the Tea Party, and lots of those folks who "lean" conservative

Expand on that statement and provide examples or stfu.

Balfegor said...

Re: The Ghost:

Who uses the word negro to describe anything with respect to African Americans today?

The United Negro College Fund?

Arturius said...

Acting offended by what Reid said is sheer opportunism fed by fantasies of revenge, and I doubt it attracts a single non-white voter to your side.

I don't think the GOP is offended, simply pointing out the absolute double standard that exists when a liberal Democrat shows thier true colors.

Keep in mind that Lott paid the price for praising a 90+ year old colleague who ran on a segregationist ticket when most on this forum probably weren't a twinkle in thier father's eye. Why that stokes fire in some bellies while Robert Byrd can still get a pass is beyond my comprehension.

To be quite honest Montagne, if I were a 'non-white' voter with even a modicum of intelligence, I would be asking myself why I should continue to support a party that purports to be on my side yet thinks the postive aspects of my particular demographic would be having light skin and not having a particular accent.

AllenS said...

and 30 years ago the term negro was not intended as a positive refernce

Nonsense. I'm old enough to remember when the word Negro or colored, was the way to describe blacks/African Americans (what they're called today). Back in the early to mid 1960s, if you called an AA black, that would have been considered racist. If you used the term African American, nobody would have known what you were talking about.

vbspurs said...

A/k/a Andrew Sullivan, the renowned gynecologist and pothead, and avocational body builder.

Yes, he does look like an avocado, doesn't he. Thanks, Nomilk!

vbspurs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arturius said...

Arturius, they know they are behind the 8-ball socially.

That wasn't my point, but rather did Reid's comment perhaps take the pennies off their eyes to realize that the party that they hitched thier horse to doesn't have a 'positive view' of them unless they have the appropriate skin shade and accent.

vbspurs said...

Scott M wrote:

He may not be racist, technically. What I believe his sin here to be paternalism.

The deep irony here, regarding the UK versus the USA in race relations, is that we are said to have gone from paternalistic (White Man's Burden) to racist.

In America, you are going from racist to paternalistic.

michael farris said...

Also, the 'dialect' comment is ridiculous since the only way Obama would know AAVE* (the current term used by linguists) is if he set out to learn it as an adult, the same way some British actors learn to speak American.

I don't know if he's done that, but it certainly wasn't part of his cultural heritage growing up.

I'm not sure if it's part of his wife's language background or not. Certainly many African Americans can codeswitch between AAVE and SAE. I wouldn't be surprised if she can speak AAVE when and if she wants and I wouldn't be surprised if she can't.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AAVE
reasonably coherent information from a linguistic perspective

wv : trophi : new improovd spelling

SJL said...

I am a racist because I believe Asian people are smarter than Caucasians. Being racist can be either postivite or negative.

MadisonMan said...

Racist or not, Reid is an asshole.

True enough. Does it really matter if an asshole is racist or not?

I'm not sure if the comparison to Lott is an good one. After all, the White House is the one that wanted Lott gone (well, one of many), so they used Lott's words against him. I'm certain that if Obama wanted Reid out of the speaker's position, he'd be working to get that done using the racist angle.

But why get rid of someone who can be a lightning rod for criticism?

Invisible Man said...

If by "racist," you mean somebody who feels antagonism toward black people

So I guess we can all agree on Rush now.

AllenS said...

I clicked on Invisible Man's profile, and found out he's a colored guy.

Joan said...

fls: But the words he uttered are racially offensive.

PatHMV is black? Who knew?


Reid's statement was racially offensive to me, a white woman, because he assumes that I am racist, that I care about how dark a person's skin is, or what "dialect" (WTF? why not "accent"?) they speak with. My problems with Obama have everything to do with his policies and nothing to do with his skin color. I'm with the Crack Emcee on this one -- it's 2010, why are we talking about this?

Victoria: don't fret about your mom. In the real world, most people cut members of older generations a lot of slack. My mom still uses the term "colored." I cringe every single time, but she's in her 80s and not about to change.

Scott M said...

@invisible man

So I guess we can all agree on Rush now

Is it okay to dislike certain black people and like others? How about Asians? Mexicans? Arabs? How about white people? Can I dislike certain white people and like others?

I suppose personal judgement has no place in the bailiwick of racial relations.

vbspurs said...

I'm certain that if Obama wanted Reid out of the speaker's position, he'd be working to get that done using the racist angle.

Well, then, on top of being incompetent, Obama is a fool because Reid is a dead duck come November anyhow.

If Obama were really serious about passing his programmes, he would have issued a lambasting communiqué about Reid, and then sat back and watched Chuck Schumer become a much more weasely, and successful, Senate Majority Leader.

holdfast said...

"Wake me up when Harry Reid voices full throated support for white supremacy. . . "

I believe that task has been delegated to the senior Senator from West Virginia.

The Crack Emcee said...

O.K., you guys are too stupid for me today.

Laterz.

Balfegor said...

Also, the 'dialect' comment is ridiculous since the only way Obama would know AAVE* (the current term used by linguists) is if he set out to learn it as an adult, the same way some British actors learn to speak American.

He did.

Balfegor said...

Re: Joan:

My mom still uses the term "colored." I cringe every single time, but she's in her 80s and not about to change.

Oh, I shouldn't worry. The new hip locution is "people of colour," so it's only a matter of time before we come full circle, and become "coloured people" again.

Incidentally, who ever came up with that ridiculous term "people of colour" ought to be shot. It's absolutely the most nails-on-chalkboard phrase in the whole panoply of modern newspeak. I hate it so, so much.

vbspurs said...

Victoria: don't fret about your mom. In the real world, most people cut members of older generations a lot of slack. My mom still uses the term "colored." I cringe every single time, but she's in her 80s and not about to change.

I should feel okay, even with your reassurance, Joan, but I still worry about her. I am frightened she'll be around some black person one day, who won't understand.

ON TOP OF EVERYTHING, my mother uses the term "Negro" because she is trying to be kind to black people. Now, you can say it's paternalistic, and yes it is, but she has absolutely no hatred in her heart.

I know my mother, but I don't know Harry Reid. I suspect he may have said what he did, echoing my mother's attitude, but I do not know for sure.

What I do know, is that this is about a double standard between Democrats and Republicans talking about racialist terms.

vbspurs said...

O.K., you guys are too stupid for me today.

Laterz.


Sorry, Crack. Nice blogpost though!

JBlog said...

I don't know how the Democrats can condone this.

I mean, they wouldn't allow a former Klan leader to hold a Senate seat, would they?

Oh wait -- Robert Byrd.

SMGalbraith said...

Oy, this is getting to be a bit much. Eventually, this gotcha' game has to end soon.

Dumb coments made by a politican. Not much news in that.

More bread, more circus.

Michael said...

As an ex-lefty and ex-faculty member of an historically black university I have observed that most progressives are of the opinion that blacks can't make it without the help of whites. Does that make them racists or caring human beings? Most conservatives don't think much about race one way or the other and are baffled when they are labeled as racists because their level of caring doesn't measure up. It is all rather stupid, frankly and the ultra progressives like Reid and Pelosi are from parts of the country where there are quite small populations of blacks. Reid made what he perceived as a keen observation. I am not sympathetic to Lott since he is from the south and should have had a much greater sensitivity to the matter than someone from Nevada or California. Like Reid his comments were not intended to be harmful.

Balfegor said...

More bread, more circus.

It is a pleasant diversion from the impending health care disaster.

Michael said...

Balfegor:

No no no, not "people of colour" but "peoples of colour." Genuine progressives throw the redundant plural in for the sake of authenticity and solidarity.

PatCA said...

Why don't we all say, "I am a racist" like "I am Spartacus" and maybe that will end this ridiculous contrived issue.

AllenS said...

"colour" is English, "color" is American.

vbspurs said...

Why don't we all say, "I am a racist" like "I am Spartacus" and maybe that will end this ridiculous contrived issue.

Ironically, because it's worse to be a racist than to be a slave.

Joseph said...

Reid acknowledged privately an element of racism (if subconscious) in white Americans and that African Americans that have lighter skin and have a standard mainstream way of speaking are more palatable to whites. He also acknowledged that politicians (and good communicators generally) speak differently to different audiences. The only thing controversial is the odd use of the antiquated word "Negro" and the taboo suggestion that racism might still exist in America.

The Crack Emcee said...

And on and on and on,...

AllenS said...

Let me ax you a question, Crack. Does talking about racial issues bother you?

DADvocate said...

have observed that most progressives are of the opinion that blacks can't make it without the help of whites.

Sounds a lot like the Whte Man's Burden philosophy.

Anonymous Blogger said...

If by "racist" you mean somebody who would use other people's feelings about race in a purely instrumental way to amass political power, then Harry Reid is a racist.

By that definition, the Republican Party's Southern strategy was racist, even Republican President since Nixon has been a racist, Bob Corker is a racist, and the Clintons are racists.

edutcher said...

You can't be a racist if you're black or a Democrat. The Lefties say so all the time.

Of course, it's fascinating to recall the first scandal of that friend of black Americans, William Jefferson Blyth III, involved cheating a qualified black woman out of a state job so his girlfriend, Gennifer Flowers, could be put on the AR payroll.

Of course, what Reid said was racist. The fact that somebody like Al Sharpton is shilling for him is no shock. Or, for that matter, that George Will is trying to cover for him - we must be gentlemen, you know.

Montagne Montaigne said...

Wake me up when ...

I thought you were a somnambulist.

vbspurs said...

My mother, who is a foreigner, for one. She thinks it's politer than "black". I have tried to explain, and that one day she'll get into the exact trouble we see Reid getting into today, but she doesn't get it.

When I was a kid, black was a pejorative. You said, "colored", the acceptable term, or, "Negro", which was considered respectful.

This began as a gotcha game forty years ago, run by people like Jesse Jackson. First, you had to say black, then Afro-American, now African-American. Trust me, they'll come up with something else in a few years.

You're right, vb, Mom will get into trouble probably, but there's nothing intrinsically wrong with Negro or colored. A lot of good people in this country's history were proud to be called either and often put their lives on the line for the privilege.

The Crack Emcee said...

Yes, because there are no "racial issues" to be talked about. Harry Reid is no more of a racist than you are - he's just a stupid man. It doesn't matter "what the meaning of racist is" but whether or not he's exposed his unworthiness for the job - which he has.

White folks arguing over racism may seem like a positive development in your own eyes but it just looks like a nonsensical group back-slap to me because there's nothing but y'all and your attitudes (pro-and-con) that stand in my way, either way. I want out of the racial bubble - not to constantly be dragged into it.

Laugh at Harry Reid, as I do, and let it go.

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Balfegor said...

By that definition, the Republican Party's Southern strategy was racist, even Republican President since Nixon has been a racist, Bob Corker is a racist, and the Clintons are racists.

And Obama too, by cranking up the race-baiting in order to win the Black primary vote away from Clinton. As mentioned before in this thread, every politician has taken advantage of private racism, if only in the form of receiving the votes of racists who voted for or against a politician because of his/her race.

Anonymous Blogger said...

And Obama too, by cranking up the race-baiting in order to win the Black primary vote away from Clinton.

My point was that the definition was absurd, because it covers too many people. Even if it weren't an absurd definition, I do not recollect any Obama race-baiting during the primaries. You must live in another dimension.

bagoh20 said...

Let's suppose racism did completely disappear; does anyone believe the charge of it would? Even now 9 out of 10 times the charge is just chimps throwing crap.

Therefore, I no longer care about it.

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vbspurs said...

Laugh at Harry Reid, as I do, and let it go.

I totally get what you're saying, Crack and you're right -- but I'll be damned if I, for one, will let a vacuum be filled in the absence of my opinion.

That, in a nutshell, describes the internet's impact on society.

Lem said...

There is a good chance republicans can pick off Reid..

In a word..

Napolitano.
No heads rolled for Obama's national security screw up.

There is an opening if the republicans decided to put on a pair.

John Lynch said...

If one comment made by Harry Reid can outweigh all of his votes made in the name of civil rights (whether they did any good is another question) then we've really lost sight of reality.

I don't care what goes on in politicians' heads. I care what they do. Harry Reid clearly isn't a racist by behavior. Definitely not in his votes. So why all this angst over a few words?

So, the Democrats defending him are actually in the right. They know he's done more for them than can be undone by a couple sentences.

There's also the wonderful Derbyshire retort to anyone who calls him "racist"- "but is it true?" Clearly, Reid is saying something that is true. Obama would not have been elected if he acted like Rev. Sharpton. Punishing politicians for saying things that are true is not conducive to a healthy public discourse. I love Joe Biden because his "gaffes" are usually things that are true that no one dares to say.

Sure, there's the enormous hypocrisy evident whenever a Republican says something similar, but I disagree with that, too.

Scott M said...

@John Lynch

Clearly, Reid is saying something that is true.

You've never had a girlfriend or wife ask you if something they're wearing makes them look fat, have you?

From Inwood said...

Crack

Er, nothing to see here, move on.

Maybe you're living in a cocoon. Aside, can I say "cocoon" without someone saying that I made a racist remark?

Are you not aware the The Dems & the MSM (but I repeat myself) spend most of their time attacking their favorite bete noire like Sarah Palin & Trig, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Rush, Ronald Reagan, or Herbert Hoover. Aside, can I say “bete noire” without someone saying that I made a racist remark?

The important thing here is not whether Reid made a racist remark (no brainer except for robotic Dem apologists), but the difference in the treatment of Lott's certified racist remark vs, the yawn over Reid's, Biden's, Clinton's, & KKK Byrd's “what, racist?” remarks. (Commenting on Obama’s skin and “non-Negro dialect” are, really, to those of us with the secret decoder ring, “positive things”.

"Being Dem means never having to say you're sorry!"

Brent said...

I know people from Henderson Nevada that know the Reid family for over 40 years.

Harry Reid was a well known "nigger" jokes teller.

Unless he renounces his past, I would assume he still is a racist.

Lem said...

Laugh at Harry Reid, as I do, and let it go.

Its a big political target.

Get me detective snowball ;)

wv - vilam - yes he is!

Sloanasaurus said...

Reid made a racist comment. He apologized. He should be given a second chance..... However, to do so is creating a double standard. If we want to treat people fairly then Reid needs to step down.

What is lost on all of this is that Reid is prepared to vote for a health care bill that 70% of his constituents oppose. Now that is a scandal.

Jim C. said...

Ann, How is Reid's argument different from Kenji Yoshino's argument in *Covering*, a book you reviewed favorably for the New York Times?

PatHMV said...

Crack, I want out of the racial bubble, too. But every time I turn around, it seems, there are Democrats accusing me of being racist because of utterly non-racial political policies I advocate. I personally think that "racist" should be seen as a truly insulting slur, and it should be used only on rare occasions of actual racism. Thus, I fight back, hard, whenever I hear idiot Democrats use the word against people like Rush Limbaugh and Republicans or conservatives in general.

FLS, in addition to what others said, about the ridiculousness of a standard where only the officially aggrieved group may complain about something's offensiveness, I personally know one African-American man, a lawyer, who told me on more than one occasion how offensive he finds it when someone compliments him as being "well spoken" or "articulate."

vbspurs said...

I do not recollect any Obama race-baiting during the primaries. You must live in another dimension.

When Bill Clinton said that there was a different standard being applied to the candidates in the Democratic primaries, he was called a racist by Obama's supporters, and even Obama made a comment about that following the South Carolina primary, calling it the hallmarks of the politics of racism.

""So hold on a second," Obama told reporters with a chuckle. "So former President Clinton dismissed my victory in South Carolina as being similar to Jesse Jackson and he is suggesting that somehow I had something to do with it? OK, well, you better ask him what he meant by that.""

This is one of the many occasions when opponents of Barack Obama are smeared with the racist label. To argue contrary to that, is disingenuous at best.

David said...

Reid said something that thousands of mainstream commentators were saying about Obama over and over again during the campaign.

It's just that Reid said it in a very artless way. Precisely, Reid said it without code. Often racism is wrapped in code words. This was the opposite.

Our great national conversation on race is still a demagogic shouting match.

John Lynch said...

Scott M-

Clearly it's a dumb thing to say!

But what if it's true?

Are we punishing Reid for saying something dumb, or something that is true? If it isn't true, then why is Obama President and not Jesse Jackson?

John Lynch said...

BTW I'm not saying that African-Americans shouldn't be elected, just that they have to act a certain way to win votes. That's the reality.

Quaestor said...

Racism has only one practical meaning in this country, and we all know what that is. Harry Reid is a member in good standing of the Democratic Party, ipso facto not a racist.
Racist is a meaningless pejorative employed chiefly by the rhetorically challenged as a means of disrupting a debate before logical conclusions can be drawn, much like overturning a chessboard in a fit of pique.

Arturius said...

If one comment made by Harry Reid can outweigh all of his votes made in the name of civil rights (whether they did any good is another question) then we've really lost sight of reality.
I don't care what goes on in politicians' heads. I care what they do. Harry Reid clearly isn't a racist by behavior. Definitely not in his votes. So why all this angst over a few words?


I think you’re missing the point. Conservatives have to fight charges of racism simply because they believe people should be judged on their merits as opposed to skin color (hence opposition to affirmative action or quotas for example). Another commenter made the excellent description that Reid’s comments were paternalistic, in sense that being light-skinned and having a non-Negro accent were positive aspects of Obama and by implication, attributes that other African-Americans should aspire to since evidently in Reid’s world, that’s the path to success. In other words, Reid thinks they’re inferior, but if Democrats support legislation that will enable them to overcome such genetic drawbacks.

Quite frankly your comment is breathtaking since it appears as long as one votes the ‘right way’, one can hold whatever despicable views they want. Sort of the political version of buying indulgencies.

Lem said...

No beer for Reid!

It was very kind of the President to phone me today. Vernon Jordan is absolutely correct: my unfortunate experience will only have a larger meaning if we can all use this..

Why not.. lets use the Harry Reid comments to get him to step aside.

bagoh20 said...

Incidentally, it does work both ways. We also would not elect Joe Dirt or any other such white guy, which I think is the corollary to the type of black that Reid and Biden were referring too.

John Lynch said...

But who cares what views politicians hold if it's not reflected in their votes?

LBJ got the Civil Rights Act passed. I doubt he had much love for African-Americans. What matters more?

What politicians think or tell their friends doesn't affect me at all. It's the laws that come down that matter. I'm not interested in a politician's personal salvation.

Yes, conservatives are constantly being called racist when they are not. The solution is to refuse to allow racism to be used as a smear in the absence of proof. Make people prove it by showing concrete actions. When you let offhand remarks or speculation about what people think cloud debate, you've lost the fight. No one can ever disprove what they are thinking, only what they've done.

Are the Democrats guilt of the "soft bigotry of low expectations?"
Yes! But that's only evident through the results of their actions. Affirmative action has all kinds of drawbacks. Lenient welfare rules had catastrophic results. We can see that.

The only way to get any progress on race anymore is to look at reality, how people are actually hurt by stupid policies.

bagoh20 said...

"Quite frankly your comment is breathtaking since it appears as long as one votes the ‘right way’, one can hold whatever despicable views they want."

Well, yes. If he keeps his views to himself and does not promote those ides, then yes, I don't care. An very unlikely scenario though.

The Crack Emcee said...

"I'm not saying that African-Americans shouldn't be elected, just that they have to act a certain way to win votes. That's the reality."

That's what I meant by I'm affected (pro-or-con) by what attitudes y'all hold. Racist or not, I'll never be allowed to be a human being as you envision yourselves.

Methadras said...

I think people are confusing racism for being a moron. The man is dumb, so who cares if he harbors these types of sentiments towards blacks? So President Barely has no black dialect, would you then characterize him as an Uncle Tom because he speaks like a white man. Afterall, Biden himself called President Barely a clean and articulate black, as if to expunge the image of him being a dirty ghetto welfare nigger. What Reid's real problem is, is the way he's conducted himself in the Senate. What his other real problem is, is the way he's conducted himself ethically in business and legislative dealings. At this point Patrick Leahey looks like a Rhoades scholar compared to read and I think Leahey is one of the dumbest men on earth. Stunningly stupid.

Mary said...

If it isn't true, then why is Obama President and not Jesse Jackson?

There are a LOT of background differences between Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson other than skin tone.

A LOT. It's not his skin tone that many voters found so offensive about Jesse Jackson.

You just can't compare those two careers because they both happen to be black men, and think it comes down to just skin tone.

Not if you know any sophisticated voters who are accustomed to seeing black candidates on the ballot, that is.

Scott M said...

@Crack

I'll never be allowed to be a human being as you envision yourselves.

There's an entire branch of philosophy, having nothing to do with race or skin color, that holds that nobody else but you exists, so take some solace from that :)

Skookum John said...

A morman named Romney would be publicly destroyed for such thinking; so why is a Morman like Reid immune?

Not only Romney but also the Mormon Church itself would have been in for a good trashing from the bien-pensant Left if Romney or any other Mormon Republican had said such a thing.

Oy, this is getting to be a bit much. Eventually, this gotcha' game has to end soon.

It will end when the Republicans grow a pair and start running underhanded, unfair, inflammatory attack ads repeating the words of Democratic racists like Reid and Byrd, until they are hounded out of their jobs. If they're too genteel for that, then some swiftboat type groups should step up to the plate. But it's not like the Republicans stand to lose any black votes by stirring things up.

Alinsky rules apply. Destroy them with their own rules and make it personal. Make it hurt for individuals. Hit them again and again and again until careers And reputations are destroyed, and families are bankrupted. They'll get the message soon enough.

I am ready for all out war on the Left. We've been nice guys way too long.

Arturius said...

Affirmative action has all kinds of drawbacks. Lenient welfare rules had catastrophic results. We can see that.

Well conservatives saw that and were roundly denounced as racists when AA is opposed or when welfare reform was carried to the forefront.

What is more insulting, a party that asks you to succeed in your merits rather than skin color or a party that says your skin color is an obstacle to success and we need to pass laws because you can't do it on your own?

Its my observation that most Republicans are well past the days of institutionalized racism but for Democrats every day is Selma 1965.

bagoh20 said...

""I'm not saying that African-Americans shouldn't be elected, just that they have to act a certain way to win votes. That's the reality.""

Doesn't everyone have to act a certain way to get a majority to support them? That's almost the definition of being a candidate.

Mary said...

That's what I meant by I'm affected (pro-or-con) by what attitudes y'all hold. Racist or not, I'll never be allowed to be a human being as you envision yourselves.

Crack, I'm just a troll, but if you read this, I hope you know that using the you plural doesn't apply to all Americans.

In fact, I'm betting Reid is wrong: If the right man or woman were qualified and able to make it past the party gatekeepers, he or she would be elected regardless of physical looks, if their policies and leadership qualities were attractive enough.

Ironically, the worse the economic and foreign policy situation gets, the more likely we are to evaluate on performance standards, and not looks or estimations of some other artificial measure.

Merit will overcome PC.

careen said...

I've posted before that I fell back on "identity" papers in college if I had to pull a last minute paper out of my butt.

It's like quibbling over astrological signs and whether this person has shown himself to be anti-Gemini on a subconscious level.

It is, however, a very very easy way to pass a few minutes or media cycles w/o having to solve any hard problems or do any real research.

SukieTawdry said...

The fact that the CBC and the rest of the lockstep moonbats want to excuse Reid's use of the not quite N-word in describing Barry's "dialect" exposes them for what they are.

"Negro" is now the "not quite N-word?" When did that happen? A "Negro" is a dark-skinned person from Africa or whose ancestors were from Africa. I realize it's not a word much in use these days in the US (except perhaps by those associated with the UNCF), but when did it become a pejorative (or not-quite pejorative)?

There's so much concomitant bullshit to accusations of "racist" and "racism" anymore that such words and such accusations have lost all meaning. The fact is that if Stanley Ann Dunham had bedded down with a garden variety, white American Marxist, the world probably would never have given their issue a second look. Racist?

John Lynch said...

Mary-

I agree.

Harry Reid thought it was skin tone, and that was the most ignorant thing he said. I think he was trying to explain the success of Obama and the failure of other black candidates. I see someone trying to explain something that we don't have a vocabulary for, because it's an off-limits topic.

Obama is nothing like Rev. Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, which is why he got irritated when Bill Clinton made that comparison during the primaries.

Reid was trying to explain that difference, very badly.

The Crack Emcee said...

"It's like quibbling over astrological signs and whether this person has shown himself to be anti-Gemini on a subconscious level."

And that's the same point I made in the post on my blog. (Sorry, I'm at work, now, so you'll have to find the link yourselves.)

Mortimer Brezny said...

Let's suppose racism did completely disappear; does anyone believe the charge of it would? Even now 9 out of 10 times the charge is just chimps throwing crap.

This is racist.

Lem said...

I am ready for all out war on the Left.

Let's Sadammatize Harry Reid.

k*thy said...

John Lynch, I'd agree. It's quite reasonable to think that Obama had a better chance than most black candidates because of his skin color and way of speaking. His comments aren't racist, he's explaining this part of our culture.

Quaestor said...

I am utterly bored with this ludicrous controversy regarding the Majority Leader’s supposed racist remarks and its consequences. The Democratic Party is nothing more than the golem of cognitive dissonance – a walking, talking manifestation of axiomatic hypocrisy. To expect the Democrats and their ideological fellow travelers to treat Harry Reid as severely as they did Trent Lott is to expect a miraculous transfiguration of the Party into something it hasn’t been since the days of Hubert Humphrey.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The Democratic Party is nothing more than the golem of cognitive dissonance

I looked up golem of cognitive dissonance in the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Guide (3rd edition) and it appears they can only be slayed by a +5 Sword of Rightwing Fury or a druid's spell of Conservative Conversion although that's trickier since there is a +1 chance on a 10D roll for spell reflection turning the caster into the House Speaker but without the botox.

MayBee said...

BTW I'm not saying that African-Americans shouldn't be elected, just that they have to act a certain way to win votes. That's the reality.

I look at our black politicians, actors, sports stars, and other popular public figures and I see no evidence that one must be light-skinned to be elected, accepted, or beloved.

I wonder what right way there is to be a woman, though, so we can finally elect a female president.

former law student said...

I have yet to hear a black person call Reid's remark "racist." So I have to wonder at the motives of non-blacks who are taking vicarious offense on behalf of black Americans.

Scott M said...

@Hoosier

I'm mildly embarrassed that I understood every single word and concept in that comment.

Hoosier Daddy said...

@Hoosier

I'm mildly embarrassed that I understood every single word and concept in that comment.


Oh don't be. There are more of us than most think. I'm just more flamboyant about it ;-)

Hoosier Daddy said...

I have yet to hear a black person call Reid's remark "racist."

Michael Steele did.

Oh wait...he doesn't count now does he. Never mind.

Freeman Hunt said...

Isn't it sort of weird that we've come to a point where making a comment like Reid's is a HUGE deal where he might have to give up his office, yet actively working to screw over the entire country to amass power and rack up precious kickbacks to the government-favored is just business as usual?

Freeman Hunt said...

And yes, Reid is an idiot. But this is news how?

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

I have yet to hear a black person call Reid's remark "racist." So I have to wonder at the motives of non-blacks who are taking vicarious offense on behalf of black Americans.

Ok here it is..

(a usefull idiot ;)

Arturius said...

I have yet to hear a black person call Reid's remark "racist."

I recall seeing a snippet that the Black Congressional Caucaus is standing behind Harry Reid so there you go. I do find it puzzling they would do so considering Harry's comment implies that Obama won because while he may be black, he isn't, you know, black.

JAL said...

I do not recollect any Obama race-baiting

August 1, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama's chief strategist conceded that the Democratic presidential candidate was referring to his race when he said Republicans were trying to scare voters by suggesting Obama "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

President-elect Barack Obama's historic campaign brought in close to one billion dollars.

The comment had triggered a charge Thursday from Sen. John McCain's campaign manager that Obama had "played the race card... from the bottom of the deck."

Obama's camp initially denied the remark was a reference to Obama's race.
======================

Keep deluding.

(Not to mention the Gates incident this year post election of the post racial president.)

JAL said...

Clarification:

he said Republicans were trying to scare voters by suggesting Obama "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

The quotation marks in the text surround an OBAMA quote, not a Republican quote.

Roger J. said...

this country is totally fucked--I am reminded of the sheriff in the mississippi county where some negro--african american--or whatever the current PC term is: was lynched--his explanation: "aint that just like a dumb "nigger" to steal more chains than he could swim off with." Thats racism you can deal with--Bill Clinton's coffee remark and Harry Reid's remark are a bit above that but probably more pernicious.

This really isnt about racism--its about the double standard that let Robert Byrd talk about white niggers on national TV and bill clinton talk about serving coffee

Its the fucking democrats--give me a good redneck racist anytime--you know where they stand. For the rest of the libtards--racists to the core but not called on it.

Lem said...

clarification..

I favor the call 'disgraced' Senator Reid...

or am I too early?

Shanna said...

Maybe whenever this stuff comes up, we should just start singing "Everyone's a little bit racist" and be done with it.

Duscany said...

To me, calling Obama a "light-skinned Negro" makes no more sense than calling him a "dark-skinned Caucasian." He's half-white and half-black. Why can't people just live with that, rather than try and make him one or the other? This is not rocket science.

The Crack Emcee said...

Shanna,

"Maybe whenever this stuff comes up, we should just start singing "Everyone's a little bit racist" and be done with it."

Because that song's insulting to those of us who don't play that shit. How's that?

former law student said...

Thanks, guys. Governor Paterson seems to be saying that while the comment is offensive, Reid is likely just inarticulate (he may be clean):

"It's a very intrusive and kind of degrading remark, but it's one that was probably close to a different kind of way of phrasing it which might have been acceptable."

Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=887515#ixzz0cL8x75NQ

A good Republican like Steele would want Reid to go down, so I have to discount his remarks on this.

Quaestor said...

@ former law student
I have yet to hear a black person call Reid's remark "racist." So I have to wonder at the motives of non-blacks who are taking vicarious offense on behalf of black Americans.

The motives of Reid’s critics who characterize to the remark as racist are no less suspect than the motives of those who would absolve him. Whenever the hue and cry of racism rears its hoary head the “offended” party seeks to gain ascendancy over the alleged offender. It’s merely one of the dirtier weapons in the modern political arsenal .
If racism has any moral dimension or consequence then it must be more than just the perception of a self-indentified aggrieved party.

former law student said...

Why can't people just live with that

Just so. I think of Obama as our 44th white male President.

Roger J. said...

Hey--FLS--thats wonderful--now let me ask you how many black women have you gone out with socially? (assuming you are a man, but you can reverse the genders if you are in fact a woman)

Freeman Hunt said...

Reid's comments are most insulting to the American people. He's saying that We the People would never vote for someone with dark skin. That's ridiculous. A bit of received wisdom in dim bulb political circles.

But again, compared with the things Reid has done in office, this doesn't even rank within the top ten acts of his malfeasance.

former law student said...

If racism has any moral dimension or consequence then it must be more than just the perception of a self-indentified aggrieved party.

Racism is rooted in a lack of respect for others, a perception that they are lesser beings than you, not worthy of the same courtesies. Assuming you do not actually disrespect your fellow man, if you accidentally give offense, isn't it easy to apologize?

Lem said...

If racism has any moral dimension or consequence then it must be more than just the perception of a self-indentified aggrieved party.

You can say that again

Quaestor said...

Racism is rooted in a lack of respect for others, a perception that they are lesser beings than you, not worthy of the same courtesies. Assuming you do not actually disrespect your fellow man, if you accidentally give offense, isn't it easy to apologize?

That's your reply? If so, you have my sympathy.

AllenS said...

For all you white people reading these comments, y'all means you all.

Freeman Hunt said...

Interesting thing about "ya'll." People in Tulsa, Oklahoma don't say it, or didn't up to 1987. But people in Arkansas do. I remember noticing that word when my family moved.

former law student said...

Roger, I don't see how it follows, but just one. She was bright, attractive and talented, but we never became more than friends.

former law student said...

For all you white people reading these comments, y'all means you all.

An exact translation for the white people I grew up with: y'all = youse. "Youse have to come over to my house."

Methadras said...

Hoosier Daddy said...

The Democratic Party is nothing more than the golem of cognitive dissonance

I looked up golem of cognitive dissonance in the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Guide (3rd edition) and it appears they can only be slayed by a +5 Sword of Rightwing Fury or a druid's spell of Conservative Conversion although that's trickier since there is a +1 chance on a 10D roll for spell reflection turning the caster into the House Speaker but without the botox.


Phaw!!! 1st edition is the only one that matters. Besides, I figured casting a cone of silence on them would be good enough. Of course they would have to roll against their saving throw, but even then they would take 1/2 damage from the cone of silence, so all is not bad, we would only get to hear half their bullshit.

Freeman Hunt said...

Also ya'll, "ya'll" is a race neutral word in the areas of the country where it is used.

Roger J. said...

FLS--then you done good, sir--because that, it seems to me is one of the acid tests of racism.

Lots of people talk the talk but damn few of them walk the walk

Kat said...

The motives behind Reid's remarks can be interpreted (guessed at, really) more than one way, some of them benign. His comments don't bother me.

Both black and white Democrats are choosing to interpret his motives as charitably as possible, and are publicly stating their lack of offense, as is their right. This doesn't bother me, either.

Any conservative saying the exact same words, with even the most benign motives, would be cast by those same Democrats as a racist proto-demon with aspirations of repealing the 13th Amendment. This bothers me.

Sofa King said...

An exact translation for the white people I grew up with: y'all = youse. "Youse have to come over to my house."

In these parts, "y'all" means "youse guys" and "all y'all" means "you guys."

Maguro said...

Harry Reid is a Type 1 douchenozzle.

JAL said...

Heh.

See blog post below on The Daily Caller --

From The Daily Caller front page (which now features Palin)
Liberal Ezra Klein and conservative George Will: Harry Reid wasn't wrong

Ezra Klein opines, 'Do people seriously dispute that light-skinned African Americans have traditionally been more palatable to white Americans?'


Code for: "We know white Americans are racist -- except for me and you, my white Dem buddies. [Nudge nudge. Wink wink.]"

(Does this make this a twofer comment?)

Quaestor said...

@Lem

I favor the call 'disgraced' Senator Reid...

How about "the once-honorable Senator Reid" ?

And none too soon IMAO

Quaestor said...

@ KAT

Any conservative saying the exact same words, with even the most benign motives, would be cast by those same Democrats as a racist proto-demon with aspirations of repealing the 13th Amendment. This bothers me.

Nailed. Thank you, KAT. Shall we all agree?

Big Mike said...

@Quaestor, whether we all agree or not, you're merely stating objective reality.

edutcher said...

Anyone who saw Doug Wilder on Cavuto a few minutes ago got a big education in what a cynical, hypocritical game the word racist has become. Listening to Wilder weaseling will make more than a few people disgusted, angry, or both.

former law student said...

For all you white people reading these comments, y'all means you all.

An exact translation for the white people I grew up with: y'all = youse. "Youse have to come over to my house."


Not really. Y'all is singular, all y'all, when used, is plural. Youse came from Irish immigrants and is interchangeable as plural and singular. Youse guys is generally plural.

Or, as Johnny Hart once put it, the Mason-Dixon Line is the difference between y'all and youse guys.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I'm not saying that African-Americans shouldn't be elected, just that they have to act a certain way to win votes. That's the reality."

"That's what I meant by I'm affected (pro-or-con) by what attitudes y'all hold. Racist or not, I'll never be allowed to be a human being as you envision yourselves.
"

@ Crack. It goes both ways you know. The acting meme isn't directed JUST at blacks. White people or yellow or any other shade have to also act a certain way to get elected. We are all affected by other's perceptions and attitudes.

Just look at Palin. She isn't in lock step with the demographic that is in power in the Republican party or with the Coastal Elites, yet she is being raked over the coals because she doesn't fit the mold.

Or Tiger Woods, whose background is mostly Asian and California Bay Area elitist. They (the media and others) want to shove him into the "black" ghettoized mold without knowing, really, who is he?

We are all pigeonholed by someone else and held to standards that are either foreign or repulsive. Men, women, black, white. Don't feel alone.

Also....I want to know just what is a "Negro dialect" and who speaks it? Bill Cosby. Thomas Sowell, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, James Earl Jones??? This is like saying there is a 'Caucasian' dialect and expecting that Wm F Buckley speaks and thinks the same as Jeff Foxworthy just because they are a similar shade of pale. Really?

Kev said...

Who uses the word negro to describe anything with respect to African Americans today ?

Just the people who sing this music, I suppose.

This began as a gotcha game forty years ago, run by people like Jesse Jackson. First, you had to say black, then Afro-American, now African-American. Trust me, they'll come up with something else in a few years.

I think I've posted this here before, but it bears repeating. It's a conversation, from the early 90s, between a couple of friends of mine--Brian, a white guy from Alaska, and Tony, a black guy from Chicago (who then moved to Dallas and went to high school with Vanilla Ice, LOL). It was around the time that "African-American" was starting to enter the lexicon, and I'm guessing that Brian hadn't met many black people in Alaska. The conversation went like this:

BRIAN: So what would you like to be called, black or African-American?
TONY: To be totally honest with you, I'd really prefer to be called Tony.

And that pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject; the sooner we start thinking of people as individuals first, rather than as members of groups, the better off we'll all be.

AllenS said...

"Youse have to come over to my house."

"Noes I don't."

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Harry Reid is a tool of epic proportions, but he's not a racist. He was simply pointing out how many racists there are in America. I actually prefer this side of him over anything else he's ever said or done.

Arturius said...

A good Republican like Steele would want Reid to go down, so I have to discount his remarks on this.

Whereas a good Democrat needs Reid in the Senate. Ideology before principle and all that.

The Crack Emcee said...

DBQ,

You'll get no argument out of me there. I'm just stating it's demanded and it's wrong.

Kev,

I'm (still) happily "black" as a descriptive - "Crack's that black guy who's always talking about the dangers of NewAge,...") but when I think of myself, I'm (proudly) an American.

Freeman Hunt said...

I prefer the side of him that shows when he's asleep. The not doing idiotic things side.

(And before someone gets the wrong idea, I'm saying that I'd like it if he'd partake more of the regular nap, NOT wishing on him a dirt nap.)

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm loathe to use the term African American ever since attending a speech by Bertice Berry where she described the absurdity of the term. Went something like this, though better:

"If someone comes, kidnaps me, and takes me to another country, is anyone from Africa going to come and get me? Anyone? Any country over there going to send some guys to help me out? No. You know why? Because I'm not an African!

"But the United States? If somebody kidnaps me out of this country, the United States will be there in black helicopters and tanks and special forces guys, and they'll bust in anywhere to get me out and bring me home.

"So American, yes. African, no."

Arturius said...

He was simply pointing out how many racists there are in America.

That is a very interesting observation. According to the book, Reid believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama -- a "light-skinned" African American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,"

So if Reid is to be believed we saw those were the attributes that allowed 53% of the electorate (the vast majority being non-black) to embrace Barrack Obama. So it seems what you are saying Zachery, is that Reid believes Democrat voters will vote for a black man as long as he isn't too black and doesn't sound black.

Chase said...

(And before someone gets the wrong idea, I'm saying that I'd like it if he'd partake more of the regular nap, NOT wishing on him a dirt nap.

And I'd prefer he sleep with the fishes.

But before anyone gets the wrong idea, I'm saying that I'd like him to nap in a restaurant that has a very large aquarium.

Chase said...

Harry Reid is a tool of epic proportions, but he's not a racist.

Really?

Because above Brent wrote:

I know people from Henderson Nevada that know the Reid family for over 40 years.

Harry Reid was a well known "nigger" jokes teller.


Please explain how those work out together?

Freeman Hunt said...

Maybe Reid should take up golf. He could golf all day, every day. It would be highly enjoyable for both him and the electorate.

rcocean said...

Obama isn't a 'Negro' he's a 'Mulatto'. Reid should have been more accurate.

AllenS said...

I'm so old, that I remember when black men (can I say that?) used to conk their hair.

Balfegor said...

Re: DBQ:

Or Tiger Woods, whose background is mostly Asian and California Bay Area elitist. They (the media and others) want to shove him into the "black" ghettoized mold without knowing, really, who is he?

I don't follow golf, so I've probably read more about Woods in the past month than in the past few years all together. But I do get the impression that he's been put more forcefully into the "Black" category now that he's had a sex scandal -- and not by Whites only, mind. A lot of columnists (well, the two or three I read) objecting to his revealed preference for slatternly blondes rather than Blacks were Black too. It's kind of bizarre, particularly for someone like Woods, who really does seem to have thought about himself and his background in an enlightened post-racial way (unlike, say, Obama. Or, for that matter, me).

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Of all the threads on the lily-white Althouse blog, this has got to be one of the whitest. A bunch of whites* (who probably rarely encounter a black person in daily life, let alone took stock of [or cared] how they were struck by Reid's comment) arguing over whether a white politician's private acknowledgment of the advantages of a half-black politician's white attributes counts as a personal endorsement of those attributes as more legitimate. No consideration of the idea that Reid can separate his own feelings from what the electorate feels, here. I mean, why on earth would that even matter! Everyone knows that a politician can't separate his own feelings out from those of the voters! (Assuming that the person coming to that conclusion is a narcissistic dumbshit lacking the capacity for a theory of mind).

*The exception here is "Crack Emcee", who merely chimes in to say, in effect, stop it! Stop talking about race and racism! I can't take it anymore! The argument doesn't even matter!

Good job beclowning this blog, guys.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Perhaps instead of lecturing (and debating) the hopelessly stupid and out-of-power, I'll just post a link to the relevant topic. The relevant topic being, of course, the one that no one here gets.

Time to hit the books, kids!

Fen said...

If by "racist," you mean -

you cast your vote for/against Obama because of his skin color.

master cylinder said...

Ya gotta believe Crack on this one.


Harry is a moron,not a racist.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Reid's comment was, as far as anyone knows, a private comment. It was intended for private consumption. What on earth is wrong with acknowledging, privately, that "black" attributes make a candidate less electable on the national level? If he had said such a thing in public, then there would have been moral import to it. If he had commented publicly, as the Clintons did, on Obama's similarity to RFK or Jesse Jackson, then he would have been telegraphing a signal to the electorate their comfort with considering the possibility that he would be assassinated or never capable of getting sufficient votes from whites. But he didn't and hence there is no reason for anyone to conclude that Reid would sympathize with such attitudes.

Reid, like all human beings, is capable of acknowledging attitudes that he doesn't find attractive, that he does not sympathize with, that he doesn't agree with. Furthermore, unless he acknowledges those attitudes in statements to the public, he is not using them to the advantage of the people who do hold to them. He is not endorsing their legitimacy.

Although it would be difficult to believe, this blog has come up with one of the dumbest threads so far within the context of American social norms. Keep relegating your party to one that might never manage to garner a single vote outside of an increasingly shrinking white demographic. Keep pissing on what is common courtesy for how different groups of people come to understand what is polite and respectful and legitimate treatment between those groups. Keep putting the GOP on the road to becoming a rump party.

As I said elsewhere, it would be funny if it weren't so damned pathetic.

Fen said...

Ritmo Of all the threads on the lily-white Althouse blog, this has got to be one of the whitest.

You weasels are such a hypocrites.

You guys slimed Rush over similar context re McNabb. Blacklisted him from buying an NFL team because of it, Now, all of sudden, its "different".

Little Racist Weasels.

Fen said...

Ritmo: Reid's comment was, as far as anyone knows, a private comment -

blah blah spin blah.

STFU little racist scum.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

You're the racist scum, FenFuck. And STFU is not an argument. You're too dumb to have one, remember? Oh yeah, that's what you hate to be reminded of.

Racism enabler.

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