So the leading Senator Harry Reid stated the Obvious(NY TIMES) " suggesting that Barack Obama could become the first African-American president because he was “light-skinned” and because he did not speak with a “Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”
Now the republicians are calling him a racist and comparing Reid's comment to comments made by (obvious republican racist) Trent Lott said this (NY TIMES) "Mr. Lott spoke approvingly of Mr. Thurmond's 1948 campaign. "I want to say this about my state: 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 all these years, either," Mr. Lott said"
Well...the truth will set you free!!
The country needs to come out of the closet when it comes to race. This issue runs deep.
This whole "dark skinned/light skinned" thing is nothing new. Harry Reid spoke the truth. If Obama spoke in an inarticulate manner, (like George Bush Jr) he would not have been elected. If Obama was dark skinned... he would not have been elected. I totally believe that. Part of the appeal of our President for blacks and whites... is that he is Bi-Racial. He is black and white.
Remember Obama's speech at the Democratic convention a few years ago? He said... "Go into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can’t teach our kids to learn — they know that parents have to teach, that children can’t achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white. They know those things." Enough said.
I have to say that most of this country speaks in some sort of idiotic dialect...but the issue is the “Negro Dialect” so that’s what I’m gonna talk about.
Even though this country is “integrated” it’s really not. A large number of black people and white people just do not care to mix. And since there may be more white folks than black folks in this country...it’s easy for a White person in “middle america” to only get information about Black people from what they see on Television.
Therefore... that "Negro Dialect" that the Senator is referring to is probably what is seen on TV. We all know that that accent is not associated with success. In popular culture and the media... this "Negro Dialect" is a benchmark of the un-educated. It is seen on Television shows like Cops, used by gangster thugs... you hear this “Negro Dialect” when you watch any given cop show or hospital saga or Tyler Perry Movie or TV show... we see the hookers and hospital victims, the finger wagging plus sized finger wagging “sistah”... may I also mention usually you you see these portrayals of folks they are...dark skinned.
(If you look at the movie “Precious” you see the impact of these images on a young dark skinned girl. I’ll talk more about this in a future blog).
The truth of the matter is that since slavery... black and white folks have been programmed to react in a negative matter towards dark skin. (Our country isn’t alone in this... it happens in London, India, Asia lighter=better in some viewpoints)
When OJ was in the newspapers... they darkened his mug shot. Michael Moore saw the obvious in “Bowling for Colombine” during the whole “Scary Black Men” section. I remember when I worked in an office and wasn’t smiling... people were really intimidated.
Yes, I’m laying this all down quickly and with tons of unedited emotion. I am happy that this came out because it is what everyone is thinking. Recognize this...within the black community skin color is an issue. Jack & Jill (an elite private club for upper class African Americans) used to have a “Brown Paper Bag” test as one of their rules for admittance. If you were darker than a brown paper bag you would not be admitted into the club...even if your family had a ton of money. The World Famous Cotton Club only admitted light skinned show girls you see it in film from Lena Horne to Halle Berry...light is considered more appealing in the African american community. It’s important for black folks to address our internal racism as well.
This skin color represents wealth, education, prosperity...white. While, in many opinions, the dark skin color represents poverty, ignorance, lack...black. I am not saying that is true... but I am saying that it exists and we never ever ever want to admit it or talk about it. We just live it and it festers and blows up every few years. I am also not saying that light skinned black people are perfect, more beautiful or better than dark skinned black people. Light skinned blacks have challenges as well... trying to be accepted as a “real” black person... connecting with the community being “black enough”.
As someone who was called an “Oreo” when I was in urban black communities (Stupid term black outside white in the middle) and worse at my old High School in Northern VA... Robert E Lee (who’s school flag is the Confederate flag) because I speak in a standard american accent... I say this... I am who I am. I was so happy to see Barack Obama become our President because he represented the best in all of us.. black and white. To see Michelle Obama a (dark skinned woman) as our First Lady...supporting him and raising two beautiful little girls. This represents the hope for our future. Yes you can be a dark skinned educated person who speaks like a Harvard grad because they grew up with a focus on education and went to Harvard!
And I just have to say... I’m so happy to have a President who represents this country with honor.
Here’s some quotes from George Bush Jr to remind us of how it used to be...
"The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. I mean in this century's history. But we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century." â¨...Governor George W. Bush, Jr., 9/15/95
"I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change." â¨...Governor George W. Bush, Jr., 5/22/98
"People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history."
...Governor George W. Bush, Jr.
"Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things."
...Governor George W. Bush, Jr., 11/30/96
Oh and just for fun lovely Mrs. Palin:
"Here in Alaska, we don't have hardly any black people, I never talk to them, so I was
surprised that a black girl beat me in the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant"
"Todd and I talked about Hurricane Katrina as God's way of
cleansing New Orleans of the blacks who have sinned, the Bible predicted
"I don't know a lot about Iran, I just heard that they are bad people"(2006)
"He can say he is a christian but as far as I'm concerned, Obama is a muslim, look at
his middle name" (2007) (from snoopes.com)
So let the discussion begin!!! I don’t have an answer but part of the way of finding an answer is saying that there is a problem.
As one of the commentators said on an ABC talking heads show" Just because the conversation is about race..doesn't make the conversation racist."