Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid recently apologized for comments during the Presidential election that he admitted were ‘racially insensitive’. Reid was quoted as saying that Barack Obama was a ‘light skinned’
African-American ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one’, and that it would help rather than hurt his eventual presidential bid. Reid made the comments in private, and were recalled for a recent book on the 2008 election called “Game Change” by Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin and New York magazine’s John Heilemann.
Many people (particularly Republicans) have suggested he retire from his position for the remarks. President Obama, who Reid strongly supported in 2008, immediately accepted his apology saying ‘As far as I am concerned, the book is closed.’
While Reids comments were no doubt poorly chosen, the sad fact is that he was telling the truth. He should be reprimanded for the 40 years out of date language, but not for the content.
Obama wrote this about dealing with white people in his book ‘Dreams From My Father’:
It was usually an effective tactic, another one of those tricks I had learned: People were satisfied so long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves. They were more than satisfied; they were relieved – such a pleasant surprise to find a well-mannered young black man who didn’t seem angry all the time.
Sadly, it’s a fact of American life that African Americans are heavily stereotyped by the media, and ‘acceptable’ blacks are ones who go out of their way not to seem threatening. If Obama had behaved like John McCain during the campaign, there isn’t a chance he would have been elected President. Going on the attack, belittling his opponents and assuming an inherent right to political power would have sent Obama back to Chicago faster than a Sarah Palin wink.
As Bob Cesca writes, Harry Reid should retire, but not for his insensitive comments:
Reid should be forced to retire because he’s a weak Democrat
and probably won’t win in November. So he should get out of the way and
allow the Democrats to run a stronger candidate. The Dodd Effect.
Meanwhile, Reid doesn’t have a history for racially insensitive
statements, so it all seems overblown and certainly not grounds for
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.