You should have heard by now about the parody song called “Barack the Magic Negro” sent to Republican National Committee members by Chip Saltsman, who is running for the RNC chair. The backlash from normal people was loud and the defense of Saltsman, by racist Republicans was also loud. None of it surprised me really as I have enough common sense to know that “negro” is not a word one uses in public and defending its use as a “joke” is just plain mentally challenged.
Here are some of the “lyrics” of the song:
Barack the Magic Negro lives in D.C.
The L.A. Times, they called him that
‘Cause he’s not authentic like me.
Yeah, the guy from the L.A. paper
Said he makes guilty whites feel good
They’ll vote for him, and not for me
‘Cause he’s not from the hood.
See, real black men, like Snoop Dog,
Or me, or Farrakhan
Have talked the talk, and walked the walk.
Now a standard understanding of english and US History should see these words as not funny but racist to the core. It shouldn’t have to be said why “negro” is not a good word to be throwing around in public in the 21st Century.
Defenders of the song when it was first heard on Rush Limbaugh’s show back in 2007 (wow, imagine that..) including Saltsman himself now say:
“liberal Democrats and their allies in the media didn’t utter a word about David Ehrenstein’s irresponsible column in the Los Angeles Times last March. But now, of course, they’re shocked and appalled by its parody on ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show.”
Chip Saltsman’s ‘Magic Negro’ mistake
The column Saltsman refers to was about comparing Obama’s candidacy to characters in film and literature of a nonthreatening black man whites could embrace – which played on the racist idea that whites “normally” fear blacks.
As Tim Rutten says in his column:
The point is, when it comes to discussions of race in America — and particularly racial or ethnic humor — context is everything. In fact, racial and ethnic humor are probably the most contextually sensitive of all forms of satire. They work only when everyone is clear that the person making the joke regards the differences and foibles of another group affectionately and as something that makes everybody’s life more interesting. Lots of traditional Jewish and Irish humor falls into that category, though even there, it depends on who is telling the joke, and to whom.
The right contextual conditions, however, never exist in politics, which is why ethnic or racial references in that venue nearly always offend — or, at best, fall flat.
The reason there was little to no complaints about David Ehrenstein is that he was discussing cultural history and he is part black. There is just a basic taboo against a white person using racist terms about blacks just as there is a taboo about Jewish people using slurs against Irish Catholics in public etc….
This has been a staple tactic of the Republican party for more than 50 years. Using fear of minorities to rile up their white base with first outright racist terms but usually now they use codes. Saltsman seemed to have left his code book at home.
Now if it has to be explained why a white guy sending out a parody song which uses racially charged words about a black man isn’t funny then there is no hope for you and you will simply be a burden on society for the rest of my life and yours.
Since I don’t believe Saltsman went to a special school during his education days, I have to assume he is a racist idiot and so is anyone trying to defend his bone head decision to send out the song.