I trust that you all know by now what I think about the Nevada Leg Hound, Harry Reid. I’d like him to dildo his own nether regions with a saguaro cactus, native to his state. Why? There is not a GOP or DINO leg in the Senate that Harry hasn’t humped in the process of caving-in to our detriment.
The media and the blogosphere are awash with accusations and claims that Reid should step down, and the Republicans are comparing Reid to Lott. I suppose it’s time for me to weigh in on this.
I’d like to establish my own creds on racism, as a point of reference. My father was an equal-opportunity bigot. He hated all minorities, but especially blacks. By the time I was nine or ten years old, I knew that black people were shiftless, unsanitary, lazy, and untrustworthy. Back then, I was diving for mussels in the bay, came up under a boat, hit my head and knocked myself out cold. A young black boy (meaning about my age) saved my life. After talking with him for awhile, he did not seem at all like my father’s description. I wanted to be his friend, so I took him home to meet my family. We walked into the living room, and I blurted out what he had done. My father got red in the face and screamed, “Get that little nigger out of my home!” I was so ashamed that, in my heart, I became an activist that very day. By the time I was 18, I had made three trips to the south during vacations to protest for civil rights. I faced down police dogs and fire hoses. I escaped serious injury, only because black people there protected me. When Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I have a dream!”, I was there. I dropped out of college after two terms to become a full time activist against the war in Vietnam and for Civil Rights. I worked primarily through SDS, before the weather faction took over. I liaised with other groups to coordinate our efforts, so I was well acquainted with such luminaries as Roy Innis of CORE and Stokely Carmichael of SNCC. As a member of the national steering committee for MLK’s Vietnam Summer, I attended several meetings with Dr. King.
Keeping this in mind, on the previous incarnation of this blog, I wrote that I was hesitant to support Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for president, because I doubted that a black man could be elected in this nation. That was not a racist remark on my part. My creds prove that. It was an honest expression of concern about the level of racism that remains in our nation. I voted for Obama in the Primary and in the General, and am pleased to admit that I was wrong.
Harry Reid’s ‘light skinned’ and ‘negro dialect’ statement was surely ill conceived, but just like me, Reid has the creds to prove that he is no racist. Comparing him to Lott is absurd. Lott said he wished Strom Thurmond had been elected President. Thurmond ran as a Dixiecrat (1948) and an Independent (1960) on a platform of segregation. An avowed racist, Thurmond switched to the GOP and led the GOP filibuster against the Voting Rights Act. Reid, on the other hand has been a strong supporter of every piece of civil rights legislation during his career. When Reid made this statement, he was probably thinking out loud. Hw was considering factors he thought would make Obama less vulnerable to our nation’s remaining racism.
There is evidence to support his concern. According to a National Academy of Sciences study:
…People tend to view members of their own political group more positively than members of a competing political group. In this article, we demonstrate that political partisanship influences people's visual representations of a biracial political candidate's skin tone. In three studies, participants rated the representativeness of photographs of a hypothetical (Study 1) or real (Barack Obama; Studies 2 and 3) biracial political candidate. Unbeknownst to participants, some of the photographs had been altered to make the candidate's skin tone either lighter or darker than it was in the original photograph. Participants whose partisanship matched that of the candidate they were evaluating consistently rated the lightened photographs as more representative of the candidate than the darkened photographs, whereas participants whose partisanship did not match that of the candidate showed the opposite pattern. For evaluations of Barack Obama, the extent to which people rated lightened photographs as representative of him was positively correlated with their stated voting intentions and reported voting behavior in the 2008 Presidential election...
Furthermore, if this were not a concern, why did a staffer in the Clinton camp edit debate video used in a Clinton campaign ad to make Obama appear darker than he is, if not to play on American racism? Reid was doing nothing more than analyzing the nation’s political climate.
So, should Reid step down? No! The only reason the GOP is after him over this is to derail health care legislation. After all, isn’t this GOP sanctimony over the sensitivities of African Americans the moral equivalent of hypothetical protestations from Israel that someone is mistreating Palestinians?