The most sensible analysis of the Harry Reid “Negro” fiasco is that it is one more mainstream media-led distraction from various turmoils such as the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, the still perilous fate of health-care reform, the looming immigration-reform debate, and the unemployment and mortgage crises.  As heard on Errol Louis’s WWRL morning show, the description of “light-skinned” and “lack of Negro dialect” applies to Malcolm X (a/k/a Red), so why should we bother? Well, names do hurt. Words have powerful meanings embedded in them, and even the late Percy Sutton, founder of WWRL played a significant role in erasing the use of the term Negro back in el dia.

President Obama’s quick-to-forgive posture toward Reid is mostly about the Nevada senator’s role in navigating the contradictions in the health care bill in a way palatable enough to make it seem like a victory for the Democratic Party. But it also represents the time-worn reaction of people of color who manage to “make it” in the professional world. Many older white men have still not figured out that commonly held notions they have are formulated in remarkably backward ways. This kind of stuff is probably going to go on for at least another 10 or 15 years. Maybe we should appreciate that he knocked Bill Clinton’s alleged affair, Jay Leno/Conan O’Brien, and Tila Tequila off the front page.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering how, in this racial powder keg we live in, are the following both true:

1)  Marco Rubio, a “Hispanic Hispanic” looking ex-speaker of the Florida house, is the Tea Party-fringe’s choice to unseat the equally Mediterranean-looking Charlie Crist.

2) The “underground” White Supremacist movement is thriving again, this time using the Tea Party-fringe to push their agenda into the mainstream.

And how does this all relate to a tactic the Republican Party supposedly considered implementing during the Nixon era?


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