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Magic Negroes

What's crackin' friends and frienemies? Hope the holidays have gone swimmingly for you.

Mine have been great. I took all of last week off and didn't write a word...anywhere, for any reason.

But on to business. You should have had a few days by now to marinate on the "Christmas" CD sent to friends by Chip Saltsman, candidate for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee and former presidential campaign manager for Mike Huckabee.

The highlight of the CD was a parody song called Barack the Magic Negro, sung to the tune of Puff the Magic Dragon. Paul Shanklin, the comic satirist who wrote and performed the song, did so in a voice meant to mimic that of Rev. Al Sharpton complaining that Obama isn't black enough.

Here's a snippet:

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 made guilty whites feel good
they'll vote for him and not for me
'cause he's not from the hood..."

OK, I have no jokes. I'm dying to wax poetic and test humor on you about magical Negroes, but the only images I can conjure up are Morgan Freeman, the black guy who played the sidekick on that old TV show Manimal, and Uncle Remus, the original (Your Animal Here) Whisperer.

Seriously though, I'm struggling to understand how it is that some GOP power brokers don't see the ignorance of this sort of thing. Republican Party leaders would be going nuts right now if the president-elect were a young, white man, and a candidate for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee had sent friends a CD featuring a song called George, the Magic White Man.

Don't lecture me about the song being based on an LA Times editorial. Don't lecture me about having a sense of humor. Don't lecture me about liberals saying offensive things too.

Saltsman blaming the Times editorial is like the arrested drug buyer saying it's all the dealer's fault for having a readily available supply. Even if the premise of the Times editorial was absurd - and I'm not necessarily saying it was - what was the Rev. Sharpton voice thing all about? Paul Shanklin's a satirist, a humorist. He makes fun of people in a biting way. Fine. But Chip Saltsman wants to lead a political party that hopes to some day re-take the controls of the U.S. government. People are broke. People are concerned about the color green, not skin colors. There are wars and rumors of wars. This ain't the time for jokes from people who want to help lead the country, especially the kinds of jokes that require a defense.

As for sense of humor, I have a sturdy one, measured by my ability over the years to absorb real jokes and bite my tongue in the presence of offensive crap disguised as jokes.

And, of course, liberals say offensive things too. But they're called out for it just as often as their conservative counterparts. Just look at the past 25 years of Rev. Jesse Jackson's life and consider everything from his Hymie Town slur to his stated desire on Fox to de-ball President-Elect Obama. You're only aware of Jackson's foot-in-mouth incidents over the years 'cause a mainstream media outlet brought them to you.

Some of you know me. You know that I don't believe in full-time partisanship. I believe in voting piecemeal - picking candidates on an election-by-election basis, choosing the one I feel is right on the issues of the day. So I have voted for candidates from both major parties, and also Independents. I learned a long time ago that being conservative and being liberal are not necessarily synonymous with being Republican or Democrat, respectively. Be you.

But if any of you who are diehard Republicans don't get why this Saltsman thing is a little annoying to some ethnic minorities let me leave you with this question:

Would you join a club that espoused things you believed in if the person greeting you at the door to the club took jabs at you over some racial characteristic of yours?

No, you wouldn't. And even as the other members deep inside the belly of the club called out to you to ignore the greeter...or laugh with him and come on in, you'd probably walk away and give 'em all the finger. And you'd give 'em that finger knowing that if you came back to the club same time a week later, the door would be opened by the same greeter.

Now, replace the club with political party, and you have your answer to why there aren't more black Republicans.


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The worst bigotry I ever saw in my life was in my own hometown. I lived down the street from the chief of police, and several other members of the local government/constabulary lived in the area. 'old southern democrats" they called themselves. Most kept their klan robes in their closets, but there were a few who had them folded neatly, directly in the back package tray of their squad cars. Scum, one and all. (Google "klan Crown Point" and you will see what I mean)

I have zero tolerance for bigotry, and little tolerance for racist jokes. Substance is important to me, and I just don't see it hardly anywhere- but after seeing "old southern democrats" burning crosses I won't ever pull a lever for a democrat.

James B.

Og, I hear ya. And you know I've heard this story before. I've studied it. I've researched it extensively, and I am well aware of the racist history in the Democratic Party too. Can we say Robert Byrd?

Speaking of the masses and not of myself, you and I both know though that half of successful politics is Public Relations. And the Democratic Party has done a better job glazing over its negative history than the Republican Party has done reining in the stragglers who seem to want to hang on to its negative practices.

Anyone familiar with U.S. politics on the national level knows Democrats have huge strikes against them for race relations.

I suspect the difference is one of attitude, which leads us back to PR. You have some Democratic leadership that is full of it. But you have a more vocal element - sincere or phony - that has being publicly penitent for that party's blatant racist past. When it comes to the GOP's history there has always been a public reluctance to admit to anything - as if an admission would cause the party's platform to collapse or something.

Again though, neither party's longterm success matters to me as I am a staunch Jamesicanocrat.


The public penitence would be great if it were just sincere, and effective. The politics of the democrat party are aimed at and successful in promoting racial divisiveness and perpetuating the race relation issues.

James: I believe in the Content of your Character. That's enough for me. When the content of other people's character are more like yours, on both sides of the aisle, this will be a better country.


Your spam/profanity filter on your comment box blocked all the things I wanted to call this guy.


And this ignorant offensive bastard will probably win the nomination despite it all. When I read this story a few days back it really ticked me off to no end.


It's amazing how much bigotry remains at he very highest levels of this society. I used to really believe that integration would solve the problem based on Festinger's work in the 50's, but now it appears that even the supposedly intelligent have a streak of ignorance that seems hard to eradicate. Don't give up hope, but don't stop writing either. Happy New Year to you and Mrs. B. and everyone else.

Christine Thresh

Could this same song be done about Clarence Thomas? Think about it.


As a moderate Republican I found that parody song to be completely wrong and totally out of touch and racist to boot. Im a huge fan of freedom of speech, BUT there was nothing to be gained by sending out that CD. It was a stupid thing to do and I want some heads to roll over this. Most moderate Repubs do not want to be associated with people who spew this garbage. Did the Repubs not learn anything from the last election? I guess not. Im considering switching to the Independence Party.

James B.

Og, as always, thank you for the compliment. I'm just trying to lead a balanced life, as balanced as I can till reality interferes.

WavemanCali, damn that filter! But I appreciate the sentiments. I think I can guess what you were gonna say.

Monty, you're always forcing me to think. Thanks! Now, I have to go and look up Festinger. BTW, I hope your back is doing better.

Christine, excellent point. I hadn't thought of that. But I'd say you're right. Thomas was hailed as magic in a way by many on the Republican side of the aisle.

Mark, nowadays you may actually find more textbook conservatism in the Independence Party than in the GOP. BTW, I believe you on the moderate Republicans not thinking that way. Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part, but I like to believe that extremists or plain old fatheads in both major parties are wielding less influence these days.


Festinger came up with cognitive dissonance, in the 50's in Cleveland. He took attitude measurements of whites towards blacks before their neighborhoods were integrated, then came back to the same people two years after integration. The whites still showed evidence of bigotry if they had showed it before, yet they also professed to liking their new neighbors, thus the dissonance. Over time, the dissonance changes attitudes as the reality of their neighbors overcomes the bigotry which is learned, but has no basis in reality. Enough?

he back needs more work, know where I can find a new one in plastic?

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