An Insult to Neanderthals?

John “Chip” Saltsman, who fancied himself a candidate for the Republican National Committee Chairman, has caused a stir when he distributed a CD gift that included a song parody called “Barack the Magic Negro”. Saltsman and others try to defend the parody by pointing out that the LA Times ran an article by David Ehrenstein back in March of 2007 titled Obama the ‘Magic Negro’. According to Ehrenstein

…it’s clear that Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the “Magic Negro”

And more

The Magic Negro is a figure of postmodern folk culture, coined by snarky 20th century sociologists, to explain a cultural figure who emerged in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education. “He has no past, he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist,” reads the description on Wikipedia

There’s plenty more by Ehrenstein in the article and in other articles, cited by Ehrenstein himself in this blog entry. To say that Ehrenstein is not happy with Republicans and Obama is an understatement

As everyone knows Whites feel no guilt about America’s racist history whatsoever. All they care about is the appearance of politesse — the slimy veneer of “good manners.”

Clearly the Republican party (racist to its very core) is “split” over what to do in the wake of having lost so much political capital. Chip and his ilk want to continue making childish attacks. Others in the party seek to turn chicken shit into chicken salad by claiming Obama is the second coming of Ronald Reagan.

And they may well be right. He’s certainly not a liberal. And as he’s made clear through Warrengate, he’s certainly not MY President.

No wonder I didn’t receive an invitation to Ehrenstein’s New Years Party. But I digress.

I hope, and expect, that Saltsman’s future in politics is about as bright as a black dwarf. What on earth was Saltsman thinking by sending out the CD? This seems like a particularly bad time to introduce racist tones into the Republican party and the competition for the RNC Chair, not that there is a good time. Cutting away all of the chafe, it might be interesting to explore the motivations of white voters vis-a-vis America’s history and slavery. But to do so by introducing the “Magic Negro” as Ehrenstein does, and by distributing a song parody whose title includes the same charged term, seems like the work of a Neanderthal. On second thought, that’s not fair to Neanderthals.

Chip Saltsman

Chip Saltsman

Is That You, Chip?

Notice the Similarities?

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