Barack The Magic Negro: Simple joke or offensive?

Last week a member of the Republican National Committee member Chip Saltzman sent out a CD to all the members of the RNC as a Christmas gift. The CD, according to Saltzman was supposed to be a parody of sorts, aiming to poke fun at some of the members of the Democratic Party, as well as issues pertaining to democratic politics. Among the names of some of the songs were "Love Client #9" as well as "Down on the Farm with Al Gore." The song that drew the most reaction was entitled "Barack the Magic Negro."

The song, which was set to the beat of Peter, Paul and Mary's famous "Puff the Magic Dragon" created a stir not only for its message, but for the voice on the CD. The singer of the song clearly sounds like a white man trying to imitate a black voice. Now this song is by no means new. It appeared on the Rush Limbaugh show during the campaign and was roundly criticized for its insensitive nature. Clearly Saltzman forgot about this. Saltzman has supported the CD and song and has made no apologies about its release. RNC Chairman Mike Duncan has come out in opposition to the insensitive nature of the CD, especially after the election.

Now the larger question is was this song and CD merely parody or was it offensive. I feel that political humor can go so far. The image of the Obama's on the cover of the New Yorker raised concerns around the sensitivity of race. This CD furthers those concerns. One would assume that after a trouncing, the kind not seen in recent memory in politics, that Republicans would tread lightly on issues surrounding race. Especially because the majority of minorities voted for Obama. Clearly Saltzman has missed the memo on this one. If Republicans want to bring blacks and other groups into the fold then it would be not only prudent, but incredibly smart to consider how issues surrounding race are handled, even if its only a joke. I am quite sure that if a black candidate were to create a song parody about a white member of the Republican Party that members would be quick to call Democrats out on it. So why should the situation be any different now. So parody or not, the idea behind re-releasing this song was quite moronic. Am I surprised? Not really. And maybe that's the most unfortunate part of it all.


DivineLove said…
Hey! You know I'm not a bit surprised that these people continue to involve themselves in nonsense...what is next?

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