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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Barack the Magic Negro

Big furor over a video making the rounds, Barack the Magic Negro, a parody of Puff the Magic Dragon. The tune satirically takes makes the case from the point of view of Reverend Al Sharpton that Barack Obama is an "acceptable Black man" compared to himself.



Though the piece was initially distributed as part of what was thought to be a joke by some dinosaur Republicans down South, it's actually based on an essay about Obama in the LA Times almost two years ago.

The story by David Ehrenstein paints the President-Elect and then underdog candidate in the archetype of what's referred to as "the magical negro," which Wikipedia describes as a "mystical stock character in fiction who, by use of special insight or powers, helps the white protagonist get out of trouble." Indeed as Ehrenstein points out Obama as a real life "magical Negro" is "there to assuage white "guilt" (i.e., the minimal discomfort they feel) over the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history, while replacing stereotypes of a dangerous, highly sexualized black man with a benign figure for whom interracial sexual congress holds no interest." Certainly Whites can feel comfortable voting for Obama over previous candidates such as Sharpton or Reverend Jesse Jackson who have darker skin and unlike Obama's cosmopolitan upbringing had a more typical African American upbringing in "the hood" scare Whites, regardless of their degree of simpatico with their politics and can't bring themselves to vote for them.

This is a tough pill to swallow but Barack the Magic Negro - even if it was unintentional on the creator's part - brings up these uncomfortable realities about race relations. That even in a post-racial word many Whites are indeed drawn to the "magic negro" that they can warm to and hope erases any innate bias they may still have.

The good news is that as society becomes even more diverse old stereotypes will fall away and distinctions will blur. And to a degree, the election of Barack Obama helps to that end helping to erase the racism of some whom opposed him and the guilt of some of who supported him.

By the way Ehrenstein isn't thrilled with Barack Obama these days, primarily over his selection of Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Obama's inauguration.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous matt dowd said:

what a load of bullshit. who gives a fuck!. post that you dummy. look at the mistakes in the first frickin line.
takes makes???
you ought to go to school and learn some frickin englicsh you big looser
lmfao

moderate that! approval of comments equals boring. I wanted to give you a chance, but after recent episodes, get a singing teacher fool.
at least Zuma has charisma during his bad singing. yours is just bad. so many wannabes, thats why I quit the stupid karaoke gigs. I couldn't stand the patheticness.

December 30, 2008 6:32 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

For starters, the song wasn't origionally for the RNC down south, it was repeatedly aired vy Racist Rush Limbaugh.

The biggest problem I have with this song is that it simply isn't funny.

White people trying to sound black always makes me cringe (ahem Zuma Mutt) but they can sometimes recover through actual comedy. This wasn't funny so all that is left is that it is racist. Combined with the other songs of intolerance on this new RNC CD and you begin to see why they lost so badly. They can't shake the stink of the rich white upper class.

December 30, 2008 7:45 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

wtf?

December 30, 2008 9:33 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Someone's surprised that Obama is deceptive?

Cry me a river.

You asked for him.
You got him.
Live with it.

The homophobia in the African American community is legendary. What did they say about not standing up for others, until they came for you, but there was no one left to stand up for you.

December 30, 2008 9:38 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Pathos, Matt.
Easy boy.
Whoa, Nelly.
Hit that spell check brotha'.
Listen to some Dylan.

December 30, 2008 10:29 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Wake up people, Obama is neither a Negro or a Black person...he NEVER would have been nominated if he was Black! He's an Oreo - and a darned cute one! That's as far as it goes for me...he is certainly not qualified or deserving of being President! Maybe he shoulda gone into sports broadcasting or modelling.

And, btw, the reason his handlers kept Michelle off the cameras so much during the campaign is because Michelle Obama IS a Negro!

Everyone should have figured that out by now.

December 31, 2008 1:32 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

englicsh? looser?

Priceless.

December 31, 2008 1:57 AM  

Anonymous matt dowd said:

I'm so glad some people here recognise deliberite spelling bloops when they;re intended.
; )
I actually had a comment about Eric Garcetti going to Obama for a bailout of 2 billion next year, to save Los Angeles from bankruptcy, but that comment never made it. hence the pointed attack on the blog owner.
my prognosticajun for 09.

December 31, 2008 7:59 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Matt, you're an idiot and clearly off your meds.

December 31, 2008 2:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Barack Obama is the Magic Mayate, just ask Don Quixote if you dont belive me.

December 31, 2008 9:05 PM  

Anonymous Derrick Mathis said:

I think it's interesting that the whole Obama the Magical Negro fiasco originally started with a LA Times article written by David Ehrenstein. And it is racially motivated if anyone has read any of his articles ranting against Obama since then.

http://unclefatlips.com/top-feature/will-the-real-magical-negro-please-shut-up/

January 04, 2009 12:11 AM  

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