Parody about liberal racial attitudes toward Obama misunderstood again

Jason DeParle, The Caucus:

In his campaign for chairman of the Republican National Committee, Chip Saltsman, a Tennessee political operative, distributed a song to potential supporters this week called “Barack the Magic Negro,” a parody that questions President-elect’s Barack Obama’s racial authenticity.

The song, by the political satirist Paul Shanklin, was first broadcast last year on the Rush Limbaugh radio show, and Mr. Limbaugh defended it then against accusations of racism. But after an election in which Republicans lost badly among minorities — spurring vows of new efforts to appeal to a broader swath of the electorate — party leaders were not amused.


The song is sung to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon” by a character meant to be Al Sharpton, the civil rights advocate and sometime politician. In it, the Sharpton character criticizes Mr. Obama for being insufficiently black, and mocks his white supporters for embracing him to assuage guilty feelings about racial injustice. It was distributed as part of a collection of Mr. Shanklin’s parodies.

The song is really mocking several liberal writers who had called Obama the "Magic Negro." It seems to have been willfully misinterpreted by some and misunderstood by those who are now condemning it. Ironically, one of the few liberals who seem to get it, was Barack Obama who understood that it was his critics who were being made fun of. The Republicans critics of the song are reacting cowardly and should be sentenced to having to listen to Rush Limbaugh more often so the can comprehend the comedy.

Ken Blackwell in a very astute move comes to Saltzman's defense.


"Unfortunately, there is hypersensitivity in the press regarding matters of race. This is in large measure due to President-Elect Obama being the first African-American elected president," said Blackwell, who would be the first black RNC chairman, in a statement forwarded to Politico by an aide. "I don't think any of the concerns that have been expressed in the media about any of the other candidates for RNC chairman should disqualify them. When looked at in the proper context, these concerns are minimal. All of my competitors for this leadership post are fine people."

So, it appears the two people most understanding of the parody are black politicians. Hopefully the rest of the world will catch up with them.


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