Reap what you sow

Just a quick word about the Harry Reid thing. You reap what you sow.

Democrats for years have fostered a gotcha environment on racial issues, and embraced a dogmatic approach to establishing and enforcing political correctness. Hyper-sensitivity abounds on the topic.

I don’t know the full context of Reid’s remarks. It sounds like he was making a political assessment of Barack Obama‘s national political viability. How is that offensive? Ignoring how he said it, isn’t what he said true?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada described in private then-Sen. Barack Obama as “light skinned” and “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” From Yahoo.

Barack Obama is biologically one half white, one half black; he is light-skinned in comparison to some black Americans. It’s also true that Obama, on the Senate floor during his tenure there, or in many public appearances then or now, does not speak with a pronounced or distinct black dialect. There are many “dialects” in the United States, if you want to use that word (as many sociologists or linguists would). Or “accents,” if you prefer. I’m not sure why that’s so offensive.

The odd thing about the comment was Reid’s use of the word “negro.” This seems anachronistic at best, or insensitive at worst. But it doesn’t seem racist to me. Harry Reid’s an older guy, from Searchlight, Nevada, as he likes to say. Sometimes older speakers might use a term that seems a bit out of date. Maybe it’s not the most current or most appropriate term, but it’s not evidence of ill will. Some respected institutions still carry names that seem anachronistic to today’s ear: the National Advancement for the Association of Colored People; or the United Negro College Fund.

All this is to say that I don’t think Reid is a racist, and I don’t think this should be a big deal. He needs to get with the times, and maybe be a bit more careful about who hears his private conversations, but other than that, there’s nothing serious here about the incident itself. It’s up to Democrats whether they want him as their leader.

BUT – the story does demonstrate that Democrats – including Reid – use a double standard when it comes to such things, trying to bring down Republicans any time a real or perceived insensitive comment is uttered. Additionally, it documents the fact that there’s a lot of manufactured outrage, false self-righteous indignation, and cynical piety when it comes to nailing political enemies for a statement that runs afoul of the latest p.c. speech codes. We knew that of course, but this proves it. The only problem with that is that not all Americans are political elites; when you routinely trump up such charges, you’re engendering bitterness and resentment amidst this great union. And THAT should not be ignored.


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