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Racial jokes: Proceed with extreme caution

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on Dec. 31, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
December 31, 2008 2:58 pm

The hubbub over “Barack the Magic Negro” needs some context. And then the context needs some context.

The song is a parody – a distinctly offensive one – that GOP chair-apparent Chip Saltsman passed out for Christmas.

But the song’s title, the most offensive thing about it, is also the title and theme of an essay published in the Los Angeles Times last March by a part-black writer. It’s a case of “The sensitive liberal guy said it, so I get to say it, too.”

Here are some on-target observations from sensitive liberal guy Tim Rutton.

An excerpt:

It’s also perplexing that anyone with a feel for public life would satirize the race of the first African American president. You might be able to do that with the third or fourth black chief executive, but not the first.

It isn’t funny because there’s too much painful history being exorcised here, and there’s nothing “politically correct” about saying that. It’s simply an acknowledgment of reality.

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