[Reid] was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama — a “light-skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,” as he said privately. Reid was convinced, in fact, that Obama’s race would help him more than hurt him in a bid for the Democratic nomination.
If you define racism as a belief in the inate superiority of one's race over another or hatred of another based upon their race, then I see nothing that smacks of racism in the above statement. What I see is "leftism."
I defined leftism in some length in a prior post. To summarize from that post - the alpha and omega of the left wing is identity and grievance politics. They look to define people as victims and then use claims of "victimhood" to advance their, the left's, political interests. They use charges of racism and sexism to shut down debate and demonize their opponents. [See Chart at bottom of post] If someone on the left actually engages in racism or sexism aimed at another leftie, it is forgiven and forgotten. If it is aimed at someone on the right, then it is simply accepted and ignored, if not supported. The sexism aimed at Palin, Jesse Jackson's Hymie-town comment, and Rev. Wright's vile reverse racism are just a few of the countless examples that come to mind.
So now to pull apart Reid's comments:
"He was wowed by Obama’s oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate,"
Hmmm, I was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate this past election also, just not Obama for all the tea in China.. Get Thomas Sowell in there and I'll make like an "acorn" - I'll vote early and often for him. To continue . . .
". . . especially one such as Obama — a “light-skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,” . . ."
If this were a conservative making this statement, the left would be throwing race cards at light speed. The words uttered by Reid would be reinterpreted in front of every microphone as evil, racist, conservative code for outlandish racial animus. Is there anyone who doubts that the left would conduct a lynching in the media that would not end until the person who said it was hounded out of public life? That is hypocrisy writ large - and par for the course for our modern left.
But it seems clear that Reid was not displaying racial animus. He was merely coldly calculating the reality and advantages of Obama's race in purely political terms. Nothing could more cleary show the left wing mindset than Harry Reid's comments - including even the cynical thought that Obama could adopt or discard a "Negro dialect" as the need arose. One, that technique has been used before in Democratic politcs. We saw Hillary Clinton on several occasions break into "a singsong Southern twang before . . . black audiences" during the campaign. The Youtube video is here. It would seem highly offensive to me if I were in the audience, but then again, I don't think like the left. Two, this is the same Harry Reid who tried, in 2007, to surrender in Iraq on behalf of America after attacks by four al Qaeda suicide bombers. That was a raw, naked grab for political power which, for Reid, took priority over America's national security. With that in mind I think it impossible to underestimate Reid's capacity for partisanship and cynicism. If he could sell out his country for political power, he can certainly ponder Obama making use of a "Negro dialect" for the same purpose.
It is incontrevertible that a unique speech pattern and inflection identifiable with some communities of African Americans does exist, so Reid was merely being honest about that. As to "skin color," it is well known that people are hardwired to initially respond best to others who look like themselves. I refuse to get into arguments here about subconscious racism - something that I think highly superficial in any event. Regardless, it seems apparent that Reid, in making these statement, was just doing leftwing political calculus.
As to Reid's use of the word Negro, that just dates Reid as over age 60 He was raised in an era before "black" became p.c. and long before the left came up with "African American." No racism there.
It does pain me to defend, of all people, Harry Reid. But I gots to calls 'em as I sees 'em. The guy is wholly without a shred of intellectual honesty and he values political power all else. He is the paragon of the left wing mindset, but not a racist.
Update: Pillage Idiot provides us with a Racist Remarks flow chart that is precisely accurate. Click on it to enlarge: