Saturday, December 27, 2008

Has Anyone Listened to "Barack the Magic Negro"?

There is a row in Republican circles over a song and the liberal media is lapping it up.

It seems that Chip Saltsman, who is running for the RNC Chairmanship, sent RNC delegates a CD by satirist Paul Shanklin titled We Hate The U.S.A. One of the songs on the CD is "Barack The Magic Negro." This song was actually released last year and has been played by Rush Limbaugh on a number of occasions. Saltsman served as Mike Huckabee's campaign manager.

Current RNC Chair Mike Duncan said, "The 2008 election was a wake up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party. I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate, as it clearly does not move us into the right direction."

Somehow I doubt that Duncan has heard the song. "Barack the Magic Negro" is set to the Peter, Paul and Mary song "Puff The Magic Dragon" (although Peter Yarrow, who wrote Puff and supported Obama, doesn't like Shanklin's take on it.) The title is inspired by an article written in The L.A. Times by an African-American writer named David Ehrenstein in March 2007. The title? Obama the 'Magic Negro' (http://www.latimes/com/news/opinion/la-oe-ehrenstein19mar19,0,5335087.story?coll=la-opinion-center). Ehrenstein writes:

He's 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.

So Shanklin writes the song based on this article in the voice of Al Sharpton. The main lyrical refrain is Barack the Magic Negro/Lives in D.C./The L.A Times they called him that/Because he's not authentic like me. You can listen and view it on YouTube ( As far as I'm concerned "Barack the Magic Negro" is reminscient of Randy Newman's "Short People" or Kinky Friedman's "They Don't Make Jews Like Jesus Anymore."

But I was curious what Ken Blackwell and Michael Steele thought of the whole thing. Well, Steele wasn't as critical of Saltsman as Duncan he did say that Saltsman's "attempt at humor was misplaced." However, Blackwell vigorously defended Saltsman. "Unfortunately, there is a hypersensitivity in the press regarding matters of race," said Blackwell, "This is in large measure due to President-elect Obama being the first African-American elected President."

I'm with Blackwell on this one. This "controversy" is much ado about nothing. It's nothing more than a) yet another opportunity for the liberal media to say, "Look at these racist Republicans," and b) for waffling Republicans to say, "Look we're not racist."

If anything it demonstrates that once again Barack Obama is not only above criticism but beyond satire.

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