Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sen Harry Reid

This is typically an apolitical blog, but Harry's comments are so insidious that I feel he needs to be called out. For those not familiar, Sen Reid's comments about Obama during the 2008 primary process were recently exposed. Reid said (paraphrasing) " Obama is electable because he is light skinned and he doesn't speak with Negro accent, unless he wants to."

So why is this political analysis objectionable? Aside from being brazenly calculating and showing how ugly the depths of his mind truly is; to understand, you must understand the history of light brown vs dark brown.

In the colonial south, the light skinned blacks were usually the offspring of a male master and a female slave. As the masters' offspring, the light skinned blacks were afforded preferential treatment - usually given light duty, were given proper nutrition and medical attention, often received an education and taught to speak proper English, and basically had all the priveleges and liberties of a white. This is where the expression "raised white" originated. On the other hand, dark browns had the hard labor in the fields and barns, were beaten and fed poorly, kept uneducated, and really lived the hard core life of a hard core slave. This is where expressions such as "black list, black ball, black mark, etc" originated.

Even today, when you look at female black models, the more successful ones (Tyra Banks, Iman, etc.) have light complexions, straighter hair, and anglo facial features. When you look at a criminal suspect lineup, the blackest faces with the blackest facial features are perceived as the most menacing.

So Sen Reid, as a Senate Majority Leader, and in all his clumsiness, basically validated the racist perception that lighter skinned blacks are more 'acceptable' than darker skinned blacks because lighter skinned blacks may have caucasian genes (as Obama does) and may have been 'raised white.' His ham fisted statement of fact, that these unfair perceptions dating from 200 years ago, are still valid today, makes him unsuitable for a leadership position in he US government.

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