Of course Mike Duncan, the chairman of the Republican National Committee said that he was appalled by the song called Barack the Magic Negro distributed by Chip Saltsman. Set to the tune of the sixties Puff the Magic Dragon, the song first reached national attention when it was played on Rush “The Lush” Limbaugh’s radio show back in early 2007. The title was drawn from a Los Angeles Times column that suggested Mr. Obama appealed to those who feel guilty about the nation’s history of mistreatment of African-Americans.
Mr. Duncan said that the presidential election should have been a wakeup call for the Republican Party to reach out and bring more diversity to their virtually white only membership. Mr. Duncan claimed that he was shocked to think that anyone would find the parody appropriate. The fact that a candidate for the RNC chairmanship would stoop to such juvenile political humor is proof positive that not everyone in the Republican Party is serious about more inclusion.
Mr. Saltsman, a former chair of the Tennessee Republican Party, was a top advisor to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and managed former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign, sent other RNC members a CD which included the controversial tune about President-elect Barack Obama. Mr. Saltsman defended his actions Friday saying that the song was intended as a joke. Mr. Saltsman obviously has the same sense of humor as those white students back in Jena, Louisiana who thought hanging a noose under a tree was a good joke to play on black students. It was only after the manifestation of some of the worst racial disparity began to collect the nation’s attention with marches coordinated by members of the black community from every corner of the country did some people see that hanging nooses isn’t just fun and games but something to be taken seriously. Mr. Saltsman probably needs to learn the same lessons about his race tinged humor.
Now it just might be that Mr. Saltsman is a man who is sensitive to issues of race and just simply exercised poor judgment. But, there is the potential for this same poor judgment to apply to other issues of race as well. Mr. Saltsman already shows his willingness to play the race card. What chance would issues sensitive to the black community have with such a man in a position of high political importance? But black people are supposed to believe that the Republican Party stands ready to welcome us into their fold.
I remember the political race to the general election and the conservative rhetoric that Mr. Obama was an elitist out of touch with the reality of most Americans. Whether or not that statement is true or not is a matter of opinion. But it should be pretty obvious that people like Republican notables like Mr. Saltsman is a racial elitist who is out of touch with the reality of most black Americans.
In the current environment of social disparity that happens to fall along racial lines with black people falling short by every measure without a single exception, it should be no surprise to anyone of reasonable intelligence to recognize the need for racial sensitivity. Unfortunately, we see just the opposite. We see various Republican leadership wannabes attending their white only country clubs and living large with so many homes that they have to hire someone to research their property holdings. And when one of these high profile Republican members wants to play a joke, he stoops to racial discrimination. Next thing you know another member of the RNC wants to demonstrate how funny he can be by painting himself in black face and dancing a jig ala Al Jolson style. And when the man is busted for his foolishness, he’ll defend himself by saying it was a joke.
Unfortunately, over and over again, people in the Republican Party are quick to demonstrate that they have as much racial sensitivity and awareness as a rock. At least the rock has the good sense not to do anything that might be thoughtless or tacky. But the leadership of the Republican Party is not so astute. We are more likely to see a member of the Republican Party get on stage before his constituents and point to the only obvious racial minority in the group and happily refer to the attendee as macaca. We are more likely to see someone in the Republican Party say something stupid like black people who have lost everything in the world, including their loved ones, to a flood fueled by a hurricane as so fortunate to be housed in the Astrodome because they didn’t have jack before. There was a lot of sympathy for black people that day.
Yet, these are the types of people who represent the RNC. Is there any surprise that the number of black people we saw at the Republican National Convention could be counted on one’s fingers? The RNC is nothing but one huge, insensitive, hate filled, and racist joke with black people the subject. It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t so serious. Mr. Duncan wants to feign indignation and surprise with Mr. Saltsman’s latest manifestation that supports the Republican’s exclusive, white only mindset. But honestly, it appears to be nothing more than the standard GOP operating procedure.