Monday, January 11, 2010

“Light Skinned” a Racist Statement?

A soon to be released book, "Game Change", written by Time magazine Mark Halperin and New York magazine John Heilemann is a collection of observations made during the historic 2008 Presidential campaign. At the end of the week last week, many pundits salivated at the potential nuggets of talk to arise from the words in print. The latest in the discussion are the remarks made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) when he "described in private then-Senator Barack Obama as 'light skinned' and 'with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.' (http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2010/01/10/reid_apologizes_for_comments_on_obamas_race/). Since his words have become known, Sen. Reid has offered an apology to President Obama to which President Obama accepted and said, "As far as I am concerned, the book is closed." Sen. Reid said, "I deeply regret using such poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African- Americans for improper comments" (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100109/ap_on_el_se/us_obama_reid).

While many in the Democrat camp are rally to Reid's support, RNC Richard Steele is singing a different tune. Steele pointed out that in 2002, then Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-), that the Democrats demanded Senate Majority Leader Lott to step down after making favorable remarks of 1948 segregationist presidential campaign of Strom Thurmond. Lott had apologized but was sent packing. "There is this standard where the Democrats feel that they can say these things and they can apologize when it comes from the mouths of their own. But if it comes from anyone else, it's racism. It's either racist or it's not. And It's inappropriate, absolutely" (http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9D52IF80&show_article=1). Is RNC Steele correct that Sen. Reid's comments made are racist? Is there a double standard within the Democrat party?

The Democrats are in a conundrum as they are on the cusp of passing health care "reform" but also have a tough fight in the 2010 mid-term elections. Are the leaders in the Democrat party endorsing Reid's words in a trade off for possible health care "reform"? The President accepted Reid's apology, just as he did with "You Lie", but is his acceptance of Reid's apology wise politically? Reid is behind in the polls in and is likely not going to be re-elected. Whether or not President Obama is using Reid as a pawn in light of his comments, the overriding question is it a double standard? Is RNC Steele accurate in his assessment?