Today the talk shows have been filled to the brim with talk of Senator Harry Reid’s admitted gaffe from a private conversation regarding President Obama. From Yahoo News:
WASHINGTON – The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate apologized on Saturday for comments he made about Barack Obama’s race during the 2008 presidential bid and are quoted in a yet-to-be-released book about the campaign.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada described in private then-Sen. Barack Obama as “light skinned” and “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Obama is the nation’s first African-American president.
“I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans for my improper comments,” Reid said in a statement released after the excerpts were first reported on the Web site of The Atlantic.
“I was a proud and enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama during the campaign and have worked as hard as I can to advance President Obama’s legislative agenda.”
Soooo, Senator Reid manned up and said he used a poor choice of words. I agree. First of, I would have to know with whom he had his PRIVATE conversation before I got too judgemental. Let’s examine the word ‘Negro, which also appears on the 2000 census and the 2010 census. Is that word outdated, out of vogue, or just plain racist? If it appears on the census and is used in organizations like the United Negro College Fund, should it be changed immediately?
RNC chief Michael Steele was quite outspoken in his disapproval of Reid’s choice of words. In the Washington Post this morning, Steele called on Reid to step down:
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) should resign from office after acknowledging that he had described President Obama as “light skinned” and possessing no “Negro dialect” in a conversation with reporters.
“There is this standard where Democrats feel that they can say these things and they can apologize when it comes from the mouths of their own,” said Steele in an interview with “Fox News Sunday. “But if it comes from anyone else, it is racism.”
Steele, who is African American, compared Reid’s comments about Obama to remarks made by then Senate Majority Leader Trent Lot in 2002 in which the Mississippi Republican, at a birthday party for South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond, said that “all these problems” might not have occurred if Thurmond had been elected president in 1948.
Last week Steele made the unfortunate remark, ‘honest Injun’ when attesting to his own truthfulness. He seemed unaware that someone might consider that expression offensive. Talk shows were filled with various talking heads who compared what Reid said to Imus’s reference to teenage basketball players as ‘nappy headed ‘ho’s.’
I think we can all agree that there are very few instances where the term ‘Negro’ is appropriate. Much has changed as far as polite terms since I was a child. When I was a kid, ‘Negro’ was the polite term that people used. Our ‘PC’ has changed, often drastically. We have other terms to choose from. Unless we are making historical reference, there are just much better ways of speaking. However, to not understand the difference between the Reid remark and the Imus remark is just plain ignorant.
It will be interesting to see how our contributors feel about this latest round of Democrat vs. Republican. I shied alway from this topic all day. However, it is a live, viable topic that people are talking about. I have decided to risk life and limb and post an Anti thread on the subject.