« Detroit columnist thinks he knows better than the Founding Fathers | Main | "Israel's Merciless Reputation" »

"Magic Negro" redux

It's baaaaack.

"Barack The Magic Negro," the parody that will not die, is back in the news, because short-sighted Tennessee Republican Chip Saltsman (yes, you've probably never heard of him but he was Mike Huckabee's campaign manager and supposedly has his eye on the RNC chairmanship) included it on a holiday CD that he distributed to members of the RNC. In case you're not familiar with Paul Shanklin's acerbic critique of Rev. Al Sharpton and the racial grievance racket that he commands, here is a portion of it. Shanklin, as "Rev. Al," sings:

Barack the Magic Negro lives in D. C.
The LA Times they called him that
'Cause he's not authentic like me

Yeah, the guy from the L.A. paper
Said he makes guilty whites feel good
They'll vote for him, and not for me
'Cause he's not from the hood.

See, real black men, like Snoop Dog,
Or me, or Farrakhan
Have talked the talk, and walked the walk.
Not come in late and won!

It is indeed a funny parody, but in order to understand why its funny, the listener must know quite a bit about Rev. Al Sharpton (the megaphone, the race baiting), the prior disdain for Barack Obama by Bobby Rush and the legacy Chicago civil rights community, and what a "magic negro" is, preferably by reading David Ehrenstein's LA Times piece. That's a whole lot to ask of anyone who isn't a regular listener to conservative talk radio or a regular reader of conservative blogs or periodicals. Without that knowledge base, the average person will simply zero in on the word "negro."

"Negro" is not blacklisted like the other "n-word," but at the very least its cultural significance has been reduced to an antiquated symbol of the days before Civil Rights. Even though some defiant blacks like Stanley Crouch still use it, it is no longer in the lexicon of contemporary speech. And unlike the other "n-word," which has experienced an Afro-centric revival due to a cutesy new spelling and its acceptance by a defiant cult of youth, it is doubtful that using the word "negro" will ever be hip.

Therefore it is easy to assume that Shanklin's song is nothing more than old-school racial stereotyping. The press is also happy to enhance that misconception. Reports on the controversy rarely include meaningful excerpts from the song (similar to the way many newspapers refused to print the "Mohamed cartoons"), or an indication that the parody is being sung by "Al Sharpton."

The world in which we live today has in fact attached a magical "gee, I wish I could be more like them" quality to African Americans. Perhaps this is because surviving the days before Civil Rights endowed them with a lot of fortitude and patience, traits that our current generation sadly lacks, and probably longs to recapture. But since those days, African American culture has stumbled quite a few times, particularly in embracing the drug culture and affirming some questionable self-appointed "leaders." This is a fair target for criticism and satire, and African Americans themselves recognize it and have lampooned it effectively. (link has NSFW language)

Yet white liberal intellectuals, journalists, and entertainers want no part of that, and the elite New York Times worshiping crowd is quick to pounce on any perceived slight of African Americans, though they tend to go more lightly on the offenders when they seem to be hip. But if you are unhip (and Republicans are permanently dogged by a big flashing neon sign that says UNHIP) then you are doomed. Even if there is no controversy, offended white liberals will go out of their way to create one.

In the arena of politics, complicated arguments, particularly if they run contrary to the tides of popular culture, are always losers. I am reminded of the numerous YouTube commercials posted by the McCain campaign that conservative bloggers praised as "hard hitting" and "thought provoking," and yet they fell flat among the general public. Even if you are correct in your reasoning, if voters think that they will be perceived as callous or unsympathetic by supporting you, then you will never receive a majority of votes. That's just the way things are, and Republicans need to accept this.

Republicans win when they offer good ideas (The Contract with America) or an inspired vision for a better tomorrow (the 1980 Reagan campaign). They lose when they try to be persuasive and heavy-handed. That's like trying to save your best friend's soul by making him watch "A Thief In The Night."

Chip Saltsman deserves to be castigated because he seems to be too culturally tone deaf to ever lead the RNC. As for Paul Shanklin, laugh with him on your own time, but don't make him the spokesman for American conservatism.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (28)

Mike:Humor.We... (Below threshold)

We got nuthin' left but to laugh.
There is no issue here.
You promote.
Pop some champagne, my man.

I wouldn't say that the pro... (Below threshold)
Sean P:

I wouldn't say that the problem with the song is the words used. The phrase "magic negro" has come to be pretty commonly used to refer to the token black characters in movies like The Legend of Bagger Vance, and pretty much every Steven King book or movie ever made.

I think the problem with the song is that annoying "black" voice the guy imitating Sharpton sings in. I've heard Sharpton speak and he sounds NOTHING like that, and its pretty clear the singer isn't even trying to sound like him. Instead, the singer sounds like a white guy playing Jim from Huckleberry Finn, and it winds up making the song embarrassing to listen to.

More about the other n-word... (Below threshold)

More about the other n-word and Black America:


I was wondering when one of... (Below threshold)

I was wondering when one of those from the republican or right side would rise up to defend this garbage. You have to hand it to you folks. There's exactly 1 black member of the RNC, zero Republican members of Congress. You've lost the votes of every minority there is. And what do you nitwits do? Why you defend this crap and argue that the way back to power is to get even more conservative. Good luck.

"...it is doubtful that usi... (Below threshold)

"...it is doubtful that using the word "negro" will ever be hip."

MF Doom, from a track called "Raid" off the Madvillainy album:

...And that's no exaggeration.
The doctor told the patient:
'It's all in your imagination,

Ah, what do he know
About the buttery flow?
He need to cut the ego...


Oh, and Black People Love Us is as ironic as Stuff White People Like. I remember showing it to a black coworker in Korea, he nearly shat himself laughing. He forwarded it to his parents in San Fran, and they sent it to all their friends. It's funny. That song on Saltzmann's shit-tastic mixed tape for the pleated khaki crowd? Hmm, not so much.

"I was wondering when on... (Below threshold)

"I was wondering when one of those from the republican or right side would rise up to defend this garbage."

Which part is garbage, JFO? The liberal LA Times writer (David Ehrenstein) who called Obama a "Magic Negro", Al Sharpton's race baiting, or both?

Let me guess...you think it's Paul Shanklin, for merely poking fun of the garbage perpetrated by the left? Figures.

Once again, you prove that you're a Class A-1 idiot.

JFO,To be fair, I ... (Below threshold)
Dave Noble:


To be fair, I think Mike was pretty even-handed.

IMHO, a big part of the problem with the conservative image is Rush and his no-soul brothers (Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin come readily to mind). He, like them, is paradigmatically unhip, particularly unself-hip, as in not self-aware. Admittedly, I'm hopelessly biased on this issue.

I saw him in an interview with Barbara Walters awhile back. Somewhat younger then, she flirted with him and got him to admit that he was a complete nerd in high school that couldn't get laid with a bag full of bananas in a monkey whorehouse (actually, I added that). I think Rush really believes his orotund tones are cool, his braggadacio is bracing, and his lame jokes are funny. If Republicans want to begin a long exile from the seats of power, they should keep listening to Rush and emulating him. BTW, I think it's a riot that a single guy, who obviously never played sports and lives with a cat named Punkin', should question other men's masculinity. But that's just me.

I was wondering why formerl... (Below threshold)

I was wondering why formerly "delicious", now old and hard, gum is being scraped out from underneath the tablatures of the RNC Peoples' Rostra by the authors here at RNCjrWizbang lately, and then I came across an interesting item that helps explains it:


It's a "Battle for the Shit End of the Stick". My title is intentionally as backward as the whole situation is in the wake of Senor Boosh.

Chip Saltsman deserves t... (Below threshold)

Chip Saltsman deserves to be castigated because he seems to be too culturally tone deaf to ever lead the RNC.

Geez, just what we need. Another media enabler.

I don't know, nor do I care, who this Chip Saltsman guy is.

Until we get rid of the mentality of people like our Wizbang Editor, conservatives will continue to be losers.

Indeed, its people like our Wizbang Editor and Paul, one of the authors over at Powerlineblog, who enable our media and the Democrats in the demonization tactics that makes voters like me sick to my stomach.

Mr. Laprarie, there are only two conclusions that can be drawn from your above statement (And a similar one like Pauls over at Powerlineblog).

A: You're both living in a media cocoon and have become sheeple.


B: Explain why we ought to cede the culture war to our media elites and the Democrats and allow someone like Chip Saltsman to be "castigated" over something that we all agree there was nothing wrong with, other than some view it as being wrong.

Bill Frist was Chip's origi... (Below threshold)

Bill Frist was Chip's original "choice" for candidate, and he latched onto Huckabee when Bill decided to retire from elected political office.

This seems like a tempest in a teapot.

TedWhich Barbara W... (Below threshold)


Which Barbara Walters interview with Limbaugh was it that you saw him "awhile back"? Was it this one?


He didn't appear younger in that interview to me. He looked like a guy in his mid fifties. And Walters didn't come off as a flirter, rather her questions and style were remarkably familiar to the Walters I have been watching for decades.

It really doesn't matter what you "think" Limbaugh believes,Ted, as he's very transparent on this subject. He's an entertainer on radio. He admits this. He's a radio personality.

That he apparently gets under your skin because he's a "nerd" with "orotund tones" full of "(bracing) braggadocio" and "lame" jokes while having "never played sports" and "lives with a cat named punkin'" says a lot more about you than him, Ted.

Frank,Two suggesti... (Below threshold)
Dave Noble:


Two suggestions:

-Maintain a sense of humor when one of your sacred cows is skewered.

-Read more carefully. If you did, you would:
1) Get my name right
2) Notice that the phrase "somewhat younger then" refers to the pronoun immediately after it,"she", which in turn refers to Barbara Walters.

Your friend,


Tom BiologicalYou ... (Below threshold)

Tom Biological

You present exactly the attitude which makes republicans and conservatives a party and group tone deaf to reality. Do you ever wonder why the republican party does not appeal to minorities? Hint, it's not because "conservative principles" have been abandoned.

I don't think you're a class A-1 idiot, just clueless and close-minded. But you folks keep on doing what you're doing and thinking what you're thinking and see how it goes for republicans and conservatives.

TedThe antecedent ... (Below threshold)


The antecedent of your pronoun really threw me for a loop. I'll read more carefully next time.

My only sacred cow is the type I was discussing with bryanD on the other thread.

Happy New Year!


Who's Tom Biological?... (Below threshold)

Who's Tom Biological?

JFO, for you to call me clueless and close-minded after reading that article and my comment, and after once again mucking up my last name is simply...priceless.

Thanks for driving home my point.

Tom BlogicalMy apo... (Below threshold)

Tom Blogical

My apologies for mucking up your name.

Did you look at the video? If you did I reiterate my point about being clueless. If you didn't then I wonder why you comment about it at all.

JFO:Did you read w... (Below threshold)


Did you read what Ehrenstein wrote? Further, did you read the entire posting by Michael Laprarie and all the links provided? If you did I reiterate my point about you being an idiot and clueless. If you didn't then I wonder why you comment about it at all.

A simple question put to yo... (Below threshold)

A simple question put to you Tom B. Apparently you didn't watch the video since you didn't answer it.

I did read everything mentioned and have read more. But you still don't get it do you? Parody or not, humorous or not how do you think minorities react to that kind of thing? And my point, oh clueless one, was that what in the hell is a man running for RNC chair doing putting something like that (the video ) out there? The more you defend and rationalize the more you prove my point about the almost all-white Republican party and conservatism today.

"Parody or not, humorous... (Below threshold)

"Parody or not, humorous or not how do you think minorities react to that kind of thing?"

You really are that thick, aren't you? Keep ignoring, defending and rationalizing people like Ehrenstein all you want. Folks with common sense who are disgusted with their racist crap will keep throwing it back in their face and your face and hopefully, minorities will wake up and smell the coffee about who the real racists are. If they don't then that's their problem. They should be offended with the real racists instead of crying foul at the people pointing it out.

It will take a lot to undo all the brainwashing, though. You keep throwing out your "freedom of speech for me, but not for thee" shtick in the hopes the mind control will continue to stick.

People,I have a so... (Below threshold)


I have a solution to this problem, change negro to mulatto! This is more accurate since he's half white.

Plus I think it has a better ring to it as well as alliteration:

Obama, the Magic Mulatto ...

Tom BOn the one ha... (Below threshold)

Tom B

On the one hand I think you're kind of nuts. On the other I'm glad since you are such a good representative of what has sent your politics into the wilderness. Sad to say, but here's wishing you keep it up.

P.S Why are so freaking angry

"On the one hand I think... (Below threshold)

"On the one hand I think you're kind of nuts."

That's no surprise to me coming from you. Common sense and reality would sound nutty to idiots/moonbats like you.

"On the other I'm glad since you are such a good representative of what has sent your politics into the wilderness."

And once again, you're absolutely dead-on wrong. My politics aren't being sent into the wilderness. John McCain and all the other RINOs represent your brand of politics, not mine. Why go with liberal-lite when you can have the full blown product Obama proudly offers? My brand of politics is Ronald Reagan conservatism, who won two presidential elections in two overwhelming, landslide victories.

If my kind of politics would be practiced again, your brand of politics would get swept by so quickly and easily it would make your head spin. But alas, we've allowed oversensitive liberals, PC Police, and socialism run amok in this country instead.

"P.S Why are so freaking angry"

I always get angry at stupid, mind-numbed robot people like you who attack the wrong people for the wrong reasons, and who completely ignore and enable people like Ehrenstein and Sharpton.

Tom BHave a very m... (Below threshold)

Tom B

Have a very miserable walk in thae wilderness. You are a miserable wretch and I shall enjoy your suffering for the foreseeable future. Did you know Reagan was dead? Do you know the times have changed? Do you know not many folks embrace your kind of politics any more? Nah, putzes like you live with your heart in the past and your head up your ass.

Happy New Year putz.
notiz=This post is beyond the pale JFO.

JFO:Once again, yo... (Below threshold)


Once again, you have no idea what you're talking about and prove for the umpteenth time with your mere comments here that you're a complete idiot. You don't know me from Adam, yet because our ideologies are different, you, yet again, conclude that I'm something I'm not. Last time you came to such a witless conclusion, I was a racist and you claimed to know who my friends were. Now you somehow claim I'm a "miserable wretch". What's next? Are you going to fantasize that we've met face-to-face somehow and observed my behavior in public and in private? All this dim-witted, uninformed commentary about my life by you would be hilarious if it wasn't so pathetic.

Reagan is certainly dead, but conservative principles are certainly not. The Republican party is walking through the wilderness because they aren't embracing the conservative principles that Reagan so successfully espoused. What is even funnier is you continue to believe in the principles of FDR, yet the "war on poverty" has never, and will never, be actually won as long as people continue to choose the "easy" but less successful route in life for themselves. Yet, I don't hear you commenting on how long it's been since FDR's death, nor how unsuccessful his policies have been to this very day.

If you think telling people they can't act or think without the government intervening and running their lives for them, or that ignoring Ehrenstein and Sharpton are the right things to do, then it is definitely you who has their head up their ass. And with that thinking your heart is with the old plantations of the old long gone South. Talk about living in the past.

I'll continue happily living in the present and continue trying to convince people they don't need the government, nor divisional race baiters, to run their lives for them and to tell them what they can think and say.

I'm sure you'll attempt to mislabel me further, based on some fantasy of yours conjured up because you disagree with me. That's what happens when people like you lose an argument, so have at it.

Happy New Year to you too, moron.

Tom BMy last comme... (Below threshold)

Tom B

My last comment. Keep on thinking that a return to the conservative principles of Reagan will restore the Republican party. Speaking of morons. That'll attract a lot of folks from where?

And you just have to love it when folks from the lily white side of politics who defend racist videos call us racists.

Keep your head where it rightfully belongs - up your ignorant ass.

"That'll attract a lot o... (Below threshold)

"That'll attract a lot of folks from where?"

I know this is very complicated concept for a twit like you to understand, so read this very slowly. Everywhere in the nation. A real Reagan conservative would've beaten Obama so badly he'd be a laughing stock right now. If you have the brains to understand it, which you're currently demonstrating you don't, study the two Reagan landslides and the principles he ran on. Look at the electoral maps. That'll tell you everything you need to know.

"And you just have to love it when folks from the lily white side of politics who defend racist videos call us racists."

"And you just have to love it when folks from the lily white side of politics who defend racist videos call us racists.So let me get this straight."

A video that makes fun of Ehrenstein's racism is...racist. ROTFLMAO! Sticking your fingers in your ears yelling "La, la la" will not make Ehrenstein's racism go away, no matter how hard you try. Keep on ignoring the obvious, it's what you libs do best.

Oh and JFO. Look in the mirror. You'll see what a true ignorant dumbass looks like.

Shanklin's song is NOT "old... (Below threshold)

Shanklin's song is NOT "old-school racial stereotyping." It's political satire specifically directed at Al Sharpton and the LA Times.

It's interesting to note that Biden's REAL stereotyping of Indian shopkeepers did not arouse the same kind of uproar this faux-scandal has.

The satire is quite humorou... (Below threshold)

The satire is quite humorous, as is all of Shanklins stuff that I've heard over the years. Funny how few bothered to make an issue of the parody when it first came out and aired around March or April, but now the left and some weak kneed people on the right fain injury. Now was it the best possible move for Chip to circulate the cd as part of his election effort - maybe and maybe not, but I'm not going to castigate the man because he has a sense of humor, and perhaps a bigger set of balls then many around him.






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy