Barack, the Magic Negro is Above All That

Another manufactured controversy today, this one because a stupid Republican, running to head the GOP, gave out a CD tinged with racism to the RNC committee members, likely thinking because the CD was on Limbaugh it was acceptable. These guys aren’t ready to run a hot dog stand, much less the country. Obama does the right thing in standing tall.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

By now we’ve all heard the controversy. Chip Saltsman, former campaign manager for Mike Huckabee and current candidate for RNC Chair, made the tasteless move of slipping a CD into the goodie bags for RNC Members, and on it is a song called “Barack the Magic Negro.” As TPM describes it, the song is a parody with the songwriter, Paul Shanklin, singing it as if he is Al Sharpton. I suppose one can imagine all sorts of blackface and such. Here’s the lyrics from when the song was first controversially run on the Limbaugh show about a year and a half ago, from Media Matters (and here’s the Youtube of the song):

SHANKLIN (Sharpton impersonator):

Barack the Magic Negro lives in D.C.
The L.A. 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!

[refrain] Oh, Barack the Magic Negro, lives in D.C.
The L.A. Times, they called him that
–Cause he’s black, but not authentically.

Oh, Barack the Magic Negro, lives in D.C.
The L.A. Times, they called him that
–Cause he’s black, but not authentically.

Some say Barack’s “articulate”
And bright and new and “clean.”
The media sure loves this guy,
A white interloper’s dream!
But, when you vote for president,
Watch out, and don’t be fooled!
Don’t vote the Magic Negro in –
–Cause – ’cause I won’t have nothing after all these years of sacrifice
And I won’t get justice. This is about justice. This isn’t about me, it’s about justice.
It’s about buffet. I don’t have no buffet and there won’t be any church contributions,
And there’ll be no cash in the collection plate.
There ain’t gonna be no cash money, no walkin’ around money, no phoning money.
Now, Barack going to come in here and –

You know, the American people, and probably even a few Republicans about now, are beginning to detest this sort of ugly attack politics. These ugly politics tinged with racism permeated the last election cycle, and look where it got them – they lost ground in the Seante and the House, and they lost the Presidency to a black man with the middle name of “Hussein.” Sure, the incompetence of George Bush had something to do with those losses, but I’m thinking Americans are finally tired of the same old same old politics of destruction. I say let them still do it without too, too much squawking. Every time Republicans resort to anything remotely like racism, they’re going to bolster the racist base they can count on, and alienate the majority of Americans. We should take Mr. Obama’s lead on this one, and here’s what he said in 2007 when the controversy first reared its ugly head, from Tabloid Edition:

Mr Obama’s campaign team described the song as dumb. Mr Obama, who could become the first black president, said he had not heard the song but had heard about it. He played down the row, saying that he did not take himself so seriously that he became offended by every comment made about him.

There are people in this country who will condemn Saltsman and Limbaugh and anyone who chooses to associate with this ugliness. Hey, I’m not here to defend either Al Sharpton or Barack Obama. I’m here to note that Barack Obama’s response in 2007 will be followed with the same response now to this ugliness, with class and calmness that in contrast to the whiney ugniness of the Republicans will win Obama two or three more points at the polls.

It is still up in the air whether the Republicans will ever learn that civility is the new way to win campaigns.

Friday, December 26th, 2008 by Steven Reynolds |

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