The book "Game Change" was released last week. This gossipy book written by two national reporters took an inside, behind-the-scenes look at the 2008 presidential campaign. Apparently, during the campaign, Senate leader Harry Reid called then-candidate Obama: “light-skinned” and that he does not speak with a “Negro dialect,” both of which are true and both of which made Barack Obama — in Reid’s opinion — electable.
When I heard this comment, it reminded me of what Joe Biden said when he was a Presidential Candidate running against Obama in the campaign. Biden said, "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."
Both Reid's and Biden's comments were their lame attempts at complimenting Obama. They were falling into the old stereotype of the light skinned House nixxer being the Best of the group. How many people think like this? How many people think most blacks (minorities) are NOT articulate? Are NOT bright and clean? Are NOT intelligent? How many people in this country think the same way? Even though they attempted to be positive, this just shows you how far we have to go regarding the discussion of race in our country.
While I do not agree with their comments or this line of thinking, their comments are NOT as deplorable as Trent Lott's comments. Republicans are comparing Reid to Trent Lott and say Reid should resign as Lott resigned as Senate majority leader in 2002 after he made a racist comment.
Let's go back and examine the comments Lott made in 2002 about Strom Thurmond. Sen. Thurmond was a proud racist back in his day. He was so proud that in 1948, he ran for President as the Segregationist States Rights Party (Dixiecrat). One of Thurmond's rallying cries was, "We cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches and our places of recreation." At Thurmond's 100th birthday party, Lott said about his state voting for Thurmond for President, “I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”
Lott was complimenting a hard-core racist who openly promoted racist exclusionary policies and was adamantly and openly against the Civil Rights movement and integration. Lott said if we would have followed Thurmond's segregationist lead, "we wouldn't have had all of THESE (minority) problems over all these years."
There is no comparison between the two statements.
What is clear, however, is racism is still very prevalent in our country. We have a long way to go before we become a post racial society. We still have miles to go before people of any color are judged by the content of our character versus the color of our skin.