Sunday, January 10, 2010

Light skin is the right skin

Either Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a time machine and frequently visits the 1980s or he is seriously out of touch. For whatever reason the senator from Nevada believes that WE light skinned Negroes are in demand; particularly WE light skinned Negroes "with no Negro dialect, unless WE wanted to have one". Any damned fool knows that WE light skinned Negroes haven't been in demand since about 1988-1989.

Of course Senator Reid apologized Saturday following reports he had privately described then-presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama, during last year's campaign as a black candidate who could be successful thanks in part to his “light-skinned” appearance and speaking patterns "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

In his Saturday statement, Reid said he apologized “for offending any and all Americans, especially African Americans for my improper comments. “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.”

For his part President Obama didn't waste any time in stepping forward to say...."Harry Reid called me today and apologized for an unfortunate comment reported today. I accepted Harry's apology without question because I've known him for years, I've seen the passionate leadership he's shown on issues of social justice and I know what's in his heart. As far as I am concerned, the book is closed."

Senator Reid didn't waste any time in defending himself by saying...“I have worked hard to advance issues important to the African American community.”

What in the hell is wrong with Harry Reid?!? If Senator John McCain (R) or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) had uttered such an ignorant statement, then Senator Reid would have been the first person at a podium demanding their resignations. Leading Republicans, including Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele are calling for Majority Leader Reid to step aside in light (couldn't resist the pun) of his comments.

Despite the asinine statements, I can't help but think that somewhere Al B Sure, Irene Cara, Smokey Robinson, Lisa Bonet and those equally light skinned Negroes from A Different World are all basking in the glow of being back in style once again. Whether Harry Reid realizes it or not, it's been awhile.


  1. As unfortunate as his comments may be I do believe that he hit the nail on the head. I would wager that a great deal of the Obama appeal cross culturally is the fact that he does seem to stand in stark contrast to the common "Negro". What the release of Mr. Reid's comments may do is spark a dialogue among blacks about dark versus light skinned blacks and why we still make that distinguishment amongst ourselves.

  2. Huh?
    Light skinned blacks were never out of style.
    Al B. Sure, El DeBarge, Morris Day went out of style because they were seen as too wimpy for female tastes.
    When Vin Deisel, The Rock or any other more masculine light skinned dudes came on the scene - the the light was shone on a model that didn't have to act like Prince. (Although Prince is always in style.

    The perceived threat level goes from dark to light - with light being less of a threat.
    It may also have something to do with an expectancy of a little bit of "Whiteness" added to ones genes.
    (If one is half white - they are only half as bad.)

  3. I'm not mad at the light skinned comment as much as the "negro dialect" comment. The light skin thing is subconscious in both blacks and whites. If you show whites pictures of blacks they will rate the lighter ones less threatening. All day long Son!! The dialect part is what we really need to focus on.

  4. But the dialect issue is also a non-issue.
    Ask any Black person how they speak aroud different people and most can give at least three variations of SAE as well as Ebonics.
    Jessie had no chance because no one (even many Blacks) could understand a word he would say.
    Reid was just caught stating one of those things people know are true but no white person should be caught saying.

  5. I agree that light skin thing might be subconscious because white people sometimes stay away from dark skinned people, and befriend light skinned people. I think they subconsciously think that light skinned people have some white in them and therefore aren't affected by racism, or don't respond to racist comments as badly.

  6. I concur w/ a prior comment stating it's not the complexion "awareness" that bothers me but the statement regarding the ability to switch into "negro dialect" when need be. We as black or African Americans battle with the complexion racism w/in our own realm so it's truly nothing new that someone outside of the circle would adopt this same racist vision. Still the fact remains Obama is black, whether he's fair skinned or pitch. Even if his hair were platinum blond, and his eyes were blue is black especially in the eyes of the "others". If you've ever seen "Imitation of life" this is your prime example.

    Concerning the "negro dialect" the 'others' seem to be watching far too much "Boys in the Hood" (no offense to boys from the hood or John Singleton for such an outstanding movie) or are under the assumption that all of 'us' are from urban areas that use a dialect of overly exaggerated ebonics on a daily basis(if there is such a place). Everyone has a particular jargon they use with friends/family, or in a professional setting. It's called adaptation and adjusting or adopting a way in order to survive. A leopard can't change it's spots but it can definitely blend into it's enviroment with the right skills and knowledge.

  7. Not ever was light skinned out of style... and Obama wasnt going to win any damn presidency if he was black as tar and hed even the smallest hint of a nigerian or ghetto vercanular in his speech...

    what ?? white people cant tell the truth without being attacked ?? figures..

  8. Spoken Word the truth is that America is a very ugly place at times. Oh I dearly love my country; but loving your country is like loving your significant other and accepting their foibles. The truth is that there are people here who will never accept a man of color as president, other's that wouldn't accept a man of color that looks and sounds like America's perception of what we all sound and look like and still others that don't give a shit either way.

    The truth is that everything that Harry Reid said, most Caucasian people agree with; he just wasn't supposed to say it. That's one of the many things that sucks about political correctness, you're not supposed to tell people what you really think.

  9. True racists wouldn't care what color he is, period. White folk who have some biases against Blacks but don't really fall into the category of racists would be more inclined to vote for a light skinned, (bi-racial) man with a speech pattern that does not include the typical black cadence of speech (which is different than what Reid referred to as negro dialect. When Obama was elected I said to a white friend and co-worker that Obama wouldn't have become president unless several things were going for him. His complexion, the way he spoke, his education and his non threatening demeanor. I said he could never really show that he was angry during the campagin or it would have been all over. The worker said to me that I was diminishing the accomplishment by "picking it apart". Uh-huh, yeah right. She knew it was true. The man told the truth and ALL thinking Black folk know that. Most White folk will feel hard pressed to admit it.

  10. Wimpy?!?

    Brother John I prefer to see myself and those other light skinned brothers as SENSITIVE. We're not wimpy, we're just in touch with ourselves........and shit.

    If you're white, you're alright
    If you're brown, stick around
    But if you're black, stand back

  11. But Citizen Ojo, Negro just means black. If you don't believe me, ask one of your Spanish speaking friends.

  12. C'mon John Ebonics or "blaccents" are generally considered to be negative.......because of the people that use them. But there are millions of northern Caucasian Americans that look down on their southern cousins because they speak with a twang or southern accent......not to mention the whole NASCAR foolishness.

  13. Colorism runs rampant in the BC, mostly affecting the selection of desirable BW.

    Reid's comment is neither surprising nor does it upset me. He only stated what many think. PERIOD

    There are far more pressing issues affecting this country than Reid's comment. Unfortunately, "critical thinking" is rather lacking these days and is something that has never been a defining quality of the American people.

  14. SoLo Val unfortunately it's not just white people that do that, people of color do it too. While I'm making "light" (once again, pardon the pun) of the whole situation in this blog, it's a serious issue. Let me tell you why it's serious; it's serious because people make life altering decisions for other people based on their physical appearance; and besides, in our country it's not SUPPOSED to matter. All men are supposed to be created equal. In this country our founding fathers wrote many a pretty word or turned many a pretty phrase all in the name of liberty and justice and equality.....but they're just words. Unless there is actual action behind the words, they mean nothing.

    ....we hold these truths to be self evident....

    ....Everything that is right or reasonable pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, 'tis time to part....

    .... Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing....

    .... Each individual of the society has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property, according to standing laws. He is obliged, consequently, to contribute his share to the expense of this protection; and to give his personal service, or an equivalent, when necessary. But no part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. In fine, the people of this commonwealth are not controllable by any other laws than those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent....

    ....Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.

    It is what it is; and it is hypocritical to say that one man is better than another man if you REALLY and TRULY believe in the ideals of this country.

  15. Amour prior to seeing Prescious last month, Imitation of Life was the movie I thought of whenever someone asked me what the saddest movie was I'd ever seen.

    It was said that Martin Luther King Jr had the ability to speak to kings like a king and to the common man like a common man.

  16. Anonymous people of color have jokingly told me that for 20 years, I wasn't serious. Read what I wrote again, I was just joking.

  17. Saint James it would seem that both you and I know the same truth. I'd also agree that a "perfect storm" type setting had to be in place in order for Barack Obama to be elected president........and that storm blew in Nov 2008 fa sho.

  18. Reggie,

    This country has ALWAYS made its decision based on a prototype of American Goodness which was white, male, and a member of the ruling class.

    All others were assimilated, obliterated or terrorized. This pattern has played out throughout the entire history of this country and has also been played out across the globe thanks to protecting/expanding U.S. interests.

    The founding fathers were not writing for the masses or for women. They were only interested in those with property, businesses or money. The ruling class continues to perpetuate their influence and power based on these fundamental structures upon which the U.S. was built at the expense of all other groups of people that did not conform. This was extended to generational genocide of native peoples and the destruction of all possible avenues for economic independence of Blacks (Bombing of Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1921).

    I am afraid that America has never been for the people....

  19. Anonymous I would agree with most of what you said. In this age of political correctness, we're not supposed to always be honest with one another. No, we must strive to always say the right thing at the right time and not step on anyone's toes. If I recall right, that's called savoir faire.

  20. True my Anonymous friend. If our founding fathers seriously believed in those beautiful flowing words, then slavery would have been instantly abolished and women wouldn't have waited until the turn of the 20th century to see their rights solidified.

    There is a duality to the promise of America that is quite ugly..........if you choose to look at it for what it actually is.

  21. I define it as not drinking the "Kool-Aid" and staying out of the "Matrix" (i.e. The truth is easier to remember...)

    Being politically correct was never my goal in life.;-)

  22. If it was my goal, I sure as hell fell short.

  23. "Any damned fool knows that WE light skinned Negroes haven't been in demand since about 1988-1989"

    LMAO!!!!!!!!! You are so wrong for saying that!

    As crass as Reid's comments are, I understand where he is coming from. White people are a little slow when it comes to understand "black folks".

    I cannot tell you how many times a white person has said to me, "You don't sound black!" or "Your (white sounded) voice sounds so natural!" Which usually prompts me to saying something equally offensive.

  24. That's what I'm saying Aggressive Fruit, that "you don't sound black shit" isn't a compliment and I've been hearing it for far too long.

    Yeah the good senator should have shut the fuck up; he's a politician, he should have known better than to actually tell the truth.

    By the way, I have a few friends who are quick to tell me that I would have been attractive 20 years ago........and then they crack up.

  25. reggie... you just dont sound southern to me? :-P

  26. What's a southerner supposed to sound like Michelle?!?

  27. i think some white people still just arent completely sure what is taboo to say and what isnt... and if ive heard you say it once reggie, ive heard you say it a million times... these things need to be talked about OUT IN THE OPEN, seriously... over and over again until everything is clearly understood by all parties involved.

    i dont pretend to be politically correct all the time, and i dont claim that i am aware of everything that i should and should not say in order NOT to be offensive... but those who know me KNOW it is NEVER my intention to make anyone feel like less than anyone else... and im not too proud to apologize EVER! especially if i hurt someone!

    its all a learning process... as long as we continue to learn from, accept and try to right our wrongs... what more can we do?

    **to play devils advocate... which is sort of out of character for me... have you never heard a person of colour tell a white person DISDAINFULLY that they dont "sound white" ... or that they "are talking black" ... i have.

    why is THAT never questioned?**

    ~to give you my OWN answer to that question... its because it is JUST AS "incorrect" for a white person to talk using a brand of slang with terms and phrases that were not coined and are not considered "common" among caucasians, but that ARE commonly used by african americans, as it is for them to say "you dont *sound* black" to a person of colour

    sometimes people just dont know when to keep their mouths shut i guess?

    a wise man once said, "I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers."

  28. southerners are supposed to sound twangy-ish lol!

    just like canadians are supposed to say "eh" and "aboot" instead of "about".

  29. Aw Reg... Ya' know how dey tok down hurr in da Souf.

    Light skinned Blacks being played out is only true for brotha's like Pierre.
    Anyone one who had game and didn't act like a beotch could always get women.

  30. Honestly Michelle I've never heard a person of color tell a Caucasian person that they don't sound Caucasian. Of course, you're married to a man of color; I would have thought that by now you'd feel comfortable expressing yourself in matters of race. You shouldn't feel compelled to hold back your opinions, because they're just as valid as mine or anyone else's.

  31. Okay Michelle, I'm gonna start saying stuff like "fixing to" and "directly" and "imma"; but I draw the line at eating pork rinds or shittlings.

  32. John maybe it's because I got married in 1989. You know when a man gets married, it's been known to slow down his ability to date on a regular basis.....unless of course you're Tiger Woods.

  33. you know, of course, i was just being sarcastic reggie.

  34. The comments on this post are pretty good... the post was ok too. Speaking as a white man that knew a black person once I can therefore speak with authority. Light skinned Obama may be a half caste but he'll be seen as being black by all of us crackers, but hes educated and non-threatening, that and Sarah Palin got him into the Whitehouse. I can't speak for black people but apart from those who see this as great because he broke the seal I bet many black people don't like him because he has done well for himself... that is a very British attitude BTW we are a nation of begrudgers. I like Obama, a pretty useless president but he has more class than some of the others, he isn't boastful which will be his ultimate downfall, not his colour.

  35. He doesn't go out of his way to tout his accomplishments, I will give you that Old Knudsen. As American presidents go, he's been fairly decent. The people that don't want to vote for him because he's a man of color, won't anyway.

    We could have done a hellavalot worse at president, that's for sure.

    I will vote for him again and not because he's a man of color either, but because I think he's a far better alternative to Mitt Romney.

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