According to the recently’published book ‘Game Change,’ by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, Sen. Harry Reid said during the 2008 presidential election that President Barack Obama would win because he was a ‘light-skinned’ African American ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to’have one.’
Some suggest Reid is not racist but merely chose his words poorly, while some Republican politicians want him to step down, according to CNN.
During the campaign in 2008, Bill O’Reilly, a popular conservative pundit on Fox News, said he didn’t want to participate in a ‘lynching’party’ against First Lady Michelle Obama unless she deserved it. His remark came after she made a comment about the U.S. that he didn’t approve. Shouldn’t O’Reilly have received the same’treatment from conservatives as Reid?
Reid is catching a lot of flack for using the word ‘Negro,’ because some see it as a derogatory term that sets African Americans back. In Brian Palmer’s article, ‘When Did the Word Negro Become Taboo?’ he wrote that”colored’ was the preferred term when referring to’African Americans until’W.E.B. Dubois came along.
The reference then’switched to ‘Negro’ and remained until the 1970s when it changed to ‘black.’ So why is ‘Negro’ now socially’unacceptable?
‘Negro’ carries the stigma’of the 1950s and 1960s – times full of racism, prejudice, inequality and the civil rights movement. That’s understandable, but the word was politically correct at the time. What is so wrong with the word today? ‘Negro’ is another word for ‘black.’ In fact, it’s the Spanish word for ‘black.’
As time progresses, so do words. They take on’different meanings, but ‘Negro’ should not have. It has always meant ‘black,’ and it’s a safe assumption that it always will. It shouldn’t be seen as an insult.
Reid had a point. More people were drawn toward Obama because he speaks proper English. If a politician can speak well, they usually draw more votes. He appealed to the masses, and many people took him seriously because of his exceptional speaking skills.
There have been a lot of people who expressed the same sentiment as Reid. He made a poor choice in words but he is not racist.
Naomi Prioleau is a junior majoring in mass’communications.