SHADMIA'S WORLD

Just Another Guy with Opinions

Barack Obama the Magic Negro

Posted by shadmia on April 25, 2007

obama.jpglimbaugh.jpg

The LA Times published an op-ed piece by cultural critic David Ehrenstein, entitled Obama the Magic Negro. He first uses the wikipedia definition to explain his use of the phrase:

The Magic Negro is a figure of postmodern folk culture, coined by snarky 20th century sociologists, to explain a cultural figure who emerged in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education. “He has no past, he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist,” reads the description on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_Negro .

He likens Barack to this “Magic Negro” who is the savior for most white Americans, whose desire for a noble, healing Negro hasn’t faded.”

Like a comic-book superhero, Obama is there to help, out of the sheer goodness of a heart we need not know or understand. For as with all Magic Negroes, the less real he seems, the more desirable he becomes. If he were real, white America couldn’t project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on him.

Whether or not you agree with David Ehrenstein’s characterization of Barack Obama is not what this article is about, it just serves as background material for the way that Rush Limbaugh used it to make “fun” of both the article and a video parody by Paul Shanklin pretending to be Al Sharpton entitled “Barack the Magic Negro”, sung to the tune Puff the Magic Dragon. See the clip below:

Rush used the article by Ehrenstein to make the point that the white supporters of Barack Obama are racists:

So those of you white people out there who are supporting Barack Obama, you are racists. That is the point that David Ehrenstein’s made. So your attempt to assuage all of your white guilt by supporting Obama is worthless because you’re just — you’re just exhibiting racism because you know he’s not a real black.

For a transcript of his show click here.

When Don Imus was fired for calling the Rutger’s Women Basketball team “Nappy-headed hos”, there was a huge national outcry against this type of “racism” and “sexism” on the airwaves. However, when Rush Limbaugh plays what to some people is an overtly racist rendition of an old classic song, there is no such protest. Is there some fine line between being offensive and entertaining that Rush did not cross? 27 times during his broadcast he referred to Barack Omaba as the “Magic Negro”, claiming that “I’m going to keep referring to him as that because I want to make a bet that by the end of this week I will own that term” he continued by saying “If I refer to Obama the rest of the day as the ‘Magic Negro,’ there will be a number of people in the drive-by media and on left-wing blogs who will credit me for coming up with it and ignore the L.A. Times did it, simply because they can’t be critical of the L.A. Times, but they can, obviously, be critical of talk radio.” He ended his broadcast with the following words:

I mean, don’t start telling me to shy away from this stuff. That’s why I’m where I am, that’s why I’m who I am, and for which I make no apologies. I’m very proud and happy.

 

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17 Responses to “Barack Obama the Magic Negro”

  1. Mystylplx said

    The “Magic Negro” is a side charector who only exists to help the white protagonist.

    Barack Obama IS the protagonist. He’s the hero of this story. He doesn’t fit the definition of “Magic “negro.”

  2. niggaplease said

    Hell’s yeah! And that is why I love me some Rush Limbaugh. The man’s got guts; he’s not afraid to give the finger to any beotch and say “Go f’ yourself.” Right on, Rush. Keep on with your bad self.

  3. george jimenez said

    Okay–so a liberal journalist can make a what is at best a moderately defensible statement and get it published virtually sans critique from the left, but when a conservative picks it up and runs with it, parodying the statement, critiquing it, questioning the thought process behind it, and lambasting those to whom it refers, and HE’s the bad guy. Okay. Heads you win, tails I lose.

  4. ANDY GONZALEZ said

    Imus is spineless. Rush has guts. He is only a racist because the spineless dweebs on cnn, etc. say so.

  5. Tom Smith said

    When David Ehrenstein Of the L.A Times Coined the phrase Obama the ‘Magic Negro’Not One Lib or Left Wing Socailist even raised an eyebrow.
    The video was done by someone other than Rush in what is obviously a racist motivated smear. However it cannot come close to the racist comments by the Honorable Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton who seem to have become the language Police of the Airwaves.
    Now that someone On the Right has Made a parody of the Phrase and out of Legitimate Quotes and statements of the so called “honarable”
    Al Sharpton We hear all sorts of crys for “Off With his head” and “racisim.”
    Obama himself Laughed about the parody.
    Once agaon proveing The Folks on the right prefer to deal in facts and the socailists on the left prefer kneejerk emotional Selective Outrage.
    Isnt it funny how on the left a free ride is given to insensitive or racist comments however let a spokesman on the right repeat what they said in parody and its becomes huge issue worthy of the hate mongers who pray to get some kind of traction with it even though they don’t know the facts behind it.

  6. Joseph Cain said

    The term,‘Magic Negro’, as applied to Barack Obama was used by an L.A. Times columnist, David Ehrenstein. This column appeared on 19 March 2007, weeks before the parody by Paul Shanklin was played on Rush’s show. The gist of the article in the L.A. Times was that Barack Obama was a token black candidate, useful for nothing more than to assauge white guilt. Rush pointed out in his show that this attitude is typical of the hypocritical left-leaning press. (Remember the “clean, articulate, bright” description of Barack by Joe Biden?) The song points out that Al Sharpton claims Barack lacks street cred- he isn’t ‘black enough’.

  7. shadmia said

    Note…..The original video “Barack the Magic Negro” was taken down. I found another version on uTube and replaced it.

  8. BARACK OMABA..CAN BE CALLED ANY NICK…BUT HE HAVE THE TALENT THAT MANY OLD POLITICIANS DON’T HAVE.GOD SEND TO US IN THE RIGHT TIME…TOGETHER WITH MRS HILLARY CLINTON WILL BE THE BEST MAN TO BE OUR NEXT VICEPRESIDENT…SINCE RACISM IN AMERICA STILL EXIST AND IS NOT PREPARED TO ACCEPT AFRO AMERICAN VICE PRESIDENT,IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE THIS IS A TRUE FACT ASK TO CONDOLESSA RICE?
    WHY SHE DON’T RUN TO BE GOVERNOR OF ALABAMA!

  9. BARACK OMABA..CAN BE CALLED ANY NICK NAME…BUT, HE HAVE THE TALENT THAT MANY OLD POLITICIANS DON’T HAVE.GOD SEND TO US IN THE RIGHT TIME…TOGETHER WITH MRS HILLARY CLINTON HE WILL BE THE BEST MAN TO BE OUR NEXT VICEPRESIDENT…SINCE RACISM IN AMERICA STILL EXIST AND IS NOT PREPARED TO ACCEPT AFRO AMERICAN AS PRESIDENT,IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE THIS STATEMENT IT IS A TRUE FACT…. ASK TO CONDOLESSA RICE?
    WHY SHE DON’T RUN TO BE GOVERNOR OF ALABAMA!

  10. chris said

    Sorry, but Barack is not full black. He cannot be a “magic negro” because he is not the traditional black person that the mythological figure is. He is of mixed race, just like most of us in the world. This whole controversy is misguided and racist.

  11. kcnickel said

    “Rush used the article by Ehrenstein to make the point that the white supporters of Barack Obama are racists:”
    You really don’t get Rush if you believe this. You just don’t. It’s sad to see someone listen to his show for 10 minutes and act like they understand his satire, his sense of humor, and the way he makes you think by using others’ sad logic. Rush wasn’t accusing whites supporters of Barack as being racist. He was showing that this is the conclusion of the writer of the LA Times article. There’s no double standard between Imus and Rush, only the double standard between what a liberal and conservative can say.

  12. nickelbaked said

    Obvioiusly rush was right. Even though it was someone else that said, “Barack Obama the Magic Negro”, he now owns it. Now he is racist for pointing out what someone else said? It just don’t make any sense at all. Besides I thought we lived in a country where we had free speech? Freedom of speech is the concept of being able to speak freely without censorship. We are walking a thin line when we start to censor others in what they say, lest you be next.

  13. C M Green said

    I do not understand the way we play with language. It seems to be used to control people. I can say this…you can’t say that. This word was once okay, but now seems too much like the other word. If you use this word or that word in this context it is okay, but only if you meet a certain criteria. If you are of one ethnic background you are allowed to say very little…if you are from another background you can say just about anything? Langauge is becoming a political tool. Is this a higher form of social evolution, where we now fight and are wounded by words and not weapons? Language is no longer about simple, straight foward communication it is about control, power, and social identity.

  14. Damian said

    Barack Obama is a perfect magic negro. He’s been chosen (most people don’t know this) to be vice president serving under a white woman, Hillary Clinton. Anyone seen Driving Miss Daisy?

  15. Oh Dear said

    I worry about the state of our nation when freedom of speech is used as an excuse for racism. It is true that it is everyone’s right to say what they please; it is also true that it is everyone’s right to contest it. I am disgusted with the above posts. I won’t be returning to this site so you need not reply (unless you really care to). I wish you all the best.
    God bless

  16. William Schutmaat said

    It is not difficult to understand why international opinion of the United States (not only with respect to its foreign policy) has never been as low as it has been over the past years after reading the rubbish which makes an attempt to pass for “political analysis” in Ehrenstein`s pathetic article. Equality, freedomn, rights, are all words that have lost their meaning in the United States , states which have never really been united in an effort to make true the “American Dream” of equal opportunity for everyone. To affirm that all of those who mighr vote for Obama are guilt ridden racists is tantamount to affirming that all of those who voted for George W. Bush felt terribly sorry for an alcoholic idiot whose only quslifications for running for President were daddy`s millions and a clear lack of intelligence which guaranteed that he would be an effective puppet who might effectively safeguard the economic interests of a specific economic group.
    Maybe its time for Americans to grow up before, as at various periods in Europe history, race hatreds, xenophia, and facism win out and the unvoiced internal war which has raged in the “Disunited States” for centuries become a visible reality. This would not be surprising giving the superpower`s pathetic attempts at establishing world peace by waging senseless war in places like Vietnam and now Irak.

  17. Very interesting! In case you are interested, here is a link to my posting today on Rush and free speech http://soozah.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/rush-limbough-on-the-banking-queen-and-the-magic-negro/

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