Over the weekend, another white guy stuck his foot in his mouth. This time, it was Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who during the past presidential election said that Barack Obama’s “light-skinned” appearance and ability to speak “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one” would bolster his bid for the presidency. He also added that Obama’s race would help him more than it would hurt him in the election.
There are many problems with Reid’s remarks, the most obvious being his use of the antiquated term Negro – the other “N” word. African Americans haven’t referred to themselves as Negroes in decades, having rejected the term long ago for good reason. Aside from the thoughts of slavery and segregation that it conjures, it is devoid of real meaning. Above all else, it fails to connect African Americans to their ancestral homeland – the continent of Africa – which is the source of their cultural and social essence.