This is an open letter sent today by Arlen Parsa:
Dear Rush Limbaugh,
O, master of moderation,
O, beacon of reason,
O, exemplar of well-thought-out-discourse,
Please stop calling Barack Obama a “magic negro.”
I know you only have only the best intentions in mind. I know you would never, everrrrrrr intentionally say annnnnything racist, but when you call the only African American person in the entire Senate a “negro,” over and over again, on the your nationally syndicated talk radio show, it comes across as just a tad bit racially insensitive.
I know, I know, you meant it as a joke. And I that you probably thought it was hilarious, and in the best possible taste, when you sing it to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon, lives by the seaaaaa” (”Barack the magic Negro, lives in DC”). But here’s the thing. It. Is. Not. Funny. In fact, O wise radio mogul, it is the opposite of funny.
As I am sure I don’t need to remind you, another radio host was not long ago fired for doing something similar (no doubt the words “Don Imus nappy headed hos incident” ring bells in your mind). And keep in mind, Imus said he was just “joking around” too. In your case, you actually planned your joke ahead of time, and your producers found some music to play in the background so you could sing your rendition of “Barack the magic negro.”
Which brings me to my next point. Although I’m sure you probably thought it would help race relations in America by mimicking what you think is a “black voice,” while singing your little ditty, I regret to inform you that to the average person, who doesn’t know that you’re actually regarded as a second coming of Rev Dr Martin Luther King in the African American community, it only makes it worse.
Now, I know what you are about to say. “But I didn’t call him that; the LA Times called him that! Those liberals are so racist!” Let me stop you. When an African American person criticizes the perception of another African American person by comparing them with the archetypal sociological concept of a “magical negro,” it is not, in fact, racist.
If anything, the LA Times column to which you slam for its supposed racism, is in fact an attack on what the author feels is racism in white American politics, and as an extension, an attack on what the author sees as Senator Obama’s willingness to act as a figure whom “white America [can] project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on.”
I will be waiting for you to apologize to Senator Obama and have your “Imus moment” on Al Sharpton’s radio show. I am confident that it won’t take very long for you to realize that your “joke” wasn’t in fact the funniest thing on the planet, and that you will apologize soon enough. That’s just the type of thoughtful, productive, selfless type of thing we’ve come to expect from you.