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LA Times Calls Obama 'Magic Negro'

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posted on Mar, 20 2007 @ 05:08 PM
I read somewhere that Whoopi Goldberg was a "magic negro" in almost every film she was in.

I guess in Sister Act she showed up and saved all the white nuns by teaching them to sing soul.

[edit on 3/20/2007 by djohnsto77]

posted on Mar, 20 2007 @ 05:51 PM
Not only that dj, but she did it to repay the ever generous white Mother for saving her life from an abusive ex master.

You have to read between the lines on these things.

posted on Mar, 20 2007 @ 08:07 PM
I thought I'd seen enough of the race card to know what it was and was not capable of. I thought wrong. After having let the article sink in for a minute though (I read it twice to be sure I wasn't getting it wrong) I ceased to be surprised at how low it got and started wondering how even a thin residue of civility somehow managed to cling to this attack. It's not as if they're really beating around the bush very much, so why didn't they just go all out and accuse him of belonging to the klan?

I understand what the implications would be if Obama was just a black guy running an "end white guilt" campaign. If the accusations which go along with this epithet had any basis, that would be an issue every bit as much as any other lack of substance in a candidate. It would be comparable to Mary Carey's "from the neck down" approach to winning voters in the California recall election a few years ago.

But number one that isn't the case and number two this article goes farther than that.

Not long ago they were telling us that the man's church was some kind of creepy black supremecist cult, and now they're telling us that he's some kind of happy-go-lucky pushover who is selling out what he "should be" as an African American so that whites can picture him as Morgan Freeman playing God. Which is it???

And for that matter, what exactly is he selling out, and what action of his is selling that out? I'd love to hear that from anyone who thought that Ehrenstein's condescension was on the mark. I'd love to have somebody explain where in the course of helping black churches give job training to the poor, working as a civil rights lawyer, etc they think he became a sellout. When he forgot that he was supposed to work with black people and only black people for the betterment of our society perhaps? That seems to be what Mr. Ehrenstein feels, and I have a hard time believing that such nonsense draws an audience from among an educated population.

A few words on the concept of the "Magic Negro" in America from one of the ever-insecure white guys who likes Obama:

1. I'm not a moron; I weigh my decisions. I won't vote for any candidate who doesn't have a sound grip on international relations and constitutional law. Barack is on my short list because he makes that cut- period.

2. I never favored any form of discrimination or oppression, never materially supported it, and never tollerated it. For those reasons, I don't feel one iota of racial guilt and anyone who in anyway implied that I should, including by patronizing me in the way that they are accusing Obama of doing, would be showing me his true colors, no pun intended, and making one heck of an enemy.

3. As the cause of civil liberties has been advanced, we have come to a point where minds now need more changing than laws, because it takes 51% of us to change the law, but 100% of us to change the sum of our society. This means that even if I did feel like I had inherited some kind of generations-old race-debt, I'd be slow to beleive that a "magic negro" president could square it up.

Bottom line, I think that the appearance of such an attack as this in the LA times is extremely telling. There are still plenty of misguided people out there who are more interested in satisfying their anger than in satisfying their sense of justice, there are people who would rather be avenged than have their children live in harmony, and there are plenty of shameless politicos who will gladly prostitute themselves and the good of our society to those misguided people.

posted on Mar, 20 2007 @ 08:23 PM
I think that anyone who reads the article should understand that sociologists labeled a stock character in film as the "magical Negro," because the characters never seemed to have a history to explain their special knowledge about whatever the white protagonist needed.

The application of the term to Obama is cogent, insofar as almost everyone on the planet has noted that Obama's weak suit is his political experience, which has done nothing to diminish the zeal of his followers.

The Mad Magazine television show recently did a skit in which an Obama character takes to the mike and blows everyone away with his cool, soulful, vocals. Is there nothing this man can't do?

The LA Times has done nothing more than to draw a parallel between Obama the candidate and the existing cultural phenomenon of the "magic Negro."

Making anymore out of it is just a waste of time, in my opinion. Of course, there are always those who have plenty of time.

[edit on 2007/3/20 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Mar, 20 2007 @ 09:55 PM
I didn't "get" the article at all until I read The Vagabond's post. I really didn't know what the Times was trying to say. Thanks. There was a disconnect in my brain, but now I think I get it.

posted on Mar, 21 2007 @ 10:27 PM
If you have seen "Stranger than Fiction," which I did tonight, Queen Lateefah plays a character that pretty much meets the criteria for a "magical Negro."

It may not be precisely so, but it's pretty close.

[edit on 2007/3/21 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Mar, 21 2007 @ 10:56 PM
The more movies I think of, the more magic negros I see...they're everywhere!

Still, like I said, I can think of many characters who had similar roles who weren't black.

I think the magic negro in film is a more interesting subject than asking if Obama is one. I think it's clear that he's not.

[edit on 3/21/2007 by djohnsto77]

posted on Mar, 21 2007 @ 11:04 PM
Well, in reality there are no magical anythings.

Obama is a magical Negro only in the sense that his rise to prominence from almost nowhere and the zeal of his followers make him seem like one.

As I said, the similarity is real, but it's a comparison of a plot device to real human being, so it will only hold up to so much scrutiny.

[edit on 2007/3/21 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Mar, 22 2007 @ 11:01 AM
Agreed Grady. The man does have a past, although one that is not mentioned often in the public eye. He does have his own agenda, and is working for himself, and not for some other protagonist. He wasn't just written into existence for the sole purpose of helping some white guy who is better liked.

Magical Negro maybe, but self created, and his own protagonist.

posted on Mar, 22 2007 @ 11:14 AM

Originally posted by Rasobasi420
Personally, I know Obama's got some stuff on him. Everyone has a dark side (no pun intended).

Wanna share?
I'd be interested in hearing what you know that hasn't already been discussed here as far as so-called negatives about him.

1. He smokes
2. His middle name
3. He went to a Muslim school for 2 years
4. He goes to a prominently black church

I don't see ANY of these as negative, but some do.

posted on Mar, 22 2007 @ 11:19 AM

What I meant was that everyone has a dark side, or something they're not proud of. I'm not saying that he organized trade with coc aine smugglers, or funded terrorist operations, but I'm sure he's done something that he's not proud of. Maybe he cheated on his wife. Maybe he's gotten into drunken bar brawls. Who knows. I'm just saying that no one is an angel. However, some are more angelic than others.

posted on Mar, 22 2007 @ 05:20 PM
Here's the correct link to "magic Negro":

Now, we do have Black organizations that use the term nowadays. I admit it gave me pause, and when I looked at the definition, I think it's definately an offense to refer to him that way. As others point out, he doesn't fit the archetype:

The magical negro is typically "in some way outwardly or inwardly disabled, either by discrimination, disability or social constraint," often a janitor or prisoner.[5] He has no past; he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist.[6] He is the black stereotype, "prone to criminality and laziness."[7] To counterbalance this, he has some sort of magical power, "rather vaguely defined but not the sort of thing one typically encounters."[6] They are patient and wise, often dispensing various words of wisdom, and are "closer to the earth."[3]

The magical negro is simply a plot device to help the protagonist get out of trouble, typically through helping the white character recognize his own faults and overcome them.[3] In this way, the magical negro is similar to the Deus ex machina; a simple way for the protagonist to overcome an obstacle almost entirely through outside help.

So... I suggest the writer of that article (who may be getting flak now) go back and reread the definition.

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