Guy #1: I'm not afraid to tell people that I voted for Obama cuz he's black.
Guy #2: I voted for him cuz he's cool.
Guy #1: My reason is way cooler!
--Washington Square Park
via Overheard in New York, Jan 12, 2010
As Ryan Sager writes,
But, really, is there anything in Reid’s comments at which an even marginally sane person could take offense?
Reid, of course, said that Obama might make a successful presidential candidate because of his “light-skinned” appearance and speaking patterns “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”
If anyone missed that this was a major part of Barack Obama’s appeal, starting in 2004 and right up through the 2008 election, then they live in a different country than I do. These facts about Mr. Obama were among the key reasons he was flagged almost six years ago as a serious contender to become the first black president (along, of course, with an impressive rhetorical style and a uniting, centrist message that captured the national zeitgeist after so many years of red-blue partisan rancor).
And these notions — that Americans have a preference for someone light-skinned who doesn’t sound black — while not exactly pleasant, and not exactly indicative of Americans’ higher angels, are hardly in dispute. Not only are they conventional wisdom, they’re experimentally tested.