David Ehrenstein: banned from Patterico, but not from the L.A. Times.
P.S. But what about the substance? Let’s take a look at it:
AS EVERY CARBON-BASED life form on this planet surely knows, Barack Obama, the junior Democratic senator from Illinois, is running for president. Since making his announcement, there has been no end of commentary about him in all quarters — musing over his charisma and the prospect he offers of being the first African American to be elected to the White House.
But it’s clear that Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the “Magic Negro.”
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’s there to assuage white “guilt” (i.e., the minimal discomfort they feel) over the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history, while replacing stereotypes of a dangerous, highly sexualized black man with a benign figure for whom interracial sexual congress holds no interest.
I’ll take Allah’s observations over David E.’s any day:
The reason the “Magic Negro” meme has purchase in Hollywood has less to do with racism, I suspect, than sensitivity to the accusation of racism, for which they overcompensate by assigning the most cartoonishly noble and good-natured roles to black actors.
That sounds about right.