Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Blogger: It Sure Was Racist to Use That Phrase That First Appeared in Our Newspaper

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Obama,Race — Patterico @ 10:35 pm

You miss things when you go on vacation. Like this blog entry from L.A. Times opinion blogger Lisa Richardson, about the Chip Saltsman/Barack the Magic Negro flap:

It’s a given that Republicans are done trying to appeal to black voters, but are they really ready to give up everyone else who isn’t white? Because if not, here’s the thing: it’s not much of a stretch for Latinos and Asians — who also voted overwhelmingly for Obama — to imagine how a president-elect of their ethnicity also could be the target of such lighthearted Republican fun. “Mike the Magic Jap” and “Maria the Magic Mexican” probably wouldn’t go over that well either.

Indeed; anyone who used the phrase “Barack the Magic Negro” must certainly be a racist. So says the L.A. Times.

Now, there’s just one nagging thing . . . where did I first see that phrase used? Oh, yes — in the L.A. Times. In an op-ed written by black liberal David Ehrenstein.

Thanks to Xrlq. And to Trained Dog.

I may have to add this to last year’s Year in Review. Because I’m all about the thoroughness.

61 Responses to “L.A. Times Blogger: It Sure Was Racist to Use That Phrase That First Appeared in Our Newspaper”

  1. Ah, Patterico, you don’t get it.

    The LAT is exempt because the phrase was first used by a black liberal,see.

    If anyone white uses it, only then is it racist, as Paul Shanklin found out. Kind of like the word found in “Of Mice and Men.”

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (43e430)

  2. Lisa Richardson has a good excuse. Libtards have short memories.

    DavidL (02e14f)

  3. Well, Mr Ehrenstein’s column explains a great deal about Mr Ehrenstein himself: anyone who begins a column:

    As every carbon-based life form on this planet surely knows . . . .

    is very, very far out into science fiction, so much so that one has to question just how reality-based™ he can be when writing about non-Hollywood topics.

    Heck, even if we were generous — and I am not — and attributed “every carbon-based life form” to an attempt at humor or style, it should be pointed out that my three cats would meet the criteria for being a carbon-based life form.

    The Dana who likes science fiction and fantasy, but does know that fiction is, well, fictional (556f76)

  4. I read both Davids’s column and looked up the song on YouTube. Whether you agree with David’s movie metaphor or not, the column is much less offensive. The song is very low class. It’s something I might pass around, not the would-be chairman of the GOP.

    nk (d08690)

  5. Several LA Times blog commenters pointed out the origin of the phrase, one provided a direct link.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (43e430)

  6. Oh Dana, you’re such a card.

    Really amazed by The Meme That Wouldn’t Die, as I remark upon HERE.

    David Ehrenstein (0c5acf)

  7. “Indeed; anyone who used the phrase “Barack the Magic Negro” must certainly be a racist. So says the L.A. Times.”

    No. Anyone who sings a song called “Barack the Magic Negro” is playing a game that appeals to racism.
    Ehrenstein was referring to the a psychological function of a certain type of mythologizing. If he was mocking anything he was mocking white liberals, not Morgan Freeman, or Obama.
    The song is taken to mock Obama. “Barack The Magic Negro” is another of “The One.” Call it “The Black One”
    If It functions in the popular imagination as racist, it is racist.
    Don’t try to argue that it wasn’t made to be heard that way.

    Lee Atwater begged for forgiveness on his deathbed.
    But nothing’s changed. This is still your old republican party.

    The dog bites back.

    sleepy (9d17de)

  8. Thank you for further confirmation of the Libtard’s moral relativism in action, No – Doz.

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  9. No, sleepy, the song was meant to mock Al Sharpton….

    But, since you see racism where you want to see it, I understand your post….

    reff (ea7aa1)

  10. _____________________________

    It’s a given that Republicans are done trying to appeal to black voters, but are they really ready to give up everyone else who isn’t white?

    I bet if most blacks and Latinos, for that matter, were conservative instead of leftwing, a lot of liberals (aka “progressives”) would start having qualms about civil-rights laws, affirmative action and diversity.

    I suspect some of that sentiment was triggered among a cross-section of the left back in November when they read about surveys that showed a fairly substantial number of black voters supported Proposition 8.

    Mark (411533)

  11. Work that “wedge,” Mark!

    Had no African-Americans voted Prop 8 would have won anyway.

    David Ehrenstein (0c5acf)

  12. Isn’t sleepy someone who was banned before for offensive statements, now posting under a new ‘nym? Sorry if I have that wrong.

    Stating that Republicans are basically racist—as sleepy more or less states—is odd. Because if I wrote that the situation with Blago is typical of Democratic politics, he or she would be quite offended, and rightly so.

    But it certainly is much easier to generalize one’s opponents into a tidy little box.

    And as Reff points out, it is important to read things carefully if one is going to paint large groups of people with a racist brush.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  13. #10 Mark:

    were voted conservative instead of leftwing,

    The natural human condition is “conservative,” in the sense that people don’t like the unknown and will cling to old whatsits until it becomes too painful to do so.

    I think many voters tend to vote with the Left believing that doing so will allow them to live their lives without having expend an effort on thier own part to improve their lot in life. IOW, voting for an external change rather than an internal change~pursuing what is actually the default ‘conservative’ position, the status quo ante in their life but with different results.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  14. #11 Eric Blair:

    and rightly so.

    I don’t know if I’d go that far.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  15. I’m older, so I think about Scoop Jackson, and Joseph Lieberman.

    But I see your point.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  16. _______________________________

    I think many voters tend to vote with the Left believing that doing so will allow them to live their lives without having expend an effort on thier own part to improve their lot in life.

    I post the following in honor of the foolish “progressive” blogger at the LA Times, and believe it’s applicable to the mindset of almost every “progressive” out there — black, white or any other race, ethnicity, creed, religious affiliation, gender, sexual preference, etc, etc:

    The Black Community’s Self-Destructive Embrace of Liberalism

    by Kevin Martin

    By embracing liberalism, black America became a broken shell of its former greatness. Miseducation, black-on-black crime, economic injustice, abortion, and the curse of corrupt and self-serving community leaders – the unhealthy relationship between blacks and liberalism has caused these problems to fester and remain largely unaddressed.

    Founders of racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan would surely marvel at how many in the black community now welcome inequity and virtual segregation, perhaps realizing that their violent intimidation tactics weren’t necessary after all. By contrast, our ancestors, who were brought here by force and toiled in bondage, undoubtedly would be beside themselves with grief over this betrayal of their suffering. Equally appalled would be those who worked hard, risked, and sometimes lost their lives to ensure that legal discrimination, also known as “Jim Crow,” was forever abolished.

    Back then, the fight was for individual equality and bringing America together as a whole. Today, pursuing advancement and assimilation earns one the derogatory accusation of “acting white.”

    Too many of us are now content to park our children in failing government schools, and we seem too self-absorbed chasing the high-life – “bling,” overpriced and outlandishly stocked cribs and Lexuses and other expensive cars and SUVs purchased with inequitable loans – to worry about them. All this time, the blood, sweat, and tears of our angry children flow nightly in the streets.

    How can we claim to believe, as the long-used slogan of the United Negro College Fund goes, that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste,” when our children are shackled to schools that are often little more than a government-run babysitting service? While our kids fall further behind, we eagerly support the politicians and policies that only promise to throw money at the problem and demand no accountability.

    Along the same lines, how have liberal law enforcement policies helped defeat the scourge of black-on-black crime? Our neighborhoods are becoming war zones, yet police are seen more as objects of scorn and ridicule than respect and order.

    We also seem largely unable and sometimes even unwilling to put our financial affairs in order and do what it takes to start businesses and improve our economic health. As a result, we end up working for – and resenting – people of other races with ambition who come to our neighborhoods and set up shop.


    Mark (411533)

  17. #14 Eric Blair:

    I’m older, so I think about Scoop Jackson, and Joseph Lieberman.

    Funny, I thought of them too.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  18. I think this post should be added to both the 2007 and the 2008 compilations. Running the article in the first place was pretty lame even if it hadn’t been followed by the newer article (which, but for the original article, couldn’t even exist since the song and the metaphor wouldn’t).

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  19. Hey Mark, don’t forget this book by a noted racist who happens to be WAY blacker than I am.

    David Ehrenstein (0c5acf)

  20. _____________________________

    Meanwhile, now that Obama will be this nation’s president, I’m sure the behavior cited below will begin to diminish.

    So a variety of teens in America at long last will be able to proclaim “hey, there’s a guy in the White House who has a skin color similar to mine, and Jim-Crow laws finally have been abandoned, and civil rights are more commonplace, and the Democrat Party is running Congress and many state and local governments once again!!!”

    We finally have the means and motivation to become productive, upright members of society now!!!”

    Expect peace, prosperity and lots of mental health to prevail in America from this point onward.

    AP, December 29, 2008:

    Black teenagers are killing each other in rising numbers but the troubling trend has been masked by a falling crime rate in the United States, according to a study released Monday by Northeastern University.

    FBI crime statistics show overall decreases in murder and other violent crimes. But a report by criminal justice professors James Alan Fox and Marc Swatt uncovers other disturbing trends within that data.

    Among their findings: an increase of more than 39 percent in the number of black males between the ages of 14 and 17 killed between 2000 and 2007, and an increase of 34 percent in the number of blacks that age group who committed homicide.

    The increases for white male teens age 14-17 during that same period were nearly 17 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

    “We can’t ignore the fact that hidden within the overall good news on crime, is very bad news for a segment of the population — young black males — and that needs our attention,” Fox said.


    Mark (411533)

  21. And Mr. Ehrenstein all of a sudden goes silent?


    Icy Truth (b7d162)

  22. What are you talking about Icy? I’m still here. What hoop do you demand that I jump through?

    David Ehrenstein (0c5acf)

  23. There was this man in congress who was castigated as a traitor to his own race by fellow congressmen and political “talking heads.” You college football fans would remember him as a stellar QB for Oklahoma.

    There was this man nominated for Supreme Court who was likewise castigated. Huge lies were spread about him because his value structure was all wrong. Surely, many will remember his troubles.

    There was this woman who ran for veep who was made a laughingstock. Her abilities to serve in political office were called into question because she had children. Surely you remember her.

    Obviously, the tolerant among us saw through the entire mess that was being spread about these three wholesome people. Equally obviously, the intolerant among us did everything possible, including unethical actions, do defame these three people.

    The question is, who are the tolerant and who are the intolerant?

    the (insert expletive here)-loving John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  24. The question is who are the “wholesome”?

    David Ehrenstein (0c5acf)

  25. Icy, I don’t want to fight with the man, but have you read the posts on his website?

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  26. Yes I have, Eric. In each circumstance the man says what he thinks a liberal is supposed to say. He’s the very definition of “knee-jerk”.

    Icy Truth (b7d162)

  27. He is a Trig Troofer, among other things. Maybe there be less hatred after the inauguration. Yeah, unlikely…

    Eric Blair (298166)

  28. Let’s understand liberals a little bit. “Blacks are our friends. If they are not our friends, they are traitors to their race.” “Women are our friends. If they are not our friends, they are enslaved by men and should not be heard.” “Christians and gun owners are our enemies. If they are not our enemies, they are our enemies.” “Jews are votes for us even though we despise Israel’s attempts to remain alive.” That is liberal thought. Truth has no value there.

    the (insert expletive here)-loving John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  29. “And when I read Michael Goldfarb [on the Israel-Gaza conflict], I become more and more aware of just how disgusting the McCain campaign was; and how lucky we are to have removed these thugs from office.”

    Andrew “The Sarah Palin Vagina Monologues” Sullivan

    This is what apparently set Sully off: sed_serious_person.asp

    What has happened to Sullivan? He just cannot let it go can he? When the One disappoints him, will he go completely insane? So now Goldfarb is a “thug” for supporting Israel. Nope, he will just create a double standard. This is not madness but dishonesty.

    Joe (17aeff)

  30. Sully (as I’ve long maintained way back when y’all found him so fashionable) is demented.

    David Ehrenstein (0c5acf)

  31. It was pretty hilarious when a former commentator here tried to use the line to prove that the GOP was racist – ignorant of its actual origin. But that’s been pretty much the quality of troll we get lately.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  32. It is very simple. The Democratic Party needs 90+% of the African American vote to win elections. Lisa Richardson wants Democrats to win elections. Therefore Lisa Richardson will call Republicans racist at every opportunity. The L.A. Times wants Democrats to win elections so it will give Lisa Richardson a forum for her fantasies.

    Honest Democrat is a contradiction in terms.

    Ken Hahn (80a400)

  33. Ken, you speak truth.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  34. Joe,

    Be aware that Sully was accused of Jew-baiting last Spring by TNR’s Leon Wieseltier, and of being entertained by Jew-baiting by The Atlantic’s own Jeffrey Goldberg last Summer. People who have worked where Sully has seem to thing he’s got an issue.

    Karl (2491e1)

  35. Amazing that Ehrenstein has now commented twice, both times avoiding the actual topic of the post, despite his centrality to it.

    Karl (2491e1)

  36. “knee-jerk”.

    Edit out “knee,” and there you go.

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  37. Wha tis it that you’re trying to get me to say, Karl?

    David Ehrenstein (0c5acf)

  38. both times avoiding the actual topic of the post,

    Apparently you’re not aware of the commenter’s past proclivities – that’s his MO, part and parcel.

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  39. Karl, oh I guess I’m not as easily amazed as I used to be …

    SPQR (26be8b)

  40. And Icy, to be fair, I think that DE is still in moderation—so his posts take time to appear. He has a tendency to write things in haste that he would never post with forethought.

    I think that DE is an insightful and skillful wordsmith, when the topic is not something that gets him angry.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  41. Again, Dmac, what is it that you’re trying to get me to say?

    That my column(s) and the “satirical” ditty composed by one of the writers for the morbidly obese oxycontin junkie are equivalent?

    I should say not.

    But I’m sure you know better. After all there’s a script in here for what Liberals are supposed to think, say and do — isn’t there?

    How dare I depart from it?

    David Ehrenstein (0c5acf)

  42. …which is almost everything.

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  43. Well, I can’t argue with you there, Dmac. Just trying to see some kind of positivity.

    But you have to admit it: you’ve seen worse.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  44. As for being amazed at Ehrenstein’s behavior (and feigned ignorance), I probably should have applied the /sarc tag.

    More at PJM.

    Karl (2491e1)

  45. Those Pajamas should have been put in the wash eons ago.

    Meanwhile in a related development. . .

    Here’s the REAL Rick Warren.

    David Ehrenstein (0c5acf)

  46. There’s nothing that David needs to defend. Patterico linked his article above. Here’s the song. You may disagree with the article. I do. It’s marginalizing. It reminds me too much of Farakhan’s “a black man picked to manage a white reality”, said in reference to Colin Powell. But it was a thoughtful and well-written expression of one man’s point of view. The song is among the worst of the crap Shankin has written for Rush Limbaugh and Saltsman was an idiot to make such a gift of it to the Democrats.

    nk (d08690)

  47. Sock puppet anyone?

    Alta Bob (e88f15)

  48. Full disclosure (with apologies to JD)

    I’m a racist…must be because I can’t see what NK is saying…

    NK, care to go deeper so as to help me understand…I just went back and listened carefully to the words to the PARODY, and read David’s (to me) extremely racist screed about how I must see a black man like Obama….

    And, I don’t see them that way….

    So, I must be a racist and I am soliticing help here from the bloggers to find a solution to my white guilt….

    (or, I’m just trying to stir some crap here…)

    reff (ea7aa1)

  49. Karl,

    Eric is right. David E is still in moderation and I’m certain some of his comments are there now. I approve them on occasion but usually I leave them for Patterico.

    DRJ (2be0dd)

  50. AS should be obvious, the main problem is Orwellian thought control. A couple of quotes to help make it clear to the willfully blind:
    Please can we stop using the stupid expression “political correctness gone mad” . First, political correctness is a stern, fierce movement which is completely sane and sets out deliberately to stop us from saying – and thinking – various things. It is not a joke, nor is it out of control. It is deliberate, purposeful and serious. Those who enforce it plan to change the world and they will succeed for as long as we treat PC
    as a laugh, or as some sort of batty bureaucratic mix-up which will go away in the end.


    Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.

    icr (849ed5)

  51. To be moderated in the discussions that go on in here (only a select few of which interest me) is one thing. After all I’m an Unrepentent Liberal in a Conservative playpen. But to moderated in a discussion of one’s own writing is positively (dare I say it?) Orwellian.

    David Ehrenstein (0c5acf)

  52. The connection between political correctness and socialism/communism/marxism, while profound and obvious to the thoughtful and informed, is not necessarily intentional by the majority of the politically correct. The connection is not even necessarily intentional by a large portion of the power brokers and academics who espouse political correctness.

    I suggest the vast majority of people who espouse politically correct ideologies are doing so out of blindness, whether willfully or no. Among the set of “unwashed masses,” of which I am a member, there resides a subset of “blind unwashed masses,” of which I am not a member. And among the set of “blind unwashed masses,” there are two distinct subsets: The willfully blind and the unknowingly blind.

    I suggest those who use the intentional betrayal of truth in effort to advance PC thought and speech are not the most dangerous enemies of free thought. It is the “blind unwashed masses” that is the most dangerous subset. As a corollary to my suggestion, the “ivory tower” set with all the corresponding subsets, while extremely dangerous, is not the most dangerous set in regards to shutting down free thought.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  53. Patterico,

    I wonder if I could impose on you to take David off moderation so he can freely participate in this thread, at least for as long as this thread continues to interest people. Maybe he does want to defend his article and distinguish it from the song.

    nk (d08690)

  54. Orwellian or not, David, you’re in moderation for good reason, and it was your own doing. I don’t believe I have failed to approve a single comment of yours in this thread, even though it takes time for me to get to the comments (and I won’t be able to approve any more until tonight). I understand the frustration but it’s not my fault.

    Patterico (738d19)

  55. Patterico, I have enormous respect for your legal know-how. The main reason I visit this site is to see what you’re up to on that front. That’s because you never let you political opinions get in the way of your legal acumen. This was obvious in the Irving Libby case — to the distress of many of your readers.

    We can talk about what “good reason” you have to moderate my comments from here to the moon. But in the particular instance of this thread, as its my own writing that’s at issue, the ones who are chiefly suffering are your readers, as they’re apparently getting my responses days after they were originally posted.

    Putting that to one side I must say this has been quite lively – though I’m not sure as to how “Political Correctness” figures into this. Am I “PC” or “Un-PC”? It all depends on whose ox is being bored I suppose.

    David Ehrenstein (0c5acf)

  56. The whole story about the toxic CD was yet another predictable, tedious case of PC hysteria.

    Apparently yes-
    To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.-George Orwell
    A musician friend of mine who grew up in a Communist country wrote,

    For me, it is perhaps even worse, because it brings back all the stench of Communist propaganda, which filled my early years. Now the same thing is creeping into everyday American life. Sick, sick, sick.


    Mark Steyn:

    Jay’s round-up of politicized conductors, Boston Pops narrators, etc, tossing in dreary reflex Bush-bashing even in the middle of “Peter And The Wolf” should really be read in concert with Andrew Breitbart’s plans for his new Hollywood website. They both address the same phenomenon: Liberalism is the default mode of the culture – to the point where the left-of-center position is so pervasive it’s no longer a position at all, but rather something uncontentious, received wisdom, part of the air we breathe. In several of the examples Jay cites, I’ll bet the musicians involved would be stunned to find that there was anyone in the room who would find the message remotely disagreeable.

    Paul Gottfried:
    I refuse to treat political correctness as an academic eccentricity and present it instead as a tool of managerial control. Universities are not the only context in which pc and its accompanying mantra about diversity have taken over. Churches, corporations, and the media push the same partylines, but without government interventions we would not be worrying about the legal consequences of not paying sufficient respect to state-designated victims. This fact is so obvious that one has to speculate on the reasons it is ignored – particularly on what today passes for the Right

    icr (849ed5)

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