Was the 'Barack the Magic Negro' Ditty Really Racist?

When conservatives say or do something racist or racially insensitive, they hand liberals the political equivalent of welfare -- a benefit (in this case, greater support from minorities) for which one doesn't have to work.

That hurts everyone -- the conservatives who scare off or turn off voters whom they might otherwise win over; liberals who grow lazy and complacent because they don't have to make their case to minorities to win their votes; and the minorities themselves who are written off by one side and taken for granted by another.

It's a dynamic that could play out again thanks to a little ditty called "Barack the Magic Negro" -- which found its way onto a CD which found its way into the Christmas stockings of members of the Republican National Committee, compliments of Chip Saltsman, a candidate for RNC chairman.  For Democrats, it could the gift that keeps on giving. That's because the lyrics -- and the fact that Saltsman would be thoughtless enough to distribute the song -- make Republicans look bad, and Democrats look good by comparison.

The song is a parody of "Puff the Magic Dragon" that pokes fun at the verbal thrashing that President-elect Barack Obama got from old school black leaders who -- when he first arrived on the national scene -- didn't respect him, trust him or think him viable.

The rap against Obama was that he wasn't black enough and that, as someone with a biracial background who was raised in Hawaii by white grandparents, he was at a loss to understand the black experience in America. And it only made Obama's critics in the black community even more suspicious that the young senator from Illinois had such magical appeal to white Americans.