Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) is under fire for comments he made before Obama was elected President and are now being published in a book. In an attempt to assess Obama's candidacy, Reid said the then-senator could be successful because he was a "light-skinned" black man and had "no Negro dialect whatsoever, unless he wanted to have one."
There's no need to discuss how stupid the quote was; it was obviously a poor choice of words. What is interesting is the response being given to Reid's quote. It exposes a double standard that's hard to deny. Consider in today's over-sensitive PC culture, such quotes are treated as major scandals. In 2002, a similar stupid statement by Trent Lott about Strom Thurmond cost him his majority leader post. Lott said America could have avoided a lot of problems had Thurmond's 1948 presidential run been successful. Thurmond was a noted segregationist at the time.
In a CNN interview at the time, Al Gore called Lott's comments racist. Jesse Jackson said Lott should resign, which he did. That was for remarks that only alluded to race. Now, many of the same politicians who dogpiled on Lott's comments in 2002 are either quiet or actually defending Reid, saying his apologies are enough and it is time to move on. Would the same be said if Reid were a Republican?
I'm sure there will be those who say that when a liberal says something stupid, it's OK because they don't mean it. When a Republican says something stupid, they will argue, it's racist because at heart, all Republicans are racist. Such arguments hold no water because they obviously show a double-standard. Even as this scandal breaks, news reports surface that many are upset that the 2010 Census form, when asking a citizen to list their race, uses the word "negro." And yet, Reid's statement, which used the same word, is not considered offensive. Consider that Reid also said that Obama can use a "negro dialect" if he wants to. Why is no one asking Reid to clarify what he means by that? Isn't that statement just as offensive?
Earlier this year, Obama chose to dive head-first into the race issue when a white Massachusetts cop confronted a black man whom he thought was breaking into a house. After Obama called the officer's actions "stupidly," the President called both parties to the White House so they could sit in front of cameras, have a beer, and have a "teachable moment."
The question is, where is Obama and his "teachable moment" now? Where is the White House pow-wow with all the old white Democrats to make sure they understand that you can't say those things? Why are liberals so ready to move on? Where is the sit-down to discuss race in America and an attempt to learn something from all this? Where is the public reprimand or Senate censure for Reid? Where is Al Sharpton?
Perhaps there is a "teachable moment" in all of this. If there is no political hay to be made, President Obama and other Democrats will look the other way on racially insensitive comments. They won't be offended until a Republican says something stupid. It's a sad lesson to learn about liberals.