Gaffes, Truth, and Inconvenience

January 11, 2010
Posted by Jay Livingston

“A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth.” So said Michael Kinsley perhaps as long ago as 1984.

This weekend gave us one more example. It’s also an example of the difficulty of having an honest discussion about race.

The news this weekend was that a new book about the 2008 Presidential campaign quotes Harry Reid as saying at the time that Obama would make a good candidate because he was a “light-skinned African American with no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.”

Newspapers and TV were all over this revelation, and they all labeled the statement a gaffe. Republicans are calling for Reid to resign his leadership position. Democrats are defending him, saying that he is not at all prejudiced.

But nobody in the mainstream media, as far as I know – not the politicians, not the news writers, not the TV interviewers – has dared to discuss the substance of Reid’s statement.

1 comment:

Sara Wakefield said...

Agreed! This almost had me blogging again, but alas a night class beckoned. There is a lot of sad but compelling research on skin tone and articulation effects. I was surprised not one person raised this as well.