The time has come for America to deal with racism. A freshman Senator from Illinois is forcing the country to see, listen, and talk about race.
A drug-addict-on-rehab radio commentator just launched "Barack the Magic Negro” sung to the tune of "Puff, the Magic Dragon." The parody is picking up speed on the Internet with lyrics that mock Sen. Barack Obama's popularity with white voters and portray African-American activist Al Sharpton as sputtering with jealousy of the younger black politician.
Just after dealing with Don Imus losing his job for calling the members of the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed ho's" on the air, Limbaugh's repeated playing of the "Magic Negro" clip suggests that at least one network isn't planning to soft-pedal the issue of race.
So the race card is out. Aides to Obama said they were not bothered by the parody, a slide-show version of which is available at YouTube.com. "It's not the first dumb thing said during the course of this campaign, and it likely won't be the last," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said. "But, frankly, I don't think anyone takes this too seriously."
However, privately, they are taken serious enough that the Secret Service assigned a team to the Illinois Democrat — the earliest point in a campaign cycle at which the agency has ever taken responsibility for a candidate not already under its protection as an office holder. Several congressional sources familiar with the situation say there was no specific event or threat that triggered the decision, but that a bipartisan panel of congressional leaders reviewed threats to Obama on Web sites and in letters before recommending special protection.
It is no secret that Colin Powell, the most qualified Republican candidate to run in 2000, declined to run for reasons of security.
As a Latino man living in Chicago, I feel the need to address America's race and class divide has come. Barack Obama is a symbol—a symbol of the “race stuff”—and I urge my Latino brothers and sisters to join our proud African American brothers and sisters and make history.