America

'There's Nothing Racist In What Reid Said'

One more post (for now at least) about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and his just-surfaced campaign 2008 observation that then-candidate Barack Obama is "light skinned" and can choose whether or not to use an "Negro dialect."

On Tell Me More a short time ago, host Michel Martin spoke with Omar Wasow (one of the forces behind BlackPlanet.com) about a commentary he's posted at The Root.

In that piece, Wasow (as Frank did yesterday) makes the case that in his original remarks, Reid was simply being honest.

Today, Wasow expanded on that thought, telling Michel that "there's nothing racist in what Reid said."

Studies have shown, he noted, that "lighter-skinned" candidates do better in American politics. And he strongly disputed the notion — raised by some Republicans — that what Reid said is morally equivalent to the infamous comment once by then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., that the country might have been better off if segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond had been elected president in 1948.

Reid used an "archaic term" (Negro), but he was describing the reality of American politics, Wasso said.

Here's the conversation Michel had with Wasso:

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For what it's worth, on on FOX News Channel's FOX & Friends earlier today, the Rev. Al Sharpton said that while he was offended by Reid's reference to a "Negro dialect," he believes that "to say that what he said is anywhere near comparable ... to what Trent Lott said is insulting to the intelligence of the American people."

We opened this question earlier today and will hold it open until Tuesday morning:

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