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Reply #56: Well, try reading it more closely [View All]

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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-29-08 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #28
56. Well, try reading it more closely
The term was not invented by the writer (who's black, incidentally), but already had currency in the entrtainment world and among sociologists of fiction. If you click on the wikipedia link in the article, you'll get more background - including the fact that the term was popularized by Spike Lee, who is (obviously) black. The character itself is one that's very well established in both Hollywood and literary fiction, in various permutations.

I don't care for it myself. I stopped reading science fiction by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, for example, after I noticed that whenever an Asian character was introduced it was invariably a beautiful female who was doomed to die within 20 pages and provide her (rugged, white) husband with a legitimate Revenge Motive. Often the role of a minority-race character in a largely white story is to point up the decency of the white hero/ine - by having a non-white friend/spouse/mentor, the leading character is established as Definitely Not A Racist (especially useful in science fiction if the character is later meant to carry out genocide against aliens).

Killing the sympathetic minority character off frequently occurs, since it gives the protagonist an iron-clad excuse to go on a vengeful killing spree, or alternatively shows that the antagonist is totally lacking in redeeming features and that it's quite OK for him/her to meet a gruesome end. A current counter-intuitive trend is to set up a magical negro character in the conventional way but then have them turn out to be a Bad Guy (eg in Training Day) - if the mentor figure is corrupt, then of course their resulting death in a hail of gunfire or whatever is quite justified.

Bear in mind that there's nothing inherently racist about these fictional archetypes. Pretty much all heroic fiction (this is a specific technical term) includes some sort of mentor/shaman character who's outside normal society and whose perspective or motivations may seem ambivalent at first. Yoda is a typical example, the first time you see the Empire Strikes back you're briefly misled into thinking he's set Luke up to get killed by Darth Vader. The archetype of of the helpful mentor who turns out to be corrupt is also a very old plot device.

The point of the article was Obama was in danger of being trapped in the role of the black person who validates the existing power structure; at the time of writing, Clinton still looked like a very strong contender, and Obama might have ended up as the token black guy, whose good eprformance in the primaries could be touted by the Democratic party for years to come while it went on with the business-as-usual of selecting well-connected white people.
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  -Negro? Fucking NEGRO? Are you fucking kidding me? Redstone  Dec-29-08 04:19 PM   #0 
  - word is born n/t  yeswecanandwedid   Dec-29-08 04:21 PM   #1 
  - its pretty damned awful. I have to check the calendar to see what  roguevalley   Dec-29-08 05:03 PM   #35 
  - The new word of choice...  Tandalayo_Scheisskopf   Dec-29-08 04:22 PM   #2 
  - that's so gayical!  sui generis   Dec-29-08 04:29 PM   #5 
  - And for good reason:  Tandalayo_Scheisskopf   Dec-29-08 04:33 PM   #9 
  - Your post is pure poetry. n/t  ColbertWatcher   Dec-29-08 04:41 PM   # 
     - Thank you. Racism is the cancer that will kill America, unless we excise it.  Redstone   Dec-29-08 04:43 PM   #18 
  - Excellent point. Context DOES count.  Redstone   Dec-29-08 04:39 PM   #14 
  - "Negroidal?" PLEASE tell me you're joking. (I know you're not; that information is just  Redstone   Dec-29-08 04:34 PM   #10 
  - I wish I was joking.  Tandalayo_Scheisskopf   Dec-29-08 04:38 PM   #12 
  - Those are summer teeth  HillWilliam   Dec-29-08 05:37 PM   #66 
  - I didn't know living things that are that regressive had the ability to type. nt  Ilsa   Dec-29-08 07:42 PM   #112 
  - They can't help it if they're ASSHOLOIDAL  johnfunk   Dec-29-08 05:32 PM   #58 
  - They are hemorrhoidal, because they are such a pain in the ass. nt  mcg   Dec-29-08 06:32 PM   #88 
  - Sounds like one of those new fangled prescription drugs  notadmblnd   Dec-30-08 12:03 PM   #152 
  - appalling, isn't it?  sweets   Dec-29-08 04:22 PM   #3 
  - remember macacca? they (republicans) are racists...plain & simple  spanone   Dec-29-08 04:24 PM   #4 
  - Yet they support policies that help the most non-whitest of countries.  HypnoToad   Dec-29-08 05:28 PM   #54 
     - deleted  RetroLounge   Dec-29-08 06:07 PM   #82 
        - delete  merh   Dec-29-08 06:36 PM   #90 
           - deleted the post...  RetroLounge   Dec-29-08 06:43 PM   #93 
              - I deleted my post  merh   Dec-29-08 06:46 PM   #96 
  - There's the elephant in the room  Xipe Totec   Dec-29-08 04:30 PM   #6 
  - I'm glad that they are showing their true colors so soon.  Cleita   Dec-29-08 04:30 PM   #7 
  - Bingo  malaise   Dec-29-08 05:21 PM   #51 
  - UNCF?  HornBuckler   Dec-29-08 04:32 PM   #8 
  - Are you black, African-American, or otherwise of African descent?  Redstone   Dec-29-08 04:39 PM   #13 
  - I have benefited and contributed directly from/to UNCF  HornBuckler   Dec-29-08 04:43 PM   #17 
     - Oh, we're all mutts in America. I'm half American Indian and half Irish, and my wife  Redstone   Dec-29-08 04:46 PM   #20 
  - But those terms were in common usage  ObamaVision   Dec-29-08 04:50 PM   #23 
  - Except that they're making fun of his skin color.  BullGooseLoony   Dec-29-08 04:53 PM   #26 
  - No. They're just being jerks, and using a popular film/fiction construct to do it.  MADem   Dec-29-08 05:14 PM   #43 
     - Yeah, but if Spike Lee ever made a song about a particular person  BullGooseLoony   Dec-29-08 05:18 PM   #47 
     - I am not defending the stupid song or that Rush jerk. My remarks are limited to the  MADem   Dec-29-08 05:26 PM   #53 
     - I'm not shocked at the term, just at its usage by a prominent Republican.  Redstone   Dec-29-08 05:36 PM   #64 
     - That doesn't shock or surprise me at all, frankly. nt  MADem   Dec-29-08 07:20 PM   #104 
     - The term "Magic Negro" isn't as offensive as the song is  marshall   Dec-30-08 07:25 PM   #162 
     - the context is that he needed a two-syllable word to match the tune...  QuestionAll   Dec-29-08 05:41 PM   #70 
        - The point is it really doesn't matter the particular word.  BullGooseLoony   Dec-29-08 05:44 PM   #75 
        - Kinda, but the negro gives it a lil extra KKK vibe.  TheKentuckian   Dec-29-08 09:47 PM   #151 
        - Limbaugh didn't need to even inject race into his song, but the "Magic Negro" term is commonly known  MADem   Dec-29-08 07:18 PM   #103 
     - Wikipedia is shit  Mugweed   Dec-29-08 05:33 PM   #59 
        - What you said. I absolutely NEVER take a Wikipedia article at face value.  Redstone   Dec-29-08 05:58 PM   #79 
        - Sorry, that article IS accurate. But I've provided other links for the  MADem   Dec-29-08 07:10 PM   #102 
        - Rush Limbaugh at this RNC guy were using it in a completely different context from Lee.  Hanse   Dec-29-08 07:37 PM   #108 
           - Please do try reading what I write. I'm not "comparing" anything.  MADem   Dec-29-08 07:39 PM   #109 
              - You don't really expect me to believe that, do you?  Hanse   Dec-29-08 07:44 PM   #114 
                 - Wow, you really cannot read, can you? My deepest sympathies.  MADem   Dec-29-08 07:52 PM   #118 
                    - I reread it twice.  Hanse   Dec-29-08 07:56 PM   #119 
                       - No, I am not arguing that. AT ALL. You plainly can't read for comprehension.  MADem   Dec-29-08 08:08 PM   #125 
                          - From your own lips...  Hanse   Dec-29-08 08:22 PM   #128 
                             - AGAIN, Limbaugh is being DISPICABLE. Which is what I said ....if you'd not cherry pick.  MADem   Dec-29-08 08:32 PM   #130 
                                - ...  Hanse   Dec-29-08 08:42 PM   #132 
                                   - You make crap up, and it's tiring. Enjoy your fantasy world. You've got it all to yourself.  MADem   Dec-29-08 09:17 PM   #144 
        - I've made my son redo a whole school report because he used Wikipedia exclusively  NotGonnaTakeIt   Dec-29-08 09:27 PM   #150 
        - But it was not altered. It's absolutely accurate. It reflects what Spike Lee said.  MADem   Dec-29-08 07:06 PM   #101 
           - Not really  Truth Hurts A Lot   Dec-29-08 08:07 PM   #124 
              - Where TF do you get THAT? Are you devoid of reasoning skills?  MADem   Dec-29-08 08:17 PM   #127 
                 - I'm saying.... Spike Lee can say it... Rush and the RNC can't!  Truth Hurts A Lot   Dec-29-08 08:29 PM   #129 
                    - The difference is this.  MADem   Dec-29-08 08:55 PM   #139 
                       - I see what you're saying.  Withywindle   Dec-31-08 05:51 PM   #164 
  - Yeah, but we all know context is key  Truth Hurts A Lot   Dec-29-08 08:04 PM   #123 
  - You have to look at when the NAACP was founded...  MadMaddie   Dec-29-08 08:09 PM   #126 
  - Those are old names, using the words that were commonly used at that time  gollygee   Dec-29-08 09:05 PM   #141 
  - The GOP will never be competitive among blacks & other minorities  baldguy   Dec-29-08 04:35 PM   #11 
  - If they do, you're right. However, never say never.  MADem   Dec-29-08 07:46 PM   #115 
  - Anyone who takes offense to you using a derogotory word in reference needs to "lighten up"  YOY   Dec-29-08 04:41 PM   #15 
  - Huh?  Redstone   Dec-29-08 04:44 PM   #19 
     - It seemed that you appologized for using the term "negro" in reference in your OP  YOY   Dec-29-08 04:49 PM   #22 
        - Of course I did, even though I was just quoting someone. I have manners.  Redstone   Dec-29-08 05:02 PM   #34 
  - Limbaugh, The Magic Pill-Head. n/t  IanDB1   Dec-29-08 04:42 PM   #16 
  - What in the hell are you raving about?  acmavm   Dec-29-08 04:46 PM   #21 
  - this news story...link inside  anigbrowl   Dec-29-08 04:59 PM   #30 
  - Don't pay attention to the news much, do you?  Redstone   Dec-29-08 05:00 PM   #31 
  - Some people take time off from it over the holidays  anigbrowl   Dec-29-08 05:02 PM   #33 
     - Sorry. I wouldn't have noticed it myself, had I not checked the CNN website today.  Redstone   Dec-29-08 05:03 PM   #36 
  - Inadvertant dupe.  Redstone   Dec-29-08 05:00 PM   #32 
  - More than the "typical" usage of the word- I can see an elderly person  BullGooseLoony   Dec-29-08 04:51 PM   #24 
  - My partner's grandmother hated the term "black"  Terran   Dec-29-08 04:58 PM   #29 
  - Yeah, being fairly young the (negative) connotations of "black" or "white" in my mind  BullGooseLoony   Dec-29-08 05:04 PM   #37 
     - 'Black', like 'white' makes no cultural assumptions. It's just a description. nt  MookieWilson   Dec-29-08 05:45 PM   #76 
  - BINGO!! You get the point.  Redstone   Dec-29-08 05:04 PM   #38 
     - Yeah- they're incredibly ignorant about the issue they're dealing with.  BullGooseLoony   Dec-29-08 05:09 PM   #40 
  - Hey, it works better in a song than Black or African-American....  LaPera   Dec-29-08 04:52 PM   #25 
  - he needed a two-syllable word...  QuestionAll   Dec-29-08 05:36 PM   #65 
  - The phrase "Magic Negro" came from a progressive reporter for the LA Times  bamalib   Dec-29-08 04:56 PM   #27 
  - You fail.  thecatburgler   Dec-29-08 05:04 PM   #39 
  - Failed by some anonymous electrons on the internet  bamalib   Dec-29-08 05:34 PM   #63 
  - It's older than that  Chulanowa   Dec-29-08 05:16 PM   #44 
  - No it didn't. Spike Lee popularized it. WAY before anyone ever heard of Barack Obama.  MADem   Dec-29-08 05:16 PM   #46 
  - Spike Lee and others may have used the phrase  bamalib   Dec-29-08 05:33 PM   #61 
     - I don't dispute that. Spike Lee didn't originate the term, either, he simply popularized it in this  MADem   Dec-29-08 07:27 PM   #106 
  - racist spin  Uzybone   Dec-29-08 05:24 PM   #52 
  - You fail at logic  bamalib   Dec-29-08 05:32 PM   #57 
     - You know nothing about me so stop making assumptions  Uzybone   Dec-29-08 05:39 PM   #67 
        - Rappers have far more influence in the population than the RNC chairman  bamalib   Dec-29-08 05:50 PM   #77 
           - Ridiculous  Uzybone   Dec-29-08 05:55 PM   #78 
              - The Chairman of the RNC and DNC are not the leaders of the parties.  bamalib   Dec-29-08 06:45 PM   #94 
                 - Fiddy has 0 power.  YOY   Dec-29-08 06:59 PM   #98 
                    - Learn to read  bamalib   Dec-29-08 07:30 PM   #107 
                       - I read quite well. You're really just a rude little prick who said something monumentally stupid.  YOY   Dec-29-08 07:39 PM   #110 
                          - How long have you been on social security -- two decades at least?  bamalib   Dec-30-08 06:35 PM   #161 
  - Yes, it's a film colony word. Angels, etc. are often portrayed by Black actors. nt  MookieWilson   Dec-29-08 05:44 PM   #74 
  - So blacks can call whites REDNECKS ... because Jeff Foxworthy does.  JoePhilly   Dec-29-08 08:02 PM   #121 
     - Why not? Redneck is no longer a slur, if it ever was.  MADem   Dec-30-08 03:18 PM   #158 
  - I never understood the LA Times article that prompted the parody  Common Sense Party   Dec-29-08 04:57 PM   #28 
  - Well, try reading it more closely  anigbrowl   Dec-29-08 05:30 PM   #56 
  - excuse my ignorance, i'm not used to this terminology,  Sandrine for you   Dec-29-08 05:11 PM   #41 
  - Again, it's not the word, it's the usage.  BullGooseLoony   Dec-29-08 05:13 PM   #42 
  - Right I understand, that was a racist meaning, but that was real  Sandrine for you   Dec-29-08 05:21 PM   #50 
     - The difference is whether it's an honest discussion or an attempt to mock or slander  anigbrowl   Dec-29-08 05:34 PM   #62 
        - DOUBLE bingo.  BullGooseLoony   Dec-29-08 05:40 PM   #69 
        - Ok ,"Negro" can be used in a honest discussion, and also can be  Sandrine for you   Dec-29-08 06:07 PM   #83 
           - You want to really understand this?  whopis01   Dec-30-08 12:14 PM   #153 
              - Ok, I see. Thanks for the explanation. And you are right :  Sandrine for you   Dec-30-08 12:23 PM   #154 
  - only the number of letters  Mugweed   Dec-29-08 05:43 PM   #73 
  - It's disgraceful. Horribly racist. I would never defend it.  yardwork   Dec-29-08 05:16 PM   #45 
  - what makes me want to puke  JitterbugPerfume   Dec-29-08 05:19 PM   #48 
  - Negro is a no-no  Uzybone   Dec-29-08 05:20 PM   #49 
  - Seconded.  HypnoToad   Dec-29-08 05:29 PM   #55 
  - maybe he could donate the proceeds to the united negro college fund...?  QuestionAll   Dec-29-08 05:33 PM   #60 
  - "Barack the Magic Negro lives in D.C. lives in D.C...."  Swamp Rat   Dec-29-08 05:39 PM   #68 
  - No racism here is there?  Uzybone   Dec-29-08 05:42 PM   #71 
  - And what in the hell does Snoop have to do with  asdjrocky   Dec-29-08 06:04 PM   #81 
  - Gays, women, Jews and Catholics are being told to "lighten up" here about Warren. nt  MookieWilson   Dec-29-08 05:43 PM   #72 
  - Not by me.  Redstone   Dec-29-08 06:00 PM   #80 
  - The word Negro...  hayu_lol   Dec-29-08 06:13 PM   #84 
     - It isn't in that context, no.  MPK   Dec-29-08 06:33 PM   #89 
     - You don't get my point, do you? When it's used to slander a President-Elect of  Redstone   Dec-29-08 06:45 PM   #95 
        - It's not being used to "slander" him. It's being used to MOCK him.  MADem   Dec-29-08 08:03 PM   #122 
           - OK, I think we're on the same side here. It just appears that you've delved into the issue  Redstone   Dec-29-08 08:40 PM   #131 
              - We're totally on the same side. On both issues.  MADem   Dec-29-08 09:14 PM   #142 
                 - Thanks for the background info, MADem. I hadn't known that.  Redstone   Dec-29-08 09:24 PM   #148 
  - No, they're not.  Hanse   Dec-29-08 07:39 PM   #111 
  - You don't reaed so good do you?  HEyHEY   Dec-29-08 08:46 PM   #135 
  - Yup... 100 per cent correct.  HEyHEY   Dec-29-08 08:45 PM   #134 
  - There are valid contexts for that word.  Orsino   Dec-29-08 06:17 PM   #85 
  - Whoa. The whole concept and issue, encapsulated in just a few words. Excellent.  Redstone   Dec-29-08 08:47 PM   #137 
  - I'm so old I remember when people like MLK decided they wanted to be  DemBones DemBones   Dec-29-08 06:25 PM   #86 
  - I thought I was the only "oldster" who remembered Negro as proper language -  lynne   Dec-29-08 06:39 PM   #91 
  - Context is everything, Barack the magic black man would be racist too..  Uzybone   Dec-29-08 06:42 PM   #92 
  - The OP made "Negro" the issue, not "Magic Negro."  DemBones DemBones   Dec-29-08 09:18 PM   #145 
  - At least there are two of us who remember the civil rights movement. nt  DemBones DemBones   Dec-29-08 09:23 PM   #147 
  - Me too. nt  MookieWilson   Dec-30-08 01:46 PM   #157 
  - I don't want to tell anyone to do anything. Didn't I make that clear? Please stop accusing me  Redstone   Dec-29-08 06:55 PM   #97 
     - Your agenda is to tell everyone that "Negro" is a racist term  DemBones DemBones   Dec-29-08 09:21 PM   #146 
  - Son of a bitch needs a big ass kicking!  lonestarnot   Dec-29-08 06:27 PM   #87 
  - AMEN, Redstone!! As a black, (AA) Woman, who's been black most  Ecumenist   Dec-29-08 07:05 PM   #99 
  - Yes it is  Taverner   Dec-29-08 07:05 PM   #100 
  - Redstone you got it  MadMaddie   Dec-29-08 07:22 PM   #105 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   Dec-29-08 07:42 PM   #113 
  - Which North?  MPK   Dec-29-08 07:49 PM   #117 
  - I miss Richard Pryor  ismnotwasm   Dec-29-08 07:47 PM   #116 
  - The Republican Party is the home of racism in America...  Az_lefty   Dec-29-08 07:57 PM   #120 
  - Sorry people, this is indefensible  HEyHEY   Dec-29-08 08:44 PM   #133 
  - Thanks for the Northern perpsective. And so accurate, as so much Northern perspective  Redstone   Dec-29-08 09:15 PM   #143 
  - .  deaniac21   Dec-29-08 08:46 PM   #136 
  - Once again, I know that. I can even roll the 'r' in Spanish. But that's not my point.  Redstone   Dec-29-08 09:00 PM   #140 
  - Chip Saltsman, meet Earl Butz  JustABozoOnThisBus   Dec-29-08 08:55 PM   #138 
  - Jesus, Earl Butz! Are we the only ones who remember him?  MADem   Dec-29-08 09:26 PM   #149 
  - "not sure which terminology is the most polite these days"  whopis01   Dec-30-08 12:24 PM   #155 
  - I only meant that it was racist in that specific context. As I said, it is NOT for me to  Redstone   Dec-30-08 03:50 PM   #159 
     - Well my anger wasn't (or shouldn't) be directed towards you  whopis01   Dec-31-08 05:45 PM   #163 
  - That jerkoff would LIKE it if black Americans lightened up!  ginbarn   Dec-30-08 01:40 PM   #156 
  - It's not so much the word as that they intended to be insulting  treestar   Dec-30-08 05:57 PM   #160 
 

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