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Ugly Racist Words

I have mentioned it before, but as a child I didn’t know there was such a thing as racism. In our home, I never heard my parents make disparaging remarks or jokes about any persons of another color or culture, nor do I recall them teaching my siblings and me to be loving of persons of all colors, and to understand that no matter of what ethnic group, all humans are equal in the eyes of God. It was a non-issue in our home–as I recall it. Now, though, in my adult years, as I think about the subject, I recognize there must have been active segregation in Springfield, Missouri where I grew up, for I recall visiting a church of our same Pentecostal denomination, but where the pastor and the congregation were black. I recall falling asleep with my head laying in the lap of one of the black ladies in the church, and I remember a large, round, very old black man who languidly played a bass drum during the singing. The memories are faint, and sweet. Strangely, it never occurred to me to ask why black people attended one church, and white people another, nor to even consider that there were no black students in my school. I don’t recall knowing persons of any other ethnic group, nor even of thinking about it.

I believe it was when I was in my late teens that I finally learned of the horrors of racism, and recognized that my beloved country was riddled with hurt and distress from this issue. And since the moment I first learned…I have always hated racism, have understood it to be morally wrong, and have clearly voiced my opinion. It is ridiculous to judge a person–for good or for evil–merely because of his color. It is preposterous.

So, then, I was shocked to hear of the obnoxious racist remarks concerning President Obama that the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made during the last Presidential campaign. His words are outrageous.

Reported in the recently published book, Game Change, is that Mr. Reid described the Presidential candidate, Barack Obama, as “light-skinned with no negro dialect…unless he wants one.”

Can you image one of our national leaders saying such a thing–even having such thoughts? He has since apologized to our President, and said today that he “could have used a better choice of words.”

Better words? The problem seems less the choice of words than the revealing of the racist philosophy and thought of Senator Reid. For does not pointing to his “light-skin” and his having “no negro dialect” imply that if President Obama were dark-skinned, or spoke with a “negro dialect,” he would be less desirable as President of the United States. Racist. Ugly racist remarks.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gestures during a health care news conference on Capitol Hill Dec. 23. (AP Photo)

Barack Obama… “light-skinned with no Negro dialect unless he wants one.”

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 83 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 63 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

7 replies on “Ugly Racist Words”

I disagree I am tired of people who do not deal with racism constantly saying they are tired of hearing the word racism. Well I am tired of hearing racist words, but I quess it is easy to say your tired of hearing racist words when your not constantly on the receiving end of them.


Senator Reid has a history of not tolerating racist remarks in others. Remember when Trent Lott made what seemed to be racist remarks, Senator Reid joined others who suggested that Senate Majority leader Trent Lott had no alternative but to resign.

Reid told the Associated Press that Lott had “dug himself a hole and…couldn’t figure out a way to get out of it.

It will be interesting to see how this situation is resolved.

And yes, Helen, politics figure in everything in Washington. Inevitable, I suppose.


This situation is totally NOT about racism; it’s about politics, about Republicans – including black Republicans – wanting to remove the focus from the task at hand: passing legislation that will allow all Americans to have access to affordable health care. Harry Reid’s comment was unfortunate; surely he should have “used a better choice of words.” But why? Not because he is a racist, but because people who have no training in what racism really is will accuse of being one.

Reid was stating a fact. A sad, sad fact. A light skinned Black man had (has) more chance of being elected than a dark-skinned Black man. Observing a fact does not make one a racist; ignoring the fact might. A Black man with “no Negro dialect [unless he wants one]” had (has) more chance of being elected than a Black man with a more obvious accent. Note: Reid knows Obama can speak in a Black dialect if he so chooses. Knowing this doesn’t make him a racist; not knowing it means a person knows nothing of blacks.

Obama knows that Reid is not a racist, that his words choice was unfortunate. Obama has even said he will campaign for Reid in his bid for re-election. Why? Party politics. Obama feels that “there was nothing mean-spirited in what he had to say and he’s always been on the right side of the issues.”

Now I see the words, “Negro,” “light-skinned” and “dialect.” Which of these are “the obnoxious racist remarks”? Which are the racist words, Shirley?


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