Magic Negro: Brackish Curative Black Benevolence

Whodini: It's All In Mr. Magic's Wand (Prod. by Thomas Dolby)
From: Whodini (Jive, 1983)

Cold off the presses comes excerpts from LA Times, March 19, 2007, article: Obama the 'Magic Negro' by David Ehrenstein:
…it's clear that Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the "Magic Negro."
The Magic Negro is a figure of postmodern folk culture, coined by snarky 20th century sociologists, to explain a cultural figure who emerged in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education. "He has no past, he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist," reads the description on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_Negro.
He's there to assuage white "guilt" (i.e., the minimal discomfort they feel) over the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history, while replacing stereotypes of a dangerous, highly sexualized black man with a benign figure for whom interracial sexual congress holds no interest.
As might be expected, this figure is chiefly cinematic — embodied by such noted performers as Sidney Poitier, Morgan Freeman, Scatman Crothers, Michael Clarke Duncan, Will Smith and, most recently, Don Cheadle. And that's not to mention a certain basketball player whose very nickname is "Magic."
…most white Americans, whose desire for a noble, healing Negro hasn't faded. That's where Obama comes in...
Like a comic-book superhero, Obama is there to help, out of the sheer goodness of a heart we need not know or understand. For as with all Magic Negroes, the less real he seems, the more desirable he becomes. If he were real, white America couldn't project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on him.

If you haven't yet read the An Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey by Saul Williams go get a late pass.

The Word of the Day for May 02, 2007 is:

brackish \BRACK-ish\ adjective
*1: somewhat salty
2a: not appealing to the taste b: repulsive

Example Sentence:
Water is often brackish and undrinkable at points where freshwater rivers flow into the sea.

Did you know?
When the word "brackish" first appeared in English in the 1500s, it simply meant "salty," as did its Dutch ancestor "brak." Then, as now, brackish water could simply be a mixture of saltwater and freshwater. Since that time, however, "brackish" has developed the additional meanings of "unpalatable" or "distasteful" - presumably because of the undrinkable quality of saltwater. "The brackish water that we drink / Creeps with a loathsome slime, / And the bitter bread they weigh in scales / Is full of chalk and lime." As this use from Oscar Wilde's "Ballad of Reading Gaol" illustrates, brackish water can also include things other than salt that make it unpleasant to drink.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

*I met John "Ecstasy" Fletcher of Whodini in Harlem years ago (~1998) at a 106 and Park outdoor concert a week after they performed at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington DC, which I also attended. While talking with Ecstasy I mentioned that I attended their last performance as mentioned in the latter. Additionally, I praised Whodini's past work and lauded Larry Smith their producer for their Back In Black (Jive, 1986) album which featured: "Funky Beat"(co-produced by Whodini & Carter, D.Hutchins - whom I know nothing about), "One Love", "I'm A Ho" (co-produced by Jalil Hutchins of Whodini) and "Echo Scratch", (my favorite Whodini non-commercial release!)", who learned to play bass by listening to the late James Brown.
During my diatribe Ecstacy eyes dilated, his head nodded and he articulated, "ok, Ok, OK!" repeatedly - paralanguage profferring expositional respect relative my Whodini-based factualness.


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