Obama, the Magic Negro, and Rush Limbaugh

On March 19th, a black columnist for the L.A. Times argued that Barack Obama was the country’s newest “Magic Negro” — a term that I was first introduced to, honestly, in a Dave Chappelle skit. Little did I know, prior to watching this comedic skit, that this term existed before Dave Chappelle in academic books on black representation in cinema.

For those who haven’t seen this Dave Chappelle skit, I’ll just quote the brief description of the “Magic Negro” (provided by the L.A. Times) below:

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,”

Now, think of Will Smith’s performance in The Legend of Bagger Vance or Don Cheadle in The Family Man

Anyway, Rush Limbaugh thought that it would be funny (or appropriate?) to make a song about Obama as the “Magic Negro” and, in Don Imus form, Limbaugh has received some heat for this act.

For those who are interested… you can find the song at this link here

What do you think? Is Obama a “Magic Negro”? Are terms like “Magic Negro” divisive? Should Limbaugh be fired?

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Published on May 7, 2007 at 11:37 pm. 6 Comments.
Filed under racism, news/politics, film.