I'll admit that there are certain words, actually just one, the big one that I can't say and have told certain friends that I'd appreciate it if they don't say it in front of me. But at the same time I love using terms that are supposed to be racist against white people, my AIM name has the word honkey in it, I love the phrase cracka' ass cracka' it brings a smile to my face every time. I'm actually happy that black people can and do use the N word, it dulls the blade to be used, and while even a dull blade can cut I can foresee a day when that word will be capable of nothing more that a scratch.
This does run into problems though, some phrases have horrible histories but are also common phrases, in this case the blade may be dull at some points along its length but quite sharp at others. This is my round-a-bout way of defending a republican accused of being a racist, a spot I'm not exactly accustomed to. In the end I think he probably is a bit racist but we must be careful when we throw that phrase around to, because that is a phrase that we must not allow to lose its edge. Being seen as a racist needs to be among the ultimate degradations of a persons character but if we use it unscrupulously then it will soften until it becomes another general purpose insult. In this case the original term he got in trouble for useing was, "This baby is black. . . . It's a dark, ugly thing." Obviously that can be taken as racist, and maybe it is I don't know the mans thoughts, but I honestly can imagine someone saying it with no thought to it being racist. The term dark or black is often used to describe evil, goth kids and metal heads wear black to look evil, villains in movies wear black people wear black to funerals and grooms wear black at weddings. The point is that as a society we do equate evil and bad with the color black, that does not mean we always equate the black race with evil and bad. In perfect irony to the article there is an ad just to the right (it might change) of the article trying to sell the new Toyota Matrix, saying "get in touch with your dark side" I don't think anyone is going to say thats a racist ad, so why are we assuming this politician meant it any differently?
At this point a simple, "Oh shit, I didn't even think of it that way" would have done wonders. Keep the Oh Shit too thats how they know you were genuinely surprised by the allegation. What you shouldn't do is claim that a "lynch mob" is after you. Lynch mob also being a phrase that has lost much of its edge, at least in places far from actual lynchings like Utah. These phrases have spread into the consciousness of the country and most people don't ever think about there real meanings. There are lots of morbid phrases that we use without second thought, try watching children sing ring around the rosy after knowing its meaning without shuttering, so I think that either of these phrases on their own can easily be considered just the use of a phrase that maybe we shouldn't use, but we do. Unfortunately my ability and will to defend him ended when he refused to meet the NAACP with media present, and when he referred to the NAACP as "those people" another phrase than should be avoided. I don't know if the guy is a racist or not, but now he's screwed, although on reflection it is Utah, I'm guessing the NAACP isn't the most influential of constituents. As for the NAACP, pick your battles. Ask for an apology and move on to the serious problems race related and otherwise.