I was an English major in undergrad. That means my classmates and I got assigned a ton of books that we didn’t actually read. Without fail in every class there would be one student that tried to overcompensate for his failure to read the text by trying to guess where the teacher was going with her point and say what he thought the teacher wanted to hear.
Touré is that student.
A long time ago, Touré has ditched thoughtful research and engagement with Black culture and replaced it with race-baiting and faux-provocativeness (see: attention whoring). Want examples? Of course you do. There was the time he said Obama would lose votes because EVERY BLACK PERSON HATES THE GAYS or made a George Zimmerman joke or said that Kreayshawn was progressively challenging Black masculinity or said Mitt Romney was turning Barack Obama into a N*gger. You get the point, right?
Anyway, Touré’s latest iteration of literary blackface came in his Time article calling President Barack Obama “the Magical Negro.” The crux of the argument is that the President was a “magical Negro” that promised supernatural healing of America, but he lost that mystique when he failed to live up to his promises. So in 2012 America would be re-electing a non-magical Negro, thus finally showing racial progress.
The argument that Obama is a “Magical Negro” isn’t even Touré’s own stupid argument to begin with. The idea was originally penned by David Ehrenstein in the L.A. Times in 2007 and used in a song by Rush Limbaugh around the same time. Touré just updated the argument with a bit more stupidity and pretend hopefulness that doesn’t at all hide the fact he’s spouting gibberish for attention.
Touré, who’s fooled culturally illiterate publications and networks into believing he’s the spokesperson for Black America, has used his leverage to write drivel like this and pretend it’s poignant. In reality, Touré is just tap-dancing across his keyboard and penning journalistic “yessuhs” to whichever publication he’s fooled into believing he should have an influential say in anything related to Black culture. He goes for the lowest common denominator: race-baiting.
Which makes this excerpt even more alarming: “Obama had to be extraordinary, which reminds me of something my mother told me when I was a boy: that being black meant I had to be twice as good to get ahead.”
Sadly, being Black also means you can use your race as a shield to deflect any claims of racism while making the most uninformed, attention-whoring statements that throw that race under the bus in order to get ahead.
I hope his mother is proud.