Omar Wasow

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The Root: Was Harry Reid Right?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid privately told two journalists in 2008 that Obama was more electable because he’s “light-skinned” and lacked a “Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” While the media is abuzz about “sensational…racially tinged remarks.” Over at The Root, I ask: “Was Harry Reid Right?”

Lost in all the handwringing and shock, however, is any clear explanation of what’s wrong with Reid’s comment. Clearly, using “Negro dialect” is about half-a-century behind the times, but does anyone think Reid meant ill by his anachronism?

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Hola

Omar Wasow headshotI am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics at Princeton. I received a PhD in African American Studies, an MA in Government and an MA in Statistics from Harvard University. Previously, I co-founded BlackPlanet.com and the Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School. I can be reached at owasow -at- gmail -dot- com.

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