Just as Al Sharpton dreamed of taking Jesse's place, my highest career ambition has always been to be The One Black Guy whom otherwise clueless white people turned to in all things racial. Charles Murray got a new book? Wondering about a potential reunion between Mos Def and Talib Kweli? Can't figure out why the black girl in your office talks so loud? Ask Ta-Nehisi. I swear I was gonna take Henry Louis Gates's crown and along the front carve my stilo--All Your Blacks Are Belonging To Us.
But the game has, in the words of Slim Charles, gotten more fierce. I just read a lovely piece by Adam Serwer on Obama and race. I love a piece of writing that makes me reconsider my own opinions. As some of you know, I vacillate about whether Obama's opponents are using his race against him. Serwer argues they most definitely are:
The Britney ad is a result of the ongoing meme in this election that Obama's success, like that of "overpaid black athletes," is an affront to hardworking white people everywhere. The ad never mentions Obama's race as the source of his celebrity, but it doesn't have to -- it's been part of the campaign long enough for the point to be implicit. In short, this ad is Geraldine Ferraro's attack done "right," in the sense that it does not directly implicate the McCain campaign as exploiting racial tensions.
I'm not so sure that this is as intentional as Serwer argues. Still, it's a fairly smooth piece of argument. Check it out.