Learned Negro Gentleman for Rent

Our photo editor just showed me an e-mail from a woman who used the word “negro.” As in:

“Here are three photos. The negro gentleman is James (Last Name Deleted), PhD, the white gentleman is Jim (Last Name Deleted) and the woman is me. LOL Lucy (Last Name Deleted)”

My immediate reaction was that this woman, who lives in the creepy settlement of oldsters known as Sun City, was surely of that sainted vintage where less-than-delicate comments are written off as missives from a lost era, the brutal remnants of a long and weathered existence, from when the world was ordered much differently, a time the rest of us can only read about on Wikipedia.

Not so, the photo editor said. She is, like, mid-40s.

I don’t doubt that she meant no harm by the use of the term. But I was unaware this particular anachronism was still hibernating somewhere in the depths of society. Or maybe just in South Carolina, at least.

Then I Googled it out of curiosity, and discovered Rush Limbaugh has been calling Obama “Barack the Magic Negro,” saying the candidate has been successful because people “can’t criticize the little black man-child.”

So…it’s not just South Carolina, I guess. The first Google result (after definitions) is for a company called Rent-a-negro.com, the pitch being:

What can you give a person
who has everything?

Give them a new black friend….

Maybe this PhD gentleman from that woman’s e-mail could make some side money? LOL.

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