Barack Obama — America's Magical Negro?
So folks seem just giddy as all heck about Barack Obama’s almost-but-not-quite an announcement on his presidential aspirations. Seeing all the white folks holding up signs with his name on it and hearing their poignant hopes of deliverance that he seems to engender, well, it got a sister to thinking.
Things are bad here in America. America has started to wake up — and it doesn’t like what it sees in the mirror. Especially with George Bush staring back just over their shoulder.
Barack Obama looks to be as different as can be. Maybe like Morpheus or the Oracle in the Matrix or Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy or Bruce Almighty or even Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act or Ghost, Obama can redeem the soul and character of our nation. Yes, that’s right. Perhaps he’s the biggest Magical Negro we’ve ever created for ourselves in our country’s history.
When he first encounters the (invariably white) protagonist, the magical negro often appears as someone uneducated and in a low station of life, such as a janitor or prisoner. The black character is depicted as wiser and spiritually deeper than the protagonist, and the magical negro is often used as a plot device to help the protagonist get out of trouble, and to help the white character recognize his own faults and overcome them. As a plot device, the magical negro is similar to the Deus ex machina; a simple way for the protagonist to overcome an obstacle almost entirely through outside help.
Prometheus 6 asks if people (white people, really) are mad enough to vote for a Black guy and send a strong anti-establishment message? Is it possible that Obama’s popularity strikes an even deeper, archetypal chord than we may have imagined?
One thing’s for sure, Obama may be Magical and Safe, but ain’t nothin’ magical about Al Sharpton. ‘Cept possibly his hair.
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