Between the birth certificate “scandal” and the Kenya jokes, some arms of the Republican party have had no qualms about making thinly veiled racist comments regarding President Barack Obama.
Now we can add another.
Colorado Representative Doug Lamborn went onto a talk radio last week, where he referred to the president as a “tar baby,” claiming getting too near him will get you “stuck.”
Via Think Progress:
Appearing on the Caplis and Silverman radio show last Friday, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) said, “Now I don’t even want to have to be associated with [Obama], it’s like touching a tar baby and you’re stuck, you’re part of the problem now. You can’t get away.”
Tar Baby, according to Time Magazine, is a very touchy phrase that has gotten politicians into trouble before. But in the past, they were always referring to a project or situation, never an actual person, and especially not a person of color.
Is tar baby a racist term? Like most elements of language, that depends on context. Calling the Big Dig a tar baby is a lot different than calling a person one. But sensitivity is not unwarranted…The Oxford American Dictionary defines tar baby much like Romney used it, “a difficult problem, that is only aggravated by attempts to solve it.” But the term also has had racial implications. In his book Coup, John Updike says of a white woman who prefers the company of black men, “some questing chromosome within holds her sexually fast to the tar baby.” The Oxford English Dictionary (but not the print version of its American counterpart) says that tar baby is a derogatory term used for “a black or a Maori.”
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