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BARACK OBAMA: AMERICA’S BLACK FRIEND

If Obama wins in November, it'll be due in no small part to all of the white people who've always wanted a black friend but for one reason or another (accusations of rape, inadvertent cross burnings) have never made it happen. This is their chance to prove that it really was a harmless slip of the tongue in college when they called the Black Student Union's spending habits "niggardly". Voting for Obama is more than just punching a name in a booth; it's a statement of progressiveness, like a neck tattoo or a late-term abortion. More than any other presidential candidacy since Washington thumbed his nose at the British, backing Obama stands for something: being down. Even if Obama loses, his white supporters will probably continue to wear their campaign t-shirts proudly to declare, "See? I don't want to lynch you." And frankly, I appreciate the clarification. When I'm denied a loan, if I see the bank manager wearing an Obama lapel pin, I'll know that I wasn't denied because of the color of my skin, but rather because I have fucked-up credit. As a refutation of racism, "I have black friends" will no doubt be superseded by "I voted for Obama" (which in turn will be trumped only by "I married one of 'em!").

An Obama vote is a ghetto pass of sorts, crowning its holders the Eminems of their cul-de-sacs and knitting circles. After dropping that ballot, they’ll develop a sudden "soul hitch" to their gait, and they won’t feel quite so self-conscious strolling into Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles. They might even greet the hostess with a subtle ‘sup nod. Yeah, they know what time it is. Most exciting to his white supporters, though, is the prospect that with Obama in office, they’ll have bought themselves a four-year window for ignoring Affirmative Action, bypassing black people hailing taxis, and dropping the N-bomb. After all, they’re not racist; they have a black friend.

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Mark Harris, Schwa, POLITICALLY ERECT

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