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Mail and Commentary, Feb. 3

Cope's Comments Off Color

Wow, Bill Cope. Your stunning apologist piece for Harry Reid misses the mark completely (BW, Opinion, "Off Color," Jan. 20, 2010). Or rather, misses the remark. There is no amount of awkward reasoning that will justify Reid's comments, particularly your flawed argument that "ultimately, the observation proved to be right."

Stating that a candidate was elected to office because of qualities they don't have is a logical fallacy that ignores a lifetime of achievements, education and preparation for office that qualified them for the job. By the same reasoning, it could be argued that Harry Reid was elected because he has "no negro dialect." This is the essence of the offense at Harry Reid's comments. Is he a racist? I don't believe so. But he speaks with the eloquence and understanding of a 1960s-era soda jerk.

Which leads me to the rest of your column: Do you honestly believe that the majority of white people get their impressions of black people from TV, like drooling goons soaking up episodes of What's Happenin'? 

Where in the hell do you get off justifying your comparison to Amos and Andy by assuming that "so few" white people would recognize the names of black leaders? This type of condescension does no service to your argument that liberal readers of your column can see a fine line drawn between Reid's comments and those of Trent Lott. Both are clearly living in the past, and both have failed to grasp a vernacular of racial enlightenment. There may well be a conspiracy within the RNC to appear in kind with all races of Americans. There is no doubt amongst liberals about the prevailing attitudes toward equality held by the leaders of that party. But you digress in stooping to Harry Reid's level of reasoning with your argument that Michael Steele was elected solely because he is black. 

It is astounding that even now, in 2010, individuals with a public voice lack the intelligence and the humanity to extend credibility beyond skin color and racial stereotypes to success and education.

In his remarks, Harry Reid fails to give due credit to President Obama's accomplishments. You, Mr. Cope, do the same to Michael Steele. Narrow-minded views and assignation of achievement to some sort of racial trump card are the fodder of closet racists everywhere, Mr. Cope.

--Mark Spencer,

Hailey