This is sick! I'm sorry, the USA is a very racist society, and a lot of the racism seems to come from the black side (as it does in SA).
I used to respect Harry Belafonte, but after these remarks, no more. I guess it is party-political, and there is an election coming up soon, but that doesn't excuse it. It is gratuitous, insulting, a cheap shot, and not worthy of serious consideration (interesting that it should appear on the "entertainment" page of this South African news site). Also covered by the BBC, with more links.
[So, may I ask, Harry, who was the house nigger when you were riding the wave of the Calypso boom in the late 50's/early 60's?]
I didn't comment on it at the time, but I was incensed (and as a South African, embarrasssed), when Colin Powell, the most successful black person in US history (in military and political terms, anyway), and a wonderful, dignified human being, doing a tough, unforgiving job (pretty well), and sticking to it, when a number of so-called commentators have said that he is on the point of resigning, was boo-ed at the Jo'burg summit last month. How boorish - the most important black person in the world (give or take a Kofi Annan or two, but what power do they have?), gets that kind of reception when he returns to Africa? Interesting that the only pictures I have seen of that event seem to feature white American environmental activists. More comment here.
(Sorry about that long, clumsy sentence, but I guess you know what I mean).
(Probably a good thing this weblog doesn't have any readers apart from myself - this is the kind of statement likely to inspire a flame war and/or get my head shot off. But, all in all, I think I'm on Colin's side here, not Harry's).
Andrew Sullivan discusses the issue eloquently and in depth, in his Salon Column, The Bigotry of Belafonte:
"Because the essence of bigotry is to reduce the complex, varied, human individuality of a human being into a racial cipher. It is to smelt the irreducible complexity of a person into a racial caricature. It is to deny individuality; it is to give someone no space to think for him or herself, to free to be a person, and not a mere member of the group. "
As Andrew says, this stereotyping is distressingly common, both in the USA and in South Africa, when anyone who differs with ANC policy for whatever fundamental reason is immediately labelled racist.