(The Root) — An enormous stretch Humvee limousine — with an American flag waving from a rooftop antenna and red, white and blue bunting decorating the hood — was pulled up at the door of the Home for Retired Racial Stereotypes. Charlie Chan, Tonto and the Frito Bandito were loading suitcases into the trunk, while Kingfish gallantly lent an elbow to his wife, Sapphire, as they descended the marble stairs at the building’s front entrance. Buckwheat stood at the door, holding it open for Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben. All of the men wore dark suits, and the women wore elegant designer dresses.
“So, where are you stereotypes going?” I inquired.
“Why, to Washington for President Barack Obama’s inauguration,” Buckwheat replied in a Barry White-style basso profundo.
“Answer a question first,” I demanded. “What happened to your squeaky voice and Ebonics speech patterns?”
“Brother White, we only use that ridiculous dialect when you are making another one of your lame attempts at satire,” Kingfish admonished in a mellifluous baritone. “The rest of the time we speak standard English in normal voices. Even a stereotype gets tired of behaving stereotypically.”
“That’s right,” Buckwheat interjected. “This is a time for celebration and quiet resolve, not verbal slapstick or buffoonery. We stereotypes are more than laughably distorted symbolic figures. We’re proud Americans who want to help make Obama’s second term a success and assure his place in history as a great president. We want him to end up as a face on Mount Rushmore, not in here with us.”
“But I didn’t know that stereotypes paid any attention to politics,” I gasped in astonishment.
“Of course we do,” the Frito Bandito chimed in from the back of the limo. “We read the papers, watch cable news channels and surf the Net to keep up with current events, and we know that Obama needs our help even more now than he did when he was first sworn into office. In two years he will become a lame duck, and he won’t be able to embark on any new initiatives, so time is of the essence if he wants to get anything done.”
“But why do you think he needs more help now than he did during his first term?” I persisted.