I found Buckwheat in the woodworking shop of the Home for Retired Racial Stereotypes, chiseling something on the face of an elaborate oaken plaque.
"What are you making?" I inquired.
"I is here carvin' de trophy we gonna give George W. Bush if Bro' Barack Obama wins de 'lection," squeaked the famous Our Gang character. "To thank him fer his heroic services to black America."
"Oh, a joke," I said. "You're being tongue in cheek."
"Aw naw I ain't," said Buckwheat, putting down his tools and regarding me with a look of utmost seriousness. "I'm gonna let you 'n on a big, big secret, White. Bush bin workin' wid us all along."
"But that's impossible, he's been a terrible president," I sputtered in disbelief. "He's got us bogged down in two wars! The economy is shot! Thousands and thousands of black people are losing their homes in foreclosures! Civil rights laws aren't being rigorously enforced! And…"
"I know, I know," said Buckwheat, impatiently holding up his hand like a traffic cop to interrupt my outburst. "All dat wuz part o' de plan."
"Plan, what plan?" I asked.
"The secret plan Bush cooked up to 'lect the furst black president," snapped Buckwheat, in an exasperated tone.
Noticing the confused look on my face, he continued. "I'm gonna switch to standard English to make sure you understand what I'm trying to tell you."
He looked around to make sure no one could overhear his whisper.
"Bush is really down with the brothers, and he understands white people's attitudes. He figured that the only way one of us could win would be to mess things up so much that white folks would decide they had nothing to lose if they put a black man in the White House!"
"You're saying Bush deliberately screwed up the country to give a black candidate a better chance to become president," I replied incredulously.
"That's right," Buckwheat replied. "And Bush, God bless his soul, delivered more than we ever expected."
As his excitement mounted, he relapsed into Ebonics and began to shout.
"He de wurst Prez-ah-dent 'n his'try. He done such a bad job, 'most any Demercrat cud beat 'most any 'publican in dis here 'lection. Even ah black one! Dat white man throwed hissse'f on de bonfire of his'try to give ah black man uh bedder chance to make his'try! We owes him our eternal thanks for his selfless sacrifice!"
"Didn't you think Obama could win it on his own?" I interjected, flabbergasted.
"We wuzzn't takin' no chances," said Buckwheat. "Obama de best 'n' brightest candidate to come along 'n a long, long time. But he ain't got no idea dat Bush is doin' all dis stuff to he'p him."
"John McCain's going to be furious when he finds out that Bush betrayed him," I said.
"Oh, no!" said Buckwheat, winking conspiratorially. "John 'in on de plan, too. Dat's why he picked dat Sarah Palin to be his runnin' mate. Dat wuz de move dat really moved things 'n Barack's favor. It wuz de mastuh stroke! Mind-bogglin', ain't it?"
"So what's it going to say on that plaque?" I asked, still reeling from the surprising revelation.
"Nothing complicated," said Buckwheat, holding up the trophy, on which was carved, in an intricate script:
"WITH UNDYING GRATITUDE
TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
OUR SECRET WEAPON IN THE PLAN
TO PUT A
THE WHITE HOUSE."
Jack White is a regular contributor to The Root.
is a former columnist for TIME magazine and a regular contributor to The Root.