Contemplating "Rented Negroes"

From Abagond:
A Rented Negro is a black person who is paid or otherwise helped by whites for putting a black face on white opinion and power. An Uncle Tom with stock options.

...The black talking heads you see on American television news are mostly Rented Negroes: unlike most blacks few are to the left. That cannot be an accident. In the blogosphere you can see the black left in all its glory – but on television it is strangely absent.

Well, not so strangely when you think about it: unlike the blogosphere, nearly everything you see on television was put there by white men, by white news editors, producers, screenwriters and so on. Even BET is white-owned.

That means blacks who pretty much agree with whites – or, even worse, play to their stereotypes – will have a much easier time getting on television than those who do not. So even though you see black faces on television, it is still pretty much the World According to White People.

And you know this because every now and then something breaks through the White Space-Time Continuum that is American television: Rodney King, Katrina, Reverend Wright, Michelle Obama’s pride, etc. Briefly you see into another world before the break in the Continuum closes up again and the Rented Negroes resume their places.

Rented Negroes can be on the left, like Harmon, or on the right, like Alan Keyes. It is not the opinions that make you rented but renting them to white people for their benefit, giving them a black face to hide behind.


  1. These are WP dipped in chocolate, not Negroes. For the most part, I neither listen to or endeavor to lay eyes on them although I sometimes need ammunition against them; therefore, I read an errant book.

  2. Hence Oreo Barbie, depicted above.

  3. Some people'd let the Klan run a train on their grandmas for a pat on the head from White people.

  4. Ah, yes - like using a Black man as the new BP face of the Gulf of Mexico clean-up effort. He's there to convey the "common man" face of America. He's the opposite of the shit-eating-grin, dishonest, white guy face they've been using. He's delivering the truth to us. I don't know if these commercials are playing here in Gulf and neighboring areas or nationally. But I just feel like BP is playing on known stereotypes about Whites by using a Black man to erase their bullshit image with a touch of Magical Negroism.

  5. @ Victoria

    Are you serious? I haven't been watching much TV so I'm out of the loop, but...seriously?

  6. I'm serious. It must be like a coastal cities PSA type thing because I'm not finding it on Youtube. They're paying for a mess of adverts to remind people that there's no oil here yet (I'm in the south eastern part of Florida). They have radio commercials supposedly from the Keys saying "The water's clear," and everything's peachy. The TV ad is probably local too. *eye roll*

  7. Ahh heeeeere we go.

  8. Btw...did anyone else bowl over at "An Uncle Tom with stock options"?

  9. @ Victora

    Read that article...*shudder* This in particular caught my eye:

    I am not yet sure what to think about Willis. I won't say if I trust him or not, but I can certainly say that his face was put on this disaster for a reason. Being a black man with a Louisiana accent helps, in addition to being an American face on a British company.

    Congrats to Willis...he's been upgraded to "Magical Rented Negro".

  10. "...did anyone else bowl over at 'An Uncle Tom with stock options?"

    I did! ROTFLMAO!!

  11. Well K, I guess I did know. Just hate to think about it.
    When they look at themselves in the mirror, they don't see their black essence, but some ghastly white reflection. At least that's my take on it. Sigh...

    The definitive Abagond!


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