Regarding Prince Harry's recent public evaluation of Prez Obambi's skin tone, I guess one could say that it's easy to be black and white on this issue (pun intended.)
Back in '53, George Wallace, while serving on the Alabama bench of the Third Judicial Cicuit Court, was castigated by fellow whites for refering to black attorneys who appeared before him as "Sir" and using the appellation "Mr." before their names.
His first political defeat was to John Patterson in the prrimary for the '58 gubernatorial race. Patterson ran with the backing of the Ku Klux Klan. Wallace had spoken out against the KKK and refused its support, receiving the NAACP's endorsement. He lost the election by more than 64,000 votes. This defeat marked a turning point in his politics and campaign style.
To be frank, Wallace stated that he wouldn't be "out-ni**ered again," that is, he would purposfully "become" the alleged racist we all came to know and (some of us) despise just to be crowned "Governor." The point is, a politician doesn't have to actually be racist to act like one. Surely, this is a distinction without a difference and still despicable to those of us who witnessed Jim Crow personally.
But it shows two important things. One, political ambition as the raison d'etre for one's moral course is as disgusting and dangerous as not having one at all, indeed, it's essentially the same thing. Think Boy Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Hillary, the O man, for whom throwing political encumbrances under the bus has become an art form -- even his own grandmother who raised him from a babe for crying out loud. And two, and this is where Harry Reid comes in, the collolary is true as well. Someone may act like an open-minded, race-neutral politician and still be a racist.
In other words, some people are so driven to the acquisition of power that they will embrace whatever position is popular, regardless of their personal beliefs. And this is why I cringe every time I hear a politician say something along the lines of, "I'm personally opposed to X, but I won't let my personal beliefs interfere with the way I govern, blah, blah, etc, etc." If a man (or woman) is not true to his or her personal beliefs, what's to stop them from becoming racist when it's popular (Wallace) and non-racist when that's popular (Reid).
Now, I'm not calling Reid a racist. I don't know much about him. What I do know is enough to make me gag, regardless of his true feelings about race. However, in the next election cycle, we need to elect people who have not made overweening political ambition the be all and end all of their existence. People like Sarah Palin and Doug Hoffman, for instance.