Harry Reid's recent faux pas (Obama spoke "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one") was saying more or less what Max Blumenthal savaged country singer Toby Keith for saying on Glen Beck's radio show:
"Now, Keith has trained his sights on Barack Obama, attacking him in racially tinged language that startled even the notoriously reactionary radio jock Glenn Beck. During Keith's appearance on the July 30 broadcast of Beck's show, he remarked, "I think the black people would say he [Obama] don't talk, act or carry himself as a black person."
"What does that even mean?" the audibly shocked Beck replied.
"Well, I don't know what that means," Keith drawled,[Audio] "but I think that that's what they would say. Even though the black society would pull for him I still think that they think in the back of their mind that the only reason he is in [the general election] is because he talks, acts and carries himself as a Caucasian." [Lynching Advocate Toby Keith: Obama Acts White To Win , The Nation, August 5, 2008]
Keith wasn't attacking Obama—he was saying that the Obama candidacy doesn't mean that race has gone away as an issue, and that many blacks think that Obama acts like he's white. One of the people who feels that way is Jesse Jackson.
And of course Keith isn't a lynching advocate—his song "Beer For My Horses" talks about the hanging of white badmen in the Old West. [See Country Music Expert Max Blumenthal Decries Toby Keith’s “Pro-Lynching Anthem”]
And as for Beck's weird question "What does that even mean?", is it possible that Beck has never met a black person? I could use the example of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, or Al Sharpton. (John Derbyshire calls him Rev'm Al.) I could say that John McWhorter, who is an African-American linguist, insists that (a) there is such a thing as black English, and (b) many people who speak it can also speak regular English, but instead I'll show you.
African-American showman Steve Harvey, born not in Hawaii, but in Cleveland,Ohio, imagines what he would say if he had the privilege of introducing Jesus Christ (Harvey is a born-again Christian.):
This is what Barack Obama, (Punahou Prep, Columbia, and Harvard Law) doesn't talk like—unless, as Reid said, he "wanted to."