Monday, August 8, 2011

The Arrogance of Being President While Black

barack obama, black politics, racism, african americans

The author of this piece is unknown, but many believe that he is a white male.  It’s interesting, please take a look.

I don't think anyone was under some real illusion that the election of Barack Obama actually means the end of racism in America . I'm pretty sure that the president-elect knew it better than anyone. After all, he saw it every day, from the moment he announced his candidacy. To some degree, he saw it within his own party during the primaries. And he saw it in all ugliness during the general election. For half of this country, he was "That One". No matter how big and clear his victory was. No matter how smart he is. No matter how decent he is. No matter what a true patriot he is. No matter how optimistic and positive his vision for America was. All that didn't matter. Because at the end of the day, he was still black.

I'm quite old. I remember, vaguely, where my parents were on November 22, 1963. I've seen so many presidents. Some were feared, some were hated, some were adored, some popular and some not. But all of them, without exception, were treated with the highest respect deserving the office of the president of the United States .

That is until a black man won the right to occupy this office. It's been 13 months now, and in the eyes of so many, Barack Obama is still that one. He is being disrespected and at the same time being held to the highest standard of any president I've ever seen – and not just by the Republican side! He has to perform three times better than any president in history, and even that may not be enough.

For the media, he is many more times just "Obama" than "President Obama". They create scandals out of nothing issues. It took them at least 6 years to start giving Bush a small part of the shit he deserved. It took them 6 months to begin crap all over Obama because he's yet to fix the catastrophe that was left for him.

They use condescending tones when they talk about him, and only mildly less condescending when they talk TO him. With anyone else, CNNwouldn't dare go to commercials every time the president speaks, like they did during that summit on Thursday. They wouldn't dare be counting how many minutes George Bush or Bill Clinton were talking. Chris Mathews wouldn't dare make an issue out of Ronald Regan calling members of congress by their first name, like he is not actually the president. They fully cooperate with the Right-Wing smear machine when it comes to president Obama's national security performance – even if almost every independent and military expert actually thinks that he's a terrific Commander-in-Chief. You'll never see them on TV, and virtually no one from the Left, in congress and outside, defend the president on this matter.

I don't care about the Far-Right. They're just crazy ignorant Neanderthals. It's the way the beltway and the mainstream treats this president that is shocking. On Thursday, almost every Republican had no trouble interrupting him in the middle of a sentence. They looked like they're going to vomit every time they had to say "Mr. President". They all had this Eric-Cantor-Smirk whenever he spoke. Then they went out and started to spit their stupid talking points, to the delight of the media. Sarah Palin, a woman who can hardly read, thinks that he was "arrogant" towards John McCain, and somehow this is an important news. Because you see, "Obama's Arrogance" is the talking point of the day.

Oh, those talking points. He is arrogant (because he knows the facts better than all of them combined). He is an elitist (because he uses big words that they don't understand). He is weak on national security (because he actually thinks about the consequences). He divides the country (well, he did that the day he had the audacity to win the election). Worst of all, he actually thinks that he's the president. He even dared to say so on Thursday. How arrogant of him. You'd think that previous presidents didn't have any ego. Somehow it turned out that the one president who treats even his biggest opponents with the utmost respect – is the arrogant one. I wonder why?

I expected that his winning the Presidency would bring out some ugliness, but it's been far worse than I imagined. The racism coming from the Right is obviously clear and shameless, but there's also some hidden and maybe subconscious and disturbing underline tone behind some of the things that I read here and throughout the Left blogosphere, even before the end of Obama's first year - 'He's weak, he's spineless, he's got no balls, primary him in 2012'. It'll be dishonest to deny that.

The fact is that for millions in America, Barack Obama is this uppity black man (Not even a "real" black), who received good education only due to affirmative action, and has no right to litter the sacred Oval Office with his skin color. They just can't accept the fact that the president is a black man, who unlike his predecessor, was actually legally elected. But what's really sad is that it's not just the fringe, its deep deep in mainstream America.

Barack Obama's ability to remain above all this slob, to keep his optimism and his strange and mostly unjustified faith in people, while continuing to gracefully deal with an endless shitstorm – is one of the most inspiring displays of human quality I have ever seen. And I can only hope that the Cosmos is on his side because God is and He never makes a mistake.

Sometimes, they make me feel ashamed to be a white man!!

18 comments:

  1. Well said. I completely agree, and like you, I saw this coming. My elation at seeing an African American man win the highest office in the land was tempered with the creeping realization of the racist backlash he would undoubtedly face. I am not very old; but I remember the Reagan presidency and beyond. The disrespect for President Obama is unprecedented. Thank you for your insights.

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  2. I remember posting on FB that I was upset that in mainstream media, President Obama was still referred to as "Obama". Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  3. This is a man we can all be very proud of and I worry for him. He is not only forging a new path for us all, he is doing it always on an uphill trajectory.. Thank goodness for him and lets all do what we can to get him elected for another 4 years. He has more than proved himself to be a great President. President Barack Obama.

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  4. I lived in Texas when PRES KENNEDY WAS MURDERED. And your reference to that fateful date disturbs me. I know what it is to be the target of bigotry and Racism, being 5th GenerationTexan. I exp'd Segregated&Desegregated Schools. NEither state was a good experience, in the very small Texas town I was born & reared in. That was in the 40's&50's!
    And here I am, some 60yrs later, seeing men & women strutting their Racism&Bigotry... Against the President of the United States, Barack Obama, with impunity... From the city streets to the Halls of Congress. It is not only OBSCENE, IT IS UNAMERICAN!

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  5. Well.....President Obama will still go down in history as one of the most charismatic, handsome, brilliant, clever, hated, loved, and cherished presidents ever in the history of the world. Love him or hate him, a Leopard will never change his spots.

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  6. Right, all good points and it sickens me to watch the way Pres. Obama and the first lady have been treated. I have come to take comfort in the belief that, as much as I wish things were different NOW, perhaps one of the Presidents most important accomplishments has been to break down this barrier. While there are still many racists among us, our youth is more inclusive and tolerant than any other that has gone before. This fact combined with the election of an African-American president, in my opinion, bodes really well for our shared future.

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  7. All African Americans saw this coming. I actually was called by the Gallup Polls prior to his election and one of the questions was will the country be better with him elected. Of course I said that there would be a storm before the calm. A storm of racist behavior and rhetoric. Now I think that there will just be a storm. Of course the country is better. President Obama's policies are for the people and without the interference of the racist Right, would greatly benefit the people. The fact that this article is possibly written by a white male doesn't make it any more or less valid. That in itself is a subtle, unintentional form of racism. Yes, it is nice to have our cries of racism validated by White men, but not necessary. They are as real today as they have ever been in this country.

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  8. Thanks for this post! I was prompted to reply and in the process I decided to just go ahead and start my own blog... So thanks for the inspiration please check it out... www.lorimyersmyers.blogspot.com

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. The most annoying (if not most tragic) part of the whole Presidency is the numerous attempts by pundits to make issues out of completely meaningless stuff. Anyone remember the thing about Mustard? Or Barack Obama wearing granny jeans (I'm not even sure what that means) But they literally gnawed themselves into a fury to find something wrong with him, when just one president ago those same pundits claimed that any criticism of the president was Un-American.

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  11. On the one hand "America" elected Obama by a clear landslide. On the other hand Congress, Senate and the media don't support him and are slinging the "slop." Kinda reminds me where the real power lies in our country and how hopeless change really is.

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  12. I'm a brown man and think both parties are very similar. But the democrats really are spineless. I'm very disappointed in Obama, as he continues many of the policies of previous administration. I know there are many powers against him, but I think he could still do a lot more than he is doing, to tax the rich, and to get jobs for the poor

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  13. I do not believe that (most) people that are unhappy with Pres Obama, are because of his race. I know that is not even a factor in my reasons for disliking,him & having little faith in him as a President. It has to do with what he stands for (or the lack thereof). With any Pres., respect should be served. I do not find him to be a strong leader & he DOES have a very sketchy history. He also lacks experience to be in the position he is in. However, America voted & they voted him in. Amazing that because many people are unhappy with him as a President, the "race card" comes back into play. Time for a new EXCUSE!!!

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  14. @Buildabridge...I voted for him too and find myself a little miffed about his lack of commitment to his own agenda. I would have liked to have seen more "fire in the belly". Race is a not a "card" that is played, but a "bone" to be picked. Perhaps it is time that we have the RACE talk. It is evident that "whites" don't have a clue as to when or in what ways they appear ( come across) as racist.

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  15. A Google search located the original article which was posted on Daily Kos back in February 2010 at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/02/27/841263/-The-arrogance-of-being-president-while-being-black-%28Updated%29

    Notice that the original version does not contain the last sentence starting "Sometimes..." And another blogger referred to the author "blackwaterdog" as "she" -- implying not male.

    Regardless, the analysis is always relevant.

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  16. America must lead by example.The one thing that would accelerate the tumbling down of the American kingdom is not economic melt-down or contemporary politics but the deliberate cruel measure of a person's worthy using tools of skin color...by Harrison Wambua Nairobi,Nairobi

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