Hating on Obama- Is it Racial?

One thing is for sure. You’ll never hear President Obama himself say so.

For him to do so would simply feed a frenzied media cycle that would last at least a week. “Obama Plays the Race Card,” the headlines would scream. Yet more and more black folks I talk to are starting to believe a good deal of the opposition to this President is based on the inability of some Americans to get used to a black man in the White House.

People will point to everything from Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You Lie” during Obama’s speech to the joint session of Congress, to likening him to Hitler, to that oft repeated phrase “I want my country back”.

Rep. Joe Wilson
Rep. Joe Wilson

And they have a point. Of course, no one who makes these statements would admit to hating black people. They say they’re judging Obama on his merits (or lack of same).

Still, their language, and the slavish devotion to the agendas of the Glenn Becks of the world give some people pause.


What’s troubling is more black folks want Obama to call out his opponents for their perceived racism. In fact, some are taking him to task for not doing so. And these are not “militant nationalists”, who often get dismissed even inside the black community. No, these are the people in the barber shops, the hair salons, and yes, some folks in the political establishment as well.

However, consider the impact if the President did speak out and call out some of his opposition on racism.

Here in New York, Gov. David Paterson, in a radio interview, hinted that some of the media coverage of his tenure was tinged with racism. The media had a field day. There were more stories using the media’s favorite crutch words, the “race card” than had been written in a year.

All this speaks to the central role race still plays in American political discourse. The election of Barack Obama, post racial though it may have seemed, didn’t change that. President Obama knows this. That’s why his references to race are usually talking to black people about responsibility rather than the nation as a whole about dealing with race prejudice.

Those who want him to strike out at the Joe Wilsons, the Glenn Becks, the Jim DeMints of the world are bound to be disappointed.

Jim DeMint

Justified or not, it’s not going to happen. That leaves a stark choice for black America. Should we do that heavy lifting for the President? Or should we — of all races — simply keep discussing it among ourselves?

You tell me.

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3 thoughts on “Hating on Obama- Is it Racial?”

  1. Joe Wilson, I heard, needs votes. (I leave that analysis to you, Mr.Riley. Related to districting and race.)

    There’s lot of racism going around and mixed in with the health care Right wing. I saw photos of some of the signs held up in DC at the Right wing protest this past weekend, I think. Naomi Klein was on DemocracyNow this morning, talking about “brand Israel” (a public relations campaign to make Israel look good despite the horrible attack on Gaza and Palestinian policy; note: I am a Jew, as are Naomi Klein and
    Amy Goodman, the later is host of DemNow), as well as the
    Geneva Conference on Racism and Obama’s boycott, and racism
    being rampant in the so-called post-racial America. I think she made one interesting point, but I suggest one word was a bit “off”. She pointed out how the financial collapse (her area of expertise/reporting is economic chaos theories) is rooted in the mortgage loans that African-Americans and Latinos were (I add the word, “steered” to) encouraged to take. She also noted the money gap between African-Americans and “whites” (which many have noted have been aided/pushed by gov’t policies, racist, such as the
    post-WWII FHA housing loans not going to African-Americans, for one example). She said that President Obama has not addressed the income gap and policies and that “racial relations” are tense (and noted the rampant racism). She also mentioned reparations in re the Geneva Conference on Racism as a fear of the Obama administration (of it being brought up, and the coded language, now of Right wingers saying Obama wants to redistribute income “reparations” to
    African-Americans). I think government policy is not racial “relations”, but I can see her point. I support reparations; her points about reparations were good – but one can read the transcript at http://www.democracynow.org or view the interview online. Note: Klein is Canadian (her parents were from the US).

  2. PS I am not a fan of Pres. Obama, altho I voted for him. I am critical of his continuing a lot of “W” Bush policies. I support single payer and Conyers/Kucinich Bill HR676 and I do not trust Obama to deliver a health care plan with good improvement. The president is too corporatist for me. I read many of the critical essays about President Obama on http://www.blackagendareport. com and Paul Street’s essays on Znet,
    which (I hope) is http://www.zcommunications/znet.org

  3. Sorry for my still (s)low skills in getting urls posted, sigh, just google Black Agenda Report and ZCommunications, Znet.

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