Incoming privilege alert!
Gerald Seib of the Wall Street Journal said today on NBC’s Meet the Press round table that President Obama “carries his own background into race and he’s not seen as a neutral observer.”
Yes, if only President Obama were white, he’d have no background or race to bring into race discussions.
“This is the great irony of the first African American president, in some ways he finds it harder to talk about race because he carries his own background into it, he’s not seen necessarily as a neutral observer,” Seib racesplained. “He’s not having much effect and I think you see the frustration when he talks about these things on either front, on the racial front or on the guns front. You can tell that bothers him.”
Todd moved on from that without correcting the false idea that only white people can be neutral on race. But Helene Cooper of the New York Times (who is Liberian-born, maybe we shouldn’t let her talk about things she knows the more about than white people?) tried not to look completely puzzled by the upside down world as seen through the lens of “some people” and said she doesn’t think Obama has a hard time talking about race, it’s that he gets jumped on a lot when he does.
Oh, Helene. Reality is such a tonic. We thank you. Yes, let us not blame the black President for white people’s REACTION to the black president.
It was kind of sneaky to couch this as he is “not seen as”, instead of just coming out and saying Obama shouldn’t be taken seriously because he’s not neutral. Because in truth, the President, as a black person, is actually more of an expert on racism than the white people who deny his words.
This little tactic is called “begging the question”, and it’s how Fox and really anyone who is trying to sell crap sans facts builds a case. Notice that Seib didn’t point out that this was wrong, that if there are experts on racism they would be the people experiencing it, not the people who benefit from it.
Why isn’t President Obama seen as “neutral” and why didn’t Seib or Todd explain the ridiculousness of this idea?Left unchecked, it managed to successfully and insidiously poison the well, to suggest to everyone watching that Obama isn’t “neutral” on race and that he is not “effective” on guns.
Gosh, why would anyone want to pour water on the President’s speech in which he strongly called for gun safety regulations in the wake of a horrific act of terrorism against US citizens?
Let’s just do a quick run through of the premise crazy:
Only white people can be “neutral” about race.
Only white people are experts on racism.
Only white people are impartial on matters of race.
But white is a race. White does have something at stake, as Dylann Roof clearly laid out in his political agenda to get rid of black people because he felt they were taking over. Some white people think that if minorities get anything, white people lose. In fact, this idea is the entire gas behind the modern-day Republican Party. It’s political. It’s ignorant as heck. It’s definitely not neutral.
What is troubling is that the majority of “news” is brought to you by white, privileged men. And they have decided that only they are neutral. Insert laughter here.
As to Obama not being “effective” on guns, this is a fine criticism coming from a representative of a right-wing paper that is owned by News Corporation, parent company of agenda-laden and NRA spokespeople Fox News. Perhaps this is best put as, “Given their background, News Corp is not seen as neutral on gun legislation. News Corp is not effective at discussions on race, which I think bothers them.”
This has been a primer on how to distract from the issue of guns by saying that the President, who focused on guns in his speech, isn’t really a neutral observer because of his race. So ignore that guy. Let’s talk about whether or not racism exists so we can avoid a discussion about gun policy, and give cover to the Republican politicians who keep tripping over themselves to justify and deny racism as part of their 2016 “leadership” skills publicity tour.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.