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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Obama’s racism challenges; West’s bad behavior

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After Sen. Joe Wilson’s (R- SC) bold “you lie” declaration to President Barack Obama as the commander-in-chief addressed Congress last week people were angry, reactions were televised and the debates began.

However, the underlined message those two words represented wasn’t publicly stated…until Tuesday.

President Jimmie Carter told NBC’s Brian Williams that Wilson’s comment was “based on racism.”

“I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a Black man,” Carter said. “There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president. I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of a belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It’s an abominable circumstance and grieves me and concerns me very deeply.”

I was so relived to hear Carter, a white man acknowledge that Wilson’s crass remark was spewed by racism. While most African-Americans instantly recognized the racial undertones and even discussed the situation privately amongst other Blacks, few who had access to national television outlets publicly stated their opinion.

Carter spoke the truth regarding the disdain some Americans feel towards Obama; a sad reality that’s a testament of the times we’re living in. Never before Obama’s tenure would I have imagined public outcry from parents angered because the president of the United States wanted to talk to school children. How asinine is that?

Throughout the entire health care reform debate there have been Town Hall meetings held across the country. When I saw some of the individuals protesting at these meetings, it stirred my soul because I could literally feel and see the hatred some of them possessed. Some of these people had such malicious looks in their eyes that said something far more sinister than the signs they were holding. Although it is sad to see such occurrences, it’s reflective of today’s society.

While Obama is indeed the president of the United States, it doesn’t make him exempt from some of the same maltreatments that regular Blacks may experience on a day-to-day basis. Though he’s not exempt, there should still be a basic level of respect given to him as the president of this country. Wilson’s boisterous comment was grossly inappropriate. As one journalist stated, it’s almost as if he wanted to say “boy” at the end of his statement: “You lie, boy.”

As resounding as the racism may be, it’s unfortunate that Obama can’t publicly comment on the issue that many minorities face. I understand how diplomatic Obama and his administration have to be when such controversial issues are at the forefront. Even if Obama were to comment, I don’t know what good it would do at this point…it might just make things worse.

Despite the obvious challenges that Obama faces, he continues on steadfastly – that’s something that I respect about him: his ability to stay focused amidst adversity. It’s something that we all can implement in our lives.

By now, we’ve all heard about the rude manner in which rapper Kanye West acted towards country music star Taylor Swift during Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards. West boldly got on stage, interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech and proclaimed that Beyonce had the best video of the year. His actions were very distasteful – particularly towards a teenager who did nothing to him.

Although West has exhibited rude and arrogant behavior since the beginning of his career, I feel that a lot of his more recent bizarre behavior can be attributed to the death of his mother who passed away in 2007. While some might say two years is long enough to accept the death of a mother, I disagree because everyone grieves differently.

When my mother passed away seven years ago, it took me a few years to really get accustomed to the “new normal” that my life became post mom. Fortunately for me I had my siblings, friends, family and God to help me through all of the tough times. I’m not sure West has the same support system, which can make his recovery a lot harder. I always felt that West wasn’t dealing with the death of his mother appropriately – from his erratic behavior, to some of his music, and even to the company he keeps.

The incident with Swift was unfortunate, but because of it, I think West realizes the importance of taking time to grieve properly. Hopefully he’ll do this and reemerge better and stronger.

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