Obama’s Critics “Just Not White Enough” (Op-Ed)

13 02 2007

by Preston Burgess

Over the past several weeks, Barack Obama, contender for the next Presidential election, has been classified by critics who perceive him as “articulate,” “intelligent,” and “ethnically fluid,” descriptors that set him apart from other African American politicians. How? I’m not exactly sure, either, but I think it has something to do with mainstream politicians, who are just not white enough to make this sort of distinction.

Let’s take Senator Joseph Biden‘s recent remarks:

“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy . . . I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

Can Biden be any less white here? Look at the language–does that sound white to you? I’ve never met a single white person who says “man”–have you? I’m not sure what storybooks you read when you were little, Mr. Biden, but they’re certainly not the ones I read before Mother marched me off to polo camp in the Hamptons.

Bill O’Reilley

“The ‘articulate’ debate demonstrates the divide that still exists between black and white America. And it is my belief that that kind of gulf does not help Barack Obama or any other black candidate. The No Spin truth is that some white people feel uneasy because they don’t want to offend blacks and are confused by the divide, so they disengage. For any politician to get elected to high office, there has to be a comfort level with the folks.”

I’ve always admired Mr. O’Reilley’s tact and dignity, a calm in the white squall of identity politics. But he could have been whiter here. The No Spin truth is what keeps our folks separate from their folks. I know he’s our prophet, but he should just keep those seas parted, if you catch my drift.

Jonathan Alter, Newsweek:

Powell and Obama share an immigrant heritage quite different from the descendants of Southern plantation slaves and a conviction, as Obama writes in his best-selling “The Audacity of Hope,” that “rightly or wrongly, white guilt has largely exhausted itself in America.” By lifting that guilt, Obama, like Powell, has a way of making whites feel better about themselves because they like him. It’s the politics of personal validation: voting as an act of self-esteem.”

White guilt? What are we guilty of? During the Civil War, we all bound together to free the slaves, right? And that’s something we should be very proud of and they should be thankful for. So, then, if Obama’s not descended from American slaves freed by the white man, how am I supposed to feel good about that?

Preston Burgess is the author of “Straight Outta White Plains,” and manages several off-shore, tax-exempt security companies. He also bears an uncanny resemblance to Tony Snow–a coincidence he is proud to point out to anyone within earshot. After this interview, Doubletake reporters introduced Burgess to an isolated inner-city ghetto in Washington.

Upon meeting, neither Burgess nor the ghetto recognized each other. Burgess has not been seen–or heard from–ever since.





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