Decoding Obama’s Birth-Certificate Move: Bring it On, Racists!
America abounds in racial prejudice, but Americans do not like to think of themselves as racist. When anti-black racism takes an irrefutable form, white Americans become uncomfortable. However much it achieves the same end results, the modern form of garden-variety racial prejudice (as opposed to hard-core racism), I believe, is quite an evolved permutation of the racism that was used to justify slavery in the nation’s early days. Racial separatism as it exists today, I believe, is a way for white people to look away from the nation’s ugly history of the abuse of African Americans.
You see, black people know what white people have done to them. They hold the history we want so much to forget. When we whites live and work amongst ourselves, we need not confront that history. When we are in the presence of black people, we can’t avoid it. We know that they know.
“I think he’s affirmative action all the way!” Pat Buchanan said of Obama’s educational achievements on MSNBC’s “Harball.” While Buchanan surely has his fans — and there are no shortage of Americans, alas, who are prepared to believe that claim — his uncouthness in stating his prejudice without qualification or apology draws a collective wince from those who like to think themselves more polite. And Trump, of course, in his “I’m so proud of myself” speech, automatically defaulted to questioning Obama’s grades. While this may play well to a segment of the GOP base, it will not gain the kind of traction among the general public that the birther myth acquired. It’s just too obvious.
Plenty are the wags who today complain that Obama released his long-form birth certificate too late, thinking it was an attempt to assuage the believers in the myth. It was not. It is a chess move designed to expose the birthers and their fellow travelers for what they are; now, on the campaign trail, and on a very troubled landscape, Obama gets to say, “See what I’m up against? Is this who we want to be?”
I don’t normally read AlterNet, but I think the whole article is worth a read. It’s a good summary of the birther meltdown and what’s driving it.