Monday, July 20, 2009

Obama: African-Americans "More Rooted in American Experience"

I thought Obama was supposed to transcend race. I thought he was deemed "post-racial."

That's quite a load.

When Obama was in Ghana, he was interviewed by CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Obama explained that some Americans are "more fundamentally rooted in the American experience" than others.


ANDERSON COOPER: You've met with many African-Americans who decided to move here. They say that there's a sense of coming home. Do you understand that feeling?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I will tell you the first time that I traveled to Africa, I think that there is a special sense for African-Americans of somehow connecting up with a part of yourself that you might not have even been aware was there.

So now obviously for me, it was different because I was directly meeting relatives and learning about a father I didn't know.

But I do think there's a sense for a lot of African-Americans that it's a -- it's a profound, life-changing experience.

The interesting thing, though, is that I've met a lot of white Americans who come to Africa and say, it was a life-changing experience for them too.

COOPER: This is the home where everyone comes from.

OBAMA: Yes, exactly. And there's a powerful sense of tapping into something very elemental about that.

COOPER: You sort of always come back.

OBAMA: Yes, do you.

But I do think that you know, the spirit, particularly of a place like Ghana where you know, for all the difficulties they're still going through, the people are just incredibly open and friendly and welcoming. I think that makes a difference for a lot of people who, you know, maybe African-Americans who feel somehow that they never fully belong.

And the only thing I would say, though, is there's a flipside to this, which is I know an awful lot of African-American who's come to Africa are profoundly moved, but also realize how American they are when they're here, and, you know, recognize that they could never live here.

And that's part of the African-American experience. You are in some ways, you know, connected to this distant land. But, on the other hand, you're about as American as it gets.

In some ways, African-Americans are more fundamentally rooted in the American experience because they don't have a recent immigrant experience to draw on. It's that unique African-American culture that has existed in North America for hundreds of years, long before we actually founded the nation.

What is that?

It's idiotic for Obama to make such a sweeping statement.

He speaks as if all African-Americans share the same background.

They don't.

He speaks as if it's fair to make assumptions based on skin color.

It's not.

Obama's statement sounds racist to me. I hear echoes of the racist statement of Barbara Boxer during last Thursday's Senate hearing.

I don't have a recent immigrant experience to draw on in my family.

I think I should be considered as "fundamentally rooted in the American experience" as any African-American.


Yeah, right.

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