Glenn Beck call President Obama racist – is that right?

Wow, I would hate to be the person that checks Glenn Beck’s mail and email. After his comments detailing President Obama as a racist, that job is not going to be fun.

But the question is if Beck is correct. That should be the focus. In fact it should open the debate of what is a racist and what is racial bias.

Taking the case at hand, President Obama jumped into the story of the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Gates with misinformation and a strong opinion. President Obama directly stated that the police were ‘acting stupidly’ in this matter, thus making a local event a national debate. President Obama has yet to apologize, though he has somewhat retracted his misunderstanding of the events.

Is that racist?

No, and not exactly racial either. President Obama is a friend of Professor Gates from what I understand. That would help to lead a person to accept one side of a situation far faster than another, without all relevant facts at hand. It’s something we all have done. Which is not racial but friendship based.

In addition there is the issue of how the police, across the nation, respond to African Americans. We have all seen the studies proving that African Americans are targets of police abuse more than any other group. That police are more likely to shoot an African American, and are more quick to do so armed or unarmed than Whites. That police are willing to overreact against African Americans than others.

This is important too, as it helps form a mental image of the police in every African American. An image and belief that is hardly positive. Which could also add to the words of President Obama. But again that is not racist, though it can be seen as a racial reaction.

Think of it like this. If President Obama has had a life similar to my own, then he has had at least 8 instances where police have unjustifiably drawn guns on him. He has had at least 2 dozen instances where police harassed and attempted to intimidate him. In each case no law was broken, no arrests made, no charges created, nothing illegal occurred on my part. And I have seen similar actions occur to friends and associates throughout my life. How do you think that would affect a person? Is that racist to discuss it?

Take a different point of view. I have detailed events like the attack against 3 Black men by 15 police officers in Philadelphia – an overreaction at the least, the murder of Oscar Grant, the death of Adolph Grimes, the shooting of Robbie Tolan, the murder of Sean Bell, and so many others at the hands of police. Each without real provocation, and generally with changing reasons from police. This does not instill a trust in police, nor a belief that they are honest or correct in their actions.

But should President Obama have said what he did? No. He is the President of the United States, and this is a local matter. He did not have all the facts. And this was his friend, thus clouding the judgment and reaction.

That said, can President Obama be a racist? Can an African American, or anyone bi-racial be racist?

Of course they can. To say otherwise is dumb. The severe limitations of a racist mind are not bound to the color of a person’s skin. Racists learn to be such, it’s not hereditary or genetic. Perhaps the only connection to racist acts and genetics is the lack of intelligence in such people, but that is hardly bound by race, gender, ethnic background, religion or anything else.

So when I hear someone say that President Obama cannot be racist because he is half-White, I recognize that they are either being foolish or are ignorant. Because that has nothing to do with mental attitudes or the ability to think. They are neither connected nor relevant.

Thus I feel that President Obama was not racist in his reaction to the Professor Gates arrest. He was perhaps somewhat racial, but overall he was being a friend. Which has no place in the comments of the President on national television.

In fact I think that President Obama is very racial in his actions. Some are more politically based; and completely in line with the goals and attitudes of the Democrat Party. Others are just natural extensions of having grown up in America, especially as someone that is considered Black because they have a dark skin tone. (Be honest, growing up police and people walking down the block did not see Barack Obama as a future President or half-White)

To say that a President of color, having grown up in a nation that is so racially divided and resistant to racial change (how long did it take to get slavery, segregation and Jim Crow out of laws?) is racially sensitive is repetitive. Just as it’s absolutely just as honest to say that every other President has had no clue, nor any real motivation towards, racial differences in the nation. They never grew up with it, so it’s not a significant factor for them.

So Glenn Beck is wrong. His lack of understanding, or concern, probably is due to not having to live as people of color have to in this nation. That does not make Beck a racist, nor insensitive to improving the race relations in the nation. It just makes him White, and a media personality. Neither is bad. But he can improve himself.

Separate of that, there is nothing wrong with posing the question, “Is our President racist?” It’s the same as asking if our President is overly religious, or an adulterer, or drunk, or anything else. It is a Right that all Americans have. And if in asking the question a better understanding of America and all Americans is achieved then the question was worth asking.

About the Author

Michael Vass
Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

11 Comments on "Glenn Beck call President Obama racist – is that right?"

  1. Comment as found at 1800blogger, where I am a contributing author.

    leslie ungar Says:
    July 29th, 2009 at 8:08 pm e
    wrong wrong and wrong again. it is irresponsible and just wrong to call the President of the U.S. a rascist. I’m a Communication Coach, and words have consequences. what are the consequences? what are the consequences of any hateful speech and why is hate speech outlawed and not protected by the first amendment?

  2. Leslie,

    It is a Right to call the President whatever you wish. A Right that most in any nation do not have. This is especially important in critiquing the direction and effectiveness of the proposals the President makes. I support that Right, no matter who makes it or what they say. (Not inclusive of inciteful or threatening commentary).

    Of course words have consequences. But it is the consequence chosen that is most important. If the commentary Beck makes is used to highlight what is racism and how we might combat it, then that is positive. If we provide proof of where he is wrong, and confront old stereotypes we advance the entire society.

    But if we just shout his comments down, or disregard them because we politically or emotionally dislike the comment, then we have lost an opportunity.

    And by the way, I didn’t hear Democrats or liberals complaining about comments against the President when President Bush was called a war monger, or a capitalisat tool, or a fanatical religious nut. Where were the comments stating that such commentary might have a consequence or be derogatory or was hateful?

    Just because President Obama is Black does not mean he is above criticism or commentary. Even if that commentary is negative or racial. Because the Rights that our soldiers ensure are the same no matter who is in Office.

  3. Comment as found at 1800blogger, where I am a contributing author.

    Cornell Says:
    July 29th, 2009 at 8:36 pm e
    Does America not realize that this has to stop??!!!!!!! The people that support people like Beck, Rush, Palin have a history of doing things like blowing up the federal building in Oklahoma, bombing abortion clinics, and so on hiding behind the premiss of freedom of speech and right to bare arms. But like Palin said, Our troops are dying to protect that same freedom. So why do people like her and Beck, and Rush keep up the voice that supports domestic terrorism? One word….MONEY! What price will FOX be willing to pay then?

  4. Cornell,

    Wow. I think you are reaching a bit far here.

    First off, being a Conservative does not 1) mean that I agree with everything other Conservatives say, and 2) it does not obligate me or anyone else to bomb anything, attack anyone, or any of the other accusations you made.

    Domestic terrorism is not a Conservative or Republican thing. To say such is silly and unrealistic.

    Bill Ayers is a well known domestic terrorist. He admits as much himself, and is unapologetic for it. He is hardly a Conservative or Republican. In fact we can run down a huge list of radicals that have harmed or threatened to harm other Americans that are Liberals and/or Democrats.

    The point is that these are all extremists and do not represent the mainstream of any political ideology. To lump them into a single group is no different than the hate of all Muslims, or the stereotypes against Jews, Blacks, Mexicans, and on and on.

    Also, do not confuse having strong ideals for being unpatriotic. Definitely it has nothing to do with wealth. Just because some have money, and/or fame, does not mean they have their beliefs because of money. Again to hold that view is foolish.

    Millions of Americans work hard every day. Many of us are concerned about the economy, the national debt, the Constitution, and other Rights and laws. Most of those Americans are like myself – law abiding and not rich. In fact Palin is not rich. Depending on your definition of the word neither is Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh.

    But I notice people that like to use this setup forget that it was Secretary Clinton that associated with and tried to keep the (stolen) funds of a wanted criminal. It is Speaker Nancy Pelosi that has huge stock positions in wind energy. It was Senator Dodd that got sweetheart deals from banks on mortgages.

    The fact is that many Democrats are just as rich as other politicians. And they are just as vested in big business as any other politician. It just happens that right now they are popular and promoted in the media. That doesn’t make them better or right.

    But back to the point of the post. Fox News did not call President Obama a racist. Glenn Beck did. And he has every right to do so. And I do not note you countering that argument. Nor are you addressing the fact that I disagree. I wonder why?

  5. Comment as found at 1800blogger, where I am a contributing author.

    Ty Says:
    July 30th, 2009 at 1:02 am e
    Glen Beck is right,President Obama is a racist,he is responsible for the lies that were told to get us into Vietnam..er..er Iraq,he was at the helm of the economy the last 8 years,he created the hole in the ozone and he shot JR.Now leave Glen Beck alone.He can’t help it if he,Hannity and Oriely and alot of police officers feel inadequate around colored guys.It’s not his fault he feels threatened just by a black guy being himself.Poor weenies got all that money and or power but the keep coming up short.

  6. Ty,

    Funny. Nice diversion from the issue at hand.

    But to address the lies of President Obama we can look at unemployment, the distribution of the Stimulus plan, the transparency of 80% of all the Bills he has had before him, the cost of the health care reform and so on. But that has nothing to do with him being a racist or not.

    To address the cause of the economy being bad, which was favorable for most of the Presidency of Bush even though we had to recover from the Clinton Administrations excesses and inability to stop the internet bubble and subsequent crash, we need to address the actions of the Democrats (and more than a few Republicans) in allowing changes to banking regulations and the reduction in qualifications for mortgages. It is the very changes that were passed that had more than a little to do with the mortgage crisis, that escalated into the current difficulty.

    I can’t help it that Hillary Clinton, and former President Bill Clinton felt uneasy with the popularity of President Obama. I can’t help it that Bill Ayers, a self-admitted terrorist, thinks he is great. I can’t help it that Rev. Wright made comments for years that bring the question of President Obama’s racial views into question. I can do nothing about the fact that most of the major media is so enraptured with the President that they can’t be bothered to ask a serious question of his policies, or address his failure to live up to his campaign (and post-campaign) promises.

    Maybe Beck is ill at ease with President Obama. Then again so are millions of other Americans. Not only because of his support of a Supreme Court Justice that has racially questionable comments and connections, his misinformed comments on a local event, But because he has lied to the public, corrupted contract law, enabled retro-active taxation, grown the Government, and placed more debt on each American than most people in the world make in 5 years.

    Is Glenn Beck wrong? On which points? And is it racist to say that a President is doing a bad job? Or that becoming involved in a local event – with misinformation – is unPresidential and makes him look weak?

    So yes, your sarcasm is funny. To bad the question is not being addressed, nor are you paying attention to the issues at hand. Issues that are coming from Democrats and Liberals that are just as rich and White and the people you choose to make fun of.

    I don’t think president Obama is a racist. But he has had more than enough things to make some question it. And he has lied enough, change policy enough, to destroy the trust that would give every American the trust to not even raise such a question.

    So I ask you this. Which is worse – A man calling the President a racist under the Rights we all have to say whatever we choose about the President, and being public enough to raise a debate, OR a President that has through his actions and failed promises cause the public to question his motivations?

  7. Sir,

    Observing your comments, I take it that you are a person of color. Always amazed, it intrigues me how many people of color continuously want to be the litmus for all other persons of color. It’s quite laughable that you, just because of your very own cultural perspective, experience and expression can state that…”(Be honest, growing up police and people walking down the block did not see Barack Obama as a future President or half-White)”.

    You have GOT to be kidding!!!!!!!! How quaint you were the fly on the wall noting every single persons philosophy, cultural and sociopolitical perspective and experiences! Although I see you have learned quite a bit from the likes of Hannity, O. and Beck: to take the controversial, far fetched and deplorable side of an issue to fill your belly with.

    You have skill, access and connections. Why not work a little harder on creating a real perspective instead of “stealing black folks mojo”, lol! That is the real call to preventing racism. Be original and STOP ASSUMING because you are too lazy to visualize beyond your own experiences!

    Sincerely,

    Nicole Lea Mon

    PS: To help you understand where such sharp criticism comes from, I’ve taken liberty to include a small example: I, along with many others, entered university via a specialized program during high school which propogated targeted qualifiers of a socioeconomic proponent of high school youth. During my 4 year tenure in this program its co-director often utilized visualization exercises to help us comprehend what many ordinary people in various sectors of our population already understand: you can be whatever YOU choose to be, no one can limit that! Others can help prepare the way for that choice as well as be permitted to use that choice against you. That is the simplest version.

    On the other hand, you may exemplify skill those in the know can help to direct towards a specific end. From your decision that no other qualifiers can be used except your belief that Obama’s non-esoteric observers in society would NEVER believe he could be President at ANY point, I keep that benefit of social help to the point of what a person can do POSITIVELY to impact another at first observation. That recognition of skill and its cultivation can effectively “mark” a person’s character just as culture and yes, even, color can. Therefor it is many times evident to the everyday, “lay” person, police, etc. you may not fit the bill of the “average” expectation of people meeting the description “type”.

    In my case, I was elected as “President of the United States” for the semester exercise in the program I attended. Today, I own my own business, have raised a family independently and enjoy a life of MY CHOOSING feeling no obligation to pledge myself to perspectives such as yours. Black or White! As well, yes, it was apparent I didn’t fit the everyday stereotype just walking down the street.

  8. Interesting point of view. But I stand by the statements I made, and that have been supported by both numerous polls, and the realities I and far too many have experienced over decades. Nice to see you have a separate view, but don’t assume that my view is less valid nor that of news commentators. My reasons and thoughts are clear. If you disagree, that’s fine.

  9. Ask yourself would anyone pull advertising for Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson if they called Beck a racist? Hell no. Beck has every right to call Obama a racist. His advertisers and most white people are afraid to call any black a racist plain and simple. I’m sick of the double standard and I refuse to be held hostage by this anymore. If you want equality then start acting like it and quit playing the race card.

  10. I’m not surprise or shock that Glenn Beck called President Obama a racist! First Beck is a Mormon his religion teaches that all black are evil! Second he is Republican many Republican associate with racist groups…! Republican David Duke ( Former Head dragon of the KKK) stated he could get his beliefs across better in a suit and as a Republican.

    Glenn Beck is a proven idiot! But stupid and ignorant are component of white racism in America! Beck never gave reason for calling President Obama racist nor did anyone asked! As for President Obama comment on Professor Gate incident. Was very appropriate, at the time he stated the officer acted stupidly. The Boston prosecutor had already thrown the case out and deem the cops acted stupidly! To suggest because President Obama is black, He can not comment or have a opinion…IS SICK STUPID AND BELITTLE THE OFFICER OF THE PRESIDENT!!!!

    We have all seen the studies proving that African Americans are targets of police abuse more than any other group. That police are more likely to shoot an African American, and are more quick to do so armed or unarmed than Whites. That police are willing to overreact against African Americans than others.
    This is important too, as it helps form a mental image of the police in every African American. An image and belief that is hardly positive.

    As a black man I have waited for a President to acknowledge racist stupid ignorant white police officers!

  11. Tyrone,

    Again I see a comment that leaps of a cliff of emotion and bias. Truely you did not read a word of what I wrote, nor the comments and responses to this post.

    The religion of Glenn Beck, or anyone, is not in question here. You make a blanket accusation that is unfounded and prejudiced. It invalidates everything that follows it.

    Your accusation against Republicans is also unfounded, without fact, and stereotypical. Yes David Duke is an example, as are several decades of Southern Democrats that actively fouhgt against Civil Rights, as well as Democrat Governors that actively fought against segregation. Learn history and the facts before you spout half-thought heresay.

    To call a person you don’t know, an idiot because they do not agree with your personal view is hardly valid. It has nothing to do with what I was speaking about, nor the issue at hand. But it does clearly define your bias.

    As for the Gates incident, national political leader who makes definitive statements without factual knowledge of what they are speaking about is an act of stupidity. In fact that is true of anyone. When President Obama made is comments he had no idea what he was talking about, and in time was proven to be wrong.

    It’s not that President Obama can’t talk about it because he is Black, or President. It’s that he should know the facts on what he is speaking because he is the President and it is a local matter. To not do so an insult to the office of the presidency.

    It is useless for ANY President to address the concern of police brutality and excessive force against people of color if that discussion is based on personal feelings and ignorance of facts. The result, in that case, is exactly the opposite of the desired effect.

    Lastly, I will again say that the Right to Speak is available to everyone – including Glenn Beck. If President Obama, or any President, acts in a manner that contributes to speculation on their motivation then it is not the fault of the person mentioning such speculation.

    Tyrone, you have added nothing to the discussion, except for providing an example of what happens when bias and prejudice preceed thought.

Thank you for lending your voice. We appreciate hearing what you have to say.

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