Ah the issue of race. It’s a topic that can instantly inflame even the most pleasant of conversations and probably America’s touchiest subject, like England and class, the Middle East and religion, and France and basic hygiene. It’s because of these heightened sensitivities that people should probably think twice about what they say, especially when they speak in a public forum. Take for instance comments Laura Ingraham made on her radio show that implied that President Obama wasn’t the real first black president because of his white mother.
Here’s what she said while discussing Herman Cain (transcript from Media Matters):
“Well I have a question. Herman Cain, if he became president, he would be the first black president, when you measure it by — because he doesn’t — does he have a white mother, white father, grandparents, no, right? So Herman Cain, he could say that he’s — he’s — he’s the first, uh — he could make the claim to be the first — yeah, the first Main Street black Republican to be the president of the United States. Right? He’s historic too.”
Ingraham just seems to be thinking out loud (radio shows are long, guys) and, as some have pointed out, it almost sounds like she realizes the implication of what she’s saying midway through. It really doesn’t seem like “Main Street black Republican” was originally where that sentence was going. I mean, I don’t know much about genetics, but I don’t think the race of your grandparent does much to decide what street you live in.
Ingraham seems to have (correctly) realized that, considering the massive amount of pride that the black community (and the nation at large) felt in Obama’s election, no one really wants a radio host splitting hairs about his ethnicity.
Really though, did we all forget about President Clinton?
UPDATE: We were contacted by Matt Wolking, Executive Producer of The Laura Ingraham Show, who offered some fairly compelling food for thought. He pointed to these comments Obama made on The View:
When asked about his background, which includes a black father and white mother, Obama said of African-Americans: “We are sort of a mongrel people.”
“I mean we’re all kinds of mixed up,” Obama said. “That’s actually true of white people as well, but we just know more about it.”
“Does Obama think Herman Cain is less of a “mongrel” than he is himself? Does Obama think Herman Cain, because he has two black parents, is more black (at least genetically) than he is? Then again, since liberals think minorities’ authenticity is determined by the amount of support they give to Democrats, who knows.”
Listen to the clip below:
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