Saturday, July 20, 2013


I'm not going to attempt a detailed dissection of Rich Benjamin's much-discussed Salon piece criticizing the speech President Obama delivered yesterday. I just want to point out that when Benjamin -- who otherwise says he feels "extreme admiration for the president" -- speculates that Eric Holder is Obama's "Dark Doppelganger," "repressed Black Id," and "Inner N***er," someone willing to talk frankly about race in ways the president isn't, he's reinforcing right-wing depictions of Obama as a person concealing his true nature in a sinister attempt to deceive America.

It's a short leap from saying what Benjamin said to saying that Obama is hiding an intent to impose socialism on America, or impose second-class national status or the complete disarmament of private citizens or "reparations" meant to punish white people. The majority of right-wingers, including people regarded as respectable conservatives, now believe Obama is furtively pursuing one, several, or all of those goals with all his might, and lying to America about this goal. When an Obama supporter reinforces this belief -- and downplays the possibility that Obama's response to the Trayvon Martin case is exactly as nuanced as his speech would suggest -- he's telling the right what the right wants to hear: you're not crazy, Obama is a sneaky SOB who's been pulling the wool over America's eyes for years now. That's not helpful.


Danp said...

Benjamin's update/response was actually much better than his original article. But I agree. He seems to be confusing Obama/Holder with, say, Mitt Romney or John McCain who actually do play vastly different roles in front of different audiences.

Victor said...

@DanP's right - his update was better than his column.

Here, to me, is what was most objectionable in his original:
"In 2007, when candidate Obama gave that infamous speech in Philadelphia, distancing himself from Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the nation and media responded with enthralled appreciation."

Interesting choice of a word.

Romney's 47% speech, could rightly be called, "infamous."

I'm not sure that word applies to the, then, candidate Obama's, speech about his pastor, and race.

This column sucked.
But he did manage to salvage something, with his update.

But sometimes, it's better not to have written something at all - especially if you feel the need to correct it in an update.

Never Ben Better said...

To hell with whatever backtracking he does in his "update" -- those bells can't be unrung.

Maybe he should go full Cornel West and instruct Obama on how to be a REAL black man.

Because he really, really admires Obama, oh yeh, right.

Philo Vaihinger said...

"Inner nigger"?

So Benjamin is black and he gets to say that, but you don't dare even to quote him?

redscott said...

I'm not opposed to criticizing Obama, but doing it with cod psychology and "is he black enough?" tropes is outstandingly lame.