Feature

Oprah: Is racism the root of Obama hatred?

“There’s a level of disrespect for the office that occurs...because he’s African-American,” media mogul Oprah Winfrey said.

Why is President Obama’s popularity plummeting? asked Victor Davis Hanson in NationalReview.com. His pal Oprah Winfrey has an explanation: It’s racism! Asked by a BBC interviewer last week if Obama faces such difficulties as president “because he’s African-American,” the media mogul concurred. “There’s a level of disrespect for the office that occurs...because he’s African-American,” she said. “It’s the kind of thing nobody ever says but everybody’s thinking it.” She helpfully added that older people “marinated” in bigotry “may have to die” before America’s racism ends. Playing the race card is “very stupid and lazy,” said Jonah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times. Obama is in political trouble because of Obamacare and the president’s other disastrous policies. Polls indicate that 54 percent of Americans now disapprove of Obama. “Are they all racists?”

Oprah never said all opposition to the president is rooted in racism, said Jamelle Bouie in TheDailyBeast.com. She was merely acknowledging the “banal point” that the “tenor of anti-Obama rhetoric is shaped by race.” Obama’s most vociferous critics have treated him with a “specific kind of disrespect,” as if he’s not entitled to the office he was elected to twice. What other president faced a spectacle like U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson shouting, “You lie!” during an address to Congress, or large swaths of the country insisting that he’s an impostor born in Kenya? Conservative talk show hosts regularly claim that Obama’s policies are tacit attempts to steal white wealth as “reparations” for slavery. To ignore the obvious racial undertones in the Obama hatred is “hold the nonsense view that racism isn’t a part of our politics.”

But times have changed, said Mark Joseph in USA Today. Today Americans are far more divided over ideology and culture than race. I sometimes ask my conservative friends who’d they rather see their daughter marry—Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (a black conservative) or loudmouth liberal Chris Matthews? Thomas, every single one says, because they’d prefer a son-in-law who “shares their values rather than one who merely shares their skin color.” Yes, some Americans hate Obama, but millions of Americans also hated Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. In fact, the past eight presidents all sank to lower approval ratings than Obama’s right now. Does that mean Obama is “actually accorded morerespect” than presidents who were white?

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