Marc Maron is a fairly well-known comedian with a podcast called WTF with Marc Maron. President Obama decided to drop in for Maon’s weekly podcast last week and among other topics spoke of the country’s state in race relations. President Obama’s quote is as follows (H/T Alex Griswold of Mediaite):
“It is incontrovertible that race relations have improved significantly during my lifetime and yours, and that opportunities have opened up, and that attitudes have changed… What is also true is the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives, you know, that casts a long shadow and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on… And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say ‘nigger’ in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination,”
As usual, the President delivered a measured approach to a contentious and controversial topic. He knows what we all know; that while it’s good that we have a black president, a black U.S. Senator (from South Carolina) and several black U.S. Congressmen, the country still reels from the ripple effects of racism that are still widely pervasive to this day. Black/African-Americans have higher unemployment, are less likely to enroll in colleges and are more likely to be incarcerated for crimes that White Americans are just as guilty of (i.e. illicit drug use). While there are conservatives such as Kentucky Senator (and Republican presidential candidate) Rand Paul who acknowledge these systemic issues and have been willing to engage in solutions to ameliorate it (Paul has previously teamed up with NJ Senator Cory Booker to reduce the effects that non-violent arrests have on youth and adults), some conservatives have been resistant to acknowledge institutionalized racism.
The reaction to Obama’s use of the n-word was as expected from the characters of Fox News (H/T Evan Hurst at Wonkette). Elizabeth Hasselbeck said “I think many people wondering [sic] if it’s only there he would say it, and not perhaps in a State of the Union, or a more public address”. Her equally oblivious co-host Steve Doocy said “[t]he question is, if you feel it’s okay for the President of the United States to make this kind of comment, is it okay for him to stand in the briefing room of the White House to do it? In front of a joint session of Congress, State of the Union? Should he use that word there if he wants to talk about racism?”. Todd Starnes, who constantly feels that he is attacked for his Christian beliefs (and not for being a moron), said that President Obama had “…disgraced the office of the presidency”.
Am I surprised that certain Fox News personalities deliberately obfuscated the point President Obama was trying to make about the country’s progress in race relations? Of course not. Did I expect these certain Fox News personalities to tie President Obama’s use of the n-word with their constant (and unfounded) criticism of how unprofessional he is on the job? Of course I did. After all, Monday is a day of the week that ends in Y.
What does surprise me is that these certain Fox News personalities have the gall to be aghast of President Obama’s use of the n-word, while at the same time ignoring all the controversial comments about race their guests have made in the past.
I bring readers back to the year 2011 when country music star Hank Williams, Jr. was on Fox and Friends calling Obama and Biden “the enemy” and comparing President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner’s golf game to Hitler playing golf with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.