As soon as I read it, it hit me like a ton of bricks. My friend and I were in an instant message conversation where I was bemoaning how everyone wants President Obama to show his anger. Then the response came – “Can Obama, as a black man, show anger in a white world?”
It was one of those statements that would have made a room fall silent because of how it cuts to the core of the matter. This is why the President refuses to show his outrage over the BP disaster. He is well aware that he got elected because he does NOT resemble the stereotypical angry black man.
If he were to start jumping up and down, shouting, and pumping his fists — just imagine the screen captures of that video in the hands of his detractors. I won’t even go into the racial slurs I am certain they would use to caricature him. But you may rest assured, there are people out there drooling over the prospect of those images who want to bring him down, and along with him any progress this country might have made in electing a black man to the highest office in the land.
In his interview with Matt Lauer this week he was asked if this disaster didn’t make him want to “kick butt.” In his response, Obama allowed a rare moment of candor and said he was trying to find out whose “ass” to kick. Ok, there you go. A bit of “regular guy” is revealed in his use of the coarser term. And what do we get for his slight show of anger? 48 hours of running that video clip without the lead-in question along with commentary over whether it was appropriate for him to say “that” word.
I do not think the President consciously holds back because of the angry black man stereotype. I believe that strong displays of emotion in public are not his temperament. I know that he had the example of his mother and grandmother as his guide, and suspect they were even-tempered women who taught him to be even-tempered as well. I haven’t read his autobiography, so I don’t know this for a fact. But it is not likely for anyone to grow up even-tempered in a home filled with rage.
I concede that I have not been happy with all of his decisions so far. I wish I could say I am not just a bit disillusioned that the change we need is far from here. But I have no doubt that our president will continue to display calm resolve under pressure and that this in no way means he is not as mad as hell and doesn’t want to kick some ass.
I hope he does. And soon.