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Can We Just Leave Race Out Of It?

Updated on June 16, 2010

It gets to be a little bit frustrating, to me, that since President Obama has taken the Oath of the Office of the President, that nearly every issue that concerns his presidency winds up somehow becoming attached to the color of his skin. The BP oil spill disaster is no exception recently as Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post made reference to an article headline by Matt Drudge which referred to President Obama's "ass kick" remark as "street." In Capehart's article he basically stated that black men cannot display anger without being considered just another "angry black man," or without being considered to be "threatening" or "menacing."

Even recent comments by left wing nut (by my own personal assessment of course, feel free to disagree) commentator Bill Maher, who said, "When we elected a black president, I thought we were getting a black president," is disconcerting, and I think a bit offputting, off topic, and irrelevant to any issues that we face in this country today.

First of all, by my recollection we elect Americans to the highest office in our land. That should be first and foremost in our mindsets. Sure, we can hang on to our personal ideologies. We can be republican, or democrat, or whatever. That's a very different thing. At the end of the day all Americans are looking to elect to the presidency someone who can be a full-on defender of the American dream, of freedom and democracy, and especially someone who will vehemently and unwaveringly defend, administer, and protect the Constitution of the United States.

The oil spill is an issue. The action, or inaction for that matter, by this president is an issue. How President Obama responds to the clean-up efforts, and to BP oil executives, and how he reacts to concerns by affected industries such as the fisheries, and how he responds to environmental concerns, are all part of the issue.

Not one single part of this issue is about being black.

The president did say he wanted to know who's ass to kick, and while I agree that I don't necessarily view his wording as having been presidential to the degree that I would prefer, nor do I agree with the way that he is handling the BP oil spill issue, including making his marvelously flippant remark in response to his critics that he is not acting swiftly enough, nor appropriately regarding the oil spill, that "he cannot suck the oil through a straw," I do not in any way attribute the color of his skin to his inability to handle the issue. Nor do I feel that these were remarks that only a black man may have made.

Race just has a way of getting in the way of any real discussion on the issues. It gets in the way of real and credible analysis of the president's job performance. It's as bad as when we constantly called President Bush a buffoon (which, by the way, would be construed much differently if Barack Obama were referenced to this particular primate). Whenever one reverts to "he's just an idiot and that's why he's doing what he's doing" it's as disruptive to the debate as the race card is, and so I'm making no exceptions here. Neither case is relevant to the issues.

I don't mind having a debate all day long about why I think President Obama has gotten it wrong about the health care issue. We can debate all day long why I think President Obama has gotten it wrong about the Arizona immigration bill. We can debate all day long whether President Obama is a left winger, whether he's effective or not, whether he's a socialist or not. But I don't want race entered into the discussion. It's going to come in from time to time, I understand that. But not at every turn. Not as a basis for an argument in support of the president—those people simply don't like the fact that he's black and so they are going to disagree with everything he does.

We have serious problems to be solved right now. The BP oil spill is but one in a very long list of other issues which includes the growing tensions between Iran and Israel, the fact that we still have military operations in the Middle East, and the issue of a very real threat that still exists from potential terrorist acts in our country.

Of course, we have the pending economic issues as well, which are no small thing by any measure.

To me it doesn't matter whether we have a blue president so long as he can conduct the work of the American people effectively, be an advocate for and an ambassador to American culture, democracy and freedom, and most of all just be our president.

The left wing media and left wing political pundits need to just shut up about race so we can get on with talking about what's really the problem with getting things done.


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    • T_Augustus profile image


      7 years ago from Detroit, MI

      HelloHello - you're right. Bush fumbled the ball BIG TIME in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He handled that situation far worse than Obama handled the oil spill.

      valeriebelew - excellent comment! The best comment on this board by far. Bar none (including this one).

      As for the hub:

      To answer the question posed in the title - evidently not! We can't seem to leave race out of it, because this country is what it was when you dig beneath the surface. I really wanted to be with you, but it is so hypocritical when you say, "Whenever one reverts to "he's just an idiot and that's why he's doing what he's doing" it's as disruptive to the debate as the race card is, and so I'm making no exceptions here." - then you turn around and give pats on the back to guys like american romance for calling him a misguided moron.

      I'm not saying it's all about race, but I won't be naive enough to deny that sometimes it is. The funny thing is you can read around this site and find a thousand writers making this same claim, preceding or succeeding every comment with "and it's not about race" or "it's not because he's Black" - when no one other than the writer said it is. You can find many of these same writers commenting on other hubs saying some variation of Obama's only president "because of race" or "because he's Black". It's seems so commonly accepted that Black people voted for him because he's Black or White people voted for him because America just wanted to make history. Funny huh? We voted because of race only, but you criticize over issues only? You honestly don't think there's a little falsehood in both of those statements? Oh, but when I point out that inconsistency, or I point out that people time after time question me as to whether I voted for him because he's Black then I'm the one playing the race card, or I'm making it all about race, or I'm the "reverse racist".

      Now you ask if we can just leave race out of it? Why now? Who are you asking? Are you asking Black people to leave race out of it, or everyone? I wish you could hear what I hear, see what I see, and read what I read. Every politically charged discussion online isn't handled in the same mature manner as HubPages - read around. See what the real world is saying. Count the number of times the N-Bomb is dropped when you go to the wide-open forums like Yahoo and the like. I make very unpleasant phone calls to people sometimes as part of my job, and it is not uncommon for me to be recognized as the voice of a Black man and the racial slurs shoot out like wild fire the moment a man gets angry. They always shoot not only at me, but also at the president. Because of course since I'm Black, surely I voted for Obama right? So if you call him a monkey, that should somehow hurt my feelings right? It makes me chuckle, because I know that there are guys like you out there that are going to ask a guy like me if we can just leave race out of it.

      So yeah, it is real convenient for you to ask this question in the comfort of your hub and get all the support of like-minded individuals who can all touch and agree. You have that privilege of pretending race is a non-factor, because when you do cross paths with those idiots that I encounter - they 'might' say things TO you, that they would instead say AT me. My point is that your hub implies that it is the people on my side of the fence who won't leave race out of it, but my harsh reality says that you are painfully mistaken.

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Nell, excellent that you live in England—so, you can simply take my word for it that Obama is not a GOOD president. :) Okay, maybe I'm being a bit fecetious. But certainly his policies are very much on the opposite end of sensibility, and as a nation we're paying for it. In more ways than one, I should add.

      I simply don't want to view anyone through the prism of something other than the merits. I can see a democrat's good points as a republican. I don't have to refute everything just because I'm a republican and he's a democrat. The same should apply on the other side. And certainly I can disagree with a black democrat or a black republican, and be it well known that NOT A SINGLE ARGUMENT against THEIR argument has a thing to do with their party affilation, my party affiliation, and certainly not the color of their skin.

      The race card is just being used to death, and it's seeming to be fairly effective as a scapegoat argument against the WHY that is behind people's sentiments on policy. It's easier to simply state, "The reason they (the right) are against this is because they cannot support a black president." It's a very sad state of affairs, and unfortunately as a result, I believe we've gone terribly far backward when it comes to race relations in this country since Obama took office.

      lis, the only good thing about it is that the more the term 'racist' gets used, and the broader it is applied, the less it becomes valid.

    • liswilliams profile image


      8 years ago from South Africa

      Agreed completely, this is like coming from South Africa. As soon as you criticize someone you are called a racist ):

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Hi, I live in England so I have no idea whether Obama is a good president or not, but I do believe that the race card is always used whenever someone does something wrong. i think people forget that he had a white mother and was brought up in a white family, but this is beside the point. I think that people always pick up on whatever is the most obvious about someone, whether black or white, or any other difference, this is a shame because it is taking it away from the obvious faults like bad leadership, interesting points here, cheers nell

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks, and thanks for stopping by. :)

    • swosugrad09 profile image


      8 years ago from Oklahoma

      Excellent job! I totally agree that way too much of his precidency has been turned into an issue of race. Way to write and speak the truth.

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Valerie, I would agree that presidents historically take the lickings when it comes to disasters. There are always going to be those on the other side who think more could have been, or should have been done. The reality you correctly point out is that these things are tough things to deal with, and not exactly easily solved. This disaster is a big one with many consequences, and its a massively complex issue. That said, you CAN analyze aspects of a president's plan and determine if all that can or should be done is being done. In the case of this disaster I think much more could have been done earlier on. For example, couldn't he have gotten together all the oil experts he could muster (as Newt Gingrich suggested) in the first couple of days to ascertain what solutions might be offered? He could have suspended the Jones Act in order to allow ANY available ships or workers in to help in the cleanup (it doesn't mean they have to turn away American workers to do that).

      I won't condemn the president entirely, but I WILL say I think he could have done more.

      Maita, I fear you are right.

      Katie, I just want him to be an effective president. Unfortunately, I think that is out of the realm of his ability.

    • katiem2 profile image


      8 years ago from I'm outta here

      He is in fact black and I do hope he doesn't sell out yet proves himself to be a strong black man with every intent of making good on all the areas of concern that got him elected, I was impressed with the comment. As for him being an angry black man, I sure as heck hope he is, what American isn't? Just saying, own it! Peace :)

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      8 years ago from US

      I can see your point, that kicking ass hehe. I just think that society will always be hampered with this issue, it is given, a revolution of come kind of transformation is needed to go beyond that, Thumbs up again, Maita

    • valeriebelew profile image


      8 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      I may be the only person alive who will admit to voting for both Pressident Bush and Barak Obama. I did, and I see neither as being all that bad or incompetent. We try to hold our presidents accountable for national disasters that nobody saw coming. Once a national disaster is under way, all you can do is try to deal with it as best you can. This attitude I see today of believing nothing bad would ever happen if the right person was in charge is ridiculous. A National Disaster is just that, A NATIONAL DISASTER. When I was a kid accidents happened, but today we want to sue somebody, blame somebody, and especially tar and feather the president of the United States. Far be it from me, why anybody would want the job. It appears that no matter who we elect, or which side of the political deal he is on, we are going to crucify the person due to some unforseen and uncontrollable event. Quite frankly, I'm sick of watching it. Accidents happen and always will, no matter who is the boss, and no matter what precautions are taken to try to avoid them. As for the race thing, it appears to me to be an issue on both sides, though neither the far left or far right will admit it. I'm sick of hearing about it, but it might be a few more years or longer before those of us who could care less about race can stop dealing with the attitudes of the far left and far right. Guess we're just stuck for a while. (: v

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Well, I'm glad you chose to spend your quota here. :) The Vegas thing is deplorable at best.

    • FCEtier profile image


      8 years ago from Cold Mountain

      Springboard: It's a well documented fact that the levee board took the money that had been allocated to their stewardship and wasted it in Las Vegas...[sigh]..Louisiana politics...another reason I live in the Smoky Mountains now!

      That's it for me in this thread. I claim to be "apolitical" and these two comments are way past my quota for a few months! LOL

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Pamela, don't even get me started on the Jones Act. It irks me to think that hard working people, who WANT to work and contribute, and who have the means and opportunity to provide experise and equipment are turned away. The unfortunate thing is that there are politics involved in this where politics should be absent. This is a disaster impacting lives, habitat, and the ecosystem.

      Kflippin, I agree with every point except regarding the hearings. I'm not going to allow politics to cloud the reality that BP was up to no good, and that led to this disaster. Tony Hayward should have answered the questions. Plain and simple.

      Artisina, thanks for stopping in. Yeah, the ads and the accusations can get real ugly. It's why I think it's important to set aside the ads and the rhetoric and do a little deeper digging to get at the reality.

      Carolina, for some people the fact that racism can be alive and well is a benefit—and that is why they perpetuate it.

      POP, careful calling things for what they are. ;)

      FC, I think Bush got a bum rap as well. Perhaps Obama is getting a bit of one too. Look, these things are more complex than most people can grasp, and I'm not trying to be insulting to anyone, NOR give anyone a pass. Perhaps in the Katrina thing the blame falls more on who didn't properly maintain the levies. Had they held up, perhaps the devastation would have been less. Obama apparently can't suck the oil through a straw, and if you want to go by that logic, Bush couldn't have done a whole heck of a lot either than he did.

      We should all keep in mind that pointing blame is NOT offering an effective solution in the alternative.

    • FCEtier profile image


      8 years ago from Cold Mountain

      @HelloHello -- I had a house in Gulf Port and one in Baton Rouge. I was in GP the w/e Katrina hit. In Mississippi there was a mandatory evacuation. Not sure who ordered it, but we left.

      En route back to Baton Rouge, we heard live broadcasts of local NOLA politicians telling their constituents NOT to leave town!!!

      According to local media back then, President Bush (or at least someone in his administration) contacted both Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin three days before Katrina hit Gulf Port and told them to prepare. Neither of them issued evacuation orders until it was too late.

      I lived through it all in the trenches, and in my opinion, Bush got a bum rap. Park all the responsibility and blame on the doorsteps of Nagin and Blanco.

      Ninety days later, Mississippi had bulldozers rolling and recovery well under way. Know what had been done in Louisiana? Louisiana had formed a committee to try to get the Saints to stay in NOLA.

      People in Gulf Port were not happy that NOLA got so much attention when the hurricane didn't even hit in NOLA.

      Last I heard, NOLA still had a fair amount of blue roofs in 2010. It's a shame.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      8 years ago

      All this talk about race is insulting and irrelevant. Enough is enough! What is relevant is the fact that this country has an inexperienced socialist in the WH.

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I'd love to think we as a society will get past the point where people will throw the race card in at every opportunity, but I'm not sure we ever will.

      Interesting post!!

    • Artisina profile image


      8 years ago from Sacramento

      Great article and my point of view exactly. I know so many people that voted for Obama just because he is black. Stunning! But then, we never really know what a person can do until they are doing it. The horrible ads that candidates take out against each other cloud the truth about all the candidates. Maybe we'll get it right next time. Thanks again.

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Dreamreachout, I agree. Much bigger fish to be fried if you ask me.

      Joni, absolutely. It's the easiest way to simply shrug off your failures, or the failures of "your guy."

      American Romance, I could not have put that into better words. ;)

      Cari, I do too. It just makes things frustrating is all. You just want people to be real, stick to the facts, and own up to their problems and failings. Everybody is guilty of not getting it right sometimes. Just a fact of life. Making excuses does nothing to advance things.

    • KFlippin profile image


      8 years ago from Amazon

      Well said, it has become ridiculous and pathetic, the use of racism as a tool.

      As for the oil spill, I find it hard to believe anyone thinks the federal government did all they could have done, that is a party line farce, they dropped the oily ball out of arrogance and/or political intent.

      The hearings today were pathetic grandstanding that should have waited until the "whole was plugged." A farce, all of it, we are now an international joke.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Springboard, I agree that color is not the consideration. Obama's poor handling of the oil spill is because he is not up to doing the job. We could have had help from around the world but Obama wouldn't use the Jones

      Rule and turned it all down and that is because of the unions. Bush has help quickly after Katrina, hospital boats ans so forth. In this disaster Obama did not do anything.

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 

      8 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      I remember during the presidential election race was oftentimes brought up and so many were accused of playing the "race card." It made me so mad - you're so right, it shouldn't even matter. Thanks for sharing your opinion, hopefully it will open some people's eyes.

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Hello, I'm not sure I would agree with the statement that President Obama is necessarily "down to earth," as you put it. He doesn't seem "down to earth" at all when you think about how he's handled the economic situation, for example.

      I have not found him to be presidential at all either, actually. Making a remark "I can't suck it through a straw," for example, may be true on point. Fact is that he CAN'T suck the oil through a straw anymore than he can don a cape, fly to the bottom of the ocean, and use his laser beam eyes to weld the thing shut. And make no mistake that Bush got many things wrong about Katrina as well. There ARE limits to what a president can do in a situation such as this. But actions also do speak louder than words, as well do INactions.

      I posted on my Facebook status recently that "BP stands for Big Problem!" and it's a very true statement. This oil spill IS a big problem, and it's also a very complex one in many ways. It's going to take a lot of brainpower to get it done, and right the situation after the fact.

      When I examine the president, I take in his performance in the whole light. This BP oil spill is only the most recent situation to reference to analyze. And as far as I can tell, he's not handling it as well as he can, nor as well as he should. Sure, he's taking more action now. But we're talking about two months later.

      You've said he's done all he can. I don't think that's necessarily true in this case.

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Sheri, I said a while back that I thought that the country was simply on a path to make history. We had three choices to make that history. Either we would have the first black president, the first woman president, or the first woman vice president. These are not reasons to pick our leaders, and the performance of President Obama is a stark reminder to us all that we need to be more interested in what's good for the country in future.

      Tom and Habee, absolutely.

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 

      8 years ago from America

      I don't believe it's about color with most of us, I believe we hate him because his is a simple misguided moron!

    • Joni Douglas profile image

      Joni Douglas 

      8 years ago

      Great hub. It isn't about race to criticize the president. I think perhaps some may want to label it as such in order to take the focus off the real 'issue' and lack of leadership.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Racism is a bane plaguing the world!! Its time we get more matured on the subject and move on to face the great difficulties this planet is facing!!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      A wonderful, wonderful hub and so well written. Regarding the Oil spill I think he done everything he could and more. I might be wrong but as far as I remember Mr Bush did not evacuate the people in New Orleans when Hurrican Katrina struck. Mr Obama cancelled his appointments and went personally down and talked to the people, not experts, to find out what can be done. I can't understand that BP, whether it is Britsh or American, didn't respond straight away. I am sure it could have been done. I agree with Mr Obama to kick somebody's .... That remark just shows how down to earth he is. Also Mr Bush does not attend the memorial service for the victims of the World Centre after the first year. Why everybody points to Mr Obama when Mr Bush did not do everything right either. As you said let's get the issue dealt with.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I agree. I don't care if he were pink with purple stripes. It's NOT about color with me!

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 

      8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      It's all about capability not the color of skin. Unfortunately Obama's capability is lacking and that's a fact as I see it!!!!!!!

    • SheriSapp profile image


      8 years ago from West Virginia

      Great work and you summarized my feelings for me as well.The color of this moron's skin does NOT matter a whit to me. What does matter is how completely incapable he is as an executive. Those swept up in the frenzy in '08 should have examined the total LACKof managerial experience this man has/had. This BP disaster is just exposing the weakness he has always had. It seems to me that the ONLY people hung up on ethnicity are those on the left who purport to be ever-so-color blind. Each time these bogus shouts of racism are yelled, it makes ACTUAL racism that much more difficult to combat!


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