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Many view Trump's presidential bullying as plain, old racism

Published: Thu, April 28, 2011 @ 6:09 p.m.


Shortly after President Barack Obama declared himself an American-born citizen with papers to prove it, Baratunde Thurston declared himself a disgusted black man.

"I find it hard to summarize in mere words the amount of pain and rage this incident has caused," Thurston said.

"This" would be the nation's first black president standing in the White House, blue power suit and all, going on TV to debunk, in more detail than before, the persistent, he-ain't-really-an-American rumors fanned anew by Donald Trump, the developer and might-be presidential candidate.

Many African-Americans responded to Wednesday's scene with a large sigh. The rumors and the controversy had a particular, troubling resonance for them: They've seen, heard, lived, the legitimacy of black people being called into question so many times before that, they said, they weren't shocked to see it happen to Obama over something as simple as a birth certificate.

But they were sad about it, too, seeing what they felt was a high-level manifestation of the idea that when a black person accomplishes something great there must be something wrong.

"The stress of feeling constantly called into question, constantly under surveillance, has emotional and physical consequences for us," said Imani Perry, a professor at Princeton University's Center for African American Studies. "It also puts us in the position of not being able to be constituents, with respect to our politicians, because we feel we have to constantly protect the president. ... You see people attacking him, and he's the president, what happens to those of us who are not the president?"

This week, black people struggled to deal with what many of them perceived as a racially motivated dis of Obama at the hands of Trump and the "birther" movement. Fleeting thoughts about boycotting Trump's hotels and casinos, or pressuring advertisers to pull away from Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" reality TV show bounced around Facebook and Twitter, the barbershops, the suites and the corner.

Much of it was just a notion, however. At the end of the day, many blacks said they remained at a loss for how best to process the falsehood that just won't die.

Obama said he had "watched with bemusement" as people kept alive for two years the idea that he might have been born outside the United States and therefore wasn't eligible to sit in the White House. "I've been puzzled at the degree to which this thing just kept on going," Obama said. He added that he understood the copy of the official birth certificate he produced still wouldn't silence all believers in this "silliness."

Ellis Cose, author of an upcoming book that explores anger and race, said there is a sense that Obama has become the lightning rod for a general longing among certain whites to "take America back to a time when people like Obama could not be president." For blacks, that's "clearly an aggravation," Cose said.

"A lot of folks are amused, and a lot of folks are upset about this," Cose said. "In addition to uncertainty about the economy and America's place in the world, a lot of people who grew up in confidence that America was a very white country are having that reality shaken."

Trump, who may or may not seek the Republican presidential nomination, stepped up to a microphone in New Hampshire within minutes of Obama's appearance to claim credit for forcing the president's hand. He said he still wanted to scrutinize the birth certificate to make sure it's legit.

Trump also wants to eyeball Obama's college grades, in search of bogusness around the bachelor's and law degrees the president got from Columbia and Harvard respectively. Trump said he'd "heard" Obama was a poor student unworthy of an Ivy League education, but offered no real proof.

That's what bothers black Americans so much - that sense that nothing they do can ever be considered good enough, said William Jelani Cobb, professor of Africana studies and history at Rutgers University. He recalled being on a flight recently, and expressing amazement when his seatmate, a member of Congress whom he did not name, said he, too, believed Obama was not really an American.

"It's partly American tradition of paranoia, and partly just plain old racism," Cobb said. "Illegitimacy is the rule, not the exception. It's the sort of thing that people come up with regularly when there are African-Americans operating at high levels."

Thurston, co-founder of the political blog Jack and Jill Politics, found out about Obama's action when he checked Twitter on his way to work. He was so disturbed that he sat before his webcam and poured his feelings into a seven-minute video that he then posted. Most of Thurston's ire was aimed at Trump and his glee over what he'd accomplished.

"Black people are taught, 'Your bar is higher. You have to answer harder questions. And you're never really, satisfactorily accepted,'" Thurston said in an interview. "That's a good motivator as a kid, it makes you run fast. But at some point, it's exhausting to carry such historical baggage in your daily life."


1Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Now that the CIA has presented documentation of Obama's birth the matter should be closed . Let him finish out this term in peace . He will be sacked in the next election due to $5.00 per gallon gas and spiraling food costs .

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2redgpgtp(37 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

I see Thomas53 is a d**Kh&*d like Trump and all the other goonies who actually think the people who actually run this country would let him get this far if he actually wasn't born in America. Get your head out your @@s. You are a racist like all the other fools who even believe this mess.

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3redeye1(5542 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

The blaxks are the biggest racists. The first thing they do is use the race card when things becomes dfficult. That can't stand when someone confronts them for the truth. I still thing that paper is FAKE. But I can only hope that BO is defeated in the next election.

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4starofesther(168 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

You had to dig deep to...come up with that one...
Yeah Right....about Trump~He just does not care for the things he does...

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5borylie(946 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

All the blacks that DIDN"T vote for John McCain are racists.

For those of you that voted for Obama what did he say that convinced you to vote for him?

Has he came through on those words that convinced you to vote for him?

I didn't vote for him,but in the back of my head I was thinking maybe,just maybe he won't play Washington D.C. politics,as promised. That was the one thing I wanted to believe. Obviously I was very disappointed.

Is it because he's black that I'm now disappointed? Hardly.

I just hope the republicans can accept being called racists and don't even try to defend themselves. Was all the critisism and making fun of President Bush all because he's white?

The new rebuttal of conservatives that don't like liberal policies and will be called racists: So what.

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6Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago


"You are a racist like all the other fools who even believe this mess."

Exactly what I mean, you disagree with ANYTHING with the black race, they throw the RACIST word out. It's really getting old.

Another article about how everyone is a racist because they disagree with something. Amazing.

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7Rockabilly(93 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

I think people made fun of Bush because he was a buffoon.

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8borylie(946 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Rockabilly, You're a racist. A whiteaphobe.

You and your ilk running around in your little black sheets.

You disgust me.

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9borylie(946 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Let me get this straight: You believe President Bush is a buffoon and you can really believe that he is.

I believe Obama is a buffoon and I'm a racist.

This is how you liberal/democrats think. Can't say anything intelligent to defend your thinking,so you guys try to stifle conservative thinking with conversation ending name calling.

So what.

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10dotty(8 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

First, President Obama was born. Period. All the where, when, how and why should have been taken care of when he was accepted to run for President. When I enroll my child in public school I have to show a birth certificate, SSI number, picture ID,and bring my OB-GYN. You telling me it's easier to become President of the United States than to get your kid in kindergarten?

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11borylie(946 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

There's a good chance your child is more qualified to be president than the current one. Good point though.

I'm allowed to say mean things about the President because I'm a racist.

Have a nice evening.

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12dotty(8 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

I would also like to add my opinion that I feel sorry for President Obama. He was handed the worst mess this country has ever been in. And of course he ran for president-but he was set-up to run and win as the first African-American President the Republicans and Democrats could watch fall flat on his face. Bush f**ked things up so bad with Uncle Dickie, God Himself would need a staff to fix it. The young black children of this country had someone to look up to and his own country will make him look like a fool in front of them. I'm ashamed. As far as Trump is concerned...he's a businessman-no way is he going to put money into NASA when the elderly, disabled and children are being screwed, and a $17.00 screwdriver won't cost $1700.00.! He will know where every cent goes, cut salaries in government and buy back our country by paying the loans. Or he'll file bankruptsy! Isn't that what you do when you're owing more than you bring in?

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13borylie(946 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Obama wasn't exactly handed the so called "mess". He ran for the office, promising the country he knew how to make many things better. Is it any better? Is it any worse? Be honest. Has he kept any of the promises? He's kept very few and really has kept many of the policies of the man you malign (Bush).

The young black children can still look up to Obama. He's shown that blacks can be successful and reach the highest pinnacle there's to reach. Whitey didn't keep him down. In fact whitey helped get him elected.

I hope you don't use those partial swear words in front of your children.

Trump must have the attention of the dems/libs. They're already calling him the triple dare dog of American discourse,RACIST. Trump could care less of the color of the person he's addressing. Ask Rosie O'donnell.

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14cambridge(3979 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

bor-y-lie.....Here is a list of 134 promises that Obama has made and kept. Your welcome.


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