President Barack Obama’s rallying speech to the Congressional Black Caucus is causing a stir among majority-white mainstream media pundits. The Washington Post indicated Obama told the CBC to “stop crying“; CNN said Obama “urges black community to ‘march with me‘”; USA Today has a story about California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters taking issue with Obama’s commands to the CBC to “stop complaining.”
Not to be outdone, Fox News’ Fox Nation headline and story played up the angry black man stereotype with this:
In other words, another round of so-called black community in-fighting is making for great stories for this country’s mainstream press.
Now, I’m not saying Obama shouldn’t have called out the CBC. I actually applaud him for standing up to the CBC and calling on them to help with helping stem the high black unemployment rate. It’s not like the CBC has been squeaky clean in its efforts to improve conditions in some facets of our community since they’ve been busy lining their pockets and egos with lavish parties and other questionable practices.
But, what I find interesting, but not surprising, is the only people who appear outraged and taken aback by Obama’s remarks are white media elites.
Politico reported Rep. Waters said the CBC was indeed not complaining, adding the president wouldn’t have said the same remarks to the GLBTQ community on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, or to the Hispanic community with regards to the DREAM Act. Waters later told other news outlets she won’t hold the president’s remarks against him personally, and she believed the president “got fired up” in his message.
“It was not as if I took it as an attack,” she said. “I took it as having been successful and getting the president to talk about the joblessness in the African-American community. Many of those people in the room are civil rights people who have marched, who have worked. We don’t have bedroom slippers. We’ve been out there for years doing this kind of thing.”
“So we take it that he just kind of got off the teleprompter a little bit and got fired up,” she added.
On MSNBC’s “NewsNation” Monday afternoon, Waters again said, “I think he got carried away, got off script and got a little beside himself.”
“But I certainly don’t believe that he thinks that the Congressional Black Caucus is sitting around in house slippers or bed slippers or whatever the things are. I don’t own them and I don’t understand the image being described there,” she said.
Waters added that “I don’t think he really meant that, and we’re not going to hold it against him.”
But Waters also said, “I think the president can get to know the Black Caucus a lot better. I think there should be more interaction. I think we should work on strategies together. I think there’s a lot of room for a lot more cooperation, and I think the president wants to do that.”
Despite Waters’ attempts to quell the “controversy,” the news outlets are having a field day with the bickering. Nothing makes for a good show for news folks when politicians from the same party publicly air their dirty laundry for the entire world to see. Add a little blackness to the mix, then ethnic and racial bickering becomes a new cultural phenomenon journalism practitioners recklessly try to dissect by utilizing black pundits, politicians, talking heads and academics to help break down the jargon.
Ironically, the media’s examination and gawking into the black community and the “bickering” between black elites diverts the attention from the high black unemployment rate to this country’s endless fascination (and scolding) of blackness.