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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/25/10

Obama's "Mongrel" Statement: A Manifestation of Strategy and Indifference

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President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama
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In the last few weeks much discussion regarding a unique matter involving race has surfaced within the African-American community. Such is the case, as President Obama's appearance on the daytime talk show, "The View", in which he classified African Americans as a "mongrel people" has provoked feelings of displeasure among some members of the group.

Obama's characterization of Americans of African descent as "mongrels", germinated in response to a question spawning from the show's executive producer and co-host Barbara Walters, in which the Head of State was asked to expound upon an issue regarding his ethnicity.

The President's use of the term "mongrel" in describing African Americans, registers as a technically adequate expression, as it defines an individual in possession of genetic matter from more than one racial group. However, the word "mongrel" - historically used by white supremacists opposed to miscegenation -functions, more commonly, as an expression employed by dog handlers in classifying a specific species of canine. Consequently, such peculiar phrasing on the part of the President has resonated among many within some African-American quarters as a great affront.

That Obama, then, in the next sentence suggested white Americans are too of a "mongrel" class - thus broadening the application of the term - functions not to diminish this reality.

It is not within the history of white Americans they have been classified among the beasts that inhabit the Earth as have black Americans since the arrival of the first enslaved African on these shores. The White American has largely enjoyed a station of abundant privilege, in the face of an African-American people that have struggled unceasingly to have their complete humanity recognized.

The fact that President Obama is of partial African ancestry does not function to psychologically prohibit such an inherently offensive statement from projecting from his person, as the source of his part African identity - Barack Obama Sr. a native of Kenya - held no significant position in his life as a parental figure and or caretaker.

Barack Obama was raised by grandparents of another race in lands physically and culturally far removed from Black America. Resultantly, the infusion of ethnic sensibilities, relative to an African-American population which descends from a people historically dehumanized by an unrelenting oppressor never initially developed within the psyche of our nation's 44th President.

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Frederick Alexander Meade is a syndicated columnist providing analysis on social and political matters. His works appear in news magazines and publications internationally.
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