Monday, March 23, 2009

What Obama Didn't Say

Did Obama really have to apologize for making a self-deprecating joke about his bowling skills? He made the joke, the audience laughed. Why did the audience laugh? Because it was funny. Would athletes in the Special Olympics be allowed to compete against Usain Bolt or Shawn Johnson of the "Un-Special" Olympics? No, because the point of the Special Olympics is to allow disabled individuals (physically disabled, handicapped, mentally disabled, retarded, pick a word) to compete against people of similar skill levels. He may have even boosted the morale of some Special Olympians by equating himself with them, or implying that they could slaughter him in a game of bowling. Obama was not trying to insult anyone with the comment.

What's important is what Obama hasn't talked about. I am bothered by the fact that neither Obama or anyone from his administration (to my knowledge) has made a comment about the now infamous cartoon from the NY Post. For all intents and purposes, that was Obama in that cartoon, depicted as a chimp lying in a pool of blood with two bullet holes in it's chest. Obama has been a very vocal president. Any chance he got/gets he was/is calling a press conference to tackle the issue of the day. That NY Post cartoon was a major issue - the cartoon itself as well as the underlying issue it addressed - race. Could it be that Obama and/or his administration didn't want to say anything about the cartoon because it could be misconstrued as giving "the others" too much power? Was it not important? Ignore it and it goes away? It's not going to go away; "it" being the issue of race. Race is a major divisive issue in this nation. The height of the Civil Rights Movement was only 40 years ago. If race wasn't issue, it wouldn't matter that Obama got elected. His inauguration wouldn't have had historic attendance records and the television and internet viewing ratings. It wouldn't matter that Michelle Obama is the first Black First Lady. His ability to play basketball and his inability to dance wouldn't be a topic of discussion. His being president has the term "Black Love" being thrown around with abandon. 

I hope Obama can make all the positive changes on his agenda; repair the economy, reform the health care system, "green" the nation's major and minor industries etc and the fact that he's a Black man doing it, is an issue. Mr. President, we have to talk.

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