By Cheo Tyehimba
Obama
Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

Even if President Obama never publicly utters these words, I have to think that he’s probably already said them to himself just to keep his sanity amid the rising undercurrent of race-fueled, anti-Obama rhetoric that is finding favor in national media outlets.

Like earlier this week when Fox News talk show hack Glenn Beck weighed in on Obama’s reaction to the Henry Louis Gates arrest. Beck, an underachieving recipient of white privilege, delivered headline-grabbing statements about the president that, considering the source, could easily be brushed aside. But doing so would be a mistake.

Said Beck: “This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture…this guy is, I believe, a racist.”

Nice delivery. As I watched the clip of Beck faithfully deliver his planned talking points, I think I could almost see a smirk on his face. Yeah, he’s an idiot but a clever one. He knows his audience. He knows he’s apart of an intricate game that begins as spin and controversy, and ends as profit. But it’s an activity that could lead us to an end game of unexpected consequences.

Other media pimps like Rush Limbaugh and Lou Dobbs are playing their positions too. Here are a few choice talking points they recently used to grind the media ax against Obama:

Limbaugh on Obama after the Gates arrest: “Here you have a black president trying to destroy a white policeman.”

Or Limbaugh joking about food safety advocates and saying they will go after all the unhealthy foods people like to eat, one by one – “but they’ll have to wait until Obama is out of office to ban Oreos.”

Then there’s Lou Dobbs, who at least tries to bring a veneer of credibility to his racist screeds. He hopped on the Birtherism bandwagon and is grasping for ways to tie it to his anti-immigration stance.

He recently suggested that Obama could be an illegal immigrant on his radio show: “I’m starting to think we have a document issue… You suppose he’s un– no, I won’t even use the word ‘undocumented,’ it wouldn’t be right.”

Now don’t get me wrong. Being critical of the president, or any other elected official, is a part of what makes this country great. I certainly talked plenty of trash against the policies of the Bush administration. And I am no Obama evangelist either. We’ve all gotta hold his feet to the fire. But when a sitting United States president, who happens to be Black, is maligned because of deep-seated racist beliefs and those beliefs are given license by network-backed media pundits there should be cause for alarm.

Why? Because this game is intricately connected to a much larger game called white supremacy, which is a systemic, historic, and institutional chain of anti-black racism and often anti-Semitism that we continue to ignore in this country. The result? The gloves come off and the game gets uglier. Despite, our advances in race relations, hate crimes and demonstrations continue to persist. As recently as July 21, neo Nazis and KKK members defiantly marched in Paris, Texas after murder charges were dropped against two white men accused in the death of a black man.

A few days ago Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) added his name to the growing list to co-sponsor Rep. Bill Posey’s (R-Fla.) so-called “birther bill” requiring future presidential candidates to provide the Federal Election Commission copies of their birth certificates. It’s a clear case of sore loserism, white angst against black progress, and just plain resentment among a conservative minority. They need something, anything, to hang their racist hats on and this bill will do. But this is just the beginning.

As the likes of Beck, Limbaugh, and Dobbs continue to push the limits of responsible journalism and fan rhetorical flames that keep network execs happy, they are also influencing public policy and cranking up the heat on simmering white rage in this country. Any one who thought we were past racial firestorms need to check out national DNA.

We’ve been here before. Three steps forward, five steps back. Call it the Neo-Reconstruction Hustle. That’s how it goes I guess. But if the game is here to stay, we can fight the good fight. Speak out against racism. Join organizations that promote racial harmony and healing. Sign petitions like MoveOn.org which demand responsible journalism.

Hate the game.

Note: The title is a reference to the 1959 Mike Wallace television news documentary “The Hate that Hate Produced,” which was the first national story produced about the Nation of Islam. Fifty years later, its seems race-based hate continues to be the subject of fascination in the media and American society.

Note2: For any birthers out there wishing to check the facts, please visit this reliable source: “Born in the USA.” FactCheck.org. November 1, 2009. 
http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/born_in_the_usa.html

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