MSNBC's Toure Argues Put 2008 Aside; Only Re-electing Obama in 2012 Will Prove America Isn't Racist

From his spot on the Time Ideas blog, the MSNBC anchor Toure admitted "If President Obama had to run against Senator Obama of 2008, he’d probably be crushed. Back then, Obama seemed superhuman; today he is merely mortal. His victory in 2008 was historic, breaking the race barrier in the nation’s highest office."

Guess what came next. Re-electing Obama is a greater test of whether America is racist than it was in 2008: "But an Obama victory in 2012 would say something even more profound about how far our country has come. Granted, Obama’s election (or not) is merely one of many factors that will tell us where we are on race in America. But it is a big one." Toure put Obama into the metaphor of The Matrix:


In 2008, Obama was Morpheus and America was Neo, a nation of great potential that had lost its mojo and did not understand reality. Obama offered America the red pill — the chance to vote for him — and we swallowed it. In The Matrix, the red pill took effect immediately, and it wasn’t long before Neo revealed himself to be the One — the Jesus-like figure Morpheus had thought he was. In the real world, change happens much more slowly. When Obama took office, it felt as if the sky were falling and we were close to a depression. We avoided that fate. But it has been a rough few years marked by problems (not all of his making) that include a historic recession, Washington gridlock, the passage of controversial health care  legislation, the failure to close the Guantánamo prison, the Middle East explosion and the rhetorical blunder of “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” by which the great orator handed the GOP a gift it could mangle into a slogan. After all that, it’s impossible to view Obama as a superhuman magical-Negro figure anymore.

Toure raised the "magical Negro" stereotype as the image Obama needed to win -- and he has to shed that to prove America isn't racist. So far, he's impressed that America is putting Obama ahead of Romney in the polls:

All incumbents have natural advantages, but for Obama, incumbency is a double-edged sword. Given the super-human expectations placed on him when he took office, it’s not surprising that he has disappointed some of his followers.

So those poll numbers suggest something very interesting about this country in terms of racial progress. They show American voters embracing a non-magical black man. The magical Negro concept arose from a need to rectify supposed black inferiority with the undeniability of black wisdom by suggesting that wisdom is so alien that its origins cannot be explained by normal scientific methods.

While some may think it complimentary to be considered “magical,” it is infantilizing and offensive because it suggests black excellence is so shocking it can only come from a source that is supernatural. To accept a black leader who is extraordinary yet so human that he cannot be magical is an entirely different prospect than electing a black superhero. Anyone would vote for a superhero who lived up to my mom’s standard of having to be twice as good. But for it to embrace a nonmagical black person who cannot promise anything but hope, intelligence, sweat and experience, now that comes closer to equality. Equality is freedom from having to be twice as good to get ahead.

This is the racial con game that's being presented this time. He doesn't promise anything but "hope, intelligence, sweat, and experience" besides his atrocious record of routine incompetence. So America is pressured: prove you're not a bigot by voting for Obama.

Please support NewsBusters today! [a 501(c)(3) non-profit production of the Media Research Center]


Or, book travel through MRC’s Travel Discounts Program! MRC receives a rebate for each booking when you use our special codes.


Campaigns & Elections 2012 Presidential Racism Time Touré Barack Obama
Tim Graham's picture