On Saturday and Sunday mornings, I usually sit here and listen to my Pandora stations or livestream KBCO-FM from Boulder, Colorado and find some music video that touches me during these brief, quiet times.
A different video (and blogpost) touched me this weekend because I didn’t have the chance to hear it during the week. Baratunde Thurston held forth on the historical context of Donald Trump taking credit for causing President Obama to release his long-form birth certificate.
Baratunde sets it up with a video he saw of Trump that begins with the businessman saying, “Today, I’m very proud of myself because I’ve accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish.”:
It was during my viewing of this video that I began to cry. I thought of my ancestors, both direct and collective, who had fought and died so that I might be treated as an American. I then thought of this fetid, smug, hate-filled, wealthy white man taking credit for the release and yet still not being satisfied. It does not matter how long we’ve been in these United States. We will never be American.
So, tears in my eyes, pain in my heart and rage in my soul, I composed this video message. More than written text, it comes close to expressing my full pain at witnessing a white man who was handed everything call the President of the United States (and me) a nigger.
There are a few uses of variations on the f-word therein but they are well-placed, appropriate, and perhaps less frequent than I might have employed.
The timing of this episode was fortuitous, perhaps, because the President had an appropriate chance for rebuttal – at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Yes, President Obama got him back a bit. But there is a small part of me who saw this as a Stepin Fetchit moment where a black man was performing for a privileged white audience. Then again, the White House Correspondents Dinner is intended to feature comedy and roasts of all by all.
In contrast, this humiliating and embarrassing birth certificate episode took place for real.