Tweet of the Day: Black like who?

Today’s headlines at LU come complete with a scandal and a reflection. First the scandal. Rupert Murdoch, the octogenarian media mogul who unleashed on the world the nightmare of the left known as the Fox News Channel, made a statement on Twitter that has the mainstream media up in arms. (Correction: It would have them up in arms if they were not so determined to oversee the passage of draconian legislation that would effectively takes guns out of the hands of all American citizens.)

But I’m straying off-topic. Here’s the tweet:

As you can imagine, the MSM is on this like white on rice. The Hollywood Reporter headlines its bombshell “Rupert Murdoch: Ben Carson would be a ‘real black president’.” The BBC takes it a step further: “Rupert Murdoch implies Obama not ‘real black president’.”

As you chew on this shocker, allow room in your mind for the reflection, which is tangentially related. It is by Jennifer Senior, a contributing editor at “New York” magazine, who has an article out titled “The Paradox of the First Black President.” The thrust of the rumination, which typically for “New York,” doesn’t occur until 700-plus words in, boils down to this: Obama gained the trust and goodwill of blacks, who voted for him, but is viewed by many as having failed to deliver in what was understood as a quid pro quo.

A reaction to the insinuation that Obama’s Job Number One as president should have been to “fix the black problem” is a story unto itself. But that’s not the angle that makes the reflection so poignant.

Rather it is the opening paragraphs and accompanying photo. Here is the text of the first paragraph, followed by the photo:

There is a photo by Pete Souza, the White House’s canny and peripatetic photographer, that surfaces from time to time online. The setting is Marine One, and it features a modest cast of five. Valerie Jarrett, dressed in a suit of blazing pink, is staring at her cell phone. Barack Obama, twisted around in his seat, is listening to a conversation between his then-body guy, Reggie Love, and Patrick Gaspard, one of his then-top advisers. Obama’s former deputy press secretary, Bill Burton, is looking on too, with just the mildest hint of a grin on his face.

Obama aboard marine one

The relevance of all this — and what connects it back to the scandalous Rupert Murdoch tweet — comes in the next paragraph, which begins, “In many ways, it’s a banal shot — just another photo for the White House Instagram feed, showing the president and his aides busily attending to matters of state.”

But then Senior writes:

Stare at it a second longer, though, and a subtle distinction comes into focus: Everyone onboard is black. “We joked that it was Soul Plane,” says Burton. “And we’ve often joked about it since — that it was the first time in history only black people were on that helicopter.”

Wait, what? Everyone onboard is black? It is no secret that Barack Obama was born to a white mother, although he seldom mentions her or acknowledges that he is half-white. While it is less well known, Valerie Jarrett is also of mixed-race parentage: Her mother, Barbara Bowman, is fair-skinned, blond, and blue-eyed.

Now we come to Bill Burton, the one to whom the above quote about everyone on board being black is ascribed. He’s also biracial, though in his case his white genes are so prevalent in his appearance that he found it necessary to author an article shortly after Obama’s first inauguration in 2009 titled “I Am Biracial, That’s Right.” The subtitle: “Some Surprised by Background of Deputy Press Aide.”

When the discussion turns to race, as it has tediously often throughout Obama’s presidency, being half-white counts for nothing. In fact, whiteness in the Obama era has become one of the dominant evils of our time. Whiteness, and the privilege attendant on it, are specters that universities and the elite media are working hard to banish. All the while, as the article in “New York” emphasizes, #BlackLivesMatter has become the liberal battle cry of hope for the future.

When Rupert Murdoch tweets his preference for a real black president who — nota bene — can properly address the racial divide, liberals in the media should do some reflecting of their own about where we are as a nation and where we’re headed.

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.


Commenting Policy

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.

You may use HTML in your comments. Feel free to review the full list of allowed HTML here.