For a president today, talkin’ down is speaking American

For a president today, talkin’ down is speaking American

Peggy Noonan has joined the chorus of people who think that when President Obama hips it up a little when he talks, he is compromising the dignity of his office and even dividing the country. “He shouldn’t be out there,” she wrote, “dropping his g’s, slouching around a podium, complaining about his ill treatment, describing his opponents with disdain: ‘Stop just hatin’ all the time.’”

No, Ms. Noonan. You and the rest — and some of you are black — need to realize that when Obama does things like “dropping his g’s,” he is enhancing the dignity of his office and helping bring the country together.

First, let’s get the “fake” part out of the way.

I have encountered more than a few who seem honestly to think that when Obama, who generally speaks in a vanilla standard way, uses some black inflection or slang with black audiences, he is being fake. They assume that someone who can sound like Bryant Gumbel could not mean it when he mixes in a little Dave Chappelle. He must be pretending to be something, striking some kind of clumsy tribal note.

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