During his eulogy of George Floyd, Barack Obama claimed that the filibuster was a “relic of Jim Crow”. And he recently criticized the Republicans blocking of partisan voting legislation HR1 as racist. Why does Barack Obama continually stir up racial conflicts in this country? Instead of trying to quell racial animus, Obama injects himself into situations like these, and inflames any existing problems of race. Why does he need to have perpetual racial conflict and division in this country? A possible answer is because at the core of his being is racial conflict. That is all he knows. Children tend to play out the conflicts that they witnessed in their parent’s marriage in their own lives.
Barack Obama’s parents were mixed race; his father was a Kenyan national, and his mother was a white American citizen from Kansas. Early in his life, Barack Obama’s biological father left him to return to Kenya, cutting off all ties with Barack and his mother - a very difficult situation for young Barack Obama to deal with. And then at age 10, his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro another man of color in his life, took his mother to go live in Indonesia, leaving Barack to be raised by his mother’s parents in Hawaii. And therein lies his conflict, the black part of Barack Obama, the part that stares back at him in the mirror, abandoned him, while the white part of Obama took him in, raised him, cared for him, and provided him advantages in life. Obama never embraced this part of him. He wrote, “I'd arrived at an unspoken pact with my grandparents: I could live with them and they'd leave me alone so long as I kept my trouble out of sight.”
So instead of writing a book about his grandparents, the sacrifices they made for him, and the difficulties they, as older people, overcame raising their grandchild, Obama chose to write a book called, Dreams from My Father. Instead of honoring the people who nurtured him, loved him, and gave him life-changing opportunities, he chose to write about his longing for the man who abandoned him, who left him, who showed young Obama that he didn’t love him. And that’s the conflict Obama has been navigating his entire life.
How does Obama justify the part of him that rejected him? How does he elevate his father who abandoned him? How does he uplift the black part of himself? By knocking the white part of him down. In his book, he relates the story of his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, standing at the bus stop on her way home from work. A man approached her, and asked her for money. She gave him a dollar, but instead of thanking her and going on his way, the younger, stronger man proceeded to ask her for more and more money, getting up in her face, trying to intimidate her. She was so frightened by this encounter that when she got home, she was noticeably shaken. When she relayed the story to young Barack, she told him, “he was very aggressive. If the bus hadn’t come, he would have hit me over the head.”
Obama’s grandfather then informed Barack that the man was black. That statement infuriated Obama. Instead of showing care and concern for his grandmother, who was just harassed and intimidated for money by a younger bigger man that she doesn’t know, he resented her. She became the villain in his eyes, and the man who harrassed his grandmother, suddenly became the victim solely because he was black.
Obama was unable to put himself in his grandmother’s shoes, unable to see how physically vulnerable women and older people feel in society. He was only able to view this incident from the lens of race. An older woman is intimidated by a young black man, and his only sympathy is toward the black man. How would Barack have felt if the young aggressive male harassing his grandmother had been white? Would her fear of the strange man still have evoked the same anger in Obama?
This is the mentality that people like Obama who primarily view the world through race bring to issues in this country. This is the reason why they are so willing to overlook the thousands of black people killed by other black people every year, or the 70% of black children born out of wedlock, or the black gangs and black drug dealers destroying black communities. Those real and serious threats to black people by black people are always ignored or downplayed, but their devastating consequences are real to those enduring them.
In Obama’s eyes, it is always white people who are to blame for the problems in the black community, like in his grandmother’s situation, white people are the villains, and black people are the victims. In his mind, his father wasn’t the villain in his life, his grandparents were. That is what you get when you view and judge the world solely by skin color.
Obama will always justify the black side as a way to justify the part of him that left him, that abandoned him, In 2009, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested by Cambridge police, Obama, without knowing one fact in the case, stated that “the police acted stupidly.” He blindly took the side of the black person over the white person without a shred of evidence. It turned out that the police acted appropriately in that situation. Obama then held a “Beer Summit” with the police officer and the professor, and referred to the incident as a “teachable moment”, not for himself or the professor, but for the police officer and white America.
In 2012, Obama immediately took the side of Trayvon Martin in his shooting death, solely because of the way he looked. Obama infamously said, “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” So, the facts of the case did not matter to Obama. The only thing that mattered was how the parties involved looked. And since Trayvon Martin looked more like Obama than George Zimmerman did, he sided with Trayvon.
Only by elevating the part of him that abandoned him can Obama feel whole; and the only way he can elevate that part of him is to continually side with that side of the broader racial conflicts that he is projecting on society from his own internal racial conflicts. That is why he continues to knock white people down and elevate black people because somewhere deep down he is elevating his father, and only by elevating the part of him that rejected him can he elevate himself and create that internal equilibrium to make himself whole.
Colin Kaepernick deals with the same internal racial conflict as Barack Obama. Like Obama, Kaepernick was abandoned by the black part of him, and raised by white parents, who loved him, cared for him, and nurtured him, yet anti-white hatred spews out of him. He rejects the part of him that embraced him, and embraces the part that rejected him.
Both Obama and Kaepernick hate the very country which has given them so much. They would argue that everything that they have achieved or accumulated in life has been earned, and not given, and they are absolutely right. That is what America has given both of them, and everyone for that matter - the good fortune to live in a country which is a meritocracy, where you get what you earn, you get what you deserve, you get what you work for.
The color of their skin didn’t stop them. The fact that they were abandoned by their parents, didn’t stop them. They got everything that they earned in life. And this is all that we are asking for, a meritocracy. But that is the exact opposite of the ideology that is promoted by Critical Race Theory which is infiltrating our schools and society, an ideology that separates people, judges people, rewards and punishes people, based solely on their skin color. That is the only system where Obama’s father can be admired as a father, one not based on merit. Meritocracy doesn’t exist in the world of Critical Race Theory.
During the 2008 campaign, Obama referred to his grandmother as a “typical white woman”. Would it be right and fair to call Barack Obama Sr, a “typical black man”? Even though there’s an epidemic of out of wedlock births in the black community, it is wrong to say that the father who abandoned Barack Obama is a “typical black man” because that would be racist. We should not generalize about people based on skin color the way it’s becoming more and more acceptable to do to white people. We must stop determining villains and victims solely by the race of the people involved. It only creates more racial conflicts.
Barack Obama has never made peace with the racial conflict within himself, so he will never allow the racial conflicts within our country to be resolved peacefully. His internal struggle continues to be our external conflicts because people like him continue to stoke the flames of the racial divisions on the rest of us because they have never been able to resolve the racial conflicts inside themselves.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He is a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.