Saturday, April 10, 2010

More "Obama's not an American" nonsense

Some in the United States' "Birther" Movement are getting a wee bit excited right now. If you're not familiar with the Birthers, they are basically a bunch of conspiracy theorists who can't handle a coloured fella with a funny name in the White House and are desperate for a way to get him outta there; by trying to prove he was born outside the US and therefore ineligible for the Presidency.

So why the current excitement? Because according to them they have videotape that proves the O Man is actually born in Kenya. They claim to have caught Michelle Obama out, letting slip the sinister truth that they've been concealing from America.

What did she say? According to the wingnuts, the proof is her use of the phrase "his home country of Kenya" when she talks about their trip to Africa.

So whaddaya reckon?

For birthers, that seems to be conclusive proof. But that's because birthers generally are a bunch of ignorant douchebags. In any case, here are a few online quotes from birthers in the process of wetting themselves behind their keyboards:

"Interesting she would word it like that. I was born here but my parents elsewhere, I would NEVER refer to another place as my home country since I was born here. Makes me really start to think, granted I’ve had my suspicions. As I say to folks, really just listen to their much truth in their choice of words. You can tell a lot from which ones they spew forth."

"She said it. Kenya is his home country. And the democratic party knows this full well."

"an american president that claims another as his home country. I didn’t think this would ever happen in my lifetime. I’m nauseous. No wonder foreigners say we’re stupid."

(That last sentence, by the way, carries an irony that it's writer could not possibly understand. Wanna know why foreigners think Americans are stupid, fella? Read your own comment.)

And of course Beck, Limbaugh and the rest of the wingnut media are all over this.

But what they ignore are two important points.

Firstly, sometimes people make slips of the tongue. It happens! And when it happens, they don't actually mean what they say.
As an example, a while back as a candidate he made reference to traveling the entire country and "visiting 57 states". Clearly from the overall context, he meant 47. But some wingnuts seriously believe from that evidence that Barack Obama, Harvard scholar, actually does not know how many states make up the country he rules. Or even (and this is the best one yet) that he is referring to the 57-state-member Organisation of Islamic Conference.

Secondly, given that wingnuts tend to be white folks who have never even set foot outside the good ol' US of A, they have absolutely no idea about what it is like being bicultural.

People of mixed cultural backgrounds frequently refer to themselves as being of one ethnicity or the other, in different situations. They can refer to their "home country" despite not having been born there.

As an example, when I am overseas and people ask me where I'm from, I answer "Australia". When I'm in Australia and people ask me where I'm from, I figure they usually mean "what ethnicity are you?" to which I tell them "Indonesia." I'm not from Indonesia by the way - my mother is. But it is still a "home country" to me, in emotional and spiritual terms, even though I was not born there and have no desire to ever settle down there long term. Australia is my home country, but Indonesia is my other home country.

The O Man clearly had a deep feeling of reconnecting with his roots when he visited Africa, and no doubt he views it as home in a sense - he has relatives there, and being ethnically Kenyan is one part of who he is. Does this mean he cares less for the US? No. Why should it?

Given that most Americans don't own passports, many have no idea what it means to have a connection to a land other than that of your birth. They figure that if you do, you are clearly unpatriotic and probably a communist. They have no understanding that being Kenyan-American does not make Obama less American than someone who is just "American".

(Hat tip: Field Negro)


  1. And a hat tip to you too, dear.

    But no, no, no...racism's sooooooo not a problem in America; like, it's well on it's way out or whatever, and like, the only reason it's sticking around is 'cause all them damned colored folk keep talkin' 'bout it.

    *nods* Keep on keepin' on.

  2. Btw - TOTAL Ankhesenology material.

  3. To be fair, the guy who started this whole birth-certificate thing -- the Alpha Birther, if you will -- is a Jewish Democrat who'se been a lifelong member of the NAACP and not, as one would assume, a right-winger with a racial superiority complex:

    "Philip J. Berg is a former Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania; former candidate for Governor and U.S. Senate in Democratic Primaries; former Chair of the Democratic Party in Montgomery County; former member of Democratic State Committee; an attorney with offices in Montgomery County, PA and an active practice in Philadelphia, PA Phil is a paid life member of the NAACP and voluntary fire police for 27 years"

  4. @ Peter:
    I wonder if Philip J Berg is proud of his contribution to right-wing racist discourse in the US.