Glenn Beck breaks down the president's un-American, African name

Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

Glenn Beck has been known to bristle at the suggestion that he might have a problem when it comes to issues of race. His incredulity is matched only by his crippling lack of self-awareness -- he seems to think that a reasoned discussion of race includes calling the first black president a "slavemaster" and a "racist" who is scheming to enact "reparations."

But I'm feeling charitable today, so I'll offer Beck a bit of advice. If you really are that upset at people constantly accusing you of being, let's say, insensitive when it comes to race, don't say things like this, as you did on the radio earlier this morning:

BECK: He chose to use his name, Barack, for a reason. To identify, not with America -- you don't take the name Barack to identify with America. You take the name Barack to identify with what? Your heritage? The heritage, maybe, of your father in Kenya, who is a radical? Really? Searching for something to give him any kind of meaning, just as he was searching later in life for religion.

OK, let's break down the problematic parts of this, just so there isn't any room for confusion. First, the suggestion that certain names, such as the African name Barack, are un-American. Second, the idea that Obama, in embracing his African name, was doing so at the expense of his American identity, as if the two are mutually exclusive (someone relevant to this discussion once talked about the "the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too"). And third, the implication that Obama's father's Kenyan roots are linked to his "radical"-ness.

That's the best I can do for you, Glenn. I can't break it down any further. If you don't see why some people would get upset that you accused the president of adopting his African name in order to repudiate his American identity and connect with his father's radical Kenyan heritage, then I'm afraid you might be a lost cause.

UPDATE: Not that Beck would ever trust the president's words over his own ill-informed armchair psychoanalyzing, but Obama told Newsweek in 2008 why he chose to start going by "Barack" after transferring to Columbia University: "It was not some assertion of my African roots ... not a racial assertion. It was much more of an assertion that I was coming of age. An assertion of being comfortable with the fact that I was different and that I didn't need to try to fit in in a certain way."

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Race & Ethnicity
Person
Glenn Beck
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