Last night after President Obama’s State of the Union address, MSNBC’s Hardball host, Chris Matthews uttered “he is post racial by all appearances…I forgot he was black tonight for an hour.” Even after previously hearing a few questionable statements by Matthews over the last couple of years, I was still shocked and taken aback by his comments. Imagine if Hillary Clinton was President and he said “for an hour, I forgot she was a woman!”
Admittedly, Matthews could have simply meant that he is still shocked the United States of America elected an African-American president (which seemed to be his explanation of his remarks). Additionally, people argue that it is a positive thing not to see color or race as in “I don’t see President Obama as a black President, I just see him as President.” However, on a visceral level, Matthews’ words seemed to imply that there is a looming negative connotation(s) associated with being black and that this President carries those attributes with him on a daily basis. And Matthews was happy to forget the President’s “blackness” for an hour.
Even for those who pride themselves in being color-blind, why is there a need not to see or acknowledge obvious physical characteristics? A person can admire President Obama while noticing/realizing/accepting that he is African-American. What’s the big f*cking deal? Why would that be a conflict, consciously or otherwise? Instead of saying that you don’t see color, consider thinking “I fully support President Obama. I know that he is a black man and that does not influence or factor into my perception at all.”