Phi Beta Cons

Obama on Gates: A ‘Black Street Cred’ Gambit

I agree with C. Edmund Wright that there was a “surreal” quality to the president’s handling of the incident at Harvard concerning African American Studies Department Head Professor Gates and the “white cop.”

Blatantly dissonant was Obama’s acknowledgment of “not knowing the facts” while highhandedly rushing to defend the black professor against the white cop. Wright interprets this, quite plausibly, as a political sally on the president’s part:

Allow me to submit the following theory: The President was trying to re-establish his “black street cred” a tad. As we know, black callers to radio shows like that of Al Sharpton have been getting disenchanted with the President. This was a perfect chance for the President to once again be “down for the struggle” . . .

The Professor Gates portion of the press conference last night was nothing if not an appeal to the street. It was right out of the play-book — or tape collection — of Reverend Jeremiah Wright.  It was the America that deserves damning.  

Candace de Russy is a nationally recognized expert on education and cultural issues.

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