by Jack Cashill
In a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper that aired in June, Barack Obama weighed in on perceived GOP anxieties. Instead of worrying about the economy and climate change, worries he thought appropriate for Republicans, “Lo and behold,” he told Cooper, “the single most important issue to them apparently right now is critical race theory. Who knew that that was the threat to our republic?”
I would argue that critical race theory, CRT for short, is not only a threat to the republic but also a threat to our families. Obama has already shown the damage that race can inflict on family, starting with this own. In March 2008, with his campaign floundering after the toxic Rev. Wright tapes surfaced, Obama played the CRT card to salvage his candidacy.
During a critical speech in Philadelphia, Obama reminded his audience that “so many of the disparities that exist between the African-American community and the larger American community today can be traced directly to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.” This was pure CRT. The fact that none of Obama’s relatives descended from slaves went unmentioned.
Nor did Obama mention that despite having a white mother and being raised by his white grandparents, Obama rode the affirmative action gravy train from Punahou to Harvard to the White House. To justify the unearned benefits that come with being black or biracial, the “theorists,” Obama among them, insist that the continuing risks of being black justify the rewards. This is a Jussie Smollett–sized lie, and Obama knows it.
To rescue Wright, still apparently suffering from PSSD (post-slavery stress disorder), Obama had to sacrifice “Toot.” In his 2020 memoir A Promised Land, Obama writes about Toot— his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham—more tenderly and more frequently than any adult other than wife Michelle. At the time of the Philadelphia speech, the 85-year-old Toot had only around six months left on this planet, but for Obama it was never too late to sacrifice a beloved family member to the CRT gods.
“I can no more disown him [Wright] than I can disown my white grandmother,” said Obama. He professed his love for Toot despite “her fear of black men who passed her by on the street” and her use of “racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.”
In his 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father, Obama used Toot as a foil, but there he did so a shade less dishonestly. As he told the story, a large, aggressive panhandler had rattled the “diminutive” Toot at a bus stop. Her husband, Obama’s grandfather Stan Dunham, allegedly added the racial drama, telling teen Obama that the “real reason” Toot was so upset was because the panhandler was black. As to Toot’s use of cringeworthy “racial or ethnic stereotypes,” Obama added this new detail to reinforce the CRT talking point that racism was ingrained in all white people.
Toot was expendable. In the current CRT environment, people like Obama are taught to think of themselves first and foremost as members of a racial group and only secondarily, if at all, as members of a family. In my family, pictured above at our annual Jersey Shore reunion, that is a potential problem.
The common ancestors of all the family members are my maternal great-grandparents, Michael and Mary Waters. They arrived in the United States in 1886 and 1888 respectively, both from Ireland.
My family started to diversify nearly as soon as they got here. A century ago, my paternal grandfather, the grandson of potato famine Irish, married a woman whose parents were born in Germany. I imagine that caused a minor stink in both families. Seventy years ago, when my mother’s brother married a woman whose parents were born in Italy, that caused a major stink, at least for my grandfather. As often happens, however, he soon came to love his daughter-in-law.
Lately, the diversification has picked up speed. The spouses in attendance at our Shore reunion included a woman from Brazil, a man from Japan, another man from India, the son of Irish immigrants, the son of Haitian immigrants, and the grandson of Ukrainian immigrants. Although our family is traditionally Catholic on both the Italian and Irish sides — as well as on the Indian and Haitian sides — three of the spouses or significant others in attendance were Jewish.
My family skews slightly to the right. Despite the stereotypes attached to conservatives, the last marriage that ruffled feathers took place 70 years ago. Today, the children play freely with each other, blissfully unaware of any racial expectations. If the CRT agents have their way, that will change.
When the kids start applying for college or for jobs, they will soon learn that the color of their skin matters more than their grades and test scores, let alone the content of their character. Although they have all grown up comfortably with shared dreams and ambitions, some will be taught they are oppressors, and some will be taught they are oppressed. Those of Asian descent will not be sure in which camp they belong, but they will learn likely see that to the oppressed go the spoils.
The tragedy of Barack Obama’s presidency is that, when given a golden opportunity to drive this idiocy from the land, he choked. He tried much too hard to gain the acceptance of the “authentic” African Americans whose traditions were forged in slavery, most proximate among them, wife Michelle.
Obama’s failure to stand up to the CRT crowd had tragic consequences, particularly for black America. In January 2009, according to the Wall Street Journal, 64 percent of African Americans held a favorable view of race relations in America. By January 2016, according to Pew, 61 percent of blacks were reporting that race relations were “generally bad.”
Barack Obama, America’s first president of African ancestry, had eight years to convince black America that the world was theirs for the taking. Instead, he made blacks feel more like victims and whites feel more like oppressors. Here’s hoping my family will not be a microcosm of Obama’s America.
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Jack Cashill’s latest book, Barack Obama’s Promised Land: Deplorables Need Not Apply, is now widely available. See www.cashill.com for more information.