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    Dr. Boyce Watkins



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Dr. Boyce Watkins: President Obama Needs to Check Details

By Dr. Boyce Watkins

Syracuse University

10:00 PM on 07/22/2009

Obama champions the middle class and his Harvard pal

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Not so post-racial America

Obama responds to questions during a news conference Wednesday, July 22, 2009.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

I found myself enjoying President Obama’s Healthcare pitch to the nation on prime time television, as he explained (as most politicians do) why the world will come to an end if we don’t adopt his policies. His arguments were strong and valid, and he made it clear that he was out to help the middle class by letting rich folks pay the bill. I’m all for that.

I noticed how the president used the words "middle class" about 20 times through the night, and allowed nine different reporters to ask questions, none of them African American. But then again, it might have been tough for President Obama to find black people in the room, since there sure as heck didn’t seem to be very many around.

Less predictable was the racial bombshell that President Obama saved for last on Wednesday night. After being asked about the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, a prominent Harvard University professor, Obama spent just a few minutes reminding the world that he was not only a black man, but that that he was also an alumnus of Harvard University.

The man who some feel embodies the essence of a post-racial America was suddenly willing to candidly discuss race on behalf of his wealthy Harvard associate. What is incredibly ironic is that these were probably the most post-racial comments Obama has ever made, since they further opened the door to class warfare in America.

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