Respected race theorist Glenn Beck has made the world a better place, as he is want to do, by — wait for it — stoking White, nativist fears about our crazy black man president and his crazy black man president name. Beck, to his credit, has found what works — stoking White, nativist fear — and he has stuck with it. No point in reinventing the wheel, or, in Beck’s case, the Hood. Welcome to Barack-gate 2010!
The earnest folks over at Media Matters noted yesterday that on Beck’s ham radio program, Let’s Get Racial!, the tolerant host voiced his displeasure with this “Barack” (!?) Obama character, specifically this “Barack” (WTF!?) part of his name:
[Barack Obama] 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? Is — really?
This timely critique is literally a propos of nothing, other than the fear of a Black Planet, which is constant, which is what makes this timely critique so important, for today. Beck is so ahead of his time he has actually looped back around and wound up right where he belongs — in the 50s, ie, The Whitest Decade Ever.
Beck has already devoted time on his show to focusing on the super-important-Arabian fact that Obama’s middle name is Hussein, but apparently the fascination with the president’s name hasn’t quite worn out yet. So, okay, let’s pick this xenophobic rant apart.
[Barack Obama] chose to use his name Barack for a reason — to identify, not with America–
I’m going to stop you right there. Beck bravely posits here is that there is some set of things called “American,” and that the name Barack, a resoundingly African-sounding name, is not a member of that set. This catalogue of “American Things” is, presumably, set in stone. WOP-y names such as Giuliani and filthy-mick names such as O’Brien have always been as American as apple pie, whereas weird names like “Barack” will never be.
You take the name Barack to identify with what? Your heritage? The heritage, maybe, of your father in Kenya, who is a radical?
Did you notice all the question marks? And how Beck’s statements are so full of innuendo? But the question marks give him plausible deniability? Did you notice that, you radical?
Then there’s this clip, which comes just before the passage quoted above:
BECK: Think: You change your name to — from Barry — you want to fit in. You decide, “No. I want to be somebody different.” You change your name, and then, again, play the audio of what he did after he changed his name.
OBAMA http://clip: I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets. We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy.
PAT GRAY (co-host): I mean, is that mainstream stuff?
BECK: That’s not.
BECK: That is a guy named Barack. “Hey, Barack.” Not Barry. “Hey, Barry, come here. Let’s talk about neocolonialism.” No. [emphasis added.]
Hahahah I knew a Barry when I went to Marxist College and he was such a doofus! BUT! I knew this other kid named Barack, and boy, was he a scary black radical. Barry would never talk about neocolonialism, ’cause he was busy being an American, is what I’m saying.
Also, for the record, that Barack Obama sounds fucking awesome. Let’s — as a country — talk about neocolonialism, and Marxism, and we’ll smoke and drink and learn about ourselves and each other until the sun comes up, if it ever does, but it might not; if we stay awake all night this dream will just go on and on and on until our past swallows us whole like a scary African Name, a mad Name, the only Name worth knowing, in the back alleys of Greenwich village, with the freaks, and the mad mad Socialists, and the Obamas, changing names, changing identities, changing lives.