Obama as an “outsider”

A point that McDuffie makes in his essay that I found interesting was that in many ways, the Tea Party Movement sprang up from the idea that President Obama is an “outsider” — that he falls into the category of un-American because he is black. This has resulted in people misconstruing his economic and social policies as supporting “un-American” ideas. For example, he is very often labeled a socialist, even though his policies are well to the right of even European Socialist agendas. This label is an obvious conflation with communism, associated with Obama simply because he is other. In addition, people have claimed that Obama was not born in the United States, which would certainly not occur if he was white. The claim that he is secretly Muslim is an obvious conflation between Obama’s “otherness” and the terrorists, furthering Bush’s dichotomy between those who are with us (with Americans as Americans have defined) or with the terrorists (since Obama is not the stereotypical “perfect” American, he is probably either a terrorist or “with” the terrorists. This conflation is rather odd since black Americans are overwhelmingly Christian and religious compared to the rest of the population. But there is no reasoning here–only associations.

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