Stephen A. Smith Says Obama Was Elected Because Of White Guilt
In talking about how white people struggle to accept the way Cam Newton carries himself, Stephen A. Smith floated a particularly cynical theory as to the emotional underpinnings of a watershed moment in American history. Not only did he portend to know why thirty million white Americans voted for Barack Obama, Smith also seems to believe he knows how all black people think, as well.
He argued that Barack Obama was elected President of the United States -- twice -- because of white guilt. Gulp.
STEPHEN A. SMITH: "You cannot deny is the fact that [Cam Newton] feels the way that he feels. You have to deal with that, and by asking him -- the more you ask him and implore him to be specific, then you're asking him to engage in a level of history that he may not want to go down that road. And more importantly, the more specifics you ask for the more you're trying to knock down his perspective. You're not going to knock down his perspective because what he feels is what he feels. You have to deal with what he feels as opposed to what you interpret his facts to be.
SKIP BAYLESS: "Ok. If I deal with it, then it makes me feel guilt and shame [about] what went on before me.
STEPHEN A. SMITH: "And that's not right."
SKIP BAYLESS: "I can't fix it. I try to be the best I can be right here, right now and in the present."
STEPHEN A. SMITH: "well, let me tell you this. i would make the argument that's how barack obama became the president of the united states. 69 million people voted for this man. there's only 30-plus million black necessary america so where the other 30-plus million come from? it came from a generation of folks who obviously felt a level of guilt because of what has happened in this country historically. so -- skip: maybe we just thought he was the best candidate. is that possible? stephen a.: no. not 30-plus million. 30-plus million? come on, now. again, this is what i'm talking about because what i'm trying to say to you of course there are many millions who obviously felt he was the better candidate. skip: twice. stephen a.: twice. but there is no question that there was guilt on the part of at least a small segment of this nation, which includes millions, who obviously felt that way. what i'm trying to say to you is when something like that is a fact, then obviously it speaks to what has happened historically. now can you sit there and say it's a different day. well, dament it, then treat it like it's a different day. instead of sitting there and looking for excuses to knock it down and knock down those perceptions, simply stand up and say, 'hey, he's got a point. but you know what? it's a new day and we're going to move forward and we're going to do things differently and then everybody will be fine,' as opposed to sitting there and going to your default position and acting like it's overblown, it's a bit exaggerated, it's not true. you can't say that to black people because they will tell you, 'no way in hell do we feel that way.'"
Not only does Smith assume what "black people will tell you" of you don't like Cam Newton's personality, he claims that half the people who voted for Barack Obama did so for one reason: because they felt guilty about this country's history of racial inequality. While that may be true in some cases (see how we didn't generalize there?), it's completely impossible because WHEN HAVE 30 MILLION PEOPLE EVER DONE SOMETHING FOR THE EXACT SAME REASON?!?! It goes without saying, but there are countless other reasons why each, non-African American individual voted for Obama, namely, health care reform, women's rights, same-sex marriage, greenhouse gas reduction -- none of which have anything to do Obama's skin color. But also, what's to say that "white guilt" is enough to motivate people to fundraise, donate and vote for a black President? That makes it seem like Stephen A. Smith is saying the white people who backed Obama weren't complex enough to have more than one justification for their vote.
Once again, Stephen A. Smith has taken a well-intentioned point about racial prejudice in America and contorted it to define millions of Americans by their race. How ironic. I hate when people react to his sociology seminars by saying "stick to sports," -- these are important issues that don't get enough airtime -- but Smith's giant brush is counterproductive to any constructive dialogue he's (hopefully) aiming for.
The clip from Wednesday's heated "First Take" segment, below...
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