Words From the Heart….

Obama3President Obama: “There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me,” Obama said. “And there are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator.” 

Fox News: Fox’s Sean Hannity suggests that the main reason Obama identifies with Trayvon is that the two as teenagers had smoked marijuana.

On Facebook, Fox News radio host Todd Starnes wrote that Obama’s comments about the Trayvon Martin shooting makes the president “Race-Baiter in Chief.” “His remarks today on the Trayvon Martin tragedy are beyond reprehensible,” Starnes wrote.

SOURCE:  Political world reacts to Obama’s ‘Trayvon’ moment – CSMonitor.com.

I have absolutely no doubt that the off-the-cuff remarks above by President Obama were from his heart and his life time experiences.  While I can never fully understand what prejudice a black man in America faces I can relate on at least on some level.  Being deaf for 25+ years has taught me that many people assume (prejudge) who we are by our physical characteristics. I face that fact on perhaps a weekly basis.

So many times when I interact with someone who I don’t know and suddenly discover that I am deaf I get the stare.  They immediately think I have an IQ of a turnip. They then proceed to either ignore me, just walk away, or start speaking very slowly so I might be able to understand.  I won’t go into any more details about this as this post is not about me but instead about prejudice.

I know I have sworn off politics and the hatred that presently fills it but the reaction by the usual ranters over at Fox News was just too over the top to ignore. I wonder what my conservative friends who have that channel on frequently during any day think about what they heard on this topic? I wonder if they would have the same hateful words? I think there are times even when viewing our despised enemies that we need to recognize the sincerity of their words. How can Mr. Hannity and Mr. Starnes live in such a dark world? Why do they think it is necessary to attack every word that comes out of the President’s mouth?

I guess this post is more about questions than it is about answers but sometimes I just can’t fathom man’s inhumanity toward man, even the verbal kind.  For those of you who are ready to slam on the flame button don’t even bother sending anything. I am just not in the mood to even look at them…


  1. I for one applaud the president for “trying” to inject some thoughtful insight into this hot button issue. He knew full well that the Fox people were just waiting for him to do or say something they could twist into fuel for their hate based rhetoric. The President was just accurately describing the daily situations black Americans deal with. He was compelled to speak up and I think it took some amount of courage to do so in this political atmosphere. I am sorry to say that I am guilty of being fearful of black men at times. I don’t like that I am, but that is the truth. I have never personally had a bad experience either…on the contrary. The few black people I have worked with or lived near were just regular hard working nice folks. I think I must be conditioned by the news and media or my upbringing to have a fearful knee jerk reaction in some situations. Anyway, this has been a reminder to me that I need to be aware of my own inclinations and remedy them.

    I am sorry that you have had similar negative reactions to your deafness, R.J. If those people had an ounce of intelligence themselves they would not walk away. It might take a moment or two to find the right way to interact with a deaf person, but ignoring or avoiding is ignorant and rude. You are doing a great service to the deaf community by writing your blogs and sharing your experiences with the public. We can all stand to look at ourselves and how we interact with others.


  2. Thanks for the words Jane. Yeah, we all have our prejudice don’t we. I too have feared people of other color in certain situations without a rational reason. It is not a part of me that I am proud of but as you say probably part of the world I came from. It seems that many in the world have an innate fear of things they are not familiar with and that also includes change itself.


  3. Three of the five men I have mentored in the prison ministry program I volunteer with have been black. Until then my interaction with African-Americans on a regular was minimal. Being with these men, who besides being a different color than I am are also just released from prison has helped me see them as men in need of love and support. Their race is a non factor.

    I’m pretty sure if President Obama ever announced he had a fatal disease the fine folks at Fox would claim he got it on purpose to increase the sympathy vote. They operate on a very different level: sub human.


    1. I was in college before I met my first African-American so I was pretty much in the same boat as you Bob and came to the same conclusions.

      What totally confounds me is how so many of my very conservative friends seem to hang onto all the words spoken on the Fox Channel. I don’t think my friends are for the most part racist or bigots but I think Fox News swims in it and everything else that can make enemies of all “those people different from us”.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s