“Obama Should Apologize For Slavery,” Insists White NY Times Columnist
This past Friday, New York Times columnist Timothy Egan, a white man, penned an op-ed suggesting that President Obama, a black man, apologize for slavery.
Yes. You heard that right.
The first black man to live in the White House, long hesitant about doing anything bold on the color divide, could make one of the most simple and dramatic moves of his presidency: apologize for the land of the free being, at one time, the largest slaveholding nation on earth.
An apology would not kill that hatred, but it would ripple, positively, in ways that may be felt for years.
As the son of a Kenyan father and a white mother who died more than a century after slavery ended, Barack Obama has little ancestral baggage on this issue. Yet no man could make a stronger statement about America’s original sin than the first African-American president.
Last night he was invited on CNN to discuss this with Joe Madison, and god help us, Don Lemon.
In spite of being repeatedly told “No, just no” by Madison, a black man, Egan doubled down and continued to insist that this was a great idea. Which, let’s just say–it is not. The fact that anyone could go on about this with a straight face, while being told no by actual black people is positively astounding.
For what it’s worth, just let me state that yes, Barack Obama’s life–just like that of any other black man in this country–has been impacted by the legacy of slavery. Regardless of whether his immediate relatives were here at that time or not. Just as I benefit from white privilege despite the fact that my relatives didn’t get here until well after the Civil War ended. It is hardly as though it was just some “thing” that happened and then was over.
Of all the people on earth that might need to apologize for slavery–given that yes, people still do benefit from its legacy to this day–I’m gonna say that a black man is the last person on earth who needs to do so. That is the most absurd thing I have ever heard in my life. Even if this is a thought this guy happened to have–what on earth would make him think he ought to say it out loud?
Let’s all hope that something clicks in Egan’s brain after watching himself on this program and he retracts his statement. Because really–not a good look.