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Chris Matthews on Obama: 'I Forgot He Was Black Tonight'


Following the President' State of the Union speech, Chris Matthews remarked, "It's interesting. He's post-racial by all appearances. You know, I forgot he was Black tonight for an hour."

One YouTube commenter said, "If you are still getting used to the newness of our first black United States president then Matthews comment makes sense and sounds completely normal. If you adjusted to the first black US president perfectly fine, and have simply seen Obama as another president then Matthews comments wil sound very disturbing."

Writes Pam Spaulding: "What it boils down to is that there's something about being "black" to forget -- such as um, being articulate, or educated, or perhaps in his mind, standing up there and doing the whole SOTU thing in the wake of a whole lot of white guys and guess what? He's not all that different from any of them. It's almost a child-like expression of wonder, like that classmate of mine at Fordham who asked me if I could tan.  You just have to shake your head and think about how just how far we have to go when it comes to race, even if the person believes they are paying a "compliment." That's not a post-racial America, Chris."

Matthews later clarified his remarks on the Rachel Maddow show.

Watch both clips, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Stupid comments like this prove just how post race we are not! Mr Matthews is usually a cool guy I'm sure he's gonna get lots of flack for this ignorant gem...

    Posted by: John Normile | Jan 28, 2010 8:45:01 AM

  2. Maybe Chris Matthews was expecting to see Obama wearing saggy pants on the ground?

    Posted by: crispy | Jan 28, 2010 8:57:16 AM

  3. I agree with Pam's comment. "He's not all that different from the rest of them." She hit the nail on the head there.

    Posted by: Matt | Jan 28, 2010 9:08:47 AM

  4. This is young people and progressives showing THEY can not relate to older people --- Matthews is of the generation that fought for equality at time when black children could not enter public schools and black women had to sit at the back of the bus.

    It is great that my generation (born 64) and younger are much more color blind --- but for the older generations it is HUGE to have an African American President and it not be an issue.

    All Chris did was realize that in himself and express it.

    All those complaining are showing THEIR inability to see life through the eyes of older people.

    So pud off hate mongers --- Pam included.

    Posted by: Walter | Jan 28, 2010 9:23:31 AM

  5. Thank you Walter. I'm glad someone understands what Chris was trying to say.

    You know how people are always saying "Why can't we talk about race? Why can't we just talk about race?" Pam's comment is why. Because pointing out anything involving race seems to come up as controversial, no matter the intent.

    Chris' comment (and I was watching MSNBC when he said it) was clear -- when just two years ago everyone was wondering aloud whether America would be ready for a black president, now, it's not an issue anymore, and that's wonderful. Chris was not saying that Obama's being black and "articulate" was a stunning revelation or anything, he was simply pointing out how far we as a nation have come when it's now simply taken for granted that the president of the United States is black.

    If he said it awkwardly (and he admitted to as much), well then I guess he's guilty of that, but he was simply talking about race in an unguarded way, the way we're always hearing we should be talking about it.

    Posted by: gc | Jan 28, 2010 9:39:51 AM

  6. And I didn't even see Chris' comments on Rachel Maddow's show before I posted my comment. He basically said exactly what I did.

    Posted by: gc | Jan 28, 2010 9:47:03 AM

  7. It's interesting that the President's color is used repeatedly by folks on THIS VERY SITE to bash what many perceive as his inaction on LGBT issues.

    Yet when Matthews mentions it -- yes, in an awkward and unnecessary way -- he is taken down.

    So lets get this straight. Gay people can refer to Obama's race as proof he "owes" us something. With little regard for its implications. But Matthew's cant!

    Seems odd to me.

    Posted by: David Kaufman | Jan 28, 2010 9:53:45 AM

  8. The worst insult I ever received was when a friend of mine said something derogatory about Blacks and when I objected and pointed out that I was Black she said, "but Derek, we don't think of you as Black."

    Well, thank you very kindly for admitting me into the big house.

    Matthews statement ,whether he meant it that way or not, sounded a lot like what I was told. White people have tounderstand that they can say some really stupid shit and then sit there and say, "what did I say?", all they want and but doesn't give them a pass.

    Btw, this is so much worse than what Harry Reid said and yet the Libs are rushing to this guys defense. He and Keith-O are bloviators of the highest order and somehow manage to always get a pass from the left (I am a lefty by the way) no matter what crap they spew.

    Posted by: DEREK WASHINGTON | Jan 28, 2010 9:59:25 AM

  9. Mathews is still on the air? Now that the hour is over, he can realize yes, Obama is part black.
    Meanwhile, if Obama is gonna talk to Congress about repealling DADT, why did the White House ask them to cancel their hearings this week on that very topic?

    Posted by: glennmcgahee | Jan 28, 2010 10:30:02 AM

  10. I agree with Derek and some of GC's comments. We can have a conversation about race in this country, but that also means calling people on the carpet when they say something ignorant.

    I get what Matthews was trying to say. He was saying Obama's race is not an issue as it was perceived to be during the campaign. But it smacks to a lot of Blacks as ignorant. It sounds like some version of what many of us minorities have heard all our lives: "But you're not like the rest of them." Yes, we are so much more than our skin color (just as we gays are more than our sexuality), and whatever allusions that holds for you.

    I'm not going to condemn Matthew for his comments. But we can use it as a teachable moment.

    Posted by: JTlvr | Jan 28, 2010 10:48:49 AM

  11. Matthews is Bostonian Irish--almost as white as one can be.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 28, 2010 10:55:01 AM

  12. Chris Matthews, aka Tweety, is a first-class, Grade-A ASSHOLE. I cringed when he made his comments about the President and I just sat there amazed that this guy is even on the air. Matthews is a dick. What in the hell was Chris Matthews thinking? Obviously, not much. Anybody who thinks that Matthews is "kind of cool" just isn't paying attention. As a card-carrying Liberal Democrat, I think it's safe to say that if a conservative commentator or a republicon politician had said what either Matthews or Reid had said, holy hell would have broken out. Instead, we get half-assed apologetics and waffling. It's damned disgusting. The person I saw give the State of the Union last night was the President of the United States, a young, forceful, eloquent and vibrant man whose best days in office are yet to come. Please, somebody shove a tampon down Matthews' throat. Then, take him out and shoot him. Put him out of his misery and ours.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jan 28, 2010 11:07:43 AM

  13. Yeah, I've gotten plenty of the "you're not really black" comments in my lifetime from black and white, gay and straight people alike. And, like Derek, people have felt comfortable to say some really bigoted things about black people to my face (mind you the coding of statements like that is really more classism than racism, although racism is a pretty strong component to it).

    It seems as if folks can't get it through their thick skulls that black people are not monolithic.

    For example, nowadays when a black person tells me that I talk like I'm white, I tell them, "I don't talk like I'm white, I talk like my mother." And that's the god honest truth.

    To Matthews, I would simply say that sweetie, not all of us colored folk speak in a Negro dialect.

    My mother STILL teases me that I never really learned Ebonics until I was grown (it was for survival purposes at one time, and I can't keep that facade up for very long either).

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Jan 28, 2010 12:31:32 PM

  14. I meant to say "UNDERNEATH the coding of statements..."

    And, mind you, I've been known to go off on some pretty serious tirades about ghetto folks myself, so I'm not exactly innocent in that regard either, to be perfectly honest.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Jan 28, 2010 12:33:42 PM

  15. I thought he looked a little orange from the wrong shade of make-up they were using.

    Posted by: Name: | Jan 28, 2010 12:53:45 PM

  16. I can't believe how perfectly CHI nailed it on all counts!

    I thought he needed to hire a makeup person who knew how to work on Black skin too, btw.

    Posted by: DEREK WASHINGTON | Jan 28, 2010 1:45:31 PM

  17. Well what's speaking white?????? Because folks that live in tralier parks don't talk proper. And that's the word PROPER ENGLISH!

    And Chris Matthews js=ust proves like alot of things that now that a NON-WHITE is POTUS the level of respect is lost.

    We're NOT post racial people!

    Posted by: Momma JuJudine | Jan 28, 2010 6:11:32 PM

  18. Chirs Matthews clarifying the clarification: I really blew it with the whole "I forgot he was black" thing, but that Michelle...can't forget she's black -- baby got back!--sorry, I mean large protruding buttocks? no, no...a phat ass! that's it right?

    MSNBC producers: *mortified w/huge sighs* whatever Chris, we're all post-racial now...

    Posted by: saltwiththatfootsir | Feb 1, 2010 12:29:20 PM

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