Is It Really That Serious? Obama vs. “President” Obama

I'm President BITCHES!!!


Over the last week or so, I kind of got off board with Michael Baisden.  I usually find myself driving around metro Atlanta sometime between 12:30 and sometime shortly after 3pm.  As a result, that means I get to hear the bastion of mediocrity that is Warren Ballentine.  

He has his mother come on his show.

**shakes my head**

And he loves us with the love of Jesus Christ–because that’s what he believes.

Lawwwwd…I’m not even going to go there tonight, I’m going to save all of that another post, but you all already know where I stand on those issues.

But, aside from Al Sharpton having on the ridiculousness that E. Bernard Jordan on, Al’s show is usually a blessing to my day.  I never really held Michael Baisden to the same standard as I did Sharpton and Ballentine, but I did begin to question this push that he, and others seemed to start about referring to Obama explicitly as “President Obama.”  

car_radioI was headed up GA 400 the first time I heard this, and I turned my radio up to make sure I heard the discourse between Baisden and George Wilborn.  In the short time frame, I heard callers call in to express their utter disgust for white media anchors and hosts referring to Obama as simply that, and not putting the handle on “President.”

As if, you all don’t know where I stand on this issue, let’s back this train into the station and do a little historical criticism.

It has been standard in the black community to place titles, or “handles” as the old folk say, when referring to adults, or people who have certain traditions.  This is particularly true when various members of the black community received their medical degree, it was necessary to refer to them as “Doctor” and most certainly to the men of the cloth as “Reverend.”  Adding a “Mr.” or “Miss” or “Mrs.” to the beginning of a name was just a given and didn’t require being taught.  Even for the less formal names of people, it was taught in the black community, even by my parents to add an “Aunt” so-and-so to a name for close female friends of my mother, or for older relatives a “cousin” was added for me.  Still to this day, I hold to these titles I associated from my childhood.

This is not necessarily true for white folk.

My mother encountered a connundrum, which I hopefully won’t have with my kids–she really didn’t want me attaching the same titles to older white adults, given that they weren’t just older people who had flat out earned it.  As a result, everyone I encountered got the title of “Mr.” or “Mrs.”  I think it stemmed from my mother not wanting to be referred to by her first name by little white kids.  Perhaps it reminded her too much of the old “mammy” days where the white kids weren’t forced to acknowledge the eldership of the maids and other house servants.

Big Man over at Raving Black Lunatic brought this situation to light centering on the letter left by the Bush twins to the two youngest inhabitants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. Sasha and Malia Obama.  The twins mentioned the ushers’ names of “Buddy, Ramsey and ‘Smiley'”

1900s_sm_coon_coon_coonOkay, yes, my mind immediately went to “Coons-R-Us” with headquarters not far from Crawford, Texas where you can “Pick a nigger, any nigger you like and if we don’t have it we’ll ship it to you.”

I mean, with the name “Smiley” you wonder if he was specially ordered for the occassion.

Granted blacks have been working in the White House for some time now, and have always been there, I think it’s an interesting juxtaposition between how some blacks have taken offense to “Ramsey” while having trashed Bush in every possible over the last four years.  Now, magically we believe in titles again.  

Honestly, blacks perpetuate and participate in double standards when it works to our collective advantage.  I’ve commented on other blogs and somehow that argument doesn’t seem to get any traction.  But the moment the specter of white privilege rears it’s ugly head blacks are willing to jump on the bandwagon.  I’m not at all asking for anyone to back down from calling out white privilege when and where it exists, but I do ask one to be fair about the situation.  In all fairness, blacks have been referring to the 43rd president, one time selected, next time elected president of the United States by his last name for the last four years without batting an eye.  Not to mention finding every possible joke to make about the name.

Here comes Barack–all of a sudden blacks are ready to start email and letter campaigns to FoxNews and CNN to enforce that they call him “President Obama.”

All I have for that argument is a big fat “FALL BACK!”

Seriously, in the midst of all the problems that are facing not just black Americans, but Americans in general, are we seriously giving this mediocre argument attention?!!?!  I’d much rather hear black Americans spend time asking the critical issues to Obama such as what is he really going to do with the prisoners from Guantanamo Bay? Or ask just when are we going to begin to see the effects of his green energy plan? Or why in the hell Obama fashioned himself like Abraham Lincoln invoking the memory of “a house divided [over slavery]” as opposed to Franklin D. Roosevelt who in his inaugural address said 

Primarily this [Great Depression] is because rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men. True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence….The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

Okay, I got back on my own campaign against anti-intellectualism soapbox again, but whatever.  Are we really having this discussion about names and what to call “the help” or what to call the current president?  Honestly people, Obama’s, if I can use colorful language, sh!ttin’ on folks because whether you call him “Obama” or “Mr. Obama” or “President Obama” he’s still the official President of these sometimes United States of America.

I guess you’re wondering that if it wasn’t such a big issue, then why did I write a blog about it?  Well, to answer that, I did so because I felt a need to bring it to the attention of my readers that that particular question is moot.  Also, the age old soapbox of mine that we have a responsibility to be intelligent and raise questions.

Did you ever put “President” in front of Bush’s name?  Have you ever called Obama simply, Barack or Obama? Do you feel I went overboard on this one or do you agree with me on this one?  Am I the only one who thinks Al Sharpton is a bit out there with E. Bernard Jordan coming onto the show? 

Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL

23 thoughts on “Is It Really That Serious? Obama vs. “President” Obama

  1. Truthfully and respectfully we should be calling him President Obama. I think its fine to call him Obama because I feel like most people in casual conversations about current events will say Clinton, Obama, Reagan etc. I do find it disrespectful though to call him by his first name. Unless you know the man personally he should be Mr. President, President Obama and the last I would use is Obama.

    Are you going to far…nah, just stating your opinion.

  2. Uppity, I see the point you’re tryin to make, I don’t agree, but I see your point. The thing that weakens your position is using gw as our example.

    Yea, we all called the 43rd president gw or bush, and rightfully so. He did not deserved the title of president. Bush was not presidential in stature, intellect or comportment. He is /was just a regular george. President Obama is a welcome change from affirmative action george.

  3. @imhotep

    Awww come on bruh. At least in 2004 he won uncontested. I think it’s hypocritical and unfair and full of Negro double standards if we treat W. like that.

    Okay, personally I’ve never given him the same face-type treatment I give all other nominal proper nouns on my blog, but he was still acting president for the last 8 years. By one refusing to call him “President” Bush gives one the right to not give Obama the same privilege. I think you weaken your own argument by saying “we all called the 43 president gw or bush, and rightfully so.”

  4. Uppity,
    I remember being in 8th grade being reamed out by a teacher for not putting the word “President” in front of Reagan. “He’s the PRESIDENT!” Mr. I-Can’t-Even-Remember-His-Name said to me in a huff.

    I never, ever forgot that.

    Before you ask, yes, I grew up in predominately White suburb (Westchester County, NY) and yes this teacher was no doubt a George Will-wanna-be but I admit I was truly disturbed when I watched This Week on ABC and heard the real George Will refer to our president as simply “Obama” as in “Obama says…” Not right. He never called W, “W” he called him the President or President Bush.

    Now does this rise to the level of a letter campaign. Not for me. I think we spend too much time protesting when we should spend our energy in areas of proactive community development.

  5. Uppity, 2004 was uncontested? Seems to me it came down to Ohio, and some dubious ballot counting took place to put Bush over the top.

    I have very little reverence for the office of the presidency, and zero tolerance for incompetence in high office. I can never bring myself to call village idiot george, Mr. Presi…. can’t do it. Maybe it’s a double standard, with BHO becoming the first Black president, he’ll always be Mr. President!

    We agree one thing, George was “acting” president.

    1. @ Imhotep

      Well, it still ranks as uncontested compared to the current Minnesota U.S. senatorial race and to the 2000 race. If John Kerry had made the move on Ohio to do what Gore did with Florida then I would have called it a contested race. But, I think one’s understanding that there is a double standard gives me some hope–most people don’t want to acknowledge that.

  6. He is the President of The United States need I say more! If you can give an idiot respect enough to be called Mr. President for 8 years you must give this man his respect. At least he was elected your president. Respect must start somewhere if this attitude is prepetuated the vale that has continued to make people think America is free and fair will continue to fall over the eyes of all Americans. “We the people” are tired of your treatment of our issues, while the little blonde hired blue eyed girl goes missing and every one is so upset by the event gets national media attention you’ll notice when you see them pan over the angry mob outside of the parents house “We the people” are not there. There is no excuse.

  7. President Obama, Obama, even Senator Obama reflects the man’s accomplishments of a common “Mr.Obama”. It is offensive! I’m 43 years old and even though the civil rights law had passed, I was turned away from a public restroom (gas station) at the age of 13. Even today, if in the right (or should I say, wrong), place, people are STILL turned away because of the color of their skin. You don’t believe me? Go to some out-of-the-way town in the deep south. They have no problem telling you what color you are and where you place is. President Obama, thank you very much! Even if you don’t respect the man, respect the office!

    1. @Denise

      To each her or his own. I’m just not convinced that it was as big a deal as we have made it out to be. I think there are times when you can tell if someone’s doing it jsut as a matter of course, or they’re doing it on purpose.

  8. No, it’s much more than that. What about 100 years from now when all of us who read these words are dead and gone. I don’t want my grand children and great grand children to read about the “First black man to win the majority of votes in a U.S. election, Mr. Obama”. I want them to read about “Senator Obama, the first black man elected President of the United States of America, President Obama”. This may not be important to you today, but believe me, it will be important to generations to come! To tell you the truth and I mean to disrespect, but you sound like a white instigator, or a very young black person who has never stood up for any SINGLE thing in his short lifetime. Which is it?

  9. Okay, Uppity–now you’re reaching, lol.

    With all due respect, this is one of those instances where we take that “bigger fish to fry” argument a little too far. Um, we can “multitask” & address this one–especially since it’s an open & shut case. He is PRESIDENT OBAMA, plain & simple. There hasn’t even been a question of calling any former presidents “Mr.” Even if it’s not a black/white issue, it’s a simple matter of respect. He’s way more accomplished than any president’s been in a long time, black or white–so why can’t he even get that?

  10. You mention that blacks called the 43rd president simply “Bush” and you are correct. but the MEDIA called “the President” ALL THE TIME. Now all of the sudden they almost insist on calling our new predisent Mr. Obama…why the sudden change? Its because it is one way of showing disrespect and not placing an African American on the same level as a caucasian, thats why!

  11. I just think that if you can say Mr. Obama you should be able to switch his title from Mr. to President because that is who he is right now.

    Very much like we say Dr. …, Sir … or Queen …

  12. Please notice that Ex-governor, Sarah Palin (the current ‘star’ of the GOP)and her supporters along with the FOX entertainment network rarely say ‘President Obama’ and in so doing refuse to respect the office of the POTUS to the detriment of this democratic republic.

  13. I don’t mind plain “Obama,” but “Mr. Obama” gets my panties in a twist. I just don’t recall Bush being called “Mr. Bush.”

      1. I only recall Mr. being invoked when followed by president. It was always Mr. President. This isnt a huge issue in the physical scheme of things but it is a serious wave in continued psychological warfare. Its a thing whose importance deserves action and visible protest not discussion.
        i am glad however that i found this blog.

  14. I think we are taking it too far, although I think that political correctness has gone a little too far in every aspect of our society. Respect should be given to everyone, regardless of their job or title, however unless something is being said to be purposely disrepectful, I think we all just need to relax. There are much more important issues out there.

    I do think that it is appropriate and correct to refer to our president as President or Mr. President but I feel that this should be done for all presidents, former and future. I also do not think that President Obama is sitting in his office wasting his time on it.

    There is definitely a double standard here. Why is this such a big deal? When Bush was referred to as Bush or GW, why was there was no debate or issue? The President is the one who puts himself out there and tries to be make us feel as though he is relatable. Maybe him appearing on talk shows and on SNL make people feel as though they know him or as though he isn’t this untouchable figure. Maybe that is why people just call him Obama as though it is someone they know.

    Feel as you wish on whether Obama or Mr. Obama are disrespectful but don’t say he deserves to be referred to as Presidnet because he is the first black president. Say he is deserving because he is the President, plain and simple.

    For those of you who have said that Bush did not earn the respect of being called President, you are discrediting your entire argument as you are then saying that you have a right to that opinion but that if others feel the same way about President Obama, that they are disrespectful and incorrect.

    “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can’t just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the “land of the free”. – The American President (Michael Douglas)

  15. We know!
    A few short years ago (71) I was educated to what a majority of whites were taught about blacks. They were taught by their parents that blacks were no more than advanced Primates. If their parents did not teach them then their friends and friend parents would teach them. In 1959 the governor of my state made a speech before a planned trip to South Africa and said that no Black Man anywhere had the intelligence to run a country. Needless to say he had to cancel that trip. I am still alive; people that taught and were taught this concept are still alive. I have learned one other fact. What you are taught at the beginning of your life remains with you until you die. You can adjust you reactions for survival but you cannot forget what you know in your heart. This concept is verified by another friend of mine. He was a care giver in a mental institution. He observed that white patients that did not know their name, their children name or anyone else in their family; could identify that he was black and curse him all day every day. So when it comes to white verses black there will always be a double standard issue.

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