Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza rips into Obama for using the term 'house nigger'

Posted by Chris Haire on Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 4:35 PM

I have not seen Dinesh D'Souza's "Obama 2016." It's not because of idealogical reasons. I may be a diehard Dem, but I love me some propaganda-porn. The wing-smuttier the better. And from what I hear, D'Souza's diatribe is chock full of bat-scat crazy. Like right up there with 2Girls1Ballot Box, Debbie Does the DNC, and Mitt Romney's Magical Mystical Underpants: The XXX Parody. It's just that I've been sick. And so I've missed out on the surprise blockbuster of the season.

Today, however, I got my first taste of D'Souza's particular brand of snake-oil partisan salesmanship, thanks to an op-ed the filmmaker penned for Fox News. In it, D'Souza bemoans the fact that no one nowhere has ever bothered to criticize President Barack Obama for using the N-word in his much celebrated memoir, "Dreams of My Father." Gasp.

D'Souza writes:

In one of the most remarkable passages in Barack Obama's "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance," he uses the terms "collaborator," "Uncle Tom," and "House nigger" to describe someone he detests. That someone, it turns out, is his own grandfather! We have a striking phenomenon here: the first African American president using the N-word, and to refer to his own grandfather! Ordinarily this would be occasion for massive comment and analysis, but if there has been any, I am not aware of it.

So what could possibly cause the president to describe his own grandfather in this appalling way? The answer, it turns out, provides an important insight into Obama’s character. The president is not the healer and unifier that he said he was four years ago. Rather, he views people who disagree with him—including members of his own family—in terms of ideological kinship or betrayal. And by Obama’s standard, even his own grandfather is an ideological sellout deserving of insults and abuse.

Of course, what D'Souza fails to understand is that the characterization he himself presents of Barack Obama's grandfather, Onyango Obama, is a textbook definition of a "house nigger."

Now, before I get into all that, I must point out that the term "house nigger" is certainly a pejorative, but it is a radically different term with a radically different meaning than the traditional N-Word. And it all comes down to who uses the term "house nigger" and exactly what that term means to the person using it.

Whereas the N-word is normally used by racist whites to denigrate blacks, African Americans use the term "house nigger" to describe the blacks who turn their backs on their black brothers and sisters in exchange for the creature comforts provided to them by their white "masters," whether they are masters in a literal or figurative sense. And, as I earlier pointed out, that's what Onyango Obama apparently did.

For starters, he was a black manservant to a white household in British-occupied Kenya. And not only did he enjoy many of the benefits of living under the same roof as the white imperialists where he waited on them hand and foot — D'Souza points out Onyango "performed his duties as personal boy with admirable diligence" in a quote from one of his employers — he came to view them as superiors to Africans.

D'Souza writes:

[Onyango] began to ponder the question of how the British, from their tiny island, were able to conquer so much of the globe. Here I must quote Sarah Obama on her husband: "He respected the white man for his power, for his machines and weapons and the way he organized his life. He would say that the white man was always improving himself, whereas the African was suspicious of anything new..."

Finally, Onyango unfavorably contrasted African organization with Western organization. “How can the African defeat the white man,” Onyango would tell his son Barack Sr., “when he cannot even make his own bicycle?” In Onyango's words, "The white man alone is like an ant. He can be easily crushed. But like an ant, the white man works together. His nation, his business—these things are more important to him than himself....Black men are not like this. Even the most foolish black man thinks he knows better than the white man. That is why the black man will always lose."

While Obama was shocked to learn that his grandfather had such an ill opinion of his fellow Africans — and one would assume blacks in general — D'Souza believes the president has no reason to be so alarmed, proclaiming that "from Obama's point of view, Onyango's unforgivable heresy was not merely his admiration of the British, but how this man contemplated the differences between Western and African ways." Clearly, D'Souza fails to understand — or perhaps he simply ignores — the core of what angered Obama and why the president was correct to denounce his grandfather as a "house nigger."

The question of course is why does D'Souza do so? Does he believe, like Onyango Obama, that blacks are too stupid to build their own things like bicycles? Does the filmmaker believe that blacks are too short-sighted and greedy to work together for the common good, as Onyango did? Does he believe that blacks are incapable of running successful businesses and forming nations, as Obama's grandfather believed?

These are questions that only D'Souza can answer, but to me, the answers are pretty clear to me. And frankly, the Right would be wise to back the fuck away from D'Souza before he really lets all the world know what he thinks about black people.

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