Chris Matthews Says He 'Forgot' Obama Was Black

Thursday, January 28, 2010

President Obama's State of the Union Address last night prompted a wide range of comments on style and policy.  But maybe the most surprising came from MSNBC Chris Matthews, who said he "forgot that he was black tonight for an hour." We ask Morehouse College professor David Wall Rice.

David Wall Rice is assistant professor in department of psychology at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

Guests:

David Wall Rice

Produced by:

Marine Olivesi

Comments [16]

DavidJW

Chris Matthews is okay is my book, his comment simply solidifies the fact that White America are working towards not looking at individuals based on the color of their skin. Come on people, we're making progress...

Jan. 29 2010 10:27 AM
Austin

Is all the controversy over Mr. Matthews being a white man saying that, "I forgot that he was black tonight for an hour" or is it over the comment alone?  I feel like the fact that Mr. Matthews is white, only gives individuals more of a reason to want to blow it out of proportion.  I understand how his words can be taken out of context, however, I do not think he was being insulting by his comment.

Jan. 28 2010 11:43 PM
Willie Armstead

I am in different about Chris Matthews statement because I really don't believe that he meant any derogatory meanings behind it. In fact I believe he was trying to compliment President Obama, but because of the color of Matthews skin I feel it puts a certain limitation on things he could say simply because there are people in America especially that will always look at certain aspects rather than trying to fully understand what was said.

Jan. 28 2010 04:39 PM
Chris Verner

A first impression of Matthews’ comment can easily set off a racial alarm sparking responses where one may go “What did he mean by that?” and even being interpreted as offensive. The problem lies in the ambiguity of his statement. On one hand, one may say that Matthews was being condescending implying Black inferiority in one sense or another, where he thinks Blacks are not capable of such capacities. However, on the other hand, Matthews is an older white male with an “older white male” perspective and the fact that he can see past Obama’s race would be majorly progressive in his regard.

Secondly, I find it sad that Matthews would automatically think of and associate African tribes and “old ethnicities” with Black Americans when we are centuries removed of such cultures. There are hardly any associations between African tribes and Black Americans today.

Lastly, I agree with Dr. David Rice’s statement of this topic being “healthy” because it allows Americans to converse and lay out openly the nuances of race that cause tension and prevent progress in this country. It allows for racial matters to be worked out and resolved openly, so that we can come together, collaborate, and coexist in order to tackle more important matters as Americans!

Jan. 28 2010 04:32 PM
Cfoote from Albany,NY

I think I like Wanda Sykes comment when she said "If Obama is a success, he will be the greatest black president of all time, if he is a failure, he will be the worst half white president of all time" I guess its all in your prespective

Jan. 28 2010 12:23 PM
Bill Shroyer from Pittsburgh, PA

I think it's pretty obvious - there are plenty of pundits who bring up race as some sort of "issue" when talking about Obama and his presidency. He could've said, "I forgot about Obama's race" or some such, I believe that's what he meant. It's like saying, "Sometimes race seems to be an issue for some people, but tonight, I didn't even think about it." Period.

Anyone who wants to turn the remark into anything more is just looking to start a fight, pure & simple.

Jan. 28 2010 12:12 PM
JoeB from USA

This comment shows Chris's deep racial bias towards blacks - because for Chris to identify with and accept Obama he needs to forget that he his black - or rather, that he has to be white. The correct attitude, IMHO, would be to recognize Obama's blackness and accept it as a fact - a fact that is not relevant but obvious nevertheless.

Jan. 28 2010 12:10 PM
bill

What would his thinking had been it he had not fotgotton he was black?

Jan. 28 2010 12:06 PM
Bram from Bellagio

He forgot for an hour that Obama is black? Let's see now. Does that imply that Obama's sincerity and intelligence is unnatural for a black? Does it mean that Obama really should never have won office that would have precluded the State of the Union address? Does it mean that whenever Obama speaks, we should remember he's black? I just don't understand what Chris was driving at so maybe he should explain everything tonight?

Jan. 28 2010 12:04 PM
nonya from in your house

he is not fully black he is biracial; white and black
; hes considered white when things go right; hes considered black when things go wrong.

you people tend to forget that the first Bi-racial president; and if people educateded themselves better they wouldnt be stereotyped; as a black male i dont care about rims and bling or doing drugs and i dont and will not have baby momas running around chasing me etc; its the media to blame such as mtv and bet stop promoting ignorance and promote education.!!!

Jan. 28 2010 12:03 PM
nonya from in your house

he is not fully black he is biracial; white and black
; hes considered white when things go right; hes considered black when things go wrong.

you people tend to forget that the first Bi-racial president; and if people educateded themselves better they wouldnt be stereotyped; as a black male i dont care about rims and bling or doing drugs and i dont and will not have baby momas running around chasing me etc; its the media to blame such as mtv and bet stop promoting ignorance and promote education.!!!

Jan. 28 2010 12:02 PM
nonya from in your house

he is not fully black he is biracial; white and black
; hes considered white when things go right; hes considered black when things go wrong.

you people tend to forget that the first Bi-racial president; and if people educateded themselves better they wouldnt be stereotyped; as a black male i dont care about rims and bling or doing drugs and i dont and will not have baby momas running around chasing me etc; its the media to blame such as mtv and bet stop promoting ignorance and promote education.!!!

Jan. 28 2010 12:02 PM
nonya from in your house

he is not fully black he is biracial; white and black
; hes considered white when things go right; hes considered black when things go wrong.

you people tend to forget that the first Bi-racial president; and if people educateded themselves better they wouldnt be stereotyped; as a black male i dont care about rims and bling or doing drugs and i dont and will not have baby momas running around chasing me etc; its the media to blame such as mtv and bet stop promoting ignorance and promote education.!!!

Jan. 28 2010 12:01 PM
Sebastian M

I believe his statement wasn't offensive, he was stating his personal opinion on something he felt, and probably what others feel who may be white, which is that our president is black. His race is what is usually view not him being a president. But he felt that he finally looked passed his color and was interested in the President, the man. Which shows a lot about his character. Maybe could have used a better choice of words to cause less of a stir.

Jan. 28 2010 11:09 AM
JMB from Morehouse College

Did WE forget that WE have an African American president? As “blacks” or “African Americans” we have not forgotten. However, it appears as if this was what Matthews was trying to articulate when he stated “I forgot he was black tonight for an hour.” This debate can go either way, because when I first came across it, I read the statement. Then when I heard the statement, Matthews didn’t come across as racist but he sounded sincere, as if he really did forget. By stating this, it does turn into a race issue. Which race is really only constructed of social and political ideology anyways. However, when he states “he’s an African American guy in front of a bunch of other white people”, it ties into ethnicity as well as nationality. By stating this, to me the issue that is up for debate is was he undermining the intelligence of blacks due towards the way Caucasians stereotype African Americans in lack of education or how we articulate. In closing, being African American I could care less but this seems as if this is a discussion Caucasians have to overcome.

Jan. 28 2010 10:25 AM
Donovan from Atlanta-GA

Chris Matthews tried to have a very complex conversation with a limited racial vocabulary. It's not the end of the world. The comment doesn't qualify him as Grand Master of the Klan but it goes to show the limited racial knowledge of the limousine liberal.

www.donovanramsey.blogspot.com

Jan. 28 2010 09:08 AM

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