A writer for Salon.com, Rich Benjamin, wrote a piece criticizing President Obama’s Friday speech on the Travyon Martin case. Benjamin said Obama tap-danced around the issues, while Attorney General Eric Holder’s address to the NAACP was a much more passionate call to action.
In the article “Obama’s safe, overrated and airy speech,” Benjamin implies that Obama is suppressing a more aggressive core belief about racism in America, hiding his true opinion about the significance of George Zimmerman’s acquittal.
“Some of us have an Inner Child,” Benjamin wrote, “Others have an Inner N--ger. Is Holder the president’s conscience? Or his Inner N--ger?”
“Is Holder the president’s aggressive internal mind and voice — willing to speak truth to power, but unbothered with appearing like an angry black man?” he asked.
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Benjamin claimed: “The Secret Service calls the president ‘Renegade,’ his agency nickname. It seems, these days, that Holder is the real renegade. The country’s Rogue Negro. And the president’s repressed Black Id.”
After a great deal of criticism, Benjamin responded to those who were offended by his story on Saturday morning.
He said he has a lot of respect for Obama and Holder. “My autographed copy of 'Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance' is one of my most cherished possessions,” he wrote.
He said he didn’t mean to call the President the N-word.
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“To speak of a person’s ‘inner nigger’ is not to call that person a nigger,” he explained. “It is merely to wonder what aspect of that person’s outlook that person strategically covers.”
He said the article was meant to begin a meaningful discussion on how Obama sidesteps race.
“My Salon article asks to what extent the president covers his race-based thoughts, and whether Mr. Holder is a surrogate, or an active proponent, of the president’s potentially more controversial, but productive, viewpoints. Does Mr. Holder provide the president “cover” for the president to express his opinions on this volatile topic, but in softer terms?”