Tuesday, May 19, 2009

claim that barack obama's race doesn't matter

Here's one of the most extensive, bizarre white claims to racial colorblindness that I've ever heard. It's by Steven Anderson, pastor of the Faithful Word Baptist Church, in Tempe, Arizona. In case you can't watch it (or you can't take his oratorical style), I've included a transcript below the video.

Anderson has been receiving sympathy lately for his videotaped confrontation with some border patrol agents. As word of that incident spreads, attention to Anderson's deeply reactionary thinking and preaching should spread as well. Much of it is barely concealed hate speech.

His church's site says for potential members, "Don't expect anything contemporary or liberal. We are an old-fashioned, independent, fundamental, King James Bible only, separated Baptist church and not ashamed to say so."

Here's a link to the audio for another one of his sermons, on immigration. He begins by denouncing George W. Bush as a "spineless wimp" and a "flaming liberal," and then descends into "old-fashioned," unashamed racism and sexism. Anderson also has his own channel on YouTube, which includes a thirty-second clip of him kicking out some "hecklers" who object to his description of Barack Obama as the devil.

Young Pastor Anderson likes to position himself outside the bounds of "political correctness"--far to the right of it, actually. And yet, like nearly all white Americans, he basically claims below that he's anything but a "racist." And again, that he's colorblind.

Do you see other common white arguments in this sermon segment?

And I’m so sick and tired of people calling me a racist for being against Barack Obama. You know, I thought that we were past that in this country, you know what I mean? Let it go!

I love all people equally, red, yellow, black and white, they’re precious in His sight. I’ve won more black people to the Lord probably than I’ve won white people to the Lord, my friend. I love black people. I wanna see em saved, I wanna get em the Gospel. I have very close friends right now that are black, one of my best friends is black.

But you know what? I’m not gonna sit there and dwell on it, and cry about it. Let’s get over it. They’re perpetuating the hatred between the races by bringing it up all the time!

“Oh wow,” you know,”it’s the first black president!”

No he’s not, he’s white! He’s just as white as he is black, he’s half black, half white!

But yet it’s just, “He’s black! He’s black! He’s black! He’s black!”

Why not say he’s white?

I mean, if he’s half black and he’s half white, I’m gonna say he’s white. That’s the half I wanna choose. You know?

[Laughter; “Amen!”]

I’m gonna call him a white man. We got a white president coming in, my friend.

He’s white! Don’t tell me he’s black, he’s white! His mom is white! Her mom is white! Her dad is white! His parents are white! He’s a white man! Barack Obama is white, deal with it!

But if I got up and said he was black, nobody would disagree with me. And he’s half black, half white. Would somebody explain that to me?

Somebody explain to me how if you’re one-eighth black, you’re just black. You know what I mean? Even though you’re seven-eighths white. It’s true, though.

Did you know that on official documents in this country, if you are one-eighth black and seven-eighths white, you are black? It’s true!

I mean, if I were one-eighth black, I could put on official documents, if it says race, I could check “black.”

I mean, that’s racism! I mean, isn’t it—wait a minute, stop, stop for a second—isn’t it racism to say that a man who’s half black and half white is black?

Because—think about this now—that’s saying that black—like, you have to be purely white in order to be white.

Think about this, think about how racist this is. Right?

“In order to be white, you gotta be a hundred percent white, buddy. Don’t come to me and tell me you’re white unless you is a hundred percent white. And I’m gonna go into Salt Lake City with a bunch of Mormons, I gonna get into that genealogical library and prove how white I am.”

That’s what they do, that’s what those Mormons are doing in Salt Lake City. Why are they so into their family tree? They’re trying to prove how white they are. It’s the truth!

And so, according to our wicked society, if you’re half black and half white, you’re black.

Because “in order to qualify as a white man, you must be pure white. If you’re three-quarter white, you’re not white.”

What, have you been tainted with the black man’s blood?

So, I’m preaching, I wanna start a new movement in America, a movement to declare Barack Obama a white man. [laughter] Let’s accept him into the fold. You know what I mean?

I wanna shake hands with my white brother, Barack Obama, tonight.

Now, you see how stupid we are in this country? I’m supposedly a racist for being against Barack Obama. I think that anyone who’s for Barack Obama is a racist, because the only reason they’re for him is because he’s white. [laughter, “that’s right!”]

That’s the only reason anybody’s even supporting him, is because he’s white! Cuz if he was black, nobody would support him. If he was a hundred percent black, right? The only reason they like him is because he’s half white. And that’s the half they like.

See how dumb that is? This is how stupid people are, right?

“Oh, it’s all about his race!”

It has nothing to do with race! It has nothing to do with the color of his skin. And we’re supposed to get excited and rejoice because a black man became president.

He’s just as white as he is black. He’s half white and half black. And I’m supposed to jump up and down, “Yay, a black man!”

Wait, I thought race doesn’t matter! Didn’t the Bible say that He’s made all nations of the earth of one blood? I mean, isn’t the white man, and the black man, and the Native American man of the same bloodline line, according to God?

And why would I get excited? “Yes, a white man won! Yes, a black man won! Yes, a Chinese man won!”

No, woe unto us that a wicked man won, whatever the color of his skin.

It’s ridiculous.

Now let’s go back to the Bible . . .

h/t: swpd reader C D, via email


  1. I contacted the secret service. No joke. Talking about the presdient melting like a snail and he'll get his and stuff. That guy is unhinged and an extreme hate monger. Check out his sermon on immigration. He's got lots more where that came from too.


  2. Amazing what finds its way into sermons, just amazing.

  3. His complete ignorance of the way the "one drop rule" was historically used as a tool of oppression is really the icing on this racist-idiot cake. He's trying to spin it as if it's something black people came up with as some kind of ridiculous conspiracy to steal population percentages from the whites.

    It's truly pathetic that he undoubtedly believes everything he's spouting, and worse still, he thinks he's some kind of creative genius for coming up with it.

  4. Yeah, ridiculous...1st of all the president self-identifies as black, and secondly, how does being bi-racial preclude him from being black? I can't even think of anything else to say...

  5. I definitely do not accept the pastor's conditions or conclusions. The sermon expresses skepticism of dominant narratives about race, including and especially the one of "colorblind" liberal whiteness that candidate Obama patronized (the "United" States of America, anyone?) as he campaigned.

    How black is Barack Obama? Is self identification the nudge that pushes him beyond a threshold? Is race about bodily fluids, genetics, ancestry, nationality, or what? Why do we need to agree on Barack Obama's race and religion? These are the simpleminded ways white Americans think about race, but none of the facts seem to make sense.

    Talk about power. The President of the United States with his two or three wars, millions of prisoners, arms customers, etc., is at the top of white power elite that must be challenged with more than Obama's census classification. I do agree with the pastor that discussions of Barack Obama's race are often very absurd. Neurotic even.

  6. Horribly ignorant of the one drop rule - which Black Americans did not concoct in order to get some sort of advantage. It was used AGAINST them. Created by white Americans.

    If you're going to be racist, at least don't be an idiot, you know? But this pastor seems to be both.

  7. His complete ignorance of the way the "one drop rule" was historically used as a tool of oppression is really the icing on this racist-idiot cake. He's trying to spin it as if it's something black people came up with as some kind of ridiculous conspiracy to steal population percentages from the whites.

    It's truly pathetic that he undoubtedly believes everything he's spouting, and worse still, he thinks he's some kind of creative genius for coming up with it.
    Yes! that arguement is annoying.

  8. What he said wasn't surprising to me because I have heard those same arguments from biracial people on youtube. There are many biracial people who don't want to be considered black they want to be considered biracial. The majority of them blame black people for not being able to claim there whiteness. If they want to be considered biracial, and not black that's fine but I think they are directing too much of their anger towards black people.

  9. Weird laughter from his congregation. Lots of white solidarity being expressed there.

    This guy's views might strike most white americans as a hot mess, but he basically thinks here like a lot of them do. Despite the obnoxious delivery.

  10. I've seen this argument in the comments section of the online version of my hometown paper for any and every article even marginally related to President Obama. I have a theory. Maybe it's wacky, but here goes. There are some White people that cannot accept the reality of a Black president. And these same White people, who never though twice about the race of Halle Berry, or Lenny Kravitz, or Bob Marley, or Alicia Keys, or Derek Jeter, are quick to point out President Obama's "Whiteness" and dismiss his "Blackness". I refer to these other celebrities because they have a similar racial background as President Obama, but no one in the White community is in a rush to claim them or reject their Blackness (or encourage society as a whole to do so). I think the idea of a Black president is so jarring to them that they say, "Hey, he's not alllll Black. There's part of him that's like US. Let's highlight THAT."

    It reminds me of a story. On Inauguration Day, we had all of the televisions tuned to the broadcasts of the ceremonies. I walked out into a common area to watch with co-workers and clients. An older White man and his middle aged daughter were watching. The man said to me, "Do you know how proud his mother is?" I replied, "I'm sure she would be." He said, "She's not there with the other ones. She doesn't want the publicity." I said, "I'm pretty sure his mother passed away years ago. I think any mother would proudly attend their son's inauguration as President of the United States." The man continued to insist that his mother was alive and well, but was shunning the spotlight. His daughter agreed with him, and looked at me in a manner that I can only describe as pitying.

    I relay this story because I think it illustrates how much some White people want to establish a race-based connection with our president.

    I'm signing in as "anonymous", but my name is Stephanie. (Macon, I sent you the email about neutral avatars.)

  11. Hi!
    I don't really understand your anger.
    I mean from a non-racist viewpoint the guy is right.
    If someone is half-white and half-black, then why do they only call him black?
    Why shouldn't white people be allowed to identify as well as black people with Obama? What's so bad about that? Black people identify 100%, well then why shouldn't white people be able to say he's one of us too?
    That way he's one of everyone.
    I mean this guy might be a racist in other sermons but this is correct I think.

  12. The problem is Fiona, they only claim bi-racial people when it's convenient. Historically, there have been many black americans with a lot of white blood that white people would never claim, i.e. Malcolm X, Bob Marley, etc. You have to tell me what are these rules (who you claim and who you don't). While whiteness has a history of exclusion, black americans have a history of inclusion. We didn't have the luxury of abandoning children in someone else's community so we raise all mixtures without impunity and in exchange they become part of the black community.

    Also, brown people have a common history in the country. When outsiders come here they adapt quickly. When that cab passes you are you going to hold up a sign saying that you're only 1/4 black or 1/2 black so you should really be picked up? When you go on a job interview and the person doing the hiring is disapointed because you have a white sounding name and voice but brown skin, are you going to tell them how you are really more white than black, whatever that means?

    So because Barack is brown he is treated like a brown person is treated in America whether that place is New York or Arkansas.

    Do you understand now?

  13. @Fiona:

    Obama identifies himself as black, so to claim instead that he's white is negating his right to his own identity. Historically, white male people have gotten to define who is and is not anything (whether that's what it means to be a particular race, or a particular sex, or a particular sexuality) so to continue to do this is very offensive. That was the origin of the "one drop rule" - it was defined by white males that if you had even a single drop of Negro blood in you (for example, if one of your great-great-great grandparents was black), then you were a Negro and subject to the same racist treatment as other more visibly black people. This was used against black people as a tool of oppression and segregation.

    So it's offensive that:
    1. This preacher is completely ignorant of that history and is trying to pretend that the "one drop rule" is something that black people have come up with as some conspiracy to fraudulently "claim" people as being black. And,
    2. that he is continuing to claim the right and privilege to define Obama as he (the preacher) sees fit, even though Obama defines himself as black and that should be the beginning and end of it.

    (If I screwed up anywhere in here and said something asshatted or incorrect, please let me know.)

  14. What a stupid person. This type of ignorance is criminal.

  15. Yes the service was offensive, but it did raise some questions about how people of mixed race, or mixed races (more then two) are identified, and who gets designated as black, white, asian, latino etc. It is interesting to me that whether or not a person is told to identify primarily with their non-white ancestors or with their white ones tends to be based solely on how people who don't know them interpret their appearance, and add or subtract cultural signifiers as they see fit. Biracial and Multiracial people identifying themselves as such seems to me to be empowering (because they are taking control of their identity, rather then allowing one to be imposed), and a step towards smashing the idea that race is a binary. Why should it be seen as wrong for the daughter of a latino man and a french and native woman to identify as Hispanic, or for the kids of a Philippino woman and a mixed-white and black man to identify primarily with the Judiasm brought into the family by a white granny. Or someone who is black and native to identify as native, or someone who is black and white and asian to identify as black, even if he or she is more readily typed as asian by others. Who gets counted as what? Whose job is it to say?

    Because Obama self-identifies as black, the discussion about "what he is" is a little, I guess irrelevant. But since many posters brought it up, I want to know why its wrong for white people to look at his mom/her family, and identify with him based on commonalities of upbringing? Or just in general. Isn't people saying "I see some of myself in a person who doesn't look like me, and I admire that person greatly" a positive step towards deconstructing racism?

    Sorry to veer away from the main point.

  16. This is scary. I live in Tempe, Az and to know that this is happening in my backyard is crazy. As much as people want to say it's a non issue it is. The question is what do you do about it?

    I wonder if I should start attending that church. I wonder....

  17. what part exactly do you think to be 'one of the most extensive, bizarre white claims to racial colorblindness that I've ever heard.'

    back then you wrote "overlook Barack Obama's whiteness":


  18. Hi jw(be), did you suddenly decide to walk over to my site for a "white 'anti-racist'" cookie?

    If so, sorry to disappoint you, but I've run out! I have too many other " white 'anti-racists' " passing them out to each other here, celebrating and telling each other "how good" we are.


  19. means you can't answer the question

  20. Interesting Point Jules but do you have to see someone that looks like you in one's family in order to identify with them?

    Don't white woman identify with Oprah? And as far I as I can tell neither her upbringing nor her racial makeup has anything to do with it.

    I identify with a lot of white people maybe because there are a lot more of them on TV and therefore I can wade through the lot and find someone I have something in common with as opposed to black actors/actresses (I know superficial) because there are so few, I either do or I don't. Thank god for the likes of Zoe Saldana and Kerry Washington or else I would be left with Vivica A. Fox (not my cup of tea).

  21. You know it's amazing how much racism there is in every race and yet,if any particular racist is talking they always clain on how it's the others are racist.Maybe it's time instead of having to speak about one own's race or a whole other race, lets all concentrate on something we can control, ourselves.I mean honestly if we just blame each other all the time,we'll always defend ourselves, thats all thats going on here. I think it's funny, how a lot of people point out the "one drop" rule, blamimg white people as a whole. Did you ever think about not being so vague? There were, and are a lot of white people that were against that even at the time.Yet we're talikng like collectively all white people got together with the same exact agenda and decided on something.Comon sense suggest it was something to do with racism, but not all white people had something to do with it.That would be the same as putting all black people under one stereo type, I know it happens, but its by certain, people not an entire race, lots of white people helped in every event trying to make this country equal. Lets not forget that people, and I know it's not all black people that don't realize this, it's just some of them on this page.It's also funny how people can judge me before I open my mouth and tell me that I'm racist, because I'm white and I oppress other races, when half of them don't even know that I am half Mexican. I mean, do you see how stupid we're being people? Why don't we just get rid of things like having to select what race we are on forms? What is it acctually for anyway? There are, and if not, there soon will be enough people in government positions of every race to make changes. So if everyone complaining thinks the system is unfair, try to get in a position to change it like Obama did,because just hating one another only breeds more hate.Also of (all) white people are trying to justify Obama being black because, they didn't want him ellected, then how did he get elected in the first place? Last time I checked The us was about 46% white and 13% black, so almost half the votes were white, and if you watched the election, he one by a landslide.So people, just live for yourselves, don't try to talk for your entire race, or another race. I mean, I think this race thing is stupid to begin with. To some people I'm not white enough to be white, and I'm not Mexican enough to be a Mexican.People grow up (White, Black, and everyone) the civil war is over.

  22. Moviegirl, I wasn't intending to suggest that you have to look like a member of someone's family/look like them (?) in order to identify with them. I was trying (and failing, apparently) to ask why it was bad/wrong for white voters to identify with Obama's family, since earlier comments seemed to suggest that there was something wrong or appropriation-ist about white voters identifying with Obama, and racist as well if they were doing so because they saw parallels to their own family/experience. Seeing the similarities between ones own family and the family of someone who is ostensibly "other" (going from the premise that all white voters initially saw Obama as an "other) seems to me one possible short route to de-otherizing the way one views at that person. Your point about not needing to look like the people one admires is a more concise version of what I was trying to say. I don't have much to say about Oprah, but someone thought racism might be a factor in her losing votes after endorsing Obama, which seems to me like it was probably a result of her having an audience containing a large number of conservatives due to the nigh-Rick Warrenesque feel good consumerism that she promotes, and her ability to stay away from hot button political topics.

    At the anonymous half-mexican commenter near the bottom of the page... its interesting that we talk about the one drop rule as it applies to the "black white binary" (of todays top post) while ignoring the many ways other types of multi and bi racialism play out, particularly when it comes to people (like you and I) who are half/part Hispanic, and also (in a different way) with people who have some Asian background, which I believe is what I was trying to get at in my waaay too long comment when I questioned why it was auto-bad to point out that Obama is also white, and auto-good to assume he's black, especially since other posts have touched on why doing so reflects "culturally engrained" white supremacist thought, and makes assumptions about the cultural affinities of an individual.

  23. Hey Jules,
    I actually don't mind when people look for themselves in others families, I just wish they would do it more often and with people where the connection is a little less obvious. That is normally my gripe.

  24. To other anonymous: Noone said it was ALL white people and no damn DUH there were white people during slavery days,the civil rights movement,and now who have tried and are trying to change things but there are MANY more who want things 'business as usual' and your whole 'this race thing is just silly' yeah tell THAT shit to Oscar Grant,Amadou Diallo,James Byrd,Malice Green,Kathryn Johnston,Brandon Mcllendand,etc. and see if they agree with you. Just because YOU find it 'silly' doesn't mean it isn't a verrrrry REAL and present predicament in a lot of people's lives and what pray tell in the F$$K does this have to do with the Civil War?!! If you mean that stuff is 'in the past' I suggest you think about the above names mentioned and see if THEY would say that!

  25. You all are a bunch of idiots.

    Continue viewing this issue how the government and society wants you to, and pretty soon all of you fools will be viewing life only the way the government and society allows you to.

  26. Well, as I already said in another post on this blog, as far as I am concerned Obama is 50% Black and 50% White and to me that makes him mixed.

    By the way, I agree with Fiona's comments.

  27. Beauty...

    You did another tendency: to label accordingly to how YOU feel, not what the person feels, as though YOU are the authority.

    I'm not attacking you. But, I've dealt with this both directly and indirectly. It's annoying b/c if I state what I am, that's the end of it. I don't need anyone to tell me who I am or what group I should identify with. It's not your place.

    Does it matter what you see him as? He's stated what he considers himself to be. That's that. Your need to label him something should be nil.

    *Not attacking you. I'm weary of this tendency is all


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