(The Root) — It’s good to be white.
That’s the phrase that kept bouncing around in my head as I watched the vice presidential debate. After absorbing the horrible defeat of President Obama by Mitt Romney in the first debate, I was reminded by Dr. Blair Kelley during This Week in Blackness and The Root’s postdebate coverage of the constraints that were placed on the first black president.
There is a legitimate fear that he may be viewed as angry by those who are already predisposed to believe that about blacks in the first place — the very real reality that some people would feel uncomfortable and less willing to vote for what they perceived to be the “scary black guy.” The day before the first presidential debate, conservative media pushed a video of Obama giving a speech in 2007 that they called “angry” and filled with “class warfare.”
So the worry of seeming angry isn’t something black people are just making up. It’s a regular aspect of our lives that many nonblack folks have a hard time grasping.
Then came the vice presidential debate. Within the first 10 minutes, Vice President Joe Biden had already called something Rep. Paul Ryan said “malarkey.” I’m fairly sure that’s some sort of world record in debates. For the next 90 minutes, we watched as Uncle Joe (come on, you know he’s like that wacky uncle you like but you have no clue what he’s going to say) interrupted, laughed at and virtually put his finger in GOP vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan’s face while outwardly mocking him.
My inner Democrat took great pleasure in this, but my outer Negro shook his head at the very thought of Obama doing the very same thing. I needed to see someone have a fit on that debate stage while pointing out how ridiculous some of the Romney-Ryan claims have been, but it was a bitter sting to remember that Obama wouldn’t be able to do it in the same manner.
Republicans have called Biden rude for his reactions to Ryan, but imagine if this were the first black president laughing at his opponent. I can feel the apoplectic hand-flailing and spit-flying responses already. Fox News would devote a six-hour block — nightly — to how much of a dick the president is. The racist memes would be flying out so fast and furious, our heads would spin.
But not with Uncle Joe.