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GOP presidential hopeful stumbles on Obama origins

Herman Cain

Not exactly a household name, Herman Cain is the former CEO of Godfather Pizza. Cain is running for President.

One might, using visual cues, think that Mr. Cain was an “African American” but Cain wouldn’t. He says that he is a “black man in America” rejecting the African label as inaccurate since his affinity is with the USA and not Africa. Eurweb reports that Cain contrasts himself with Barack Obama, describing Obama as “more of an international” who was “raised in Kenya.”

Barack Obama was never in Africa until an adult. One recalls that GOP hopeful Mike Huckabee made a similar mistake.

 

16 Responses to GOP presidential hopeful stumbles on Obama origins

  1. avatar
    The Magic M June 15, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    How is he doing in the polls anyway?

    The only time I hear his name mentioned is when a racist birther states he would vote for Cain, as if to say “See? It’s not about race when I say Obama is an illegal alien Marxist Nazi Muslim usurper!”. Because the racist part of the birthers actually believes the “liberals” would get nightmares if a black candidate runs against Obama. Because they think that somehow “stops liberals from playing the race card”. It’s just funny that the only birthers claiming this are the same who have spouted racist crap in the same thread before.

    In my country, we call this a fig leaf. “I would vote for Cain, so the stuff I just said about ‘dancing the jig’ and ‘Obama’s right place is plucking cotton’ is not really racist.” Just like the “I have black friends defense” you also always hear from racists.

  2. avatar
    Wile E. June 15, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    I hate it when a news article pulls something out of a quote to use as the headline and then doesn’t show the full quote in the article.

    Here’s a column that shows the full quote…

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-13/herman-cain-on-why-the-black-guy-is-winning-jeffrey-goldberg.html#0_undefined,0_

    “Barack Obama is more of an international,” Cain said. “I think he’s out of the mainstream and always has been. Look, he was raised in Kenya, his mother was white from Kansas and her family had an influence on him, it’s true, but his dad was Kenyan, and when he was going to school he got a lot of fellowships, scholarships, he stayed in the academic environment for a long time. He spent most of his career as an intellectual.”

  3. avatar
    Thrifty June 15, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    I’ve found “African-American” to be a misnomer too. It seems silly to take, say, a black man who was born in America and never set foot outside the country an “African-American”. Also, if you had, say, a white person who was born and raised in, say, South Africa, but moved to the United States and became a citizen in adulthood, wouldn’t that person also be, technically, an African American?

    Also, what do they call black people in other predominantly white countries (such as Canada, Australia and across Europe)?

  4. avatar
    Sef June 15, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    Wile E.:
    I hate it when a news article pulls something out of a quote to use as the headline and then doesn’t show the full quote in the article.

    Here’s a column that shows the full quote…

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-13/herman-cain-on-why-the-black-guy-is-winning-jeffrey-goldberg.html#0_undefined,0_

    “Barack Obama is more of an international,” Cain said. “I think he’s out of the mainstream and always has been. Look, he was raised in Kenya, his mother was white from Kansas and her family had an influence on him, it’s true, but his dad was Kenyan, and when he was going to school he got a lot of fellowships, scholarships, he stayed in the academic environment for a long time. He spent most of his career as an intellectual.”

    I would hope he spends his entire life as an intellectual.

  5. avatar
    AnotherBird June 15, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Thrifty:
    I’ve found “African-American” to be a misnomer too.It seems silly to take, say, a black man who was born in America and never set foot outside the country an “African-American”.Also, if you had, say, a white person who was born and raised in, say, South Africa, but moved to the United States and became a citizen in adulthood, wouldn’t that person also be, technically, an African American?

    Also, what do they call black people in other predominantly white countries (such as Canada, Australia and across Europe)?

    There is a long history in the term. However, African American is only those who are of African ancestry living in America (even if part of that ancestry is European, Asian, etc…). To your question, they are (as in the sense Jewish American).

  6. avatar
    Joey June 15, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    Thrifty:
    I’ve found “African-American” to be a misnomer too.It seems silly to take, say, a black man who was born in America and never set foot outside the country an “African-American”.Also, if you had, say, a white person who was born and raised in, say, South Africa, but moved to the United States and became a citizen in adulthood, wouldn’t that person also be, technically, an African American?

    Also, what do they call black people in other predominantly white countries (such as Canada, Australia and across Europe)?

    I distinguish between a racial identity (ie. white, black, brown, etc.) and an ethnic identity: Irish-American, Anglo-American, Native American, African-American). So yes, you can have a white (racial) South African-American (ethnic). I use the terms “black” and “African American” interchangeably. The bottom line for me is under the informal rules of common courtesy, I refer to people in the way that they personally prefer. To me, this is no different than calling someone “Thomas” who doesn’t like to be called “Tommy.”
    Barack Hussen Obama Senior preferred “African” to “black” or “Negro” and that’s why that identifier is on his son’s birth certificate.
    Canadians and British with origins in sub-Saharan Africa use the terms “Black-Canadian” and “Afro-Canadian” and Black British and Afro-British as designators.

  7. avatar
    red-diaper baby 1942 June 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    To answer Thrifty ‘s question about European terminology: I live in Finland, where until quite recently there were very few non-white people of any ethnicity. The language has been evolving; one politician (right-wing, more or less equivalent to the tea party in US politics) recently got into trouble by referring to them as “neekeri” (Negro) — a traditional term, originally neutral but nowadays considered derogatory. The most common term nowadays would probably translate as “dark-skinned”. The bigger problem, however, is that immigrants, even in the second generation, are by and large not seen as “Finns”; there is no social tradition of immigration, since Finland has been a land of net emigration (including to the US and Canada) rather than immigration. African immigrants in Finland tend to come from Somalia, and are therefore predominantly Muslim; this has given rise to an anti-immigrant/ anti-Muslim feeling on the far right, similar to that in many other European countries, though far weaker (fortunately) than that evinced by the lunatic right fringe in the US.
    That said, practically everyone here admires Obama enormously (though the actual Democratic policies would be right of center in almost any European country).

  8. avatar
    The Magic M June 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    In Germany, the mainstream PC term (which is also used by the police) is “dunkelhäutig” (“dark-skinned”). If it is known that the person actually is from Africa, “Schwarzafrikaner” (“black African”) is also used.
    For people of Turkish, Italian or Greek descent, “südeuropäisch” (“South European”) is common to describe outward appearance.
    The common PC term is “türkischstämmig” (“of Turkish descent”) etc.

    I’m not sure what they put on birth certificates. Race is not such a big issue in official documents in a country that used to kill millions based on racial hatred.

    Newspapers don’t even say “he’s Jewish” but use the rather contrived “he was born the son of a Jewish painter” (especially awkward since Jews themselves consider the mother decisive).

  9. avatar
    nbc June 15, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    “Barack Obama is more of an international,” Cain said. “I think he’s out of the mainstream and always has been. Look, he was raised in Kenya, his mother was white from Kansas and her family had an influence on him, it’s true, but his dad was Kenyan, and when he was going to school he got a lot of fellowships, scholarships, he stayed in the academic environment for a long time. He spent most of his career as an intellectual.”

    So not only is Cain wrong about ‘he was raised in Kenya’ but objects to Obama being raised as an intellectual. Now I understand that to many a conservative, the concept of an intellectual is scary as it means that such a person is less likely to fall for the deception so common in conservative arguments, and which results in a desire by Conservatives to destroy the middle class as they vote in an informed manner. Which is why potential conservative presidential candidates like Palin and Bachman are so attractive as they exemplify the concept of ignorance and cluelessness in a cheerful manner, so attractive to many a conservative, but in the end, one would hope that our Country aspires for something more than being guided by ignorance, fear and hatred.

  10. avatar
    James M June 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    Thrifty:

    Also, what do they call black people in other predominantly white countries (such as Canada, Australia and across Europe)?

    “Sir”, “Madam”, “Mademoiselle”, or “Monsieur?”

  11. avatar
    Thrifty June 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    James M: “Sir”, “Madam”, “Mademoiselle”, or “Monsieur?”

    Well I meant demographically, not to their face.

  12. avatar
    Thrifty June 15, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    I’m white. When I was in 4th grade, I had a black friend named Marcus. Marcus was invited along with 2 of my other friends to my birthday party that year. My brother referred to Marcus as “the black kid”, which horrified my mother who responded with a stern reminder that his name is Marcus.

  13. avatar
    US Citizen June 15, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    It appears that Cain has some problems with African identification, both minimizing his own roots while fabricating Obama’s.
    I don’t know if he honestly feels this way or is pandering, but it comes off as dishonest and a slam to Africa in general.

  14. avatar
    Keith June 15, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    US Citizen:
    It appears that Cain has some problems with African identification, both minimizing his own roots while fabricating Obama’s.
    I don’t know if he honestly feels this way or is pandering, but it comes off as dishonest and a slam to Africa in general.

    I tend to disagree. I have some sympathy for his preference, being, at least an accurate description of his ancestry.

    In the end, it is no different to other’s preferences for Negro, Black, Afro, African-American, Brother/Sister, whatever. Personal preference should be honored, just as Joey pointed out above, the preference for “Thomas” not “Tommy” is a personal preference that is honored by those who wish to be polite, not antagonistic.

    On the other hand, I personally prefer no racial qualifiers at all since there is no such thing as “race”. Unfortunately, “racism” is very real, and it is sometimes necessary to describe which flavor of “racism” is in effect, not because racism against Blacks is any different than racism against Jews or Indians, but because the context is different. One does not refer to the current Prime Minister of Australia as ‘Sir’, because the context is that Julia Gillard is female.

    If Cain is refering to his ethnic background, it is his business what terms he uses and what personal rationalization he uses to justify those terms.

  15. avatar
    milspec June 15, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

    James M: “Sir”, “Madam”, “Mademoiselle”, or “Monsieur?”

    Bravo!

  16. avatar
    US Citizen June 16, 2011 at 3:17 am #

    Keith:

    If Cain is refering to his ethnic background, it is his business what terms he uses and what personal rationalization he uses to justify those terms.

    For himself, yes.
    But he doesn’t have a right to make up facts for Obama.
    Cain appears to use Kenya as a denigration when speaking about Obama, but disassociates himself from the same.
    Both he and Obama are natural born US citizens, so he’s being disingenuous by purporting false differences.
    Put simply, he’s framing himself as more American than Obama and telling a lie to do it.