A prime example of this was found on Sunday's "The McLaughlin Group," when host John McLaughlin, a long time journalist and correspondent, referred to Presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama as an "oreo" when discussing how Jesse Jackson must feel about Obama's reaping the benefits of the votes from the black community without having put in the work that Jackson is seen to have done through the years.
The veteran Washington journalist was discussing the recent comments from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was caught last week by an open microphone on Fox News saying the Illinois senator is "talking down to black people" as he campaigns for the White House. Those remarks were largely seen in reference to Obama's recent admonishment at a Chicago church of some black men who he said were not living up to their responsibilities as parents.
Referencing Jackson's comments, McLaughlin said Obama "fits the stereotype blacks once labeled as an Oreo — a black on the outside, a white on the inside."
"Does it frost Jackson, Jesse Jackson, that…an Oreo should be the beneficiary of the long civil rights struggle which Jesse Jackson spent his lifetime fighting for?" McLaughlin asked his panelists.
The term "Oreo" is often viewed as a derogatory term toward some African-Americans who appear not to exhibit certain stereotypes of their race.
Heat of the moment freudian slip? True inner feelings coming out? Or is it, as Obama called a his recent stand on Jerusalem, a matter of "poor phrasing?" In any event, McLaughlin is certainly taking heat for his choice of words. Panelists from McLaughlin's show and other commentators have spoken out against McLaughlin's use of "oreo" in describing Obama, expressing their disappointment in the turn of phrase and the meaning behind it.
Race certainly has been an issue in this election cycle, and rightly so. It's been a very important thing to many members of the media and many politicians in the Democratic party that Obama become the first black President. His skyrocketing career from practically out of nowhere bespeaks of some sort of behind the scenes maneuvering to ensure that he is the one to take the place in history, should he be elected, to become the first black United States President. His race, especially his mixed race of being African and white, has been an issue of discussion in many quarters during his rock star rise to the top, and anyone who even mentions it is generally labeled as a racist, a label McLaughlin has seemingly hung upon his own neck of his own accord. Given the context in which the statement was made (watch the video archive), he may very well be innocent of such a labeling. It still doesn't detract from the fact that the term was used and used in such a manner as to be seen as a racial slur.
Once and Always, an American Fighting Man