Chris Matthews on Obama’s SOTU : “I forgot he was black”

Of all the coverage of last night’s State of the Union address, the video below stands out.

Now, I’m sure Matthews will have a defence for this piece of analysis i.e. “he was so good that all the talk about Obama and race slipped my mind for that brief moment while he spoke.”  But, of course, then it came right back into focus, didn’t it?

It reminds me about what Patrick Buchanan said after Massachusetts last week:

How did Scott Brown turn that 26-point deficit into a six-point victory? By winning the white vote…

These comments are definitely not the hallmarks of a post-racial society.



Update: Matthews does acquit himself… somewhat.


Update: See also Chris Matthews: I Forgot Rod Blagojevich Was Black

  1. Don Smith says

    Meh, I think it’s much ado. His point was specifically that CM felt like the race issue melted away, and it wasn’t about the color of his skin (which it very much was a year ago), but the content of the character(s in his teleprompter).

    1. Edward Harrison says

      Matthews’ comments are not much ado at all. By making them he is confirming the opposite of what he professes in his explanation in the second video. What he demonstrates is that race is very much on his mind as he analyzes the substance and political undertones of the Speech.

      Does that mean he has nefarious intentions. No. But it 100% does mean he is thinking about race – just as Blacks probably were. America is not a post-racial society, as he claims his thinking suggests.

      1. Don Smith says

        I totally agree, but the initial “OMG, DID YOU HEAR WHAT CHRIS MATTHEWS JUST SAID?!” reaction was a little ridiculous, don’t you think? If every time someone says something like this, it becomes a trending topic on Twitter, I’m afraid we will never realize the dream.

        Well, to be fair, I’m afraid we’ll never realize the dream anyway, but I’m trying. And the 24/7 media reaction to crap like this (nonevents) is not helping. …is my point.

        1. Edward Harrison says

          Don, luckily I don’t watch TV so I missed all of that.

  2. LavrentiBeria says

    Yes, what was the requirement for Matthews even to mention how he perceived the situation? The whole affair in effect says two things about him, actually: (1) That he ordinarily would be conscious of Obama’s race and that (2) that he was experiencing a moment of self-congratulation having overcome, however temporarily, his innate racism. Matthews is just the most pedestrian sort of media garbage. All the intellectual prowess of a rhinocerous.

  3. John says

    No. It is not post-racial and never will be. Obama is a black president. Full stop. He’s a terrible president independent of his race. I’m Lilly white and voted for him. I also carry a loaded handgun due to my commute through Overtown everyday. I live in reality.

    We have a bad habit here in the USA of asserting X as true when we want X to be true in the hopes that it will make X true.

    Rather, just don’t mention it all the time. Let the guy be HIM. Let him succeed or fail on his record. CM should find something else to talk about.

    I want to know what neighborhood CM lives in. What are the demographics? My observation is that people who go on and on about post-racial America live in almost perfectly segregated areas.

    Harrison, I really dig your site. Keep up the good work.

    1. Marshall Auerback says


  4. Namazu says

    I forgot Chris Matthews was still on TV–one of the simple pleasures of not having one. On a serious note, this sort of racial hyper-awareness is common among (pick a label: educated, liberal,…) whites of his generation. I predict and hope that a post-baby boomer society will be a more post-racial one, although no doubt other forms of rank bigotry will survive for all time.

    PS: fantastic blog.

  5. relepast says

    why bother critising those who aren’t racist and look towards positive integration(good sign being that he is apologising when in reality what he was stating was a perspective that no-one imagined in america fifty years ago) when there’s lots of pat buchs out there you can criticise? The pat buchs don’t apologise for their ignorance, prejudice, negativity, etc instead they seek to make those they don’t like apologise.

    1. Edward Harrison says

      Fair enough. But, on Buchanan, I have already mentioned him in the past.

      My point still stands, that Matthews’ comments show just the opposite of what he claims about a post-racial society; they are an indication that race still matters in politics in America. And he needs to admit this to himself and viewers instead of spewing empty palaver.

      On the other hand, your comments are justified. Had he said that, none of the uproar would have occurred.

  6. Anonymous says

    Chris Matthews clarifying the clarification: I really blew it on the whole “I forgot he was black” thing, but hey…that Michelle…can’t forget she’s not black — baby got back! — sorry, I meant large protruding buttocks? no, no…a phat ass! — that’s it right?

    MSNBC producers: *mortified w/huge sighs* — whatever Chris, we’re all post-racial now…

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