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Baratunde Thurston on the Indecency of Birtherism

Thursday, April 28, 2011

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I linked this video in the comments of Elle's post yesterday, but I didn't have the chance to provide a transcript. Shaker doubletrack graciously provided a transcript last night, so here's the video, with transcript. Video of Trump can be seen with Baratunde's original posting of the video, here.

[Haltingly] It's been a very… difficult morning… for me. Um, got the news, that President Obama released his long-form birth certificate, ah, due to the increasing media circus surrounding… claims that he is not one of us, that he is not an American, and it comes at an interesting time for many reasons, well… one of which is it's April 27th 2011, and this just happened. So that's really interesting to me.

Also, because I'm reading, right now, a book by Manning Marable; it's called Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, and he unearths a lot of amazing detail and correspondence around this exceptional American, but through this book you also get a window into the Civil Rights movement throughout this country's history, especially the forties, fifties, and sixties—and you are reminded, if you read this book, or see a documentary special, or know anything about the complete history of the United States, you are reminded of the extraordinary level of sacrifice that has been involved in allowing all Americans to exist as, be treated as, participate as… Americans. To be that which they are [chuckles mirthlessly]… took [shakes head]… a lot!… of work! A lot of tears, a lot of pain, a lot of death.

There were people who dropped out of their ordinary lives, sacrificed their personal safety, their reputation, their ability to earn money, to intervene on behalf of those who they also saw as American. They got on buses in freedoms rides, they sat in, they died… in waves and waves of domestic terrorism so that someone like me [pointing to self, voice breaking] could go to a voting booth and not be asked by some racist poll worker to pay a tax or prove that my grandfather wasn't a slave or pass a literacy test which got increasingly difficult the more I might pass it.

And today… the President of the United States [sniffs derisively] had to prove that he was an American to the satisfaction of the seventy-five percent of Iowa Republicans who doubt that, or the forty-three percent of national Republicans who doubt that, or the one, heinous, low-class individual who took credit for it after: Donald Trump. A man who was given every advantage, who inherited millions and lost it all twice, but had that opportunity because no one's ever had to ask him to prove anything. A man who lacks intelligence, compassion, common sense, respect, decency, or [voice rising] an understanding of what the FUCK it means to be an American, that he would come out, moments after the President of the United States, and I stress that, the PRESIDENT, released his long-form birth certificate, and Donald Trump comes out moments later and says "I'm really proud of myself… but! Shouldn't have taken so long. I wanna see the birth certificate for myself. I wanna test it for au-then-ti-ci-ty. I don't want the press asking me about birth certificates anymore!" [sniffs].

I find it hard to… summarize in mere words the amount of pain and rage this incident has caused. [tears up] It's… humiliating. Not just to Barack Obama, not just to the office of the President, not just to Black Americans who died and those who supported our quest for freedom; it's embarrassing to the entire nation that we would sit and let this happen. We have all been debased by this incident—by a charlatan, by a conman, by a mere promoter of himself.

And for him to take credit for this [chuckles] and for him to revel in it and yet and still not be satisfied makes him no better than a Klansman, no better than a Bull Conner, no better than an anonymous, privileged white man in the 1950's who, regardless of his position in society, knew his position was higher than that of the common nigger. And that is what the fuck Donald Trump has done… to the President of the United States. To the office, of the President of the United States. To me… and to you.

I am disgusted. I have cried, because I know my own ancestors paid a very high price, and never would ever have imagined that we might have the President that we do, but certainly part of their joy in the ancestral celestial skies right now has been greatly diminished by what has happened here today. I hope that eventually, not just in the post-mortal world of karma and spiritual justice, Mr. Trump pays an exceptional price; I hope that price comes during his life. To then be able to walk around, a super-free, super-white, super-privileged man, lording over all who would pay attention (which is far too many) at what you have done… [sniffs]… has got to cost you something in this life as well.

I don't wanna hear about The Apprentice. I don't wanna hear about your new cologne, I don't wanna hear about the new tower you're building in whatever fuckin' town. That cologne smells of racism, that tower is built on the blood of disrespected slaves and freedom fighters, and that show was merely a showcase… [sniffs]… for the dishonor you have brought among anyone who would call themselves an American.

My name is Baratunde Thurston, I'm heartbroken over this. [On the brink of tears, covers mouth, ends video.]
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