One More Thing about the Debate

If we’re going to talk about affect and the debates, which I don’t think we should, but everyone is anyway.

When Romney is aggressive and hostile, it’s “confident.” Romney wins. Even though he lied a bunch.

When Obama is aggressive and hostile, it’s “snippy,” “unprepared,” and “scowling.” Obama loses.

Do you think that has anything at all to do with how Obama has to fight our perceptions of him as an angry black man?

Do you think that has anything at all to do with Obama’s choices to hang back on the attacks? Even when Romney was egregiously lying? To attempt coolly verbal, complex explanations of why his policies are better and Romney’s don’t add up?

“Cold” and “professorial” are the media’s biggest critiques of him. But he has to stay cool, no matter what, lest he triggers the angry black man trope.

Any angrier and he’d have lost control over his carefully tended accommodation of the double-standard we apply to successful black people.

 

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