Calling Obama 'Professor' Is Palin Code for 'Uppity': Prof
Palin's brainy slam is really a racist slam, says longtime pal
By Jane Yager, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2010 4:44 AM CST
Updated Feb 11, 2010 6:30 AM CST
President Barack Obama speaks at a Black History Month event celebrating the music of the Civil Rights Movement in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – When Sarah Palin told Tea Party activists last week that President Obama was "a professor of law standing at the lectern," she wasn't just tapping into populist anti-intellectualism—she was also making a not-so-subtle attack on the president's race. So says Harvard professor and longtime Obama pal Charles Ogletree, who tells Inside Higher Ed that calling Obama "the professor" is close to labeling him 'uppity.'"

Other slurs against Obama—left wing, socialist, palling around with terrorists—"were buzzwords. But the reality was they were looking at this president as an African American who was out of place,” Ogletree says. History professor Thomas Haskell agrees with Ogletree that Americans inclined to feel "frightened" of intellectuals may feel especially uncomfortable "because this particular intellectual is black."

View 1 more image
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Calling Obama Professor Is Palin Code for Uppity: Prof is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 103 comments
Freemon Sandlewould
Apr 22, 2010 3:39 PM CDT
You wish: that Obama was smart He's just condescending. I know you liberals think that makes a person intelligent as many intellectuals find it hard to gladly suffer fools. ...but let me tell you: People who are really in the know do not suffer Obama gladly.
Feb 13, 2010 10:37 PM CST
I have no love for Palin. She was, I am sure, a half decent small town mayor and would have had an inspiring story if she would have stayed there, but she is far out of her league. She is not incredibly insightful or intelligent (though she does have a good political sense), and she an anti-intellectual through and through. I don't want a President who doesn't read. With all of that on the table, Ogletree's comments are absurd. Worse, they are sickening race bating. Palin was wrong, but she was wrong because she is an anti-intellectual, not because she is a racist. We have a long and unfortunate history of anti-intellectualism in American politics. Many of A. Stevenson's detractors were classic examples, as were some of the Adams', but they were hardly racists.
Feb 12, 2010 6:38 AM CST
it's incredibly sad to me that a whole movement exists in america that glorifies ignorance, mocks intelligence and education, and thinks it's more important for our president to be 'someone you could invite to your BBQ' than it is for him to be someone who has a top-notch education. the president will NOT be coming to your BBQ, he will be too busy running the frikkin country, and i for one want the president to be the smartest guy in the room, not the friendliest or the funniest.