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While former President Barack Hussein Obama was heralded for his “sincere” outreach efforts, Trump administration Surgeon General Jerome Adams has been smeared as an “Uncle Tom.”
Every single time that former President Obama urged black Americans to assist him in his “get out the vote” efforts, he evoked culturally-specific caricatures like “Cousin Pookie” and “Ray Ray” to better connect with his audience.
It happened in 2008, in 2010, in 2012, in 2014 and even in 2016. And in every single instance, the media either ignored his words or cheered them.
Here’s one example below from 2016 (disable your adblocker if the video doesn’t appear):
“Works every time,” The Washington Post once wrote praisingly of Obama’s “get out the vote” efforts a day after the then-president had evoked “Pookie” again at a campaign rally in Chicago.
It must be nice to be so loved by the media …
Yet the moment that Trump administration Surgeon General Adams used similar language during a coronavirus task force briefing this week, the media pounced.
Speaking this Friday about the coronavirus’s disproportionate effect on minority communities, the surgeon general cited caricatures such as “big mama” and “pop pop” to highlight the importance of washing one’s hands, maintaining social distancing, etc.
“Stay at home if possible,” he said. “If you must go out, maintain six feet of distance between you and everyone else and wear a mask if you’re going to be within six feet of others. Wash your hands more often than you ever dreamed possible. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs and call your friends and family, check in on your mother. She wants to hear from you right now.”
“And speaking of mothers, we need you to do this, if not for yourself then for your Abuela, do it for your granddaddy, do it for your big mama, do it for your pop-pop. We need you to understand, especially in communities of color, we need you to step up and help stop the spread so that we can protect those who are most vulnerable.”
Listen to his full remarks below:
Now, remember how Obama was repeatedly praised for referencing “Cousin Pookie” and “Ray Ray?”
Adams has faced the exact opposite reaction. It started during the presser itself, with PBS White House correspondent, frequent MSNBC contributor, known race-baiter and known Obama defender Yamiche Alcindor accusing him of having offended people.
“You said that African Americans and Latinos should avoid alcohol, drugs and tobacco,” she complained, ignoring the fact that Adams’ guidance had covered a wide variety of behaviors, from hand-washing to drug consumption.
“You also said do it for your Abuela and do it for big mama and pop pop. There are some people online that are already offended by that language. And the idea that you’re saying behaviors might be leading to these high death rates. Could you talk about whether or not people… Could you, I guess have a response for people who might be offended by the language that you used?”
Adams responded by explaining how he’s been working with the NAACP to reach out to the black community amid the coronavirus pandemic and pointing out that he has relatives who call their own grandparents “big mama.” After all, Adams is himself black.
Yet Alcindor doubled down on her criticism with a Twitter post after the briefing, provoking critics into asking why she’d never posed the same question to Obama.
I asked U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams about asking black people, Latinos & other ppl of color to avoid drinking & drugs & saying do it for “Big Mama” & “abuela.”
Adams said he meant no offense, used his family’s language & that all Americans should be avoiding substances.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) April 10, 2020
Someone be sure to see if @Yamiche and the “many people” she claims to that find the term pop pop and Big Mama offensive equallly as upset with President Obama saying call Cousin Pookie pic.twitter.com/nAx6erj2ax
— PARIS (@PARISDENNARD) April 10, 2020
People are blinded by Trump hate. Saying Big Mama isn’t offensive at all. If Obama said it, it would be the hippest thing you liberals ever heard. #surgeongeneral #JeromePowell pic.twitter.com/lfLzk2kyBI
— C.E.O. (@polomontana) April 10, 2020
I guess you have very short memory. Cousin Pookie sound familiar? Obama used those words. Oh and he is half white too. TDS much. Bless your heart.
— Kat Tex 🇺🇸 (@TexKatTex) April 11, 2020
What a silly question. You never in your life would have spoken like that if president Obama used those terms. You would have giggled and though how personal he made it. Stop the craziness. Not everything needs to be offensive.
— Stan (@VintageStan) April 11, 2020
We laughed when @BarackObama said call Pookie, but we’re upset about Big Mama and other terms of endearment.
Giving recommendations on how to reduce deaths, drugs and alcohol are a factor especially when we already have high blood pressure and diabetes.
Anger at the truth ⁉️🤔
— Leslie A Sanders (@leslie2sing4u) April 11, 2020
More race shaming and black on black racism here.
If he was speaking on behalf of Obama he would “relating”.
— THE Canton Conservative (@CantonConserva1) April 11, 2020
What about getting “cousin Pookie” off the couch? Was that bad or nah because Obama.
— chris (@cbm3384) April 11, 2020
Did you find it equally offensive when Obama used similar language?
— Jason hussong (@The_Hussong) April 11, 2020
Thank you to SNL's Leslie Jones for confirming that "Big Mama" is not offensive at all, it is a term of endearment and respect for grandmothers in many families. https://t.co/OgeOGHRaMT
— Matt Wolking (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@MattWolking) April 11, 2020
The hypocrisy is astounding but typical for the media, which has jumped through admittedly amazing hoops to prove that anything and anyone linked to their arch-nemesis, President Donald Trump, is bad. #OrangeManBad.
But the saddest part of this debacle isn’t the media’s predictable behavior but rather the hatred that’s now being directed at Adams by the media’s blind followers. Despite him being a decorated vice admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, he’ll forever be known to them as just an “Uncle Tom.”
Look (*Language warning):
It was just so wrong THEN he had the nerve to justify it by saying he talked with NAACP like they agreed to it 😳 oh and he has Puerto Rican blood.. yeah like people bc who say I have a black friend .. give me a break Uncle Tom!
— donna 🇺🇲🦅😷🌊 (@dc5150319) April 11, 2020
This bastard done lost his famn mind, who the hell you think you talking to uncle TOM, you have a very nasty demeanor about you, that is totally disrespectful to ppl
— Evelyn Bennett (@768B446) April 11, 2020
Uncle Tom Jerome Adams.
— Mary Rose (@Beutifulgame) April 11, 2020
When Uncle Tom tries to relate.. crazy when Uncle Ben even feels so..
— batman (@cvlido) April 11, 2020
— Brooklyn Progressive (@DavonMiller9) April 11, 2020
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