President Obama recently released his long form birth certificate, which (unsurprisingly) matched the birth certificate that he released on his website during the 2008 campaign. The pressure had been mounting over the last several weeks with Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich weighing in with additional pressure. @baratunde from Twitter posted a YouTube video describing his feelings which is beautifully spoken, poignant, and strikes at the heart of the argument. President Obama was coerced into proving that he belongs. He was coerced into proving that he is “one of us.” So our President released his long form certificate of living birth and justly exclaimed that we have better things to pay attention to.
Once that happened, Trump decided it was appropriate to announce to the press how proud he was of himself. The subtext of Trump’s exclamation is how a white man without any knowledge or experience in politics is able to pressure a man of color (the President of the United States of America) into proving his worth and belonging.
Shortly after President Obama’s announcement, Trump declared his pride. Then he asked for President Obama to release his high school records to prove that he belonged at Columbia and Harvard. Trump wants Obama to prove that he didn’t push aside deserving white people to get a racially charged leg up on his peers. Trump is making this argument in order to divide. Trump wants people to believe that President Obama doesn’t belong and hasn’t ever belonged. When no one has to question Trump’s belonging due to his appearance.
It is disheartening that Trump now wants President Obama to release his academic records. Our past President, George W. Bush, who had sub par academic performance and was able to attend Yale and Harvard due to old school affirmative action, known now as legacy. Former President Bush never had to prove his belonging in the Ivy League to the voting public. But now, Trump wants President Obama to prove that he belonged and that he wasn’t given a pass to join prestigious institutions because of his complexion.
I, like @baratunde, am disheartened and saddened that Trump was able to wield his privilege as he has. He was able to assert that he belongs and that the President of the United States of America, does not belong. This birtherism nonsense is another example of how we need to stand together and fight for the rights of those who are marginalized and pushed aside as less than in our society. We have to stand together because if we don’t we’ll be pushed back into the past.