Back in the day — you know, when presidential candidates were respectably white — news organizations called potential First Ladies “wives.” But now that black folks are running, we can get all funky fresh with the lingo, yo. So it’s basically fine for Fox News to use “Baby Mama” for Michelle Obama, slang that implies a married 44-year-old Princeton-educated lawyer is, to use an Urban Dictionary definition of the term, “some chick you knocked up on accident during a fling who you can’t stand but you have to tolerate cuz she got your baby now.” Because the Obamas are black! And the blacks, they’re all relaxed about that shit, yo. Word up. And anyway, as the caption clearly indicates, it’s not Fox News that’s calling Michelle Obama “Baby Mama,” it’s outraged liberals. Fox News is just telling you what those outraged liberals are saying. They didn’t want to use the term “Baby Mama.” But clearly they had no choice.
Meanwhile, over at her personal site, Michelle “Fox News’ Ethnic Shield” Malkin defends Fox News’ use of the “Baby Mama” phrase by essentially making two arguments. First, Michelle Obama once called Barack Obama her “baby’s daddy,” and as we all know, a married woman factually and correctly calling her husband her child’s father is exactly the same as a major news organization calling a potential First Lady some chick what got knocked up on a fling. Second, the term “baby-daddy” has gone out into the common culture; heck, even Tom Cruise was called Katie Holmes’ baby-daddy, you know, when he impregnated her and she subsequently gave birth while the two were not married, which is exactly like what happened between Michelle and Barack Obama, who were married in 1992 and whose first child was born six years later.
So by Malkin’s reasoning it’s perfectly fine for Fox News to call Michelle Obama the unmarried mother of Barack Obama’s children because an entirely different phrase has to her mind entered the common culture, and there was this one time that Michelle Obama once uttered something that sounded like that entirely different phrase, which is not the phrase that Fox News used. But wait! Malkin also points to someone in her comment thread saying that one time, Michelle Obama actually used the phrase “baby daddy”! No apostrophe! It’s in a comment thread, so it must be true. Therefore, Michelle Obama apocryphally using a piece of urban slang makes it perfectly okay for Fox News to use an entirely different piece of urban slang. And that’s why, you see, it won’t be a problem for Bill O’Reilly to refer to Barack Obama as “my nigga” on the next O’Reilly Factor.
It’s shit like this that makes this story on CNN, about whether Barack Obama should be considered black or biracial, an absolute hoot. Here’s a quick test on whether Obama should be considered fully black: Poof! Barack Obama has been magically transported to a KKK meeting in deepest, whitest Klanistan without his Secret Service detail. There’s a rope and a tree nearby. What happens to Obama? If you say, “why, Barack Obama walks out of there alive, of course” then sure, he’s biracial. Also, you’re a fucking idiot. To everybody who cares about Obama’s racial identity, either positively or negatively, the man is a black man, married to a black woman, who has black children. Black black black black black black black black.
It sure as hell matters to Fox News, which is why it’s dog whistling about Barack so loudly that it’s vibrating the windows. Calling Michelle Obama a “baby mama” isn’t just Fox News having a happy casual larf; it’s using urban slang to a) remind you the Obamas are black, b) belittle a woman of considerable personal accomplishment, and c) frame Barack Obama’s relationship to his wife and children in a way that insults him, minimizes his love for and commitment to his family, and reinforces stereotypes about black men. Someone at Fox News just ought to call Barack Obama “boy” at some point so we can have all the cards right out there on the table.
This will keep happening. Fox News will keep finding ways to remind its viewers that the Obamas are black (and possibly Muslim), Michelle Malkin will continue to make excuses for Fox News’ dog-whistling racism that expose the fact that she’s about as familiar with logical thinking as a rainbow trout is with knitting, and eventually some portion of the Fox News audience will get to the ballot box in November convinced that they’re not really racists, they just know that there’s something about that Obama boy they just don’t like. This is how it will go. Let’s not pretend it’s not part of equation, this election year.