African American men are taught at very young ages (or learn the hard way) to keep our emotions in check, to not lose our cool, lest we be perceived as dangerous or menacing or give someone a reason to doubt our ability to handle our jobs. Think of the emotional corset women in leadership positions are expected to maintain to ensure they never cry in public or show TOO much compassion for fear of raising the same doubt and seeming weak….
Americans expect their presidents to be cool, calm and collected in a crisis. But we have to recognize that Obama already has this manner (or skill) mastered because it attaches to any black professional, especially those in positions of authority.
Maybe so. The flip side, of course, is that the questions about temperament won’t stop. Matt Lauer offered a vivid example of the current mentality during his “Today” show interview with the president this morning:
MR. LAUER: Critics are now talking about your style, which is the first time I’ve heard that in a long time. And they’re saying here’s a guy who likes to be known as cool and calm and collected, and this isn’t the time for cool, calm and collected… that this is not the time to meet with experts and advisers. This is a time to spend more time in the Gulf and — I never thought I’d say this to a president — but kick some butt. [emphasis added]
This is not the time to meet with experts and advisors? So Obama’s time is better spent roaming the Gulf coast and yelling at people–rather than soliciting ideas from brilliant scientific minds? That’s just madness (and I find it hard to believe it’s what even Matt Lauer really believes, as opposed to a made-for-soundbite question).