President Obama Seeks to “Create Dependency”, Says Senator Coburn

Yet another racial code word has emerged from within our 21st century post-racial American discourse. This time, it comes from Republican senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. In commenting on Obama’s policy, Coburn said that the president “seeks to create dependency” on government programs. He does not specify which programs in particular, but Coburn goes on to say that overall he does not believe these programs are good for the country.

Now, first off, there is nothing new about this idea of government programs being “bad for the country” but helpful to African-Americans. It is a conservative trope that social programs that help Black America are always to the detriment of everyone else. What is different about this is that Coburn is claiming that President Obama is pushing these programs at the exact time that he along with the rest of the political class is moving toward gutting the social safety net. When it comes to Black political figures, there is always this element of policing done. It must be assured that the Black politician does not provide “too much” help to other Black people. The good Republican Senator is only trying to make sure that no undeserving minorities get anymore then they deserve.  Mr. Coburn has little to fear from the Obama Administration, but this kind of talk must persist to whip up the conservative base.

The media and the politicians have managed to control the conversation, and put a welfare stigma on nearly every social program that does something to help people. The best way to move towards cutbacks in America is to “paint it Black” as Jesse Jackson once said. And that is precisely what is being done. Does Senator Coburn mean Affirmative Action? That is still unclear.

What we do know is that the political class has it out for these “government programs” Mr. Coburn is only the latest reactionary voice to add to this push against the safety net. He will not be the last.

-Marc W. Polite

Update: Here is an  interesting article on Affirmative Action by Lewis R. Gordon


  1. Marc,

    Great points! I think that Coburn’s statements could (and should be) be seen as continued fuel to the “Obama is not like you” fire that seems to be a part of the major rhetoric of conservative talking points since “Birtherism” has been debunked. This continued effort to paint the POTUS as someone other that you is sad and disrespectful. As much as I did not care for former President Bush, I always gave him the deference and respect of the office that he held. This is simply not what we are seeing with regards to President Obama.

    In my opinion, his (Coburn) comments also imply that President Obama didn’t achieve the success that he has due to his own hard work. They imply that he is where he is because these programs made it easy for him. Politicians and people need to understand that affirmative action and diversity programs service a majority of the country. The minority that is doesn’t service is the one that Coburn belongs to. Coburn and others need to realize that while these programs mandate a diversified workforce that reflects our society, it does not allow for mediocrity. Individuals are placed, hired, and accepted because that are qualified, and in many cases more than qualified that other applicants. These programs then allow everyone to be on a level playing field (in theory) within as system that historically has only been level for men like Coburn.


  2. Thank you! I agree. Coburn is definitely implying that president Obama did not work hard to get where he is in life. There is not even an element of “respect the rank” in these kind of comments. It all rest around the idea of a bar being lowered to bring African Americans into places of power that they are allegedly unworthy of. The notion of Black mediocrity being propped up is a red herring to undermine the continued need for things to be leveled out via diversity programs.

    What Coburn also needs to realize is as a senator from the state of Oklahoma is that he should not traffic in jokes that suggest violence. Especially considering the Oklahoma City bombing carried out by domestic terrorist Tim McVeigh. I wasn’t about to let that comment about packing a gun on the senate floor slide.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.