April Ryan has covered three presidents during her tenure as American Urban Radio Network‘s White House correspondent: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Ask her how race factors into their respective administrations, and she observes:
“In Bill Clinton’s worst days, I never heard anyone scream out, ‘You lie!’ in the well of the House. In George Bush’s worst days, I never heard that. I mean, we went to war on emotion, and the fact of faulty intelligence of not finding weapons of mass destruction… and people died, we spent a lot of money, and no one ever called him a liar.”
“So I think there’s a double standard, there’s hypocrisy, when it comes to President Obama.”
Ryan, the author of The Presidency In Black and White: My Up Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America, shared this observation on August 10 to an audience at the Harlem Fine Arts Show in Martha’s Vineyard.
When asked if Obama’s approach to race has become more candid as his administration winds down — and public rhetoric about race relations heats up in a new election cycle — she told the gathering:
“All presidents are cocky. You have to be an extreme person to be a president of the United States. You have to have a swagger. You have to have that kind of confidence. I believe every president can be criticized, but I believe a lot of this is racial….They know it and he knows it. He will never speak to it, because when it comes to his presidency, race and politics will always follow him, but he tries to stay above the fray and keep it going.”
Hear what else Ryan had to say about the upcoming march in the video above.
On Monday, August 10, the Harlem Fine Arts Show hosted a panel discussion on “Race, Justice, and Where We Go From Here” in Martha’s Vineyard. Quotes in this article come from that event. About 100 guests convened at the Harbor View Hotel in the island’s Edgartown section to participate in the discussion. Moderated by NewsOne’s editorial director, Sheryl Huggins Salomon, the panel included NNPA president Dr. Benjamin Chavis, pastor Jonathan “Jay” Augustine of St. Paul AME Church in New Orleans, American Urban Radio Network’s White House Correspondent April Ryan, journalist Pamela Newkirk, and Wellesley Health Service director Vanessa Britto, MD.
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