Earlier this week, WHAS* radio host Mandy Connell called President Barack Obama a “half-breed,” while trying to make a point about social mobility.**

Page One was the first to report it, and to print Connell’s apology.

LEO has audio of the comments, and reaction from the president of the local NAACP.

“I think it was a very poor choice of words. I know she doesn’t care for Obama or his policies, but to refer to him as a half-breed is disrespectful of the office of president,” says Louisville NAACP President Raoul Cunningham. “And racially, the term is derogatory in today’s society. It’s just not an acceptable term.”

The incident needs to be noted, Cunningham says, however he isn’t surprised given the station’s programming format. The civil rights leader say no protests or boycott of 84 WHAS should be held based on that one comment, but the radio station needs to be monitored more closely.

“It is radio at its worst,” he says. “Is that statement by itself something to go to war over or do you make note of it and hold the station accountable? And I believe we should bring it to their attention and see what happens from that point.”

Rick Redding approached the story from the media criticism angle, though he stopped short of analyzing the comments as part of talk radio as a whole.

*It should go without saying that Connell does not represent the WHAS newsroom.

**The social mobility argument may need its own bit of analysis. Connell used Oprah Winfrey and President Obama as examples of the type of social mobility that only exists in the United States. However, situations like Winfrey’s or Obama’s are extremely rare, and to make the argument that they succeeded despite difficulties is to recognize the extreme difficulties both individuals faced in their lives. The argument implies that those difficulties are to be expected to a certain degree. But because some individuals overcome these difficulties, their example of success is held up as a model any individual can follow. It’s assumed that because some people do, everyone can. (Feel free to argue over whether that statement is true) It could also be argued that the attention given to the thousands of people questioning Obama’s legitimacy as President is evidence that while people may move up in society, they won’t necessarily be accepted in their new position.  Further, social mobility is often part of the foundation of American exceptionalism. But this isn’t a sociology class. Try this for something uplifting.
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