I’m really finding it increasingly difficult to write about comments like the one Chris Matthews made about Barack Obama yesterday, because even I am having serious difficulty understanding what the fuck this man was thinking.

Appearing on the December 3 edition of NBC’s Today to discuss presidential politics, MSNBC host Chris Matthews said of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL): “[H]e’s so fresh-faced, so brand-new, almost Third World in his sort of presentation. He doesn’t click as a usual politician.”

See what’s interesting about this particular comment is the nuance of its racism. Matthews isn’t really reacting to Obama being black in the sense of being African American, he’s reacting to him being Kenyan, as in African.

I’m not really sure what that means, other than Chris Matthews associates Obama’s blackness with poverty and possibly violence, since that’s what most Americans think when they hear “Third World.” Is this just an pseudo-intellectual quasi-freudian partially-hyphenated way of calling Obama “ghetto?”

But here’s my question, if Obama’s so “Third World,” why is he doing so well in decidedly not Third World Iowa? And why can’t reporters talk about black people without embarrassing themselves?

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