The First White President

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-09-08 01:17Z by Steven

The First White President

The Atlantic
October 2017

Ta-Nehisi Coates


Jesse Draxler; Photo: David Hume Kennerly / Getty

The foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy.

It is insufficient to state the obvious of Donald Trump: that he is a white man who would not be president were it not for this fact. With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness—that bloody heirloom which cannot ensure mastery of all events but can conjure a tailwind for most of them. Land theft and human plunder cleared the grounds for Trump’s forefathers and barred others from it. Once upon the field, these men became soldiers, statesmen, and scholars; held court in Paris; presided at Princeton; advanced into the Wilderness and then into the White House. Their individual triumphs made this exclusive party seem above America’s founding sins, and it was forgotten that the former was in fact bound to the latter, that all their victories had transpired on cleared grounds. No such elegant detachment can be attributed to Donald Trump—a president who, more than any other, has made the awful inheritance explicit.

His political career began in advocacy of birtherism, that modern recasting of the old American precept that black people are not fit to be citizens of the country they built. But long before birtherism, Trump had made his worldview clear. He fought to keep blacks out of his buildings, according to the U.S. government; called for the death penalty for the eventually exonerated Central Park Five; and railed against “lazy” black employees. “Black guys counting my money! I hate it,” Trump was once quoted as saying. “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” After his cabal of conspiracy theorists forced Barack Obama to present his birth certificate, Trump demanded the president’s college grades (offering $5 million in exchange for them), insisting that Obama was not intelligent enough to have gone to an Ivy League school, and that his acclaimed memoir, Dreams From My Father, had been ghostwritten by a white man, Bill Ayers

Read the entire article here.

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Barack Obama and the Nommo Tradition of Afrocentric Orality

Posted in Africa, Articles, Barack Obama, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-08-26 23:40Z by Steven

Barack Obama and the Nommo Tradition of Afrocentric Orality

JSTOR Daily: Where News Meets Its Scholarly Match
2017-08-23

Shannon Luders-Manuel


President Obama delivers the State of the Union in 2011
via Flickr/White House

Black actors, entertainers, and everyday citizens often have a particular cadence to their voices that others can identify as “black,” whether or not the listeners can see the individual speaking. Popular culture seems to think that black men sound wise simply by their voices alone, leading to black actors narrating myriad commercials, including Dennis Haysbert for Allstate Insurance and Samuel L. Jackson for Capital One. In an article for Guernica, John McWhorter breaks down this speech pattern: “It differs from standard English’s sound in the same way that other dialects do, in certain shadings of vowels, aspects of intonation, and also that elusive thing known as timbre, most familiar to singers—degrees of breathiness, grain, huskiness, ‘space.’”

While sound influences dialect, black oration goes back much further, to the idea of nommo, which is rooted in West African tradition. Through both dialect and nommo, former President Barack Obama was able to inspire black and white audiences, altering his word choice and patterns accordingly…

Scholarship of nommo is wanting. However, in the Journal of Black Studies, Sheena C. Howard defines it in the following manner: “Nommo, the creative power of the word, is a delivery style that is unique to African Americans. Nommo is manifested in characteristics of African orality.” She focuses on four characteristics of nommo: rhythm, call and response, mythication, and repetition, and she analyzes their use in two of Obama’s speeches: one at Howard University and the other at Southern New Hampshire University, both in 2007…

Read the entire article here.

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Multiracial Identity and Racial Politics in the United States

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Census/Demographics, Communications/Media Studies, Forthcoming Media, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-07-30 22:17Z by Steven

Multiracial Identity and Racial Politics in the United States

Oxford University Press
2017-09-27
280 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780190657468
Paperback ISBN: 9780190657475

Natalie Masuoka, Associate Professor of Political Scienc
Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts

  • Provides readers seeking to understand the history of American race relations with both historical methods and analyses of empirical data
  • Offers a new theory of thinking about race, the “identity choice” framework which is situated in the major debates on U.S. racial formation
  • Will be of interest to scholars of critical race theory and identity theory, in addition to multiracial individuals and others interested in US racial politics

While pundits point to multiracial Americans as new evidence of a harmonious ethnic melting pot, in reality mixed race peoples have long existed in the United States. Rather than characterize multiracial Americans as a “new” population, this book argues that instead we should view them as individuals who reflect a new culture of racial identification. Today, identities such as “biracial” or “swirlies” are evoked alongside those more established racial categories of white, black Asian and Latino. What is significant about multiracial identities is that they communicate an alternative viewpoint about race: that a person’s preferred self-identification should be used to define a person’s race. Yet this definition of race is a distinct contrast to historic norms which has defined race as a category assigned to a person based on certain social rules which emphasized things like phenotype, being “one-drop” of African blood or heritage.

In Multiracial Identity and Racial Politics in the United States, Natalie Masuoka catalogues how this cultural shift from assigning race to perceiving race as a product of personal identification came about by tracing events over the course of the twentieth century. Masuoka uses a variety of sources including in-depth interviews, public opinion surveys and census data to understand how certain individuals embrace the agency of self-identification and choose to assert multiracial identities. At the same time, the book shows that the meaning and consequences of multiracial identification can only be understood when contrasted against those who identify as white, black Asian or Latino. An included case study on President Barack Obama also shows how multiracial identity narratives can be strategically used to reduce anti-black bias among voters. Therefore, rather than looking at multiracial Americans as a harbinger of dramatic change for American race relations, this Multiracial Identity and Racial Politics in the United States shows that narratives promoting multiracial identities are in direct dialogue with, rather than in replacement of, the longstanding racial order.

Table of Contents

  • CHAPTER 1: Identity Choice: Changing Practices of Race and Multiracial Identification
  • CHAPTER 2: Exclusive Categories: Historical Formation of Racial Classification in the United States
  • CHAPTER 3: Advocating for Choice: Political Views of Multiracial Activists
  • CHAPTER 4: Declaring Race: Understanding Opportunities to Self-Identify as Multiracial
  • CHAPTER 5: Implications of Racial Identity: Comparing Monoracial and Multiracial Political Attitudes
  • CHAPTER 6: In the Eye of the Beholder: American Perceptions of Obama’s Race
  • CHAPTER 7: Multiracial and Beyond: Racial Formation in the 21st Century
  • References
  • Appendices
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Dr. Zebulon Miletsky talks about the mixed race / mixed culture experience to BWTM

Posted in Barack Obama, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States, Videos on 2017-07-19 03:31Z by Steven

Dr. Zebulon Miletsky talks about the mixed race / mixed culture experience to BWTM

Bayloric Worldwide Television & Media
2017-07-18

Ingram Jones, Host

Dr Zebulon Miletsky assistant professor of Africana Studies at Stony University, New York talks to BWTM  about his experiences and shares a wealth of knowledge on the topic of race.

Dr. Zebulon Vance Miletsky teaches African-American History at Stony Brook University where he is an Assistant Professor in both the Departments of Africana Studies and History. He is the author of numerous articles, essays and most recently a book chapter that appeared in the anthology “Obama and the Biracial Factor: The Battle for a New American Majority” which traces the contested meanings throughout history of terminology for multiracial people and the role that this historical legacy of “naming” plays into how President Obama is read as African American, but still asserts a strategic biracial identity through the use of language, symbols, and interactions with the media. Miletsky who is half-Jewish (white) and African-American/Afro-Caribbean, received his Ph.D. in African-American Studies with a concentration in History at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2008 . There, he was trained as a historian by some of the best thinkers in the field of Black Studies, many of whom are veterans from the Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s and 70s. His research interests include: Racial passing; interracial marriage; African-Americans in Boston; Northern freedom movements; and Mixed race history. Miletsky has given a Ted Talk and at Stony Brook University entitled “Tracing Your ‘Routes’” and has have been interviewed on Huffington Post Live, various radio shows including the WBAI NYC 99.5 FM Pacifica radio show “Behind the News-Long Island” and the “Multiracial Family Man” Podcast.

Watch the interview (01:26:47) here.

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SBU Libraries Black History Month Lecture 2-13-17 Dr. Zebulon Miletsky: “Obama, Post-Racialism and the New American Dilemma”

Posted in Barack Obama, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States, Videos on 2017-07-10 01:57Z by Steven

SBU Libraries Black History Month Lecture 2-13-17 Dr. Zebulon Miletsky: “Obama, Post-Racialism and the New American Dilemma”

Stony Brook Library Media Services
2017-02-13 (Published 2017-02-15)

Zebulon Vance Miletsky, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies
Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York

The election of Barack Obama in 2008 as the 44th President of the United States, raised hopes for many that as a country we were entering a post-racial moment, that the twin legacies of oppression and slavery were overcome, not only in the United States, but the world. That same period, however, brought crises of authority caused by neo-liberalism, police violence, and mass incarceration that have consistently set back the very racial progress that Obama’s presidency seemed to inaugurate. Far from being post-racial, the Obama years were a period of constant racial crisis, the repercussions of which were felt daily since the killings of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson in the summer of 2014. It took the election of an African American to the nation’s highest office to uncover a level of racial hatred the likes of which we have not seen since the 1960s, requiring an analysis of the relationship between multiracialism and post-racialism, as well as how whiteness operates in the United States, to fully appreciate what has come to pass. The election of Donald Trump as President has been a clear rejection of the post-racial era ushered in by Obama. Much like our more recent experiment in racial democracy, there are parallels between what happened with the overthrow of Reconstruction, America’s startling experiment in biracial democracy after the Civil War and today. The historical roots of the “whitelash” that fueled Trump’s victory lie in a prior racial backlash to an unprecedented attempt to grant African Americans citizenship during the period of Reconstruction. Based on a book chapter-in-progress for a volume on the Black Intellectual Tradition in America, this presentation discusses how the 21st century could potentially mark a new low in American race relations—or a “new American dilemma”.

Dr. Zebulon Vance Miletsky is an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and a historian specializing in recent African-American History, Civil Rights and Black Power, Urban History, Mixed Race and Biracial identity, and Hip-Hop Studies. His research interests include: African-Americans in Boston; Northern freedom movements outside of the South; Mixed race history in the U.S. and passing; and the Afro-Latin diaspora. He is the author of numerous articles, reviews, essays and book chapters and is currently working on a manuscript on the civil rights movement in Boston. Ph.D.; African-American Studies with a concentration in History, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 2008.

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From Loving v. Virginia To Barack Obama: The Symbolic Tie That Binds

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2017-07-05 19:08Z by Steven

From Loving v. Virginia To Barack Obama: The Symbolic Tie That Binds

Creighton Law Review
Volume 50, Number 3 (2017)
pages 641-668

G. Reginald Daniel, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Santa Barbara

Jasmine Kelekay
Department of Sociology
University of California, Santa Barbara

I. INTRODUCTION

The year 2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia, which declared anti-miscegenation laws to be unconstitutional. For many, the Loving decision represents a symbolic turning point in the history of United States racial politics. Some even celebrate the Loving decision and the argued subsequent “biracial baby boom” as the beginning of a post-racial United States. Indeed, statistics indicating that fifteen percent of all new marriages are interracial and polls suggesting that a majority of Americans today approve of interracial marriage are cited as evidence of the erosion of racial boundaries and tensions. For many, the 2008 election of Barack Hussein Obama, the offspring of an African father and European American mother, as the forty-fourth President—and the first Black President—of the United States similarly marked a symbolic victory affirming that racism has finally been overcome and the United States is a truly post-racial society. However, the year 2017 also marks the end of Obama’s presidency and—importantly—the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States. Consequently, we are not only forced to examine this critical juncture in the history of United States racial politics, but are also required to critically examine the past fifty years and ask the following question: to what extent have the symbolic victories of Loving and the election of Obama been imbued with aspirations that have yet to be fully actualized? Loving and the election of President Obama are undoubtedly important milestones in the history of United States jurisprudence and racial politics. Yet a careful analysis of interracial marriage trends, the politics of mixed race identity, and the waves of backlash against Obama’s presidency—which range from contesting his legitimacy and opposing his political efforts to explicitly racist rhetoric and the recent election of Donald Trump as President—suggest that the post-racial potential promised by Loving has remained more aspirational than actualized. Accordingly, in order to understand the legacy of Loving, we must think critically about interracial intimacy and contemporary United States race relations, taking into account the persistent inequities imbedded in the United States racial order and the continued relevance of anti-Blackness in the struggles for a more egalitarian society.

Read the entire article here.

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Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America, Fifth Edition

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science, United States on 2017-07-05 13:25Z by Steven

Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America, Fifth Edition

Rowman & Littlefield
June 2017
360 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-4422-7622-2
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4422-7623-9
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4422-7624-6

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Professor of Sociology
Duke University


Features

  • Provocative and engaging—praised by adopters as a book that students actually read
  • Adopters say the book challenges many of their white students to see themselves and their attitudes towards race differently, while helping minority students find language to talk about their experiences
  • Highlights the problems with many of the phrases students often use to talk about race in America, such as “I don’t see race,” or “Some of my best friends are black”
  • Features a new chapter that is often requested by students—how to challenge racism on both the individual and the structural levels
  • Includes new material on the Black Lives Matter movement, the impact of the Obama presidency and its aftermath, the rise of Donald Trump and the 2016 elections, and more

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s acclaimed Racism without Racists documents how, beneath our contemporary conversation about race, there lies a full-blown arsenal of arguments, phrases, and stories that whites use to account for—and ultimately justify—racial inequalities. This provocative book explodes the belief that America is now a color-blind society. The fifth edition includes a new chapter addressing what students can do to confront racism—both personally and on a larger structural level, new material on Donald Trump’s election and the racial climate post-Obama, new coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement, and more.

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I Only Protested the Affordable Care Act Because the President Was Black. Please Don’t Take Away My Health Insurance

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-06-28 18:28Z by Steven

I Only Protested the Affordable Care Act Because the President Was Black. Please Don’t Take Away My Health Insurance

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
2017-06-27

David Bradley Isenberg
New York, New York

Back in 2009, when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was being debated in Congress, I was fuming with anger. How could I, a fiscal conservative, support a program that would drive down my insurance costs and cover my child’s preexisting condition? It clearly was a flawed bill that would ruin small businesses.

I nearly boiled over for eight years, and rightly so. But now that President Obama has finally left office, and the Republicans want to take away my health insurance options and increase my premiums, I just want to be up front about something.

It was never about the taxes. It was always about the president’s Blackness. It was super related to his race. Arguably, completely and wholly tied to race, alright? And now that the president is normal again, I’d be very grateful to be able to enjoy this health insurance and all these patient protections that have saved my small business and my child’s life. So please, don’t repeal the Affordable Care Act..

Read (and enjoy) the entire article here.

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Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama and the Limitations of Liberal Criticism

Posted in Barack Obama, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2017-06-13 20:30Z by Steven

Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama and the Limitations of Liberal Criticism

iMiXWHATiLiKE!
2017-06-07

Jared A. Ball, Host and Professor of Communication Studies
Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

Authors Dr. Todd Steven Burroughs and Paul Street discuss their reviews of David Garrow‘s Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama.  We also discussed the liberal limitations of Garrow’s criticism and the omission of Left critiques by “alternative” and “Left” media outlets.

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A Long, Long Look at Obama’s Life, Mostly Before the White House

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-06-13 17:30Z by Steven

A Long, Long Look at Obama’s Life, Mostly Before the White House

Books of The Times
The New York Times
2017-05-01

Michiko Kakutani, Chief Book Critic

RISING STAR
The Making of Barack Obama

By David J. Garrow
1,460 pages. William Morrow. $45.

Rising Star,” the voluminous 1,460-page biography of Barack Obama by David J. Garrow, is a dreary slog of a read: a bloated, tedious and — given its highly intemperate epilogue — ill-considered book that is in desperate need of editing, and way more exhausting than exhaustive.

Many of the more revealing moments in this volume will be familiar to readers of Obama’s own memoir, “Dreams From My Father”; a host of earlier books about Obama and his family; and myriad profiles of the former president that have appeared in newspapers and magazines over the years. Garrow has turned up little that’s substantially new — save for identifying and interviewing an old girlfriend from Obama’s early Chicago years, who claims that by 1987, “he already had his sights on becoming president.”

In the absence of thoughtful analysis or a powerful narrative through line, Garrow’s book settles for barraging the reader with a cascade of details — seemingly in hopes of creating a kind of pointillist picture. The problem is that all these data points never connect to form an illuminating portrait; the book does not open out to become the sort of resonant narrative that Robert A. Caro and Ron Chernow have pioneered, in which momentous historical events are deftly recreated, and a subject’s life is situated in a time and a place. Instead, Garrow has expended a huge amount of energy — his bibliography, including interviews with more than a thousand people, runs to 35 pages — on giving us minutely detailed accounts of early chapters of Obama’s life, like his years at Harvard Law School, his time in Chicago as a community organizer, and his work in the Illinois State Senate. Garrow gets to Obama’s presidency only in an epilogue…

…It’s odd that Garrow should seize on one former lover’s anger and hurt, and try to turn them into a Rosebud-like key to the former president’s life, referring to her repeatedly in his epilogue. He even tries to turn her perception — about Obama’s having willed himself into being — into a pejorative, when the act of self-invention, as other biographers have noted, was the enterprising and existential act of a young man who essentially had been abandoned by both his black father and white mother, and who found himself caught between cultures and trying, as he wrote in “Dreams,” “to raise myself to be a black man in America.”…

Read the entire review here.

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