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


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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On the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia and Interracial Marriage: When Race Isn’t the Only Difference

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2017-06-13 20:11Z by Steven

On the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia and Interracial Marriage: When Race Isn’t the Only Difference


Rebecca Bodenheimer, PhD, Independent Scholar & Researcher

[Rebecca Bodenheimer is the author of Geographies Of Cubanidad: Place, Race, and Musical Performance in Contemporary Cuba]

Our story is not the Loving story. It is a tale of interracial love and marriage — like the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, whose journey was beautifully and poignantly represented in the 2016 Jeff Nichols film Loving — and yet, it’s so very different. Fifty years ago, the Lovings took on the state of Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage in a landmark Supreme Court case, and on June 12, 1967, they won, hammering the final nail in the coffin of state prohibitions on interracial marriage. The Lovings were relatively similar in terms of background, including aspects of class, region, and language. The only thing that separated them was race. This is not to minimize the huge significance of racial difference, particularly in the 1950s South, but only to emphasize that in terms of other aspects of their identity, they were actually quite compatible with each other. One of the main messages I took away from the Loving movie was the gulf between the huge significance of race from a legal and social perspective, and its insignificance in the daily life of the Lovings. This story was not about a couple who set out to challenge a racist law, or even to take a stand on racial equality, at least not at first; rather it was about a man and woman in love, trying to do what was best for their family.

I am a white American woman married to a black Cuban man, and we have a mixed-race son. Despite the surface similarities between our story and that of the Lovings, especially as seen from an outsider’s perspective, I have always perceived our biggest divisions as related not to race, but rather to culture and class…

…I struggle with the potential perception of anti-blackness that identifying my son as mulato (or “mixed-race”) instead of “black” may present here in the U.S. On the other hand, doing so would erase the cultural specificity of racial categories in Cuba. Quite simply, my son would never be identified as black by his father or in Cuba. Ultimately, it will be up to him to decide how to identify himself, and unless it’s to claim he’s white, I have no skin in the game….

Read the entire article here.

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Episode 32: How Race Was Made (Seeing White, Part 2)

Posted in Anthropology, Audio, History, Media Archive on 2017-06-13 18:35Z by Steven

Episode 32: How Race Was Made (Seeing White, Part 2)

Scene on Radio

John Biewen, Host and Audio Program Director/Instructor
Center for Documentary Studies
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Chenjerai Kumanyika, Assistant Professor of Popular Culture
Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

Photo: The Monument to the Discoveries, Lisbon, Portugal. The highlighted figure in the center is an effigy of Gomes Eanes de Zurara. The figure at the top right is Prince Henry the Navigator. Photo by Harvey Barrison.

For much of human history, people viewed themselves as members of tribes or nations but had no notion of “race.” Today, science deems race biologically meaningless. Who invented race as we know it, and why? By John Biewen, with guest Chenjerai Kumanyika.

Listen to the podcast (00:28:50) here. Download the podcast here.

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Does Growing Population of Multiracial Kids Portend a Future with Less Racism?

Posted in Articles, Audio, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2017-06-13 18:02Z by Steven

Does Growing Population of Multiracial Kids Portend a Future with Less Racism?

WVTF Public Radio
Roanoke, Virginia

Sandy Hausman, WVTF/RADIO IQ Charlottesville Bureau Chief

A growing number of families in this country include people of different races.
Credit NPR

Fifty years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws that prevented people of different races from marrying in Virginia.  Now, one of every six newlyweds choose partners of a different race or ethnicity.  So does this mean America is on the road to ending racism?  And how do mixed race kids think of themselves.  Those questions puzzled a UVA alum whose new book offers intriguing answers.  Sandy Hausman has that story.

Hephzibah Strmic-Pawl grew up in rural Virginia where race consciousness was strong.  Back then, the U.S. census bureau recorded only a handful of possible races for residents of the state.  Now, however, that has changed.

“Now we have 63 possible racial categories,”  Strmic-Pawl says.

And looking at the younger members of our population, the assistant professor of sociology was startled by the number of kids who don’t fit neatly into a single racial category…

[Hephzibah Strmic-Pawl is the author of Multiracialism and Its Discontents: A Comparative Analysis of Asian-White and Black-White Multiracials.]

Read the entire story here. Listen to the story (00:02:14) here.

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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

Michiko Kakutani, Chief Book Critic

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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Mildred and Richard’s Sacrifice is Our Obligation

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States, Virginia on 2017-06-13 17:11Z by Steven

Mildred and Richard’s Sacrifice is Our Obligation

The Multiracial Activist
June 13, 2017

James Landrith, Founder and Publisher

50 years ago yesterday, Mildred Loving decided that the Commonwealth of Virginia was wrong to keep her and her husband away from their home and family. She decided that it was unacceptable for Judge Leon Bazile’s racist conservative Christian defense of the law to have the last word. She wanted to live with her husband in the community where they both grew up. What she wanted was far from unreasonable, unless of course, you were a white racist cop or judge in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Then, you had a magical divine sanction to ruin other people’s lives via the abhorrent Racial Integrity Act of 1924.

In his January 22, 1965 refusal to vacate the 1959 felony conviction of Mildred and Richard, Judge Bazile wrote,:

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his [arrangement] there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

Take a moment to clean up the vomit from your chin…

Read the entire article here.

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Please Don’t Ever Call Me Or My Family ‘Basically White’

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2017-06-13 17:00Z by Steven

Please Don’t Ever Call Me Or My Family ‘Basically White’


Rasika W. Boice

Her blue eyes are childhood summers doing backward dives into the pool and boogie boarding with reckless abandon on the crests of chilly New England waves — I have the scars on my upper thighs to prove it. I’d happily drown in her piercing indigos, so different from my deep browns.

“She has your eye shape,” some say, looking from her to me, from me to her. They struggle to make the connection. The colors don’t match, not only of our eyes but also of our skin, she more of a latte to my coffee with skim.

As I help her up the slide at the playground, I wonder how many question if I’m her mother or nanny. And on bad days, I hope they decide nanny. That way, she’ll be safe from the ones who yell “Go home!” and “You don’t belong here!” Or worse…

Read the entire article here.

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Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama

Posted in Barack Obama, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-06-13 16:13Z by Steven

Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama

William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins)
1472 pages
Trimsize: 6.25 in (w) x 9.25 in (h) x 2.703 in (d)
Hardcover ISBN: 9780062641830
E-book ISBN: 9780062641854
Digital Audiobook Unabridged ISBN: 9780062671745

David J. Garrow, Professor of Law & History and Distinguished Faculty Scholar
University of Pittsburgh School of Law

Rising Star is the definitive account of Barack Obama’s formative years that made him the man who became the forty-fourth president of the United States—from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bearing the Cross

Barack Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention instantly catapulted him into the national spotlight and led to his election four years later as America’s first African-American president. In this penetrating biography, David J. Garrow delivers an epic work about the life of Barack Obama, creating a rich tapestry of a life little understood, until now.

Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama captivatingly describes Barack Obama’s tumultuous upbringing as a young black man attending an almost-all-white, elite private school in Honolulu while being raised almost exclusively by his white grandparents. After recounting Obama’s college years in California and New York, Garrow charts Obama’s time as a Chicago community organizer, working in some of the city’s roughest neighborhoods; his years at the top of his Harvard Law School class; and his return to Chicago, where Obama honed his skills as a hard-knuckled politician, first in the state legislature and then as a candidate for the United States Senate.

Detailing a scintillating, behind-the-scenes account of Obama’s 2004 speech, a moment that labeled him the Democratic Party’s “rising star,” Garrow also chronicles Obama’s four years in the Senate, weighing his stands on various issues against positions he had taken years earlier, and recounts his thrilling run for the White House in 2008.

In Rising Star, David J. Garrow has created a vivid portrait that reveals not only the people and forces that shaped the future president but also the ways in which he used those influences to serve his larger aspirations. This is a gripping read about a young man born into uncommon family circumstances, whose faith in his own talents came face-to-face with fantastic ambitions and a desire to do good in the world. Most important, Rising Star is an extraordinary work of biography—tremendous in its research and storytelling, and brilliant in its analysis of the all-too-human struggles of one of the most fascinating politicians of our time.

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Was Loving v. Virginia Really About Love?

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-06-13 15:13Z by Steven

Was Loving v. Virginia Really About Love?

The Atlantic

Osagie K. Obasogie, Haas Distinguished Chair and Professor of Bioethics
University of California, Berkeley

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Fifty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state laws banning interracial marriage, but the issues involved in the case extended beyond its current popular understanding as a tribute to romance.

Interracial marriage is at a historic high. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, couples with different racial backgrounds made up one in six new marriages in 2015—a stark change from previous eras when even looking at someone across the color line with a hint of romance could be a matter of life or death. This radical shift is largely attributed to the Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia, which marks its 50th anniversary on June 12. In Loving, the Court struck down state laws banning interracial marriage, holding that such restrictions are unconstitutional.

Loving is widely praised as a case about law ceding to the power of love in the face of astonishing harassment and bigotry endured by interracial couples. The redemptive trope coming out of the Loving decision that love conquers all has also influenced other social movements, such as those leading to Obergefell v. Hodges—the 2015 Supreme Court decision recognizing same-sex marriage.

The 1967 Loving decision therefore is often celebrated as an affirmation of love that made America a better and more progressive society. There’s just one problem.

Love is not what the case was really about…

Read the entire article here.

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Interracial Marriage Before And After The Historic Loving Decision

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-06-13 14:18Z by Steven

Interracial Marriage Before And After The Historic Loving Decision

WGBH 89.7 FM
Boston, Massachusetts

Sally Jacobs

The family in the yard of their Scituate home from left to right: Pamela McCoy, Rayna’s mother, Harris, Rayna, London, Miles and Dominic. Credit: Courtesy of the Mackay family.

This story is part two of a special three-part series on interracial marriage. It was produced in collaboration with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

Winston Cox and Trudy Kofford were married late on a February afternoon in 1966. She was 22-years-old, a green-eyed dreamer fresh from the hills of Oregon. He was 29, an ambitious doctoral candidate from Jamaica, with a wiry build.

Trudy, who is white, wore a wool dress with a rounded straw hat in honor of her mother, one of a tiny number of family members present for the couple that day. Her father had vowed to disown her if she married Cox, a black man. Minutes before the ceremony began, Trudy’s mother leaned over and whispered in Winston’s ear.

“The mother, she said, ‘Listen, if her daddy ever sees you he’ll kill you,’” Winston recalled. “She was very angry when she met me.”

Such opposition to interracial marriage was not uncommon back when Winston and Trudy took the bold step of marrying across racial lines, one year before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision — Loving v. Virginia — that struck down state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Fifty years later, some things have decidedly changed while others have definitely not…

Winston Cox and Trudy Kofford on their wedding day, Feb. 4, 1966, in San Luis Obispo, CA.
Photo Credit: Courtesy

…Although Trudy has some Native-American blood, she had never met a black person growing up in Joseph, Oregon. In a way, Winston was just as naïve. He had grown up in Jamaica at a time of political upheaval, but had little racial awareness. There just weren’t many white people around during his childhood.

Still, though, they got married in 1966, one year before the Loving court decision would strike down laws nationwide prohibiting marriage between races. The ceremony was held in a mission in San Luis Obispo, California, where Winston had attended college. (California legalized interracial marriage in 1948.) Although they had many differences stemming from their upbringing, they shared a passion for social justice.

“We were Communists together,” said Trudy. “We were political. We studied Mao, and the Chinese Revolution.”

So much so, that when they had their second child in 1970 they called her Fanshen. It’s a Chinese word that means turning over. But it didn’t take long for race to come between them. By the time Fanshen was born, Winston had been kicked out of restaurants, barred from bathrooms and humiliated. As the politics of the decade grew more extreme, he grew an Afro and turned to the Black Panthers

Read the entire article here. Listen to the story here.

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