We should have seen Trump coming

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-10-08 04:18Z by Steven

We should have seen Trump coming

The Guardian
2017-09-29

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Obama’s rise felt like a new chapter in American history. But the original sin of white supremacy was not so easily erased.

I have often wondered how I missed the coming tragedy. It is not so much that I should have predicted that Americans would elect Donald Trump. It’s just that I shouldn’t have put it past us. It was tough to keep track of the currents of politics and pageantry swirling at once. All my life I had seen myself, and my people, backed into a corner. Had I been wrong? Watching the crowds at county fairs cheer for Michelle Obama in 2008, or flipping through the enchanting photo spreads of the glamorous incoming administration, it was easy to believe that I had been.

And it was more than symbolic. Barack Obama’s victory meant not just a black president but also that Democrats, the party supported by most black people, enjoyed majorities in Congress. Prominent intellectuals were predicting that modern conservatism – a movement steeped in white resentment – was at its end and that a demographic wave of Asians, Latinos and blacks would sink the Republican party.

Back in the summer of 2008, as Obama closed out the primary and closed in on history, vendors in Harlem hawked T-shirts emblazoned with his face and posters placing him in the black Valhalla where Martin, Malcolm and Harriet were throned. It is hard to remember the excitement of that time, because I now know that the sense we had that summer, the sense that we were approaching an end-of-history moment, proved to be wrong.

It is not so much that I logically reasoned out that Obama’s election would author a post-racist age. But it now seemed possible that white supremacy, the scourge of American history, might well be banished in my lifetime. In those days I imagined racism as a tumour that could be isolated and removed from the body of America, not as a pervasive system both native and essential to that body. From that perspective, it seemed possible that the success of one man really could alter history, or even end it…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

Posted in Barack Obama, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-10-07 21:49Z by Steven

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

One World (An imprint of PenguinRandomHouse)
2017-10-03
400 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4
Hardcover ISBN: ISBN 9780399590566
Paperback ISBN: 9780525624516
Ebook ISBN: 9780399590580

Ta-Nehisi Coates

In these “urgently relevant essays,”* the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me “reflects on race, Barack Obama’s presidency and its jarring aftermath”*—including the election of Donald Trump.

“We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.”

But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period—and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective—the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.

We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates’s iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including “Fear of a Black President,” “The Case for Reparations,” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates’s own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.

Tags: , ,

Trump truly is something new—the first president whose entire political existence hinges on the fact of a black president.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-09-08 02:45Z by Steven

For Trump, it almost seems that the fact of Obama, the fact of a black president, insulted him personally. The insult intensified when Obama and Seth Meyers publicly humiliated him at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011. But the bloody heirloom ensures the last laugh. Replacing Obama is not enough—Trump has made the negation of Obama’s legacy the foundation of his own. And this too is whiteness. “Race is an idea, not a fact,” the historian Nell Irvin Painter has written, and essential to the construct of a “white race” is the idea of not being a nigger. Before Barack Obama, niggers could be manufactured out of Sister Souljahs, Willie Hortons, and Dusky Sallys. But Donald Trump arrived in the wake of something more potent—an entire nigger presidency with nigger health care, nigger climate accords, and nigger justice reform, all of which could be targeted for destruction or redemption, thus reifying the idea of being white. Trump truly is something new—the first president whose entire political existence hinges on the fact of a black president. And so it will not suffice to say that Trump is a white man like all the others who rose to become president. He must be called by his rightful honorific—America’s first white president.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The First White President,” The Atlantic, October 2017. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/10/the-first-white-president-ta-nehisi-coates/537909/.

Tags: , ,

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.

Tags: , ,

How I Got Over: Soledad O’Brien on Race, Politics and the Media

Posted in Communications/Media Studies, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2017-08-04 02:25Z by Steven

How I Got Over: Soledad O’Brien on Race, Politics and the Media

The Greene Space
2017-03-27


Soledad O’Brien

During the 2016 election, award-winning journalist and writer Soledad O’Brien charged cable news and media companies of profiting off hate speech normalized by then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign. What made for good TV ratings did not make for good journalism.

WNYC editor Rebecca Carroll hosts an unconventional conversation with O’Brien about her new political magazine show “Matter of Fact” and how black and brown journalists and media makers can deliver balanced coverage with President Trump in the White House for the next four years.

View the entire conversation (01:21:57) here.

Tags: , , ,

After Trump

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Philosophy, Religion, United States, Virginia on 2017-03-16 20:04Z by Steven

After Trump

Boston Review: A Political and Literary Forum
2016-11-22

Christopher Petrella, Lecturer in the Humanities and the Associate Director of Equity and Diversity
Bates College, Lewiston, Maine

In November 2015 Donald Trump was asked on the campaign trail if he would require Muslim U.S. citizens to register with the Department of Homeland Security. “Absolutely,” Trump said, “they have to be.” Trump and his team had been mum on the issue until last week when a number of prominent surrogates and advisers—including incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Trump’s immigration adviser Kris Kobach—mused, seemingly as a test balloon, that the administration is “not going to rule out anything” and that a registry of Muslims entering the country would pass constitutional muster. One member of Trump’s team went as far as citing the 1942–45 internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II as a “precedent.” (Both statements were hedged with qualifications that made them no less worrisome.)

Since then, many commentators have roundly condemned the idea of a Muslim registry—not to mention citing the internment of Japanese-Americans as a precedent for anything except that which we must avoid repeating. Few have offered deeper historical examinations , though, that would suggest that the registration of Japanese-Americans and their subsequent movement to concentration camps were not really aberrations in American history. On the contrary, racial and ethnic registries and immigration quota systems have long been integral to America’s approach to regulating the freedom, movement, and rights of non-whites. Two pieces of legislation passed in the same year nearly a century ago—one federal, one in the state of Virginia—reflect the recurrent appeal in the United States of laws aimed at protecting the racial purity of whatever is indexed in a given moment as best representing American nationalism…

…In the same year as the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, the Commonwealth of Virginia passed its Racial Integrity Act, originally drafted as “A Bill for the Preservation of the White Race.” The Racial Integrity Act of 1924 explicitly forbade miscegenation—that is, “race mixing through marriage and fornication”—on the basis that such practices would “pollute [the nation] with mixed-blood offspring.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Pity the sad legacy of Barack Obama

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States on 2017-01-16 18:03Z by Steven

Pity the sad legacy of Barack Obama

The Guardian
2017-01-09

Cornel West, Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice
Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York

Our hope and change candidate fell short time and time again. Obama cheerleaders who refused to make him accountable bear some responsibility

Eight years ago the world was on the brink of a grand celebration: the inauguration of a brilliant and charismatic black president of the United States of America. Today we are on the edge of an abyss: the installation of a mendacious and cathartic white president who will replace him…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

In stark farewell, Obama warns of threat to U. S. democracy

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-01-13 18:31Z by Steven

In stark farewell, Obama warns of threat to U. S. democracy

The Washington Post
2017-01-10

Juliet Eilperin, White House Bureau Chief

Greg Jaffe, Reporter

CHICAGOPresident Obama used his farewell speech here on Tuesday to outline the gathering threats to American democracy and press a more optimistic vision for a country that seems more politically divided than ever.

Obama said goodbye to the nation against the backdrop of one of the most corrosive elections in U.S. history and a deep sense that the poisonous political environment has pitted Americans against each other.

“America, we weaken those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so corrosive that people of good character aren’t even willing to enter public service; so coarse with rancor that Americans with whom we disagree are not just misguided, but malevolent,” Obama said. “We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others; when we write off the whole system as inevitably corrupt, and blame the leaders we elect without examining our own role in electing them.”

Obama fretted about anti-immigrant sentiment, racism and economic inequality.

“If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hard-working white middle class and an undeserving minority, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves,” Obama warned in an not-so-subtle jab at his successor, President-elect Donald Trump.

Obama, the first African American president, acknowledged the continuing difficulty of race relations in America.

“After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America. Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic,” he said. “For race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society. Now, I’ve lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were 10, or 20, or 30 years ago — you can see it not just in statistics, but in the attitudes of young Americans across the political spectrum. But we’re not where we need to be.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Walsh says race backlash in part led to Trump win

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-12-22 19:43Z by Steven

Walsh says race backlash in part led to Trump win

The Boston Globe
2016-12-20

Meghan E. Irons, Reporter

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, taking on a contentious issue rippling across the country, said Tuesday that he believes the election of Donald Trump was in part due to a backlash against the nation’s first black president.

“I would hope [that] as a country we have gone beyond that,’’ the mayor said, adding that the election exposed economic and racial divisions. “But I’m afraid that is not the case.”

Walsh took on race and other thorny issues during an hourlong interview, vowing to continue the city’s [Boston’s] race dialogues to heal “deep wounds.” The mayor discussed the cloud of federal indictments looming over his administration, laid out the posture the city aims to take with the incoming Trump administration, and made his case for his reelection, saying Boston is much better off than when he took office three years ago…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The One They’ve Been Waiting for: White Fear and the Rise of Donald Trump

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-12-18 01:53Z by Steven

The One They’ve Been Waiting for: White Fear and the Rise of Donald Trump

Politics of Color: commentary & reflections on race, ethnicity, and politics
2016-11-27

Linda Alvarez, Assistant Professor
California State University, Northridge

Ivy A. Melgar Cargile, Assistant Professor
California State University, Bakersfield

Natasha Altema McNeely, Assistant Professor
University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley

Lisa Pringle, Ph.D. Candidate
Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California

Patricia Posey, Ph.D. Candidate
University of Pennsylvania

Andrea Silva, Assistant Professor
University of North Texas

Carrie Skulley, Assistant Professor
Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania

On November 8th, 2016, Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. Many, including members of the Republican party were shocked that a man openly propagating racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia would now be the leader of the most powerful country in the world. How did this happen? While several factors contributed to Donald Trump’s alarming success, there is no doubt that tapping into American racism and sexism were integral to his victory. However, Trump’s election rhetoric alone was not enough to ignite an entire sector of the U.S. population. Instead, Trump built his campaign on a historical culture of white fear of “the other.” Through this rhetoric, The Trump campaign united white America in particular, under a banner of fear. Trump’s campaign was based on igniting a “moral panic—an upwelling of intense emotion and feeling over conditions that challenge people’s deep seated values and threatens the established social order.” Yet, this panic was not created by the Trump campaign. Instead, his campaign was able to capitalize on an already salient white fear in the United States- a white fear present since the founding, that resurfaced in a post 9/11 context, and was fed by the rhetoric of “uncontrollable other,” set on destroying the “American” way of life. The extreme nationalism, fear, and xenophobia ignited by 9/11, the challenge to entrenched white privilege posed by the election of Barak Obama, the adoption of relatively liberal immigration policy, and the emergence of the #BlackLivesMatter movement all threatened the status quo that white Americans have enjoyed in this country since its founding. Trump’s rallying cry to “Make America Great Again,” was about more than an economic policy, it was a literal call to regain and reinstate white supremacy. Here, we argue against suggestions that the Trump campaign and subsequent win has created backlash and erased our post-racial America. We argue that this backlash was decades in the making and that a “post-racial America” has never existed. Further, our policymakers and institutions have been continuously changed and challenged to preserve white supremacy structures in America   Fear and hatred of the “other” has been codified since the founding of this country like the Pogroms against First Nations, slavery and later Jim Crow laws, Women as Property, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and Japanese internment camps. These are examples of white supremacy systemized into law, and entrenched in our culture to create and maintain a status quo that upholds white power. This article delves deeper into the continuous effort by white nationalist to marginalize vulnerable groups and the Trumps campaign’s ability to exploit these institutional changes into a victory. The façade of a “post-racial” society was created and reified after the election of the first mixed race president and congealed among sectors of white America. we begin this discussion with the break in our “post-racial” façade after the attacks on September 11, 2001

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,