Barack Obama and the Third Wave: the syntaxes of whiteness and articulating difference in the post-identity era

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-09-03 00:56Z by Steven

Barack Obama and the Third Wave: the syntaxes of whiteness and articulating difference in the post-identity era

Politics, Groups, and Identities
Volume 2, Issue 4, 2014
pages 573-588
DOI: 10.1080/21565503.2014.969739

Melanye T. Price, Assistant Professor
Africana Studies and Political Science Departments
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Emerging critiques of Third Wave Feminism and its employment of grammars of whiteness provide a framework for analyzing racial discourses emerging in the same social context. Like Third Wave Feminists, Barack Obama’s political ascendancy happens in a post-identity (post-racial, post-feminist) moment where members of ascriptive categories having achieved significant civil rights gains begin to assert their rights to live unconstrained by racialized and gendered histories and norms. Using the syntaxes of whiteness outlined previously by Rebecca Clark Mane, I critically analyze Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” speech. I argue that Obama does the following: he provides a racial analysis that is disconnected from historical context, suggests that prevailing isms are primarily relegated to the past, conflates oppositional racial experiences, and relies too heavily on his own personal narrative to justify claims. These discursive practices have damaging effects for our broader understanding of contemporary racial politics. Moreover, reliance on Obama’s perspective on American race relations makes it more difficult to argue and demonstrate that material inequalities are produced by structural injustice that continues to over-determine the lives of certain groups. Additionally, advocates and activists who continue to make identity-based claims are viewed as either holding on too tightly to the past or failing to understand the present.

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Four-country newspaper framing of Barack Obama’s multiracial identity in the 2008 US presidential election

Posted in Africa, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Barack Obama, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2015-09-02 22:02Z by Steven

Four-country newspaper framing of Barack Obama’s multiracial identity in the 2008 US presidential election

Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies
Volume 35, Issue 3, 2014
pages 23-38
DOI: 10.1080/02560054.2014.955867

Kioko Ireri, Assistant Professor of Journalism & Mass Communication
United States International University-Africa, Nairobi, Kenya

Though Barack Obama was the first African American presidential nominee for a major party in the history of the US presidential election, his multiracial identity put him under intense scrutiny during the 2008 election – more than any other previous black aspirants for the White House. Using quantitative content analysis of election stories in the newspapers of four countries (New York Times – US; Times – Britain; China Daily – China and Daily Nation – Kenya), this comparative study examines the prevalence of four racial frames associated with Obama’s multilayered racial identity: ‘African American’, ‘black’, ‘Kenyan roots’ and ‘white roots’. In addition, the study investigates the four newspapers’ valence coverage of the four racial frames in relation to Obama’s candidacy. The findings indicate that ‘Kenyan roots’ was the racial frame which occurred most frequently, followed by the ‘black’ frame. Overall, Obama received more positive coverage than negative across the racial frames depicted in the four newspapers.

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Politics, Opinion and Reality in Black and White: Conceptualizing Postracialism at the Beginning of the 21st Century

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-09-01 20:17Z by Steven

Politics, Opinion and Reality in Black and White: Conceptualizing Postracialism at the Beginning of the 21st Century

Revue de Recherche en Civilisation Américaine
Number 3 (March 2012): Post-racial America?

Lisa Veroni-Paccher, MCF, Civilisation américaine
Université Bordeaux Montaigne

With the election of the first black president, commentators and pundits said that Americans could now believe that African Americans had achieved racial equality, or at least that they would achieve it in their lifetimes. As Barack Obama used a universalist message and adopted a racially transcendent strategy which might seem at odds with his self-definition as an African American, he came to be defined as a postracial candidate, in a postracial America. The promise of an electoral victory indeed called for a strategy that would avoid race-specific issues, while at the same time reassured voters that their interests would be best served. This article argues that postracialism can thus be understood and used as an effective electoral strategy aiming at downplaying the individual and collective roles race and racism play in structuring group hierarchy and interaction, so that black or other nonwhite candidates can appeal to white voters. Using recent public opinion data, this paper will then attempt to understand how the contemporary political environment transforms the use of race as a political and/or social construction and whether it matches the evolution of black public opinion as it relates to understandings of race and racism.

Contents

  • I. Postracial Politics: Deracialized Electoral Strategies as Necessity
  • II. Race, Racism, Racial Equality and Public Opinion: Postracial America as Desire
  • III. Postracialism Real or Dreamed? Beyond the black/white dichotomy
  • Conclusion

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“Beyond the Binary: Obama’s Hybridity and Post-Racialization.”

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Science on 2015-09-01 17:57Z by Steven

“Beyond the Binary: Obama’s Hybridity and Post-Racialization.”

Revue de Recherche en Civilisation Américaine
Number 3 (March 2012): Post-racial America?

Kirin Wachter-Grene, Acting Instructor of Literature
New York University

According to many in the American and international press, the 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama has heralded a possible era of “postracialism” in the United States. The election, and Obama himself, has given this term social capital worthy of deep consideration. If we understand “postracialism” to be congealing into a “color-blind” ideology that ruptures the historic hegemony of the bichromatic (black-white) American binary (as some journalists posit) we have to look at media discourses that position Obama as “postracialism’s subjective signifier” to understand postracialism’s failure to function as it’s imagined to do so.

Far from accomplishing a simplistic and idealistic end to discourses of race and practices of racialization in America, postracialism has served to reify public racial obsession, and Obama has been made the locus of attention on which these discourses circulate. Obama is consistently conscripted in racialized projects from those individuals and groups attempting to use him to advance their political cause. Obama is also actively engaging in a discourse of universalized nationalism that uses color-blindness to articulate itself.

This article will seek to complicate mass media articulations of the postracial, to help broaden it from what appears to be its limited lines of inquiry. Perhaps the salient question to ask is whose “postracialism” are we referring to, and what might this term signify if we imagine it to mean more than what it clearly is not? Might we read postracialism as an articulation of “post-black,” if we consider “black,” in an American context to be historically understood and legitimized as African American? In other words, might “postracial” have salience as a means to invite a larger cultural conversation of different articulations of blackness in America, one in which immigrant blacks are considered and given voice? This is a particularly relevant question in relation to Obama due to his second-generation immigrant identity, and due to the fact that his “blackness” comes not from African American ancestors, but from his African father.

This article aims toward a meditation of the potential for immigrant blackness to offer a more inclusive, and more accurate representation of a progressively variegated, “post-racialized” American culture in need of social legitimacy for its potential to disrupt bichromatic racialization and coterminous universalized nationalism.

Contents

  • Barack Obama: Postracialism’s “Subjective Signifier”
  • Universalized Nationalism/Neoliberal Colorblindness
  • Obama and Internal Racialization
  • Obama’s External Hyper-Racialization
  • Beyond the Binary
  • Toward a Discourse of Post-Bichromatic Racialization

Read the entire article here.

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The Politics of Race and Class in the Age of Obama

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-09-01 14:35Z by Steven

The Politics of Race and Class in the Age of Obama

Revue de Recherche en Civilisation Américaine
Number 3 (March 2012): Post-racial America?

Myra Mendible, Professor of English and Department Chair for Language and Literature
Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, Florida

This essay explores the revival and misappropriation of identity politics in the age of Obama. I argue that Obama’s presidency has exposed the fault lines of American society, evoking deep-seated apprehensions about race, immigration, and America’s role in a post-9/11 world. As a result, it has generated a range of discursive strategies intended to both disguise and deploy racialist ideology. In particular, my analysis focuses attention on three developments in the wake of Obama’s election: the emergence of “whiteness” as an endangered identity; the prevalence of “class” as a code word for “race”; and the reconfiguration of “passing” and miscegenation tropes in political discourse. I consider the ways that these rhetorical sleights-of-hand exploit post-racial discourse in order to dismantle decades of progressive civil rights legislation in the United States.

Contents

  • Post-Racial America: New Myth for a New Age?
  • “Passing” for “Black”?
  • Is White the New Black?
  • Exploiting the “Obama Effect”

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In Conversation: Quentin Tarantino

Posted in Articles, Arts, Barack Obama, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-09-01 02:03Z by Steven

In Conversation: Quentin Tarantino

Vulture
2015-08-23

Lane Brown, Culture Editor

Midway through postproduction on his eighth movie, the Western THE HATEFUL EIGHT — about a band of outlaws trapped in a saloon during a blizzard — the director discusses the country’s legacy of white supremacy, Obama, and why he doesn’t worry about a Transformers future.

We’re five months from the release of The Hateful Eight. How close to finishing are you?

We’ve got a little bit more than an hour finished right now. I just got back from seeing an hour of the movie cut together…

Hateful Eight uses the Civil War as a backdrop, sort of like how The Good, the Bad and the Ugly does.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly doesn’t get into the racial conflicts of the Civil War; it’s just a thing that’s happening. My movie is about the country being torn apart by it, and the racial aftermath, six, seven, eight, ten years later.

That’s going to make this movie feel contemporary. Everybody’s talking about race right now.

I know. I’m very excited by that.

Excited?

Finally, the issue of white supremacy is being talked about and dealt with. And it’s what the movie’s about.

How did what’s happening in Baltimore and Ferguson find its way into The Hateful Eight?

It was already in the script. It was already in the footage we shot. It just happens to be timely right now. We’re not trying to make it timely. It is timely. I love the fact that people are talking and dealing with the institutional racism that has existed in this country and been ignored. I feel like it’s another ’60s moment, where the people themselves had to expose how ugly they were before things could change. I’m hopeful that that’s happening now.

You supported Obama. How do you think he’s done?

I think he’s fantastic. He’s my favorite president, hands down, of my lifetime. He’s been awesome this past year. Especially the rapid, one-after-another-after-another-after-another aspect of it. It’s almost like take no prisoners. His he-doesn’t-give-a-shit attitude has just been so cool. Everyone always talks about these lame-duck presidents. I’ve never seen anybody end with this kind of ending. All the people who supported him along the way that questioned this or that and the other? All of their questions are being answered now…

Read the entire interview here.

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The Wrongs of the Right: Language, Race, and the Republican Party in the Age of Obama

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-08-31 00:38Z by Steven

The Wrongs of the Right: Language, Race, and the Republican Party in the Age of Obama

New York University Press
May 2014
232 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780814760543

Matthew W. Hughey, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Connecticut

Gregory S. Parks, Assistant Professor of Law
Wake Forest University School of Law, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

On November 5, 2008, the nation awoke to a New York Times headline that read triumphantly: “OBAMA. Racial Barrier Falls in Heavy Turnout.” But new events quickly muted the exuberant declarations of a postracial era in America: from claims that Obama was born in Kenya and that he is not a true American, to depictions of Obama as a “Lyin African” and conservative cartoons that showed the new president surrounded by racist stereotypes like watermelons and fried chicken.

Despite the utopian proclamations that we are now live in a color-blind, postracial country, the grim reality is that implicit racial biases are more entrenched than ever. In Wrongs of the Right, Matthew W. Hughey and Gregory S. Parks set postracial claims into relief against a background of pre- and post-election racial animus directed at Obama, his administration, and African Americans. They provide an analysis of the political Right and their opposition to Obama from the vantage point of their rhetoric, a history of the evolution of the two-party system in relation to race, social scientific research on race and political ideology, and how racial fears, coded language, and implicit racism are drawn upon and manipulated by the political Right. Racial meanings are reservoirs rich in political currency, and the Right’s replaying of the race card remains a potent resource for othering the first black president in a context rife with Nativism, xenophobia, white racial fatigue, and serious racial inequality. And as Hughey and Parks show, race trumps politics and policies when it comes to political conservatives’ hostility toward Obama.

Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. The Grand Old Party and African Americans: A Brief Historical Overview
  • 2. Unsweet Tea and Labor Pains: The Tea Party, Birthers, and Obama
  • 3. A Fox in the Idiot Box: Right-Wing Talking Heads
  • 4. Political Party, Campaign Strategy, and Racial Messaging
  • 5. The Social Science of Political Ideology and Racial Attitudes
  • 6. Unconscious Race Bias and the Right: Its Meaning for Law in the Age of Obama
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Index
  • About the Authors
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The Race Draft Fails, Again

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-08-26 23:31Z by Steven

The Race Draft Fails, Again

Ebony
2015-08-26

Damon Young, Writer


(left) Barack Obama, Mariah Carey and Shawn King

Damon Young says a recent campaign questioning Shaun King’s ethnicity is the latest in a string of attempts to take good Blacks out the gene pool

We should have seen it coming. All the signs were there. But they fooled us. Bamboozled us. Led us astray. And now it might be too late.

It started back in 2008, when birthers were so hell-bent on seeing then-Senator Barack Obama’s birth certificate. They said it was to check his citizenship; to prove if he was truly an American citizen. And we fell for it hook line and sinker. Damn truther chicanery…

…But what was really happening was far more devious. Far more lecherous. With Obama’s ascension and eventual election came a stark So they got creative. They weren’t trying to prove if he was American. They were trying to reclaim him. After 400 or so years of the one drop rule, they finally realized that if they kept allowing us to claim all people with even a teaspoon of African blood as 100% Black, their numbers would continue to dwindle…

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On Martha’s Vineyard, black elites ponder the past year

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-08-24 01:16Z by Steven

On Martha’s Vineyard, black elites ponder the past year

Politico
2015-08-22

Sara Wheaton, White House Reporter

As Obama vacations on the island, an upper-class gathering grapples with a year of unrest.

EDGARTOWN, Mass. – For America’s black elite, this year’s seasonal sojourn to Martha’s Vineyard turned into a soul-searching retreat.

The shooting of a young, unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo., last year did little to disrupt the annual idyll of upper-class blacks on this island 1,200 miles away. Photos showed President Barack Obama dancing at a soiree for political power couple Vernon and Ann Jordan as Ferguson burned. The next afternoon he delivered an anodyne statement urging calm without mentioning race.

Obama returned this year for his sixth summer in office on Martha’s Vineyard, the island off the Massachusetts coast that has been a vacation destination for upwardly mobile African Americans for more than a century. But this year, many of the black doctors, lawyers, executives, professors and politicians who gather here to enjoy the sunshine, surf and cultural events are grappling with the realization that there may not be quite as much to celebrate as they once hoped.

Yes, the country has been led by a black president for nearly seven years. But images from body cameras and smart phones that have splashed police killings of unarmed black men across televisions and the Internet over the past year have forced the black elite to recognize — along with the rest of America — that their highest tide has left some boats sinking faster than ever…

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President Obama’s Letter to the Editor

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-08-13 01:37Z by Steven

President Obama’s Letter to the Editor

The New York Times Magazine
2015-08-12

Barack Obama, President of the United States
Washington, D.C.


Illustration by Ben Wiseman

For the cover story of our Aug. 2 issue, Jim Rutenberg wrote about efforts over the last 50 years to dismantle the protections in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the landmark piece of legislation that cleared barriers between black voters and the ballot. The story surveyed a broad sweep of history and characters, from United States Chief Justice John Roberts to ordinary citizens like 94-year-old Rosanell Eaton, a plaintiff in the current North Carolina case arguing to repeal voting restrictions enacted in 2013. The magazine received an unusual volume of responses to this article, most notably from President Barack Obama.

I was inspired to read about unsung American heroes like Rosanell Eaton in Jim Rutenberg’s “A Dream Undone: Inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act.”

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union. …” It’s a cruel irony that the words that set our democracy in motion were used as part of the so-called literacy test designed to deny Rosanell and so many other African-Americans the right to vote. Yet more than 70 years ago, as she defiantly delivered the Preamble to our Constitution, Rosanell also reaffirmed its fundamental truth. What makes our country great is not that we are perfect, but that with time, courage and effort, we can become more perfect. What makes America special is our capacity to change…

…I am where I am today only because men and women like Rosanell Eaton refused to accept anything less than a full measure of equality. Their efforts made our country a better place. It is now up to us to continue those efforts. Congress must restore the Voting Rights Act. Our state leaders and legislatures must make it easier — not harder — for more Americans to have their voices heard. Above all, we must exercise our right as citizens to vote, for the truth is that too often we disenfranchise ourselves…

Read the entire article here.

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