Will Police Killings of Blacks be the Defining Crisis of the Obama Presidency?

Posted in Barack Obama, Interviews, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2015-04-28 01:40Z by Steven

Will Police Killings of Blacks be the Defining Crisis of the Obama Presidency?

NewBlackMan (in Exile)
2015-04-24

Mark Anthony Neal, Host and Professor of African & African American Studies
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Duke University University Sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, author of the classic Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America (now in its 4th edition) and Left of Black host Mark Anthony Neal discuss #BlackLivesMatters and the Obama Presidency.

Watch the interview (00:06:45) here.

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Color Blindness and Racial Politics in the Era of Obama

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-04-21 01:46Z by Steven

Color Blindness and Racial Politics in the Era of Obama

Books & Ideas
2010-12-08

Andrew J. Diamond, Professor of American History and Civilization
Université Paris-Sorbonne, France

At a time when a supposedly “post-racial” America is becoming increasingly polarized over its first black president, historian Thomas Sugrue proposes a badly needed perspective on Obama’s attempts to negotiate between color blindness and race consciousness. Despite the depth of his historical perspective, he understates how destructive Obama’s religious moralism is for the cause of racial progress.

Reviewed: Thomas J. Sugrue, Not Even Past. Barack Obama and the Burden of Race, Princeton University Press, 2010, 178p., $24.95

Thomas J. Sugrue’s Not Even Past is one of the latest contributions to the exploding field of Obama studies. Sugrue discloses in the opening pages that he voted for Barack Obama, made a small financial contribution to his campaign, and even worked on the candidate’s urban advisory committee, but his objective in his own rendering of Obama’s breathtaking rise to the White House is “balance”. In a moment when the United States is becoming increasingly polarized over its first black president, with a rising crescendo of criticism on both the right and left of the American political spectrum, this is an ambitious project to say the least. But Sugrue, an eminent Professor of History and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and a pioneer in the new urban historiography of race and power in the postwar American metropolis, is just the guy for the job, even if, in the final analysis, Obama’s detractors will no doubt have more complaints with the book than his supporters. And yet, if one gets the sense that Sugrue is at times pulling punches, he ultimately manages to produce an even-handed and illuminating analysis of the Obama story.

Not Even Past, which consists of three essays adapted from a series of lectures the author presented at Princeton University in 2009, stands out among the recent works on what Barack Obama means to the United States, in part, because Sugrue remains true to his métier. Joining a field crowded with works of a somewhat polemical and journalistic bent, Sugrue delivers a rich, lucid, and badly needed account of the historical events, political movements, and ideological currents that shaped the ground upon which Obama negotiated his racial identity, developed his political views, and positioned himself for an improbable run for the presidency. Yet, this is as much a story about the world that made the man than it is about the man himself. “It is the story”, Sugrue writes, “of a journey through one of the most contentious periods of America’s racial history, through America’s post-1960s multicultural turn, into the syncretic black urban politics of the late twentieth century, onto the contested intellectual and cultural terrain of race and ‘identity politics’ in the late 1980s and 1990s, and finally to a moment in the early twenty-first century when America still lived in the shadow of the unfinished civil rights struggles of the previous century while influential journalists, politicians, and scholars hailed the emergence of a post-racial order” (p. 16). These were treacherous waters indeed for black politicians and white liberals alike, both of whom had to navigate a course through the ideological cross-currents of color blindness and race consciousness. These conditions had the Democratic Party lost at sea for the good part of three decades. Obama’s journey to political and racial self-discovery is also the story of how the Democrats rediscovered their bearings in a country drifting ineluctably rightward…

Read the entire article in HTML or PDF format.

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Obama on Racism circa 1995

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Barack Obama, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2015-04-21 01:17Z by Steven

Obama on Racism circa 1995

Horizons: Nancy LeTourneau’s big picture look at politics and life
2015-04-16

Nancy LeTourneau

It is always fascinating to find articles and video about Barack Obama from the past. Recently a group called 22-CityView in Cambridge released the video of a reading and book discussion on Dreams From My Father by Obama back in 1995. At the time he had graduated from Harvard Law School, moved back to Chicago, was working as a civil rights lawyer and had recently married Michelle.

The reading is from what I remember as the most racially poignant part of the book. It takes place when he was 16 and includes the incident when his maternal grandmother was frightened by a black man at her bus stop as well as an interchange Barack had about that with Frank Marshall Davis

Read the entire article here.

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Obama’s Mother

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2015-04-21 00:50Z by Steven

Obama’s Mother

Books & Ideas
2009-05-20

Gloria Origgi

The American presidential election was won by a woman: Stanley Ann Dunham. Born in 1942, she died of cancer in 1995, shortly after turning 52, and thus without having seen her visionary dream realized: the election of her son, Barack Hussein Obama, as 44th President of the United States.

The male name was imposed on her by Stanley Dunham, her father, who would have preferred a boy. As the only child of Stanley and his wife Madelyn Payne, Stanley Ann was nonconformist young girl and a solitary mother, convinced that she could raise her children in a way that would prepare them for a new world, globalized and multicultural, a world that certainly didn’t exist in her daily life as a middle-class girl in an anonymous little town in Kansas. Barack – or Barry, as she called him – is her creation, the fruit of a patient, attentive and loving education that was the commitment of her life, as she saw in her two racially mixed children the reflection of a better future, one in which the warm commingling of blood pacifies the false oppositions and odious attachments, the “unreal loyalties”, as Virginia Woolf called them, that reassure us in the desperate need for social identity to which our species falls prey.

When Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961, he was still considered in half the American states the criminal product of miscegenation, or the interbreeding of races, a heinous biological hybrid whose existence simply wasn’t taken into consideration while those who committed it were punished with incarceration. Today it is a hard-to-pronounce word that was coined in the United States in 1863, with a specious Latin etymology, from miscere (mix) and genus (race), to indicate the supposed genetic difference between whites and blacks. The question of miscegenation became crucial during the Civil War and subsequent emancipation of the slaves. It was fine to grant civil rights to non-whites, but to allow intimate relations between whites and blacks was another story. The term appeared for the first time in the title of a pamphlet published in New York, Miscegenation: The Theory of Blending of the Races, Applied to the American White Man and Negro, in which the anonymous author promoted the idea of racial mixing as the project of the Republican Party, which supported the abolition of slavery. By encouraging the interbreeding of whites and blacks, racial differences would be progressively attenuated until they disappeared altogether. It was soon discovered that the pamphlet had been created by the Democrats in order to frighten American citizens faced with the intolerable Republican project of encouraging racial mixing. The crime of miscegenation was definitively abolished in 1967, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the anti-miscegenation laws to be unconstitutional in response to Loving v. Virginia, a case in which a racially mixed married couple was sentenced to a year in prison – with the sentence suspended for 25 years on condition that the couple leave the state of Virginia – for having been found in bed together under the same roof. The marriage certificate hanging above the nuptial bed wasn’t considered valid by the police – who, armed with rifles, broke down the entry door and beat the humiliated couple – because it was obtained in another county, one in which miscegenation wasn’t illegal. This occurred in 1959, and the couple had to wait eight years for the moral indecency of their ordeal and their own innocence to be recognized.

One must try to imagine that America in order to understand the courage of Stanley Ann, who was 18 years old and 4 months pregnant when she married the brilliant young Kenyan student Barack Obama Sr., the first African to be admitted to the University of Hawaii. He was 25. He’d arrived in Hawaii in 1959 thanks to a scholarship from the Kenyan government, which was also sponsored by the United States to help some of the more gifted African students get an education at an American University so they could return to their native country and become part of a new, competent, modern elite…

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A New Phase in Anti-Obama Attacks

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-04-12 01:45Z by Steven

A New Phase in Anti-Obama Attacks

The New York Times
2015-04-11

The Editorial Board

It is a peculiar, but unmistakable, phenomenon: As Barack Obama’s presidency heads into its twilight, the rage of the Republican establishment toward him is growing louder, angrier and more destructive.

Republican lawmakers in Washington and around the country have been focused on blocking Mr. Obama’s agenda and denigrating him personally since the day he took office in 2009. But even against that backdrop, and even by the dismal standards of political discourse today, the tone of the current attacks is disturbing. So is their evident intent — to undermine not just Mr. Obama’s policies, but his very legitimacy as president.

It is a line of attack that echoes Republicans’ earlier questioning of Mr. Obama’s American citizenship. Those attacks were blatantly racist in their message — reminding people that Mr. Obama was black, suggesting he was African, and planting the equally false idea that he was secretly Muslim. The current offensive is slightly more subtle, but it is impossible to dismiss the notion that race plays a role in it…

Read the entire article here.

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Michelle Obama: A Life

Posted in Barack Obama, Biography, Books, Monographs, New Media, United States, Women on 2015-04-09 01:03Z by Steven

Michelle Obama: A Life

Knopf
2015-04-07
432 pages
6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-307-95882-2

Peter Slevin, Associate Professor of Journalism
Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

An inspiring story, richly detailed and written with élan, here is the first comprehensive account of the life and times of Michelle Obama, a woman of achievement and purpose—and the most unlikely first lady in modern American history. With disciplined reporting and a storyteller’s eye for revealing detail, Peter Slevin follows Michelle to the White House from her working-class childhood on Chicago’s largely segregated South Side.

The journey winds from the intricacies of her upbringing as the highly focused daughter of a gregarious city water-plant worker afflicted with multiple sclerosis to the tribulations she faces at Princeton University and Harvard Law School during the racially charged 1980s. And then returning to Chicago, where she works in an elite law firm and meets a law student from Hawaii named Barack Obama. Unsatisfied by corporate law, Michelle embarks on a search for meaningful work that takes her back to the community of her South Side youth, even as she struggles to find balance as a mother and a professional—while married to a man who wants to be president.

Slevin deftly explores the drama of Barack’s historic campaigns and the harsh glare faced by Michelle in a role both relentlessly public and not entirely of her choosing. He offers a fresh and compelling view of the White House years when Michelle Obama casts herself as mentor, teacher, champion of nutrition, supporter of military families, and fervent opponent of inequality.

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The Rock Obama Cold Open – SNL

Posted in Arts, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2015-03-29 19:36Z by Steven

The Rock Obama Cold Open – SNL

Saturday Night Live
National Broadcasting Company (NBC)
2015-03-28

After the actions of Rep. John Boehner (Taran Killam), Sen. Ted Cruz (Bobby Moynihan) and Sen. Tom Cotton (Kyle Mooney) make him lose his cool, President Obama (Jay Pharoah) turns into The Rock Obama (Dwayne Johnson).

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EXCLUSIVE: Michelle Obama’s mother was worried about her daughter marrying a biracial man

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-23 00:36Z by Steven

EXCLUSIVE: Michelle Obama’s mother was worried about her daughter marrying a biracial man

The New York Daily News
2015-03-18

Celeste Katz

Long before Michelle Obama became First Lady, her mother had misgivings about her marrying a young man named Barack Obama — because he was biracial.

In a Chicago TV interview that aired during Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign — and newly resurrected by Michelle Obama biographer Peter Slevin in a book due out next monthMarion [Marian] Robinson confessed to being “a little bit” wary about her future son-in-law being the product of a white mom and black dad.

But it could’ve been worse, according to Robinson…

Read the entire article here.

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Obama, at Selma Memorial, Says, ‘We Know the March Is Not Over Yet’

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-03-08 00:44Z by Steven

Obama, at Selma Memorial, Says, ‘We Know the March Is Not Over Yet’

The New York Times
2015-03-07

Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent

Richard Fausset


Doug Mills/The New York Times

SELMA, Ala. — As a new generation struggles over race and power in America, President Obama and a host of political figures from both parties came here on Saturday, to the site of one of the most searing days of the civil rights era, to reflect on how far the country has come and how far it still has to go.

Fifty years after peaceful protesters trying to cross a bridge were beaten by police officers with billy clubs, shocking the nation and leading to passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, the nation’s first African-American president led a bipartisan, multiracial testimonial to the pioneers whose courage helped pave the way for his own election to the highest office of the land.

But coming just days after Mr. Obama’s Justice Department excoriated the police department of Ferguson, Mo., as a hotbed of racist oppression, even as it cleared a white officer in the killing of an unarmed black teenager, the anniversary seemed more than a commemoration of long-ago events on a black-and-white newsreel. Instead, it provided a moment to measure the country’s far narrower, and yet stubbornly persistent, divide in black-and-white reality…

Read the entire article here. Read President Obama’s transcript here.

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Urging Persistence on Racial Gains, Obama Recalls Sacrifice in Selma

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2015-03-07 21:22Z by Steven

Urging Persistence on Racial Gains, Obama Recalls Sacrifice in Selma

The New York Times
2015-03-06

Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent

Julie Hirschfeld Davis, White House Correspondent

COLUMBIA, S.C. — For the nation’s first African-American president, it was a week of two documents that told the story of a country still grappling with its own history.

The first was a draft speech that President Obama was marking up with his distinctive left-hand scrawl to deliver in Selma, Ala., on Saturday to celebrate a half-century of civil rights gains. The second was a report he received accusing the police in Ferguson, Mo., of systematically discriminating against African-Americans.

More than once, Mr. Obama has credited the courage of protesters in Selma who were confronted by club-wielding state troopers 50 years ago for clearing the way for his own barrier-breaking election as president. But the path from Selma to the Oval Office has also led to Ferguson and back to Selma, a path littered with hope and progress and disappointment and setback…

Read the entire article here.

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