JUSTIN WEBB: The tragic irony is, that under Barack Obama’s policy of not being black, America has become MORE divided by race

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-08-16 00:45Z by Steven

JUSTIN WEBB: The tragic irony is, that under Barack Obama’s policy of not being black, America has become MORE divided by race

The Daily Mail
2016-07-19

Justin Webb

Like many of the most persuasive public speakers, Barack Obama has always had a neat line in self-deprecation.

Shortly before being elected President in 2008 he told an audience: ‘Contrary to the rumours you have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-el, to save the planet Earth.’

In other words, he was saying, he was Superman, not Jesus.

Sometimes I used to wonder if he was completely joking. Be in no doubt that this man, when he arrived on political Earth, was not coming among us to make up the numbers.

He was on a mission — a mission to bring change…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Barack Obama and Immigrant Blackness: A Catalyst for Structural Change

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-08-15 20:18Z by Steven

Barack Obama and Immigrant Blackness: A Catalyst for Structural Change

The International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations: Annual Review
Volume 12 (2012)
pages 33-42

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

This essay builds upon an argument I make in my article “Beyond the Binary: Obama’s Hybridity and Post-Racialization” to read Barack Obama through post-colonial scholar Homi Bhabha’s theory of “hybridity” to advance “post-bichromatic racialization.” Obama’s cultural identity is more complex than the limited bichromatic (black/white) ways—such as “multiracial” or “African American”—it is imagined to be. He can be read as a hybrid individual, understood in a multiplicity of ways including as non-bichromaticly multiracial in which his blackness is derivative of African, not African-American heritage, and as a second-generation immigrant. Hybridity values difference without trying to systematize it into hierarchical classifications, thus it suggests potential for structural change to the concept of black racialization. Some may regard the complexity of Obama’s cultural identity to be a moot point due to a consideration that in 2013 his public persona is no longer capable of being discursively manipulated regarding race. However it is crucial to remember that cultural understandings of powerful public figures are never static concepts. All subjects remain full of discursively transformative possibilities. This article therefore seeks to advance a discourse that may eventually complicate the predominant manner in which subjects are categorized as black in the United States.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: ,

Othering Obama: Racial Attitudes and Dubious Beliefs about the Nation’s First Black President

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2016-08-07 23:29Z by Steven

Othering Obama: Racial Attitudes and Dubious Beliefs about the Nation’s First Black President

Sociological Perspectives
Volume 57, Number 4 (December 2014)
pages 450-469
DOI: 10.1177/0731121414536140

Daniel Tope, Associate Professor of Sociology
Florida State University

Justin T. Pickett, Assistant Professor
School of Criminal Justice
State University of New York, Albany

Ryon J. Cobb, National Institute on Aging Postdoctoral Fellow
Davis School of Gerontology
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Jonathan Dirlam
Department of Sociology
Ohio State University

The literature on descriptive representation indicates that the election of black political leaders may prompt white enmity. We assess this claim by examining the relationship between whites’ racial attitudes and their likelihood of othering Barack Obama by labeling him as a Muslim and/or a noncitizen interloper. The findings reveal that both symbolic racial resentment and traditional racial attitudes are associated with othering Obama. In addition, the results reveal that the relationship between racial resentment and othering is substantially mediated by the use of seemingly nonracist frames based on emotional reactions and negative expectations about an Obama presidency. Conversely, much of the effect of belief in traditional antiblack stereotypes was transmitted directly to othering Obama without the use of justificatory frames. Despite claims of racial progress, our findings suggest that racial sentiments—both overt and symbolic—continue to play a major role in politics.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Glamour Exclusive: President Barack Obama Says, “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like”

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2016-08-04 17:40Z by Steven

Glamour Exclusive: President Barack Obama Says, “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like”

Glamour
2016-08-04

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


The Perk of a “45-Second Commute” The President has spent “a lot more time” watching Sasha and Malia (here, meeting Mac the Turkey in 2014) grow into women.
Official White House Photos by Pete Souza

There are a lot of tough aspects to being President. But there are some perks too. Meeting extraordinary people across the country. Holding an office where you get to make a difference in the life of our nation. Air Force One.

But perhaps the greatest unexpected gift of this job has been living above the store. For many years my life was consumed by long commutes­—from my home in Chicago to Springfield, Illinois, as a state senator, and then to Washington, D.C., as a United States senator. It’s often meant I had to work even harder to be the kind of husband and father I want to be.

But for the past seven and a half years, that commute has been reduced to 45 seconds—the time it takes to walk from my living room to the Oval Office. As a result, I’ve been able to spend a lot more time watching my daughters grow up into smart, funny, kind, wonderful young women. That isn’t always easy, either—watching them prepare to leave the nest. But one thing that makes me optimistic for them is that this is an extraordinary time to be a woman. The progress we’ve made in the past 100 years, 50 years, and, yes, even the past eight years has made life significantly better for my daughters than it was for my grandmothers. And I say that not just as President but also as a feminist…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

Obama, America, and the Legacy of James Alan McPherson

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-08-02 02:05Z by Steven

Obama, America, and the Legacy of James Alan McPherson

Literary Hub
2016-08-01

Whitney Terrell

Whitney Terrell Remembers His Friend and Mentor

The title story of James Alan McPherson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning short story collection Elbow Room opens with an italicized passage:

Narrator is unmanageable. Demonstrates a disregard for form bordering on the paranoid . . . When pressed for reasons, narrator became shrill in insistence that “borders,” “structures,” “frames,” “order,” and even “form” itself are regarded by him with the highest suspicion. Insists on unevenness as a virtue.

I thought of this last week when I heard that McPherson had died. I was also listening to President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. “My grandparents knew these values weren’t reserved for one race,” Obama said. “They could be passed down to a half-Kenyan grandson, or a half-Asian granddaughter. In fact, they were the same values Michelle’s parents, the descendants of slaves, taught their own kids, living in a bungalow on the South Side of Chicago.”

It sounded like an innocuous statement: “These values weren’t reserved for one race.” But Obama was talking about his mother’s family. Scotch Irish whites in Kansas. I live a few blocks from Kansas. It’s not the most hospitable place for, say, half-Kenyans. Or Mexican-Americans. Or Democrats generally.

Then he asserted that the values of these white Kansans were the same as the values of the descendants of slaves.

A turn like that engages what McPherson referred to as the “function at the junction.” It’s an unexpected operation that causes fixed categories and settled identities to change. Borders and frames disappear.

Obama’s move was ok. But McPherson’s were better…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

Obama Returns to His Biography

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-07-29 01:09Z by Steven

Obama Returns to His Biography

The Atlantic
2016-07-27

Yoni Appelbaum, Senior Editor/Washington Bureau Chief


Mark Kauzlarich / Reuters

Twelve years after introducing himself to the American public as the son of an immigrant, the president recast himself as a bearer of Scotch-Irish values.

Twelve years ago, Barack Obama introduced himself to America as just a skinny kid with a funny name. He made his story into the American story—a tale of immigrant hopes, of opportunities, of success that could only come true in the United States. That speech launched him to the presidency.

In Philadelphia on Wednesday night, as he tried to anoint his successor and secure his legacy, he returned to his biography to close his appeal. But this time, he pulled out a different strand of the story. He spoke not just of his grandparents in Kansas, whose stories he has told many times before, but of their kin and communities, of their vision and values. They were, he said:

Scotch-Irish mostly, farmers, teachers, ranch hands, pharmacists, oil-rig workers. Hardy, small-town folk. Some were Democrats, but a lot of them, maybe even most of them, were Republicans—Party of Lincoln. My grandparents explained that the folks in these parts, they didn’t like show-offs. They didn’t admire braggarts or bullies. They didn’t respect mean-spiritedness, or folks who were always looking for shortcuts in life. Instead, what they valued were traits like honesty and hard work. Kindness; courtesy; humility; responsibility; helping each other out. That’s what they believed in. True things. Things that last. The things we try to teach our kids.

It’s a different kind of American story. Not the son of a Kenyan goatherd rising directly to the highest office in the land, but working families toiling for generation after generation with quiet pride, relying on each other…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

President Obama and the Long March

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-07-29 00:59Z by Steven

President Obama and the Long March

The New York Times
2016-07-28

The Editorial Board

President Obama’s speech before the Democratic convention in Philadelphia Wednesday night was, of course, an occasion to celebrate the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, his former secretary of state and the first woman to receive the presidential nomination of a major political party.

His presence on the podium was also a valedictory for an exceptional man and president who will be remembered for eloquently defending the founding precepts of the country — even as he used those precepts to expand the mandate of inclusiveness and broaden the definition of what it means to be an American.

From that standpoint, the Obama presidency has been transformative — perhaps even miraculous. But the very idea of a black man in the White House was too much to bear for white supremacists, birthers and the antigovernment militia groups that have only grown more savage over time. The Republican nominee, Donald Trump, traded openly on these impulses, amping up the racism, xenophobia and religious bigotry that have poisoned public discourse in this nation.

Wednesday night’s beautiful and emotional speech came 12 years after Mr. Obama, then a Senate candidate from Illinois, delivered the keynote address at the Democratic convention in Boston that brought him into the national spotlight. As he did then, Mr. Obama laid out his personal history, the son of a black Kenyan and a white American, and sounded the theme that has been common to his orations ever since: that the progress of American history is toward the creation of one people — “out of many, one.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,

The Race Whisperer: Barack Obama and the Political Uses of Race

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-07-27 02:15Z by Steven

The Race Whisperer: Barack Obama and the Political Uses of Race

New York University Press
2016-07-26
224 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9781479853717
Paper ISBN: 9781479819256

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

Nearly a week after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of killing Trayvon Martin, President Obama walked into the press briefing room and shocked observers by saying that “Trayvon could have been me.” He talked personally and poignantly about his experiences and pointed to intra-racial violence as equally serious and precarious for black boys. He offered no sweeping policy changes or legislative agendas; he saw them as futile. Instead, he suggested that prejudice would be eliminated through collective efforts to help black males and for everyone to reflect on their own prejudices.

Obama’s presidency provides a unique opportunity to engage in a discussion about race and politics. In The Race Whisperer, Melanye Price analyzes the manner in which Barack Obama uses race strategically to engage with and win the loyalty of potential supporters. This book uses examples from Obama’s campaigns and presidency to demonstrate his ability to authentically tap into notions of blackness and whiteness to appeal to particular constituencies. By tailoring his unorthodox personal narrative to emphasize those parts of it that most resonate with a specific racial group, he targets his message effectively to that audience, shoring up electoral and governing support. The book also considers the impact of Obama’s use of race on the ongoing quest for black political empowerment. Unfortunately, racial advocacy for African Americans has been made more difficult because of the intense scrutiny of Obama’s relationship with the black community, Obama’s unwillingness to be more publicly vocal in light of that scrutiny, and the black community’s reluctance to use traditional protest and advocacy methods on a black president. Ultimately, though, The Race Whisperer argues for a more complex reading of race in the age of Obama, breaking new ground in the study of race and politics, public opinion, and political campaigns.

Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. Barack Obama and Black Blame: Authenticity, Audience and Audaciousness
  • 2. Barack Obama, Patton’s Army, and Patriotic Whiteness
  • 3. Barack Obama’s More Perfect Union
  • 4. An Officer and Two Gentlemen: The Great Beer Summit of 2009
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index
  • About the Author
Tags: , , ,

Obama Faces Growing Expectations on Race and Policing

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-07-21 18:02Z by Steven

Obama Faces Growing Expectations on Race and Policing

The New York Times
2016-07-21

Julie Hirschfeld Davis

WASHINGTON — At the White House last week, DeRay Mckesson, a Black Lives Matter activist who was arrested only days before in Baton Rouge, La., for protesting police violence against African-Americans, had a lengthy list of demands for President Obama.

The president should visit Baton Rouge and other cities where black men have been killed by police officers, appoint special prosecutors to investigate the deaths and use his executive power to force changes in police departments across the country, Mr. Mckesson said.

The next day, a distraught Erica Garner, whose father, Eric Garner, was killed in 2014 by a New York City police officer who placed him in a chokehold, accosted Mr. Obama after a televised town-hall-style meeting with demands of her own. Why have no police officers been convicted or sent to jail for killing black men, and what was he doing to rid police departments of the tactical military equipment that made community protest routes resemble war zones, she asked.

As Mr. Obama responds to the latest in fatal confrontations between police officers and black men — this time followed by lethal attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge on law enforcement officers by black gunmen — he has also confronted a growing list of expectations that young black activists have placed on him…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Barack Obama and the Rhetoric of Hope by Mark S. Ferrara (review) [Williamson]

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Book/Video Reviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2016-07-19 01:23Z by Steven

Barack Obama and the Rhetoric of Hope by Mark S. Ferrara (review) [Williamson]

Rhetoric & Public Affairs
Vollume 18, Number 4, Winter 2015
pages 748-750

Jason G. Williamson
Department of Communication Studies
University of Georgia

Barack Obama and the Rhetoric of Hope. By Mark S. Ferrara. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 2013; pp. 204. $45.00 paper.

In Barack Obama and the Rhetoric of Hope, Mark S. Ferrara attempts to piece together the historical, intellectual, and literary influences of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign rhetoric, primarily as the “rhetoric of hope” was constructed leading up to the 2008 campaign and employed during that campaign, as well as its reemergence for 2012. Ferrara defines the rhetoric of hope as “deliberately constructed political discourse that envisions social betterment brought about by the force of shared values and culminating in a promise of a ‘more perfect union’ in the future” (11). The utopian idealism that percolates throughout Obama’s campaign discourse is of particular interest to Ferrara, especially as American rhetorical tropes are employed to discursively construct Obama as a “quasi-prophetic” figure who possesses the leadership skills necessary to move the country closer to collective salvation (14–15). Ferrara repeatedly observes the rhetoric of hope relying on a dialectical tension between the ideal and the actual, promising to transform the current status quo into a salvific telos.

The book is primarily organized into two major sections, with the first half (chapters 1–5) dedicated to locating historical and literary influences of Obama’s rhetoric of hope and the second half (chapters 6–10) investigating the values and characteristics of this rhetoric, concluding with a comparison of Obama’s two presidential campaigns. The opening chapters outline the manner in which utopian tropes derived from Judeo-Christian thought (chapter 1) as well as the European Enlightenment (chapter 2) influence Obama’s rhetoric. In the three chapters that follow, Ferrara continues [End Page 748] pulling on individual threads, such as slave narratives (chapter 3); the presidential traditions of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt (chapter 4); and the influence of fiction, music, and popular culture (chapter 5), arguing that these threads, woven together, form Obama’s rhetoric of hope.

In the second half, Ferrara moves beyond the antecedents of the rhetoric of hope, presenting a reading of Obama’s campaign rhetoric as an amalgam of multiple influences. Chapter 6 analyzes the role of American values in the rhetoric of hope, culminating in Obama’s embodiment of the American Dream, a combination of individual determination and community awareness with a heavy emphasis on “work” as an operative term, a theme that the president continues in his second term, as evident in the most recent State of the Union address. Ferrara approaches Obama’s discourse with an Aristotelian conception of rhetoric and places a heavy emphasis on the deliberate decisions of the rhetor, highlighting Obama’s role as a writing subject constructing his own narrative persona in chapter 7. Ferrara, an assistant professor of English at State University of New York at Oneonta, reads Obama’s autobiographical narratives as an effort in which Obama “casts himself as a prophet of change situated by virtue of his unique American story to usher in a new global order” (135). Ferrara locates Obama within the tradition of political autobiographical works in American history “from John Smith to Benjamin Franklin to Malcolm X,” arguing that Obama intentionally constructs his own story in such a way as to build on American mythologies (125). The climax is perhaps seen in Obama’s 2008 tour of the Middle East and Europe (chapter 8), where his narrative positions Obama as a figure that can unite American ideals with a global, multicultural audience. The final two chapters track the continuation of the 2008 campaign themes in 2011 and 2012, underscoring the claim that “the rhetoric of hope contains a neat circularity that is the product of intentional design” (187). Whether by intent or not, the characteristics of the rhetoric of hope obviously manifest in Obama’s campaigns.

Throughout, Ferrara’s analysis casts light on many aspects of Obama’s rhetoric that the reader will find intuitive. Although his prose is occasionally too driven by quotations and not enough of the author’s own voice, the text and analysis is accessible for a wide audience. Readers who study presidential rhetoric will immediately note the pronounced absence…

Tags: , , , ,