Obama signs measure striking ‘oriental’ and ‘negro’ from federal law

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-05-21 23:26Z by Steven

Obama signs measure striking ‘oriental’ and ‘negro’ from federal law

The Hill
2016-05-20

Jordan Fabian, White House Correspondent

President Obama has signed legislation striking outdated racial terms such as “Oriental” and “Negro” from federal laws.

Obama signed the bill without fanfare on Friday along with six other pieces of legislation, the White House said…

Read the entire article here.

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Black Man, White House: An Oral History of the Obama Administration

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-05-17 02:08Z by Steven

Black Man, White House: An Oral History of the Obama Administration

William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins)
2016-06-07
336 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780062399793
Ebook ISBN: 9780062399816
6 in (w) x 9 in (h) x 1.09 in (d)

D. L. Hughley

From legendary comedian D.L. Hughley comes a bitingly funny send-up of the Obama years, as “told” by the key political players on both sides of the aisle.

What do the Clintons, Republicans, fellow Democrats, and Obama’s own family really think of President Barack Obama? Finally, the truth is revealed in this raucously funny “oral history” parody.

There is no more astute—and hilarious—critic of politics, entertainment, and race in America than D. L. Hughley, famed comedian, radio star, and original member of the “Kings of Comedy.” In the vein of Jon Stewart’s America: The Book, Black Man, White House is an acerbic and witty take on Obama’s two terms, looking at the president’s accomplishments and foibles through the imagined eyes of those who saw history unfold.

Hughley draws upon satirical interviews with the most notorious public figures of our day: Mitt Romney (“What’s ‘poverty’? Is that some sort of rap jargon?”); Nancy Pelosi (“I play F**k/Marry/Kill, and there’s a lot more kills than fu**ks in Congress, believe me.”); Rod Blagojevich (“You can’t sell political offices on eBay; I discovered that personally.”); Joe Biden (“I like wrestling.”); and other politicians, media pundits, and buffoons. It is sure to be the most irreverent—and perhaps the most honest—look at American politics today.

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How psychologists used these doctored Obama photos to get white people to support conservative politics

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2016-05-15 20:38Z by Steven

How psychologists used these doctored Obama photos to get white people to support conservative politics

The Washington Post
2016-05-13

Max Ehrenfreund

American politics always has surprises, but things have been especially unpredictable since President Obama took office. First, few observers were prepared for the tea party movement, which ousted several veteran GOP lawmakers, replaced them with more radically conservative newcomers, and helped the Republican Party win control of the House of Representatives in 2010.

“That left a lot of analysts slack-jawed, wondering: What was this latent force that drove the emergence of this movement?” said Robb Willer, a sociologist at Stanford University.

Then, of course, there was Donald Trump.

Willer speculates that one thing connecting these two political earthquakes might be white voters’ unconscious racial biases. In a series of psychological experiments between 2011 and 2015, he showed how hostility toward people with darker skin and perceived racial threats can influence white support for the tea party. He and his colleagues published a draft of a paper on their findings online last week — some of the most direct evidence of the importance of race to the conservative resurgence during Obama’s presidency.

First, the researchers randomly sorted subjects into two groups and showed them a series of pictures of celebrities, including digitally altered images of the commander in chief. One group saw a version in which Obama’s skin had been lightened, while in the other version, his skin had been darkened…

Read the entire article here.

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

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-05-13 01:49Z by Steven

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

New York University Press
July 2016
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
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Dreams of my father’s dreams of Obama

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-05-12 02:08Z by Steven

Dreams of my father’s dreams of Obama

Ventura County Star
Camarillo, California
2008-11-02

Steven William Thrasher

Fifty years ago, when my father, Bill Thrasher, (who was black) and my mother Margaret (who was white) decided to get married in Nebraska, it was illegal for them to do so there. They had to go to the “progressive” state next door, (Iowa!) to be allowed to wed. Growing up in Ventura County, I’d laugh with my parents about how our family wouldn’t exist without Iowa, which didn’t seem so progressive compared to our Southern California surroundings.

And yet, 50 years later, on a cold January night, good old progressive Iowa shocked me once again as it vaulted Barack Obama onto the path to the White House. What would my parents, who once feared raising their children in the Midwest (after all, they had relatives who tried to convince them, in all seriousness, that their children would be striped like zebras), have made of the fact that the child of a union like theirs could have won the Iowa caucuses or, more implausibly, that in less than one week, that man stands to become the 44th president of the United States?…

Read the entire article here.

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Seven days, three speeches: one week in the life of having a black president

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-05-11 21:55Z by Steven

Seven days, three speeches: one week in the life of having a black president

The Guardian
2016-05-09

Steven W. Thrasher

After seven years, Barack Obama is in his last months in the White House. When he leaves, nothing will be the same. For black people, nothing will be resolved

Like so many people I have unwisely loved, Barack Hussein Obama intrigues and infuriates and enrages and inspires and uplifts and disappoints me all at once. And whether it is politically or psychologically healthy to do so, I have loved President Obama, even as I have known that it’s not healthy and as I have wanted to maintain a certain critical distance since becoming a journalist.

But before I wrote for a living, I gave up a few months of my life in 2008 to move to Pennsylvania and campaign for the freshman senator. He inspired me with his words and stimulated my heart and mind – particularly as he wrote about race in a way that spoke deeply to me as fellow mixed-race black American. Over the years, he has repeatedly angered me when he came up short of everything I (naively) dreamed for him. I’ve been most sad that he did not stop the US assault on black and brown people from Gaza to Guantánamo, the Middle East to the midwest.

And yet, part of Obama’s genius as our first black president is that he can provoke so many responses and give us the chance to read him on so many levels of Americana, even in the course of a single speech. Over the past week, Obama did this in three wildly different settings: in black tie, at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner; with his shirt sleeves rolled up while drinking the filtered water of the majority black city Flint, Michigan; and while wearing academic regalia, addressing the black genius of Howard University’s 148th commencement.

The president has been in office for a little less than 400 weeks. In the past seven days, I’ve been especially aware of what it means to have a black president as he moved from a Hilton hotel to a high school to Howard. It gave me a chance to reflect on Obama’s blackness (and mine) and the many ways it does and does not sit in accord with concepts of Americanness, freedom and justice for some…

Read the entire article here.

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Remarks by the President at Howard University Commencement Ceremony

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Campus Life, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2016-05-11 21:44Z by Steven

Remarks by the President at Howard University Commencement Ceremony

The White House
Washington, D.C.
2016-05-07

Office of the Press Secretary

Howard University
Washington, D.C.

11:47 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! Hello, Howard! (Applause.) H-U!

AUDIENCE: You know!

THE PRESIDENT: H-U!

AUDIENCE: You know!

THE PRESIDENT: (Laughter.) Thank you so much, everybody. Please, please, have a seat. Oh, I feel important now. Got a degree from Howard. Cicely Tyson said something nice about me. (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you, President!

THE PRESIDENT: I love you back.

To President Frederick, the Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, fellow recipients of honorary degrees, thank you for the honor of spending this day with you. And congratulations to the Class of 2016! (Applause.) Four years ago, back when you were just freshmen, I understand many of you came by my house the night I was reelected. (Laughter.) So I decided to return the favor and come by yours…

…Now, how you do that, how you meet these challenges, how you bring about change will ultimately be up to you. My generation, like all generations, is too confined by our own experience, too invested in our own biases, too stuck in our ways to provide much of the new thinking that will be required. But us old-heads have learned a few things that might be useful in your journey. So with the rest of my time, I’d like to offer some suggestions for how young leaders like you can fulfill your destiny and shape our collective future — bend it in the direction of justice and equality and freedom.

First of all — and this should not be a problem for this group — be confident in your heritage. (Applause.) Be confident in your blackness. One of the great changes that’s occurred in our country since I was your age is the realization there’s no one way to be black. Take it from somebody who’s seen both sides of debate about whether I’m black enough. (Laughter.) In the past couple months, I’ve had lunch with the Queen of England and hosted Kendrick Lamar in the Oval Office. There’s no straitjacket, there’s no constraints, there’s no litmus test for authenticity…

Read the entire transcript here. Download the video in MP4 or MP3 format.

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Obama Gets All In His Blackness At Howard

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Campus Life, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2016-05-11 20:41Z by Steven

Obama Gets All In His Blackness At Howard

Code Switch
National Public Radio
2016-05-10

Leah Donnella

“Be confident in your heritage. Be confident in your blackness,” President Barack Obama told graduates and their families at Howard University’s 2016 Commencement Ceremony. It was one of many moments in a speech that honored the achievements of black folks — many Howard alumni — and called on graduates to get and stay politically active. His speech was met with laughter, generous applause, and largely positive reviews. Paul Holston, editor-in-chief of Howard’s student newspaper The Hilltop, wrote that Obama’s address was “strong, eloquent, and inspirational,” and would “go down as one of the most significant moments in Howard University’s history.”

Howard students weren’t the only ones cheering over the speech. Janell Ross at The Washington Post lauded Obama’s call for “empathy and [an] expanded moral imagination” as one of the few surprising and thought-provoking messages that graduates will receive this season. On Twitter, Slate writer Jamelle Bouie called the speech “a great mediation on democracy AND a celebration of black life.” Mathew Rodriguez at Mic described Obama’s speech as “one of the best and blackest he’s given.”

Melissa Harris-Perry, editor-at-large of Elle, wrote that Obama’s speech was remarkable in its treatment of gender as well as race, and proved “that he is our most black, feminist president to date” by highlighting the genius of black women like Lorraine Hansberry, Harriet Tubman, Fannie Lou Hamer and Zora Neale Hurston:

“Once again, [Obama] put black women at the very center of the stories he told and the lessons he imparted. As he warmed up, he jokingly referred to ‘Shonda Rhimes owning Thursday night’ and ‘Beyonce running the world.’ They were casual references, not central themes of his talk, but even here he deployed two boss black women as representatives of black excellence and achievement.”…

Read the entire article here.

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What Obama’s Trip To Havana Revealed About Race In Cuba And The U.S.

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-05-06 01:56Z by Steven

What Obama’s Trip To Havana Revealed About Race In Cuba And The U.S.

African American Intellectual History Society
2016-05-04

Devyn Spence Benson, Assistant Professor of History and African and African American Studies
Louisiana State University

During his groundbreaking visit to Havana last month, President Barack Obama suggested that the embrace of U.S.-style democracy and capitalism would “help lift up” Cubans of African descent. Following the speech, former Cuban President Fidel Castro reminded Obama that the Cuban Revolution had already eliminated racial discrimination in the 1960s.

The contemporary state of racial inequality casts doubt on both men’s assertions: black and brown North-American youth still face police brutality (murder), voter suppression, and low graduation rates, while Afro-Cubans have less access to the emerging tourist sector than ever before. “Democracy” or “socialism”—despite the propaganda and good intentions of our leaders—does not naturally uplift people of African descent.

The symbolism of a black U.S. president eating at one of Havana’s few black-owned restaurants and talking about Afro-Cuban access to the new economy should be celebrated. Missed, though, was the opportunity to reestablish coalitions and activism between people of African descent in both countries. Instead, debates about which country had been most successful in battling racism abounded. Similar to previous interactions between Cuba and the United States, this event showed how both countries invoke celebratory histories that reinforce national racial mythologies, rather than the controversial present…

Read the entire article here.

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Will Jawando Doesn’t Have To Be The Next Obama

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-04-23 15:26Z by Steven

Will Jawando Doesn’t Have To Be The Next Obama

MTV News
2016-04-18

Jamil Smith, Senior National Correspondent

There are rules for knocking on someone’s door while campaigning. And Will Jawando, a few weeks back, broke a big one. “Rule 101 in canvassing,” he told MTV News, “is that you don’t go inside.” This makes sense. There’s only so much daylight to use knocking on doors, and there are significant security concerns for all parties involved. “But as the candidate, I can break the rules,” Jawando said.

It didn’t seem like there would be any harm in this case. The woman who invited him in was a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor from Germany. “She wanted to talk, and I told her about my background: My dad coming to this country on the heels of a civil war in his country, and [me] growing up here,” Jawando said. “You could tell that she related.”

Jawando, 33, is the youngest candidate in a crowded Democratic primary race in Maryland’s upper-crust 8th Congressional District. But as he sat in this stranger’s living room, both of them were just different shades of the American immigrant story. The same thing can be said for Jawando’s former boss: President Obama. And the similarities between the two men are uncanny.

Both Jawando and Obama are the telegenic sons of African immigrant fathers and white mothers from Kansas (that’s where Jawando’s father, Olayinka, met his mother, Kathleen Gross, in the early 1970s, after fleeing Nigeria’s civil war). Both lost their first attempts to win public office: Obama in a congressional primary, Jawando for a Maryland state representative seat. Both are policy wonks with a talent for retail politics. Both are even married to women with the same name who are both accomplished attorneys; Jawando’s Michele is a vice-president at the Center for American Progress policy institute. Jawando served as the White House associate director of public engagement in 2010, and, if he wins in Maryland, will become the first Obama administration alumnus elected to public office.

Should he get there, of course, Jawando wouldn’t be Obama. Diverse black American lives have long been reduced to a monolithic “experience,” and that problem gets exacerbated when you happen to share uncanny biographical similarities with the President. Both men also have considerable political talent and a love for the wonkish details of policymaking, but Jawando makes it clear that he has his own reasons for entering politics…

Read the entire article here.

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