Giuliani: Obama Had a White Mother, So I’m Not a Racist

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-02-20 16:10Z by Steven

Giuliani: Obama Had a White Mother, So I’m Not a Racist

The New York Times
2015-02-19

Maggie Haberman, Political Reporter

Nicholas Confessore, Political Reporter

Former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York on Thursday defended his assertion that President Obama did not love America, and said that his criticism of Mr. Obama’s upbringing should not be considered racist because the president was raised by “a white mother.”

Mr. Giuliani’s remarks — made at a New York fund-raising event for Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin on Wednesday night and first reported by Politico — set off an uproar.

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Mr. Giuliani said at the event. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.”

Critics suggested that Mr. Giuliani’s description of Mr. Obama’s upbringing reflected a prejudiced view that Mr. Obama was different from other Americans…

Read the entire article here.

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Obama meets with 10 unsuspecting students for hourlong roundtable

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Campus Life, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-02-16 02:32Z by Steven

Obama meets with 10 unsuspecting students for hourlong roundtable

The Stanford Daily
Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
2015-02-13

Victor Xu, Desk Editor


Vicki Niu ’18 (right) was one of 10 students who participated in an hourlong roundtable with President Barack Obama on Friday afternoon. (SAM GIRVIN/The Stanford Daily)

Rio LaVigne ’15 signed up to meet several White House officials after the morning session of today’s cybersecurity summit. She did not, however, expect to meet President Barack Obama.

Earlier this week, a group of 10 students with interests in cybersecurity was chosen by various Stanford professors and academics to potentially attend a roundtable meeting with “senior White House officials.” It was not until yesterday afternoon that the meeting was confirmed. And it was not until after Obama’s speech, in a back room of Memorial Auditorium, that the students figured out that they might be meeting the president.

“We walked into the room and pretty quickly noticed there was a nametag in front of every seat except one,” LaVigne said. “The table’s a horseshoe shape, and the one seat that was missing was the one in the very back in the center. It was like, ‘Hmm, okay. That’s interesting. I wonder who’s going to sit there. Someone who doesn’t need a nametag?’”…

Read the entire article here.

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My President

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive on 2015-02-11 23:46Z by Steven

My President

Abernathy: for gentlemen of culture
2015-02-09

Brian Kamanzi
Cape Town, South Africa

Barack Hussein Obama.

Let me start this off by an admission. The man is my hero. But, let me assure you that this has little to do with who he actually is. This isn’t about his foreign policy or about his commitment to his promises. It’s about how many of us see him as if we are holding a mirror in front of our faces.

Barack Hussein Obama.

He has a poise and a presence that he carries whenever he is called to address the world. He is one of the few black men in history to have an audience of this magnitude. His is a tone that with the sheer sound of the steadiness of his voice, brings me a sense of pride as if he somehow represents me. There is a sense of expectation when he speaks. The stream that often follows his announcements speaks directly to this. We want him to be more decisive. We want him to challenge the global economic structure. We expect him to be the voice of black consciousness in the White House. I know I’ve caught myself passively-actively drowning out the details of his positions; ones that I would not hesitate admonish a white man of his stature for uttering.

In fact, I am uncertain I am able to separate this man from what I want him to be; from what I hoped he would be. I keep my eyes closed when I look at him. Perhaps in fear that he is an obstacle of what I’d call “progress.” Perhaps in fear that he, much like me, is a contradiction unto himself…

Read the entire article here.

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First Black Elected to Head Harvard’s Law Review

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-06 21:01Z by Steven

First Black Elected to Head Harvard’s Law Review

The New York Times
1990-02-06

Fox Butterfield

BOSTON, Feb. 5—  The Harvard Law Review, generally considered the most prestigious in the country, elected the first black president in its 104-year history today. The job is considered the highest student position at Harvard Law School.

The new president of the Review is Barack Obama, a 28-year-old graduate of Columbia University who spent four years heading a community development program for poor blacks on Chicago’s South Side before enrolling in law school. His late father, Barack Obama, was a finance minister in Kenya and his mother, Ann Dunham, is an American anthropologist now doing fieldwork in Indonesia. Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii.

“The fact that I’ve been elected shows a lot of progress,” Mr. Obama said today in an interview. “It’s encouraging.

“But it’s important that stories like mine aren’t used to say that everything is O.K. for blacks. You have to remember that for every one of me, there are hundreds or thousands of black students with at least equal talent who don’t get a chance,” he said, alluding to poverty or growing up in a drug environment…

Read the entire article here.

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U.S. to Collect Genetic Data to Hone Care

Posted in Arts, Barack Obama, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-01-31 23:23Z by Steven

U.S. to Collect Genetic Data to Hone Care

The New York Times
2015-01-30

Robert Pear, Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON — Saying that “the possibilities are boundless,” President Obama on Friday announced a major biomedical research initiative, including plans to collect genetic data on one million Americans so scientists could develop drugs and treatments tailored to the characteristics of individual patients.

Dr. Francis S. Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said the studies would help doctors decide which treatments would work best for which patients.

White House officials said the “precision medicine initiative” would begin with a down payment of $215 million in the president’s budget request for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

Precision medicine, also known as personalized or individualized medicine, “gives us one of the greatest opportunities for new medical breakthroughs that we have ever seen,” Mr. Obama said at a White House event attended by patients’ advocates, researchers, and drug and biotechnology company executives.

Among those in the audience was Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee and chairman of the Senate health committee, who said he intended to work with the president on the issue.

Mr. Obama said the new initiative could save lives, create jobs, foster new industries and help people overcome “the accidents and circumstances of our birth.”

“If we’re born with a particular disease, or a particular genetic makeup that makes us more vulnerable to something, that’s not our destiny, that’s not our fate,” Mr. Obama said. “We can remake it. That’s who we are as Americans, and that’s the power of scientific discovery.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Mutt, Monster or Melting-Pot? Mixed-Race Metaphor and Obama’s Ambivalent Hybridity

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2015-01-28 20:12Z by Steven

Mutt, Monster or Melting-Pot? Mixed-Race Metaphor and Obama’s Ambivalent Hybridity

Ada: A Journal of Gender New Media & Technology
Issue #6: Hacking the Black/White Binary (January 2015)

Nathan Rambukkana, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies
Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

‘ObamaNation raped & killed 1,000 Christians’

Kenyan citizen Hussein Obama spent $1-million in US campaign funds to massacre 1,000 Christians in British Kenya, after his Communist cousin lost the presidential election. 800 Christian churches were arsoned [sic], with dozens of people cooked alive. Men and women were raped by Obama supporters. To stop the violence, the Kenyan government was extorted by Obama to make his cousin ‘prime minister’, a job that did not exist.

—Anonymous, piratenews.org, October 25, 2008

‘Obama’s Brother in China’

If elected, Obama would be the first genuinely 21st-century leader. The China-Indonesia-Kenya-Britain-Hawaii web mirrors a world in flux. In Kenya, his uncle Sayid, a Muslim, told me: ‘My Islam is a hybrid, a mix of elements, including my Christian schooling and even some African ways. Many values have dissolved in me.’

Obama’s bridge-building instincts come from somewhere. They are rooted and proven. For an expectant and often alienated world, they are of central significance.

Roger Cohen, New York Times, March 17, 2008 [1]

The above two textual excerpts from the period between February 10, 2007 when Obama announced he was running for the Democratic nomination, and November 4, 2008 when he was elected president, are metonymic of the polar opposite ways Barack Obama’s particular hybrid identity is framed and reflected on in the digital public sphere. While the sources are divergent in terms of scope and reach—a mainstream newspaper site and an underground website—the black and white binary of the way they articulate hybridity marks them as part of the same discursive process: one of skinning (Ahmed and Stacey 2001) a powerful and prominent mixed-race subject. This short paper collects some of these varied but linked representations, using a broadly Foucauldian genealogical discourse analysis (Foucault 1980), working together academic and popular discourses and analyzing them in tandem; mixing theory, memory, reflection, and discovery into an archeology of the present cultural moment that pries open the layers of meaning inherent to culture itself.[2] This flexible method allows us to investigate what these prominent representations of mixed-race and hybrid identities do, situated as they are in such a prominent position: attached to a figure as he contended for and then assumed the most privileged seat of power in the US — arguably even world — context.

Drawing on Sara Ahmed and Jackie Stacey’s (2001) concept of dermographia, or skin writing, this paper attempts to read the ways that Obama’s skin, as text, is an effect of the various and overlapping ways it is ‘surfaced’ in discourse. At once a real and material organ that wraps and envelops what is currently the world’s most protected of bodies,[3] Obama’s skin is also ‘dependent on regimes of writing that mark the skin in different ways or that produce the skin as marked’ (Ahmed and Stacey 2001, 15). As such, the skin of the ‘leader of the free world’ is at once a private and storied flesh, and a public text that emerges in the intertextual dermographia of its multiform figurings. In fact, writing may even be thought of as a form of skin (Ahmed and Stacy 2001, 15), a second skin that acts as discursive layer between ourselves and the world. The skins of hybrids of multiple sorts are ones that are ambiguously written or written upon: fetishized and demonized, worked on and managed from without and within, hybrids are by nature and nurture hacks of the binaries they straddle, and inherently political as such—though not always through a progressive politics. Many times a hybrid figure, Obama’s body is fetishized, demonized and detailed across the political spectrum both as signifying object and as symbol of multiple politics.

Much has been said about Barack Obama’s body. Even preceding his presidency, Obama was often discussed in a metaphorical manner in the public sphere. Born in Hawai’i to a white mother of mostly English decent, and a Black Kenyan father; raised for a time in Indonesia, and with an Indonesian step-father; and a late-in-life Christian from a family tree containing both Christian and Muslim roots (“Barrack” 2014), his mixed-race, mixed-ethnicity and mixed-religious heritage position him as a hybrid figure par excellence. Coverage on Obama collects the full range of charged metaphor and imagery that prehends to hybridity generally and multiraciality specifically: that of the monstrous chimera, insidious half-breed, or untrustworthy mongrel on the one hand, and of the global-citizen, multiculturalism, bridge, and melting-pot America on the other. But this dense layering of tropes cannot be divided into ‘good’ hybridity metaphor and ‘bad’, for in addition to the strong links between the negative tropes, structural racism and Islamaphobia, the positive tropes that attach to hybridity generally, and modern mixed-race identities specifically, are also discursively implicated with other problematic ideologies such as top-down globalization (Kraidy 2005, 148), the facile ideals of a non-critical post-racial or race-blind society (Sharma and Sharma 2012), and even colonial narratives such as ‘the American Dream’ (Berlant 1997). Accordingly, both the positive and the negative tropes used to mark his hybridity are fraught with intertextual meaning, legacies of power, and politics of privilege…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Kids Roundtable: The Politics of Multiracialism and Identity

Posted in Audio, Barack Obama, Communications/Media Studies, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-28 02:39Z by Steven

Mixed Kids Roundtable: The Politics of Multiracialism and Identity

iMiXWHATiLiKE!: Emancipatory Journalism and Broadcasting
2015-01-23

Jared Ball, Host and Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

We were joined in this edition of iMiXWHATiLiKE! by a roundtable of panelists for a discussion of the politics of multiracialism and identity. Our guests included: Dr. Ralina Joseph, associate professor in UW’s Department of Communication and adjunct associate professor in the Departments of American Ethnic Studies and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, Her first book, Transcending Blackness: From the New Millennium Mulatta to the Exceptional Multiracial (Duke University Press, 2012), critiques anti-Black racism in mixed-race African American representations in the decade leading up to Obama’s 2008 election; Dr. Darwin Fishman, Adjunct Professor at San Diego City College; and Ms. Lisa Fager, Professional agitator, Free Mind. Co-founder Industry Ears. Social market-er. HIV/AIDS Advocate. Indy Voter. Hip Hop. Black. White. Spook Who Sat By the Door. We talked about the film Dear White People and more generally about the history of multiracial identities and the politics of popular culture representation of those identities, and bunch more!

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On race, Obama sticks to a game plan of seeking steady progress within the system

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Economics, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-01-20 03:06Z by Steven

On race, Obama sticks to a game plan of seeking steady progress within the system

The Washington Post
2015-01-18

Steven Mufson, White House correspondent, financial staff writer

During racially tense moments that have beset the nation recently, many Americans have longed for President Obama to display some of the passion and soaring rhetoric that made the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who would have turned 86 last week, a civil rights legend.

But the messages of restraint Obama has given in response to outcry over police violence are the same ones he has been dispensing for 20 to 30 years, echoes of thoughts he has had ever since he was a young community organizer in Chicago. His central tenets: Don’t give in to anger and violence; work to improve, not destroy, the legal system; and accept that change will come and things are getting better, albeit more slowly than many would like.

Though Obama’s views have evolved on issues such as gay marriage and national security during his six years in office, his views on race have remained remarkably consistent, and recent events appear to have affirmed rather than altered those views.

The president is likely to touch on race again Tuesday in his State of the Union address, and if so, he will probably acknowledge that on race, as on the economy, a “resurgent America” has made great progress but still requires greater inclusiveness.

Rather than making pressing demands for economic justice like those that defined King’s crusade, Obama will make a pitch for a tax package that will aid lower- and middle-class households and serve as modest tools for economic advancement for both whites and blacks…

Read the entire article here.

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Hawaii As ‘Racial Paradise’? Bid For Obama Library Invokes A Complex Past

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, History, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-16 01:47Z by Steven

Hawaii As ‘Racial Paradise’? Bid For Obama Library Invokes A Complex Past

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
National Public Radio
2015-01-15

Ellen Wu, Associate Professor of History
Indiana University

Sometime in March, President Obama is expected to announce his choice of the institution that will hold his presidential archive. Vying for the honor (and the money that comes with it) are the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia University in New York, and the University of Hawai’i (the Hawaiian language spelling of the state’s name). So heated has the competition been that some have called it the “next big presidential race before the 2016 presidential race.”

The front-runner status of both Windy City schools is now in question. The University of Chicago may lack exclusive ownership rights to the proposed sites, while the University of Illinois anticipates future leadership changes.

Yet media reports still cast Hawaii as the underdog. Its fundraising capabilities are out-muscled by the others. Its location is too remote by mainland standards.

But don’t be surprised if Hawaii comes out on top, because the island has a compelling advantage: It’s the one place in the U.S. that has long been imagined as a “racial paradise.”

Liberal white missionaries and sociologists invented this fiction in the early 20th century to convince the nation that Hawaii’s significant Asian population was capable of assimilating harmoniously into American life. Asian laborers were the backbone of the islands’ industrial sugar plantation workforce. By 1945, Life pronounced Hawaii “the world’s most successful experiment in mixed breeding … unmatched … for interracial tolerance and affection.” Today, the “Aloha State” is widely celebrated as the most racially and ethnically diverse in the country, where hapas and multiracial families are the norm. The Root recently named Hawaii one of “The Five Best States for Black People.”…

Read the entire article here.

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53 Historians Weigh In on Barack Obama’s Legacy

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-01-15 15:34Z by Steven

53 Historians Weigh In on Barack Obama’s Legacy

New York
2015-01-11

“It’s a fool’s errand you’re involved in,” warned Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon Wood when approached recently by this magazine to predict Barack Obama’s historical legacy. “We live in a fog, and historians decades from now will tell their society what was happening in 2014. But we don’t know the future. No one in 1952, for example, could have predicted the reputation of Truman a half-century or so later.”

Wood is right, of course. Historians are experts on the past, not the future. But sometimes the wide-angle perspective they inhabit can be useful in understanding the present. And so, on the eve of Obama’s penultimate State of the Union address, we invited a broad range of historians — academic and popular — to play a game.

Over the past few weeks, New York asked more than 50 historians to respond to a broad questionnaire about how Obama and his administration will be viewed 20 years from now. After the day-to-day crises and flare-ups and legislative brinkmanship are forgotten, what will we remember? What, and who, will have mattered most? What small piece of legislation (or executive inaction) will be seen by future generations as more consequential than today’s dominant news stories? What did Obama miss about America? What did we (what will we) miss about him?

Almost every respondent wrote that the fact of his being the first black president will loom large in the historical narrative — though they disagreed in interesting ways. Many predict that what will last is the symbolism of a nonwhite First Family; others, the antagonism Obama’s blackness provoked; still others, the way his racial self-consciousness constrained him. A few suggested that we will care a great deal less about his race generations from now — just as John F. Kennedy’s Catholicism hardly matters to current students of history. Across the board, Obamacare was recognized as a historic triumph (though one historian predicted that, with its market exchanges, it may in retrospect be seen as illiberal and mark the beginning of the privatization of public health care). A surprising number of respondents argued that his rescue of the economy will be judged more significant than is presently acknowledged, however lackluster the recovery has felt. There was more attention paid to China than isis (Obama’s foreign policy received the most divergent assessments), and considerable credit was given to the absence of a major war or terrorist attack, along with a more negative assessment of its price — the expansion of the security state, drones and all. The contributors tilted liberal — that’s academia, no surprise — but we made an effort to create at least a little balance with conservative historians. Their responses often echoed those from the far left: that a president elected on a promise to unite the country instead extended the power of his office in alarming, unprecedented ways. Here, we have published a small fraction of the answers we found most thought-provoking, along with essays by Jonathan Chait, our national-affairs columnist, and Christopher Caldwell, whom we borrowed from The Weekly Standard. A full version of all the historians’ answers can be found here

Read the entire introduction here.

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