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Bloggingheads
04-07-2008, 06:49 PM

David Thomson
04-07-2008, 07:29 PM
"Barry" Obama is merely a race hustler like Al Sharpton, Jr. I increasingly find him to be reprehensible. Subconsciously, he has no real interest to improve race relations in the United States. On the contrary, he wants to use it to his political advantage. There is far too much white guilt. This greatly explains why normally sensible people like Peggy Noonan and Charles Murray make themselves look foolish praising Obama. And this is a very dangerous phenomenon! It inadvertently opens the door to scum bags like David Duke. I know that many will think I am exaggerating. Nonetheless, I am convinced that a vote for Obama is unwittingly a vote of support for the David Dukes of the world.

TwinSwords
04-07-2008, 07:43 PM
"Barry" Obama is merely a race hustler like Al Sharpton, Jr. I increasingly find him to be reprehensible. Subconsciously, he has no real interest to improve race relations in the United States. On the contrary, he wants to use it to his political advantage. There is far too much white guilt. This greatly explains why normally sensible people like Peggy Noonan and Charles Murray make themselves look foolish praising Obama. And this is a very dangerous phenomenon! It inadvertently opens the door to scum bags like David Duke. I know that many will think I am exaggerating. Nonetheless, I am convinced that a vote for Obama is unwittingly a vote of support for the David Dukes of the world.

Beautifully written piece of satire! Very wingnutty. I particularly like the touch where you pretend to know what motivates Obama subconsciously. Brilliant! 5 stars.

Namazu
04-07-2008, 07:44 PM
If you're ready to give up your microbrews...

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.wordpress.com/

David Thomson
04-07-2008, 07:55 PM
"I particularly like the touch where you pretend to know what motivates Obama subconsciously. Brilliant! 5 stars."

I concede that one is playing with fire trying to interpret the subconscious motivations of others. Nonetheless, I have read enough of "Barry" Obama's own writings to logically come to this conclusion. We must never forget that if our troubles over race disappeared this very moment---a lot of people would be forced to find another way of earning a living! Race card hustling has proven to be very lucrative.

It is very fair to say that Obama would not be a serious candidate unless he was a man of color. He is indeed an affirmative action candidate. Much of his life has revolved around the manipulation of white guilt. This is probably especially true after he attended Harvard University, perhaps the center of guilt tripped white America.

bjkeefe
04-07-2008, 08:13 PM
Beautifully written piece of satire! Very wingnutty. I particularly like the touch where you pretend to know what motivates Obama subconsciously. Brilliant! 5 stars.

I agree. The surreality of equating Barack Obama's message of inclusiveness with allowing the KKK to get back into power was also remarkable. Best imitation of a full-fledged moron yet!

bjkeefe
04-07-2008, 08:19 PM
It is very fair to say that Obama would not be a serious candidate unless he was a man of color. He is indeed an affirmative action candidate. Much of his life has revolved around the manipulation of white guilt. This is probably especially true after he attended Harvard University, perhaps the center of guilt tripped white America.

More brilliance! But you forgot the part about affirmative action and white guilt also giving him all those grades he didn't deserve to finish in the top of his class, the affirmative action and white guilt that gave him the job of president of the Harvard Law Review, the affirmative action and white guilt that propelled him into undeserved recognition as a top community organizer, the affirmative action and white guilt that caused all those books to be sold, the affirmative action and white guilt that made all those people in Iowa vote for him ...

Please. Don't stop. You must have hundreds more reasons why Barack Obama is, in fact, the worst person in the history of the human race.

brucds
04-07-2008, 08:21 PM
Thomson is a right-wing race-baiter who doesn't deserve a response. He's one of those "Martin Luther King was controlled by the Communists" characters. When he invokes the KKK, he knows whereof he speaks. He's one of their cousins. A total wack job. Ignore him.

bjkeefe
04-07-2008, 08:23 PM
Thomson is a right-wing race-baiter who doesn't deserve a response. He's one of those "Martin Luther King was controlled by the Communists" characters. When he invokes the KKK, he knows whereof he speaks. He's one of their cousins. A total wack job. Ignore him.

You're probably right, brucds. But sometimes it's hard to let a cockroach walk across the floor without having the urge to step on it.

bjkeefe
04-07-2008, 08:26 PM
Debra's first post in reaction to Glenn Loury's TPM article lives here (http://www.motherjones.com/mojoblog/archives/2008/04/7861_glenn_loury_pos.html).

(I say "first" because it sounded, both in the post and in the diavlog, like she might have more to say.)

David Thomson
04-07-2008, 08:28 PM
Democratic Party presidential candidates like "Barry" Obama can never be truly post-racial. This is because the very premise of that party's approach to race relations is to refuse to solve the problem. Once agin, we are talking about jobs! The first American black elected to the White House will almost certainly be a center-right Republican. Only the GOP is eagerly trying to "get past race." It has little interest in continually picking at the scabs to make sure they never heal. Democrats are too invested in defeat. They don't want the good old days to ever end. Their intellectual class would have to find another way to earn a living.

olmeta
04-07-2008, 08:32 PM
Duke for Obama! Wow. David Thompson is insane.

bjkeefe
04-07-2008, 08:36 PM
Only the GOP is eagerly trying to "get past race."

And I'm sure they're proud to have you speaking on their behalf to further this effort.

brucds
04-07-2008, 08:40 PM
Jesus, I just read Dickerson's article and what strikes one more than anything else is how poorly it's worn. The first page is full of predictions that turned flat out to be wrong - but more to the point based on false assumptions. The "truth" about Obama is that he chose solidarity with the traditional African-American culture and politics when he went to the South Side of Chicago to organize - and probably more telling, integrated himself into a "typical" African-American family by marriage. That he's been percieved as generically "black" in most societal situations where his somewhat unique personal history adds to the uselessness of Dickerson's formula. By Dickerson's lights, W.E.B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey and Stokely Carmichael weren't "black" either, because their heritage wasn't native-born descendants of slaves from America's deep South. Pretty nonsensical. IMHO the category of American Dickerson fits into most authoritatively is "eminently dispensable pundit" - an increasingly large and problematic demographic.

olmeta
04-07-2008, 08:42 PM
Liberals (particularly in the academy) may be the timid, self-loathing crowd you describe, but Barack Obama is obviously his generation's most talented political leader and thinker, and as such represents an immense beacon of hope for progress among black Americans.

What the hell are you talking about with Obama being good for southern white racists like David Duke? Ya better check yaself, son.

brucds
04-07-2008, 08:43 PM
Uh oh - next time he's on, somebody remind Orlando Patterson he's not black either.

brucds
04-07-2008, 08:45 PM
oops - that sentence above should have read "where his somewhat unique personal history ISN'T NECESSARILY KNOWN, adds to the uselessness of Dickerson's formula."

fedorovingtonboop
04-07-2008, 08:47 PM
the reason why hillary lost to obama is white guilt about slavery, the fact that we have a ridiculously sexist society and also because the media was practically lining up to give him a hand job throughout Jan and Feb.
they have essentially the same voting record except for the war and everyone who went from Edwards to Obama can explain why the war vote doesn't matter. polls also show the men strongly favor Obama.....hmm....I wonder why. i can't even count how many times i've heard "Just wait 'till SHE gets in office." or literally "I'd NEVER vote for a woman. I'd vote for McCain before Hillary."
there is absolutely nothing special about this guy compared to Hillary. it was so bad even SNL had to parody the media's bias. there's no way he'd even be considered if he were white, given that he's been in the senate for about 10 minutes.
that said, i have no problem at all with voting for someone because he's black. blacks deserve their chance and i was going to vote for hillary simply because she's a woman. but pretending there's something extraordinary about obama when hillary's standing right next to him is just being disingenuous and that's why it's so annoying to watch everyone fawning over him. i don't see why treating him like he's so exceptional isn't just as racist as ignoring him because of his color.

David Thomson
04-07-2008, 08:49 PM
"Duke for Obama! Wow."

David Duke would never be explicitly for "Barry" Obama. That's not my point. No, he would be the inadvertent beneficiary. Obama will do nothing to get past race. He is motivated to keep picking at those scabs. The more they bleed---the better off he is. Obama will worsen race relations in the United States. At the end of the day, David Duke will offer himself as something of a savior to more disgruntled whites. This is especially true regarding white men. They are very well aware that the politically correct establishment deems them to be cause of all evil in the world. Susan Sontag may be dead, but she has not been forgotten.

graz
04-07-2008, 09:07 PM
Debra's first post in reaction to Glenn Loury's TPM article lives here (http://www.motherjones.com/mojoblog/archives/2008/04/7861_glenn_loury_pos.html).

(I say "first" because it sounded, both in the post and in the diavlog, like she might have more to say.)

Yes Brendan, Debra will have lots more to say. But did you read Glenn's piece?
The gist of that piece had been lightly touched upon in his talks with McWhorter. I fully respect Glenn in his approach to this issue, yet I feel disappointed that he is probably correct that a trade-off of Obama's success could include a loss of a full hearing on the Black historical grievance. If I recall an earlier diavlog (Loury/McWhorter) correctly, Glenn hinted that his his support for Clinton was due to this concern that Obama would provide a cleaning of the guilt slate - with long lasting and irreversible consequences.
I hope to hear from him how a failure to promote Obama will further his desire for reconciliation, according to his own terms, sooner or more effectively?

olmeta
04-07-2008, 09:09 PM
You may ruefully wish that a figure like Barack Obama had come from the right, and I agree that one day soon such a "black" man will emerge from the right and lead the nation at a very high level, but alas he did not come from the right, he comes from the left, so get over it, and stop throwing mud around the room like a petulant child. I think some people hate the left so much, they are willing to discredit the nation's best presidential candidate and thwart a more than decent chance at furthering the national dialog on race.

Embracing Obama will help the right eclipse the legacy of fools likes of Sharpton, Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright. Get on board!

brucds
04-07-2008, 09:17 PM
Nothing exceptional about Obama next to Hillary except that his political skills are obviously superior since he's taken down the "inevitable," "experienced" candidate who was able to double-team him with a former President at her side. Actually, when I think about it, given the current scenario - with Hillary looking like little more than a sore loser and Obama more than likely the next President of the U.S.of A. - Obama's pretty "exceptional" as politicians go and Hillary is someone I wouldn't trust to be the CEO of a large corporation, given her inability to strategize, her history of failure at policy (health care & Iraq) and the spectre of the team she put together which runs the gamut from mediocre to "Enron-level" despicable.

brucds
04-07-2008, 09:25 PM
One more thing - is Dickerson aware that Obama is a native born American, not a "Kenyan" as she constantly references him. He's spent more time in Indonesia as a kid than ever in Kenya, which he's only visited fairly briefly. And his having grown up mostly in extremely multi-cultural Hawaii is probably as big a piece in the puzzle of his "racial" psychology as anything.


I also have to say there's something incredibly annoying - creepy really - in Dickerson's whining that the only problem with her piece could possibly be that "even really smart people" "lose their literacy" in reading her. I'm sorry but an author who protests that much about being "misunderstood" has obviously done a crappy job of making themselves understood. In such instances, it's a better bet that the problem isn't bad reading comprehension on the part of "really smart people" than dubious analysis and bad communication on the part of the author.

fedorovingtonboop
04-07-2008, 09:26 PM
"political skills" are worthless. (see "Karl Rove")
as i said, how is she supposed to win, anyway, when the whole thing is practically rigged. salon even just printed this:
http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/04/07/hillary/

i don't care if someone can sway millions to vote for him for no reason at all. what value is that? "Yeah! His voters are really unfair and disingenuous!"
mainly idiot twenty-somethings anyway.

bjkeefe
04-07-2008, 09:33 PM
graz:

Yes, I did read Glenn's piece. I read it the day it posted, so my memory may have faded a bit, but I think I felt about the same way you did. I hear his point, and feel somewhat unentitled to dispute it, being a white man appreciably younger than him, but a big part of me wants to say something like this: We might never get to the point of fully addressing black historical grievances. There are legitimate reasons to be unhappy about this, but it also seems to me that at some point, we should recognize that "kids these days" have never cared overmuch about "ancient history." Obama represents to a lot of younger people a break from dwelling on grievances and instead offers the view that maybe it's better just to muddle ahead, and not try to resolve every last thing in the past before we let ourselves look to the future.

Another part of Obama's view, I think, and one that I agree with, is that people of different skin color waste a lot of time worrying about our grievances with each other, when we should be spending more time recognizing the similarities in our economic lots in life, and figuring out how to battle our real foes.

It's hard to express fully what my reaction to Glenn's piece is without sounding like yet another whitey wishing "those people" would "just get over it." I don't believe that for a minute. I think better understanding the extent and depth of historical grievances is important for dealing with problems in the here and now. On the other hand, I look at groups around the world who have been nursing their historical grievances for hundreds and thousands of years, and I have to say, it does not seem particularly productive, especially if the goal is to learn how to live together.

brucds
04-07-2008, 09:35 PM
The whole thing is far from "rigged" - all of the rules have long been in place and the terrain was known to one and all, despite Hillary's current tantrums about Florida and Michigan (after her man Harold Ickes approved the DNC's position) and political skills count for much if you're a...you know...politician.

The notion of "poor Hillary" is beyond absurd. All I can say is that Obama's done the party a great favor taking this half-baked opportunist and her self-absorbed, reckless hubbie out of the running. Eight years of politics informed by Mark Penn's polling isn't my idea of "progressive."

fedorovingtonboop
04-07-2008, 09:43 PM
yeah, in essence, it is rigged, when everyone is sexist, afraid to be called racist for letting the black guy get disappointed and for those reasons you get an absurd amount of attention from the media for months on end. that's, essentially, a rigged election.

hillary can't be "poor"? if no one was paying attention to obama because he's black - would he be "poor Obama"? yes he would. obama's absolutely no more progressive than hillary because they have practically the same voting record. you can't get any more "opportunist" than winning based on the color of your skin and your sex.

bjkeefe
04-07-2008, 09:44 PM
brucds:

I also have to say there's something incredibly annoying - creepy really - in Dickerson's whining that the only problem with her piece could possibly be that "even really smart people" "lose their literacy" in reading her.

This bothered me, too. I remember reading that piece when it posted on Salon, and since I already had a lot of respect for her, I read it several times. I came to the conclusion, if memory serves, of sort of seeing her point without really buying it. It did seem self-centered of Debra to blame "everybody" for not understanding it. You're right -- it is the writer's first job to be clear.

I also suspect that she equated "not understanding" with "not agreeing" in the case of some of her readers. She did come off, at times in this diavlog, as having the attitude that she is the only one who understands the whole racial problem. I'm not saying she's not smart about this. She is, I think, insightful in many ways. But disliked her overgeneralizing and I thought there was a little too much of "my way or the highway" in her manner.

graz
04-07-2008, 09:47 PM
Brendan:

Thanks for the careful, considerate response.
Nice.

mojomojo
04-07-2008, 09:47 PM
In spite of her longwinddddddddedness, Dickerson is on the right track. The term "Black" is merely a social construct. As such, all racial paradigms (and their semantic products) are reflections of dominant social and power relations. Where Dickerson demurs, however, is to throw out the entire racial system. Why maintain the use of the term Black at all? Asian has come into prominence as an ethnic, not racial identifier. The older term was once Oriental, which is widely recognized to have been loaded and racist. It seems that Black has simply replaced Negro, which as DuBois recognized more than a century ago was charged term.

Obama's appeal is based on the fact that he does not fit into any racial category--i.e., transcends race.

brucds
04-07-2008, 10:00 PM
"Obama's appeal is based on the fact that he does not fit into any racial category--i.e., transcends race."

Take a snapshot of Michelle, Barack and the kids and tell me that you're looking at folks who "transcend race." If, on the southside of Chicago - even in liberal, middle-class Hyde Park - the Obama's "transcend race" so do all middle-class African-Americans. And of course race is a social construct - which is why Obama has been "black" more than anything else when he arrived on mostly white college campuses or walked the streets of Chicago's South Side as a community organizer - and even as a local politician. If Obma isn't "black" in some meaningful sense in the racial terrain of the United States of America, neither is any black person who's arrived at a relatively high level of socio-economic or professional status. Frankly, I thought Douthat's comments on Michelle Obama were beyond insulting and particularly clueless. He assumes that someone who attains a degree of status or achievement would shed any sense of solidarity with the people whose shoulders they stand on. Not a surprising - and fucked up - attitude for a conservative, but maddening nonetheless.

Also Dickerson is off base when she attacks the black clergy for homophobia and misogyny in the context of Jeremiah Wright's ministry. His church denomination was in the forefront of ordaining women and gay people and Wright has been explicitly supportive of a gay-friendly and anti-sexist agenda.

graz
04-07-2008, 10:01 PM
brucds:

I also have to say there's something incredibly annoying - creepy really - in Dickerson's whining that the only problem with her piece could possibly be that "even really smart people" "lose their literacy" in reading her.

I hope you don't mind me saying that if you read her books and not her most recent articles or listened to her grating voice, you would have a higher opinion of her. Damning with faint praise sure, but I agree that her whining is not easy to listen to.

bjkeefe
04-07-2008, 10:04 PM
as i said, how is she supposed to win, anyway, when the whole thing is practically rigged. salon even just printed this:
http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/04/07/hillary/

That Salon article, which just rehashes a case the Clinton campaign has been trying to make for weeks now, is a canard. It's ridiculous to be this far along in a contest and then start talking about how things would be different if the rules were suddenly changed. It's like being down in the fourth quarter of a football game, and trying to argue that since your team has scored two touchdowns while the other team has one touchdown and five field goals, things would be different if touchdowns counted for twenty points each. It also completely ignores that fact that Obama would certainly have campaigned differently if the rules were different.

I'll be the first one to say that there are all kinds of things wrong with the way the Democrats choose their nominee. But Clinton knew the rules going in. (Or should have -- the obvious ignorance of some aspects; e.g., Texas's especial peculiarities, is something that can be blamed on no one but her campaign.) The Clinton campaign bet the farm on a strategy of going for wins in the early big states and presenting an aura of inevitability. They failed to plan for contingencies when Super Tuesday didn't cinch the win. They employed the perennially losing strategy of focusing all their attention on what they thought would be just enough to win.

Do we really want a president who wants a do-over every time things don't go to plan? Who fails to develop a Plan B? Who dismisses the rules when the rules suddenly prove distasteful? Seems to me we've got one of those right now, and it's not working out well at all.

brucds
04-07-2008, 10:05 PM
Frankly, I have no interest in her books after listening to this. She strikes me as a mediocrity - I have to say I didn't learn a solitary thing listening to her.

bjkeefe
04-07-2008, 10:06 PM
brucds:

Also Dickerson is off base when she attacks the black clergy for homophobia and misogyny in the context of Jeremiah Wright's ministry.

Perhaps so, but I think there was something to her larger point.

brucds
04-07-2008, 10:08 PM
You've convinced me with the stone cold logic, Federovington - Hillary Uber Alles !

brucds
04-07-2008, 10:14 PM
Of course there's a larger point, but it's evidence of her not knowing very much about the subject being discussed when she uses Jeremiah Wright as her "point person" to jump into this. It makes it sound like Wright is someone he's not and devalues his ministry. Not good form when the guy's being whipped - unfairly and absurdly - as a "racist", "anti-American", "black victimization-monger" etc. He's none of those. He can be rhetorically over-the-top occasionally - like his biblical namesake - but he should be considered a role-model, especially for pastors of his generation. The real embarrassments to the black ministry these days are guys like T.D. Jakes and Creflow Dollar - who fit into the "positive thinking" and "prosperity" theology - along with white guys like Joel Osteen and Robert Schuller - a "niche" which, IMHO, defiles Christianity.

fedorovingtonboop
04-07-2008, 10:19 PM
oh.....my.....god. i'm gonna try to be as polite as possible but did you read any of the first few posts i made?
i didn't even read that article so i have no idea what it's about but i can tell it's a "what if" by the title. i was putting it there to help further a point i was trying to make to someone else (hint, hint;)
PLEASE respond to one of my "core" issues in any of my fist several posts if you have to respond. i'll repeat - i don't care that much about the article- i didn't even read it. it merely put there to help illustrate the "conspiracy of unfairness" as i will now deem it because i happened to be surfing salon in between posts.
if you must reply, please remember:

-core issues
-no tangent arguments
-don't forget to include your own substance, not just a quote from me
-i'm not gonna argue about the salon article because i'm well aware it not one of my stronger points. the main points came in nearly every other post

bjkeefe
04-07-2008, 10:30 PM
fed:

i didn't even read that article so i have no idea what it's about ...

You post a link to an article that you haven't even read to support your argument, and then you ask me to respond to your "core issues?" I will resist the golden opportunity to point out your real core issues.

Instead, I will merely note that one of your main beefs in this thread is that the media is being unfair to Clinton. That article seemed to be a basis for your argument, so it seemed reasonable to respond to it. Pardon me for not knowing that you hadn't read it. Most people do read the sources they offer. Strange, I know, but there it is.

The other one of your main points, as far as I can tell, is that you don't like Obama, and have convinced yourself that because you don't, everyone who does must be supporting him for entirely dismissable reasons. This does not seem like something that has much basis in intelligent thought, and is certainly not something I'm going to waste any more time trying to get you to think differently about.

Your commandments to me concerning how my posts ought to be structured were amusing, though. Thanks for them. Is your foot sore from stamping it, or is it calloused, because that's how you usually get your way?

Wonderment
04-07-2008, 11:02 PM
...for continuing to bring major African American intellectuals, male and female, to this website. I have greatly appreciated hearing from John, Glenn and Debra in recent weeks. All three have had brilliant insights into current affairs.

I hope we will also hear from leading academics and journalists representing other minorities in the near future.

Instead of xenophobes like Mickey Kaus ranting about Mexicans and Aztlán, I would love to hear from Mexican and Mexican-American intellectuals who understand our community and the challenges it faces.

fedorovingtonboop
04-07-2008, 11:05 PM
it may be a sop, but it's worthless because she already lost, it was pointing out (presumed unfairness), and how many articles have you seen in her favor when it counts, let alone ones that actually mention anything favorable for clinton....not nearly as many as O.
damn! i swore off that article!
you almost had another substance-free debate with me but you messed up. you really surprised me with that second paragraph Obama thing. that was pretty good! substance.
ok, now that i've gotten the obligatory insults out of the way, the reason why i assume that obama has the edge for dismissable reasons is because no one has provided any substantial evidence for supporting him! (i suspect it's because there aren't any) ((please only cite substantial differences/reasons for supporting him that don't include race or sex. keep in mind my reason for voting for hillary is because she's a woman.))
if there is reason to pick him over her, given their voting records, and equally vague/empty campaign formulas, then please enlighten me because i've yet to hear a good reason. i think another poster mentioned yet another good reason to go with hillary, provided by glen lowry, which is that it'd give whites relief from their guilt without them actually working for it. this is an argument that is connected to what i've said about it being, in many occasions, disingenuous to vote for him for any other reason than "he's black" (which i'd be perfectly fine with)
hey, a foot'll have to do if that's what it takes to get down to brass tax.... obviously reasons don't work too well.

i'm the cashier of these debates:
http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/222387/

basman
04-07-2008, 11:44 PM
Dickerson is grating and seems to me not to have too much to say that is interesting, persuasive or intellectually helpful And did Douthat condescend to her in his genteel refusal to really take her on? For example, here is something Douthat quoted by Jay Cost about Obama’s speech that he, Douthat, associated himself with. It’s from his Atlantic blog:

…Wright's divisiveness constitutes a grievous mistake on what Obama takes to be the central question of American identity - are we one people or are we not?

Accordingly, this inclines me to ask what Obama did about this profound philosophical error. He has been a parishioner for twenty years, and he has been a strong believer in this philosophy of unity for at least four years, since his keynote address in 2004. I appreciate that he cannot walk away from Trinity because the church speaks to who he is. However, I must ask whether he worked to persuade Wright and the parishioners who applauded so jubilantly at his divisive words that they were wrong on a matter of existential importance. If he did, what was the consequence of those efforts? Did he succeed in bringing about change at Trinity?

... The essential problem of the speech is that it gives no answer to these queries…

I heard not a word along these lines in Douthat’s responses to Dickerson.

She was so much about race as social construct, so mired in her diagnoses of the meaning of being Black in America, that where was the counterpoint promised by Douthat’s cited endorsement of Costs’s questioning of the Obamian premise: “…are we one people or are we not?"

Along these lines here are Douthat’s comments in responding to Ezra Klein’s take on Obama’s Philadelphia speech, after stating in response to Klein’s argument about a double standard between White candidates and their evangelical support and Obama and Wright: “What horseshit”!”:

“…The distinction here, for the umpteenth time, is that Wright isn't just Obama's supporter; he's his pastor, his friend, and his spiritual mentor, which makes him exactly the kind of person whose views ought to be of interest to a public that's considering electing Barack Obama President of the United States. And as to the substance of those views, well, if Ezra really thinks that Wright's sermons have sparked controversy because he broke a taboo against getting angry over the fact that "blacks have suffered a long history of oppression in this country" and "still face deep institutional discrimination," I would suggest that he take another look at them, paying particular attention to Wright's remarks about 9/11, as well as what appears to be his suggestion that the U.S. government created not only the crack epidemic, but the AIDS epidemic as well…”

This I heard precious little or none of from Douthat.

I say he wimped out intellectually and personally.

bjkeefe
04-07-2008, 11:57 PM
basman:

I say he wimped out intellectually and personally.

A part of me agrees with you, but I wouldn't go quite that far. First, from what I've seen of Ross both here and on "The Table" on the Atlantic's site, he tends not to be very confrontational in person, especially to people he doesn't know. He seems to be more direct when debating a friend like Matt Yglesias, and even more so, in writing. One could attribute this to manners and/or a preference for coming on strong when he has a chance to edit his own words before sharing them.

Second, it's not the easiest thing to be directly confrontational, as a white person, when talking to a black person about race. Much of what Debra spoke about are points that are not, in any case, subject to much debate by any reasonable person. I did think Ross showed a bit too much deference at times, for example, in refusing to say the title of Chris Rock's routine ("Black People and ******s"), and in not pressing her when she went too far in overgeneralizing, but I also thought he offered some rebuttals. Debra seemed to think so, if we take her closing remarks at face value.

harkin
04-08-2008, 12:05 AM
I can't believe what I'm hearing here......as long as blacks continue to 'hate themselves' and each other, and intelligent people like Glenn Loury are willing to deny a black man success based on his efforts because of the risk that it may provide a 'cleaning of the guilt slate'.......then the pimps of entitlement will continue to feed the taken-for-granted electoral machine which says to blacks that they cannot succeed on their own.

Someone else has already said it but the message to poor blacks from the dems is:

"It takes a village to raise a child, the village is Washington DC and the child is you".

Find the article about the Vietnamese refugees who are killing in education and business since coming to Louisiana with virtually nothing. They don't feel they are owed anything so they just go out and do it. The black community has it pounded into their heads by the Lourys, Wrights, Sharptons of the world that they can't get it unless someone hands it to them as a redress of grievance and the results are manifest in innercities coast to coast.

Loury's words about Obama not having a 'right' to speak perpetuates the despicable theme I keep hearing, that if you think for yourself, you're incapable of being black. A more insulting view is hardly possible.

Too sad for words.

fedorovingtonboop
04-08-2008, 01:11 AM
yeah! i can't tell if you're mocking me or not but either way.....yeah! go hill! enjoy your loss as best you can. girl. Hillary 2012!

brucds
04-08-2008, 01:14 AM
"i can't tell if you're mocking me"

Why am I not surprised ?

piscivorous
04-08-2008, 01:15 AM
I want the black community to show that for the next few trillions of dollars this, "conversation on race", is going to cost is a much better ROI. When the black community is still listening to leaders that direct the anger, whether it is justified or not, into messages of victimization and negativity it remains hard for me to see any use in poring more money down that hole. Mrs Dickerson seems to say this in less direct terms but sees the problem.

fedorovingtonboop
04-08-2008, 01:15 AM
damn! i finally actually watched this vid and THANK YOU Debra.....and..............OWNED to everyone who has been attacking me for saying stuff similar to this. OWNED! Hey oh!
Bob, PLEASE ban Glen from appearing because he has finally been exposed as the knee jerk apologist liberal robot that he is. holy crap you "my new black friend" libs just got owned so hardcore. hilarious!
see? there's no conspiracy anymore it's just lots of racist white people and poor blacks who act like 'tards.
see? it's not that hard. it's called "being independent."
(see stuffwhitepeoplelike to find out what else is wrong with you)
Go Shelby Steele! Go Debra! Booo Glen
look who's racist now, fellow attackers, it's YOU for trying to suck up to black people because they're black.

owned

sleepyhead
04-08-2008, 01:20 AM
One more thing - is Dickerson aware that Obama is a native born American, not a "Kenyan" as she constantly references him. He's spent more time in Indonesia as a kid than ever in Kenya, which he's only visited fairly briefly. And his having grown up mostly in extremely multi-cultural Hawaii is probably as big a piece in the puzzle of his "racial" psychology as anything.

Huh? Where does she "constantly" reference him as a Kenyan? I don't recall her referencing Obama as a Kenyan even once. (Same for the Salon essay -- she refers to him as the son of a Kenyan and later mentions his "Kenyan dad," but I don't see her refering to Obama as a Kenyan.

Interesting that you and others were struck by her "whining" or her "grating voice." I thought she was a perfectly pleasant person to listen to. Maybe in part because I thought most of what she said was on the money.

bjkeefe
04-08-2008, 01:24 AM
fed:

... and how many articles have you seen in her favor when it counts, let alone ones that actually mention anything favorable for clinton....not nearly as many as O.

The primary race began with practically every MSM person in the country fawning over Clinton. She was portrayed as smart, capable, experienced, tough enough to take on the GOP, a survivor, etc. Much was made of the bonus of having her husband back in the White House, too. She got tremendous coverage after New Hampshire, despite the incongruity of the rapid switch from the "inevitable" meme to the "comeback" meme. She also got an excessive amount of boosterism after the March 5 contests -- almost no one emphasized how few delegates she had actually gained. Instead, the talk was all about her having regained momentum and showing how much she appealed to the "base" of the Democratic Party (poorer and older whites). When the sniper story broke, most of the media let her get away with the "misspoke" characterization, rather than calling it for what it was -- a lie that was built into her stump speech. And until very recently, she has been treated as being virtually tied with Obama, despite her strong numerical disadvantage since Obama went on his post-Super Tuesday win streak in February.

As far as sexism goes, it works both ways. While she suffers from whatever cretinous things people say about women, she also gains in other ways. One is not permitted to say anything about her personality or onstage persona without immediate blowback, for example. For another, the chance to break the gender barrier works just as much in her favor among some voters as does Obama's skin color for him with others.

... the reason why i assume that obama has the edge for dismissable reasons is because no one has provided any substantial evidence for supporting him! (i suspect it's because there aren't any) ((please only cite substantial differences/reasons for supporting him that don't include race or sex. keep in mind my reason for voting for hillary is because she's a woman.))
if there is reason to pick him over her, given their voting records, and equally vague/empty campaign formulas, then please enlighten me because i've yet to hear a good reason.

I must say, for someone who recently obsessed about something I'd written way back in the old forums, you sure seem to have missed a lot of what I've written lately.

All right, here's the short version. I agree that he is quite similar in many policy stances to Clinton. I prefer him to her for several reasons.

First: I like his attitude about foreign policy. He made the right call on the Iraq invasion, and did so at a time when it was politically risky. He has expressed a willingness to talk with leaders with whom we disagree. He has expressed a willingness not to kowtow to Pervez Musharraf. He gives clear indications of recognizing the Israeli-Palestinian situation as something other than a completely one-sided state of affairs.

By contrast, Clinton voted wrong in Iraq. She compounded the problem by refusing to acknowledge her error, until it became obvious even to her advisors that this wasn't going to fly. I have no idea where she stands regarding other countries, since she seems to waffle whenever she's not merely carping at Obama's proposals.

I also prefer Obama because he seems much more sincere than Clinton. He has had the guts to speak unpopular truths to audiences, from the netroots via guest posts on various blogs early in his campaign to speeches he has made to primarily black audiences about personal responsibility. Most telling in this regard was his refusal to distance himself completely from Jeremiah Wright. This is not something I could ever imagine Clinton doing. She presents as the output of a sheaf of focus groups.

A final example: I admired his attitude and cutting statements regarding the flag pin whoop-de-do.

By contrast, Clinton has a long history of stances on equal trivialities, where instead of standing up for what's right, she chooses the path that attempts to ingratiate herself with the idiots. Two examples: flag-burning and video games. I'm sure there are others, but I try not to think about them -- it just makes my stomach roil.

There's another component that is less quantifiable: I just have a better feeling imagining Obama as president. He is someone that commands respect and admiration. He has managed to overcome my cynicism about politicians in his speaking and writing. He has energized an incredible number of people with a positive message -- one of hope and working together. A leader who can inspire is not to be dismissed out of hand. People whose judgment I respect, who had the opportunity to meet with him one-on-one, were near-unanimous in their amazement at his intelligence, his nuance, and his awareness of the difference between areas he knew about and areas he knew he needed to learn more about. He has run a much more competent campaign, where Clinton seems mostly to lurch from one mistake to the next. Finally, he's the first politician with a real chance of winning whom I truly believe represents a change. All politicians talk this; he's the first that can bring it, especially when compared to the other choices.

I also like him because he's not Hillary Clinton, plain and simple. I cannot bear the thought of the right-wing noise machine having another Clinton in their sights. Not only do I think she'd have a much tougher time winning the election, I also think she'd energize the wingnuts her entire time in office. Much time would be wasted dealing with inanities. Obama will be equally attacked, and for equally stupid reasons, but at least there's a chance that, once in office, his being new keeps things saner for a while. One might even hope that some early accomplishments promote a softening of the absolute partisanship, or more realistically, will at least make it tougher for the GOP to unite in opposition.

Too bad you'd like to make the rules about why I'm allowed to like him. I don't obey your rules. Part of what makes me like Obama is, in fact, his race. It's not the prime motivator by any means, but it is an awfully nice bonus on top of everything else. His presence in office, alone, will be an enormous shot in the arm for race relations in this country, and it will offer real promise as a new face for the US on the world stage. And given that he's anything but an empty suit, he can pick this ball up and run with it.

In summary, there are no guarantees about his potential. But compared to the almost certain known quantity that is Hillary Clinton, he presents a good chance to do a lot more.

i think another poster mentioned yet another good reason to go with hillary, provided by glen lowry, which is that it'd give whites relief from their guilt without them actually working for it.

Wait. I thought you said race wasn't allowed as part of the discussion. Okay, then ...

The whole forgiveness for white guilt thing is about the most over-simplified thing I've heard this campaign, and given the pronouncements we've been subjected to over the past year, that's saying a lot. I take this as an insult that anyone would think I would be so shallow or naive. I take this as an insult on behalf of almost everyone else I know, as well. I have tremendous respect for Glenn Loury for other reasons, so I'll dignify his thoughts with a response, a bit of which lives here (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=73542#post73542).

Hearing this idea repeated by you, however, is not something that I care to respect. Based on other things you've posted, I am inclined to hear your words as either a cover story for indulging your racist underpinnings or as a demonstration of an awareness that is, at best, superficial. To think that Obama becoming president is going to "fix" the race problem is incredibly naive; to think that other people think this is so, and that's the principle reason why they're voting for him, is even more of a howler.

fedorovingtonboop
04-08-2008, 01:31 AM
whoa! i just watched the rest of the vid and i think i'm gonna have to sue debra for plagiarism because i believe i was saying some of these exact things two weeks ago. i don't care if i'm wrong about every argument i start here for the rest of my life. debra, you are so golden. ya'll got OOOOOOWNED! modest, aren't i?

bjkeefe
04-08-2008, 01:36 AM
I just found one black person who said some things that I agree with. Therefore, every idiotic thing I say about race is proven to be true.

graz
04-08-2008, 01:40 AM
I just found one black person who said some things that I agree with. Therefore, everything idiotic thing I say about race is proven to be true.

Yes... case closed.
I am da winner.
And as I now own you, I banish you from further sense makin.

piscivorous
04-08-2008, 01:49 AM
You need to listen closer as she she did refer once directly to Senator Obama as being Kenyan. Though from the context of the rest of the diavlog it was obvious that she meant descendant as she refers more tan once to Senator Obama's Kenyan father.

sleepyhead
04-08-2008, 02:04 AM
You need to listen closer as she she did refer once directly to Senator Obama as being Kenyan. Though from the context of the rest of the diavlog it was obvious that she meant descendant as she refers more tan once to Senator Obama's Kenyan father.

Maybe she did, but certainly not "constantly", and my point was that she obviously knows Obama's background perfectly well. And it's hardly unusual to refer to people as "Irish" or "Chinese" or "Italian" as shorthand for "of Irish ancestry" or "of Chinese ancestry" etc.

Wonderment
04-08-2008, 02:04 AM
I agree that he is quite similar in policy stances to Clinton. I prefer him to her for several reasons.

The vote for the Iraq War was an unforgivable betrayal of progressives.That's a compelling reason to support Obama, who denounced the war from the beginning.

Hillary has tried to play her deplorable stroke of misjudgment and opportunism as the right thing to do given the intelligence at the time. She has even had the chutzpah to claim that she didn't expect Bush to really pull the trigger; after all, it was merely "authorization," not a declaration of war.

But 23 fellow-members of the US Senate knew precisely what that vote meant. A majority of the Dems. in the House of Representatives voted against the authorization (126-81).

Hillary played hawk careerist politics with the most important vote of her life. Now it's time to face the consequences of siding with the warmongerers of the Bush administration.

In the fall of 2002 we peace activists campaigned with every Congress member in the nation, including Hillary Clinton.

My group met personally with our Congressional rep, Lois Capps, to urge her not to green light Bush. Capps looked at Bush's insane plan and said no.

Everyone knew exactly what was on the line. Millions of people all over the world were in the streets to stop the madness before it started.

John Edwards was honorable enough to admit he got caught up in the insanity. Apology accepted. Hillary has -- to this day! -- compounded the insult by continuing to bullshit public opinion.

brucds
04-08-2008, 02:15 AM
"I don't recall her referencing Obama as a Kenyan even once." Listen again. She clearly refers to him as a Kenyan and turns much of the discussion surrounding Obama's alleged "non-blackness" toward African immigrants. It's all very odd. As I said, if Obama's not black in Dickerson's world, neither have been W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Stokely Charmichael, Colin Powell nor Orlando Patterson - none of whom have any lineage traceable to the "typical black persons" who form the core of African-American culture/demographics, i.e. non-immigrant descendants of slaves from the American south.

bjkeefe
04-08-2008, 02:36 AM
One time? I said it was going to rain tomorrow. Then the weather report said the same thing. AFTER!!!111!! Bow down before my greatness.

Wonderment
04-08-2008, 02:47 AM
It's all very odd. As I said, if Obama's not black in Dickerson's world, neither have been W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Stokely Charmichael, Colin Powell nor Orlando Patterson - none of whom have any lineage traceable to the "typical black persons" who form the core of African-American culture/demographics, i.e. non-immigrant descendants of slaves from the American south.

It doesn't seem so odd to me. She is simply saying that the descendants of slaves and segregation who were brought here in chains have a different culture and historical experience than black immigrants.

Calling everyone "black" based on skin-color or pan-African ancestry, blurs important distinctions.

This also operates, by the way, with "Latinos." The descendants of Mexicans in the Southwest are not the same as Cubans in Florida or Puerto Ricans in New York.

It wouldn't occur to anyone to say César Chávez and the children of an dentist from Montevideo share the same culture or historical experience. Calling them "Latino" is confusing and -- in fact --- denigrating to both their heritages.

TwinSwords
04-08-2008, 02:54 AM
whoa! i just watched the rest of the vid and i think i'm gonna have to sue debra for plagiarism because i believe i was saying some of these exact things two weeks ago. i don't care if i'm wrong about every argument i start here for the rest of my life. debra, you are so golden. ya'll got OOOOOOWNED! modest, aren't i?

It's fascinating how cathartic this was for you. You seem to be absolutely blown away.

In your own words, could you summarize which "exact things" you said two weeks ago that Debra repeated in this diavlog?

bjkeefe
04-08-2008, 03:17 AM
In your own words, could you summarize which "exact things" you said two weeks ago that Debra repeated in this diavlog?

Awww, make it hard on him, Twin. Request dingalinks and hyperlinks to his alleged corresponding posts.

Note to fed-poop: we will notice the updated timestamps, should you be frantically rewriting history at this moment.

sleepyhead
04-08-2008, 03:19 AM
"I don't recall her referencing Obama as a Kenyan even once." Listen again. She clearly refers to him as a Kenyan and turns much of the discussion surrounding Obama's alleged "non-blackness" toward African immigrants. It's all very odd. As I said, if Obama's not black in Dickerson's world, neither have been W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Stokely Charmichael, Colin Powell nor Orlando Patterson - none of whom have any lineage traceable to the "typical black persons" who form the core of African-American culture/demographics, i.e. non-immigrant descendants of slaves from the American south.

Well, we always have a choice between reducing someone's argument to a soundbite and dismissing it, or treating it charitably and really grappling with it. When you ask whether she is aware that he was born in the US and say that she "constantly" references him as Kenyan, then it seems to me that you're reducing and dismissing. That's all I was trying to say. There's plenty to disagree with or agree with in her arguments, but suggesting that she doesn't realize Obama was born in this country (when it's obvious from the conversation that she knows his biography perfectly well) is quite unfair.

I don't see what's "very odd" about pointing out that Obama's background is quite different than that of most blacks in the United States, and thinking about how that different experience shapes his relationship with the black community and his relationship with the white community. Ross and Debra (and John and Glenn in earlier conversations) discussed the fact that Obama's identification with the black community was in many ways something he actively chose. His unusual position as someone raised by a white mother and grandparents who made a quite self-conscious choice in young adulthood to immerse himself in the black community clearly has a lot to do with who he is and the public persona(s) he presents to the world. Don't you think all of that is interesting or worth discussing, even if you disagree with Dickerson's take on the issue?

bjkeefe
04-08-2008, 03:23 AM
i don't care if i'm wrong about every argument i start here for the rest of my life.

Especially when considering the source, one must admire the occasional outburst of reality-grasping.

Well. maybe not. fed-poop is right about being wrong, and he's also right about not caring, but I don't think he has a prayer of starting any arguments. Chum for snark attacks is the best I can imagine.

TwinSwords
04-08-2008, 03:34 AM
damn! i finally actually watched this vid and THANK YOU Debra.....and..............OWNED to everyone who has been attacking me for saying stuff similar to this. OWNED! Hey oh!
Bob, PLEASE ban Glen from appearing because he has finally been exposed as the knee jerk apologist liberal robot that he is. holy crap you "my new black friend" libs just got owned so hardcore. hilarious!
see? there's no conspiracy anymore it's just lots of racist white people and poor blacks who act like 'tards.
see? it's not that hard. it's called "being independent."
(see stuffwhitepeoplelike to find out what else is wrong with you)
Go Shelby Steele! Go Debra! Booo Glen
look who's racist now, fellow attackers, it's YOU for trying to suck up to black people because they're black.

owned


^ I think this is what Ross was referring to when he said that Chris Rock stopped delivering his famous routine because white people were laughing a bit too much.

The most racist people I know lean on Crosby like a crutch, and love to throw him in the face of evil white liberals. The same people take great delight in many of Dave Chappel's old routines. If it points the finger at black people and says they are the problem, it will be very appealing to a certain kind of white person.

It's hard for anyone – black or white – to talk about problems within the black community, because the effort is invariable coopted by racists who don't share the same genuine interest in understanding and solving root causes and improving the lives of the people. Many white liberals agree with important aspects of Dickerson's critique, but cannot personally give voice to them because in some limited sense, doing so makes them indistinguishable from racists. Furthermore, we have to acknowledge that white people aren't going to be the ones who can solve the problems Dickerson describes. If white people latch onto a "blacks have themselves to blame" message, it will only create more resentment, undermining the cause, especially when that message is delivered in the mocking and self-righteous tones of a fedorovingtonboop. (Who really believes he has the interests of the black community at heart? No one.)

The problems of the black community will have to be fixed by the black community for the black community, and the less white people have to say about it, the more likely it will succeed.

If we are to ever get to the point Mrs. Dickerson describes, where blacks take their freedom, and "get even" rather than mad, it will be in spite of the mocking tones of folks like fedorovingtonboop, and in spite of the obviously great delight it gives him to blame blacks for their own problems. I'm sure he is aware that the effect of his laughter in the face will be to entrench the attitudes that, as Dickerson says, are to blame for much of what ails black America.

TwinSwords
04-08-2008, 03:50 AM
the reason why hillary lost to obama is white guilt about slavery
[...]
there's no way he'd even be considered if he were white

Of course, you must be aware that these feelings (and they are nothing more than feelings) of yours cannot be proven, or falsified. That leaves us with the question of why you believe them, and what that tells us about you.

Any thoughts on that?

Also: Why does "white guilt about slavery" aggravate you so much?

TwinSwords
04-08-2008, 03:52 AM
Wow, I have to say, Mrs. Dickerson is a truly amazing person and a stunning intellect. She is easily one of the best bloggingheads to ever appear.

Please come back, Debra. We all need to hear more of what you have to say.

Best hour of engaging dialogue I've seen in a long time.

Ross was also his usual great self. They made a great pair for this conversation.

bjkeefe
04-08-2008, 03:55 AM
Twin:

I think this [fed-poop pooping] is what Ross was referring to when he said that Chris Rock stopped delivering his famous routine because white people were laughing a bit too much.

My thoughts exactly (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=73578#post73578).

I liked a lot else of what you had to say, but there's one part that troubles me: you appeared to agree with Debra's argument for succeeding "in spite of;" i.e., the whole idea of making something wholly within the black community without any involvement with whites.

There's something to be said for this attitude, but it can get carried away into an attitude of determined isolationism. For all the righteous indignation at bigotry, and at the well-meaning but misguided efforts by other whites, this vision ultimately does not help. As a rallying cry, I can admire it, especially as juxtaposed against waiting for someone else to come along and solve all problems. As a true guiding principle, though, I reject is as no different from, and no better than, previous invocations of "separate but equal."

It's a small planet and a lot of people, and none of us can afford to reject the others.

TwinSwords
04-08-2008, 04:06 AM
if our troubles over race disappeared this very moment---a lot of people would be forced to find another way of earning a living!

This is because the very premise of [the Democratic] party's approach to race relations is to refuse to solve the problem.

Despite your obvious contempt for anyone who wishes to talk about race problems, you have twice acknowledged that they exist.

I wonder if you could do me a favor and describe the nature of the race problem. Can you be specific about describing exactly what you mean by "our troubles over race" and "the problem" with "race relations"?

TwinSwords
04-08-2008, 04:19 AM
I'm sorry but an author who protests that much about being "misunderstood" has obviously done a crappy job of making themselves understood.
That's just not true as a general rule. (Whether it's true in the specific instance you're describing is another question.)

Clearly, and I'm sure you would agree, there are certain subjects that cannot be broached or discussed honestly in certain societies at certain times. Taboos against certain ideas are every bit as powerful as taboos against certain behaviors.

TwinSwords
04-08-2008, 04:23 AM
Interesting that you and others were struck by her "whining" or her "grating voice." I thought she was a perfectly pleasant person to listen to.

Agreed.


Interesting that you and others were struck by her "whining" or her "grating voice." I thought she was a perfectly pleasant person to listen to. Maybe in part because I thought most of what she said was on the money.

Agreed.

TwinSwords
04-08-2008, 04:35 AM
everyone is ... afraid to be called racist for letting the black guy get disappointed
[...]
paying attention to obama because he's black
[...]
winning based on the color of your skin

You know, someone should probably point out to you that Barack Obama isn't the first black American, nor the only black American. (There are actually several million of them!)

If there was even a slight bit of truth to your thesis that Obama's success is entirely due to white guilt and his skin color, wouldn't we have elected a black president a long time ago? Along with a whole slew of black governors and Senators and Representatives?

Doesn't reality itself demolish your premise, since there are scant facts to support your argument?

Why do you believe things with no factual basis?

uncle ebeneezer
04-08-2008, 11:47 AM
I agree. I read alot of the comments before watching and I was expecting her to be much more abrasive. Her point about nobody understanding her essay, was poorly worded, but not "whiny" to me.

I thought she made some very interesting points and was also quite funny. The point where she tried to bait Ross into saying the N-word was classic. The look on his face was absolutely perfect. He was great too. Though I often disagree with his politics, he always asks great questions and gives thoughtful responses. My only wish was that (as good as Ross was) it would have been great to have John McWhorter on with Debra. Maybe next time.

I think it says alot about America and our obsession with racial identity that somebody as interesting, intelligent and positive as Barack Hussein Obama can be raised as an American with bi-racial heritage and world experience, and yet we can't resist trying to fit him into a racial category of black or white. Great diavlog. Definitely have Debra back.

brucds
04-08-2008, 11:49 AM
"there are certain subjects that cannot be broached or discussed honestly in certain societies at certain times"

I'm sorry but Dickerson's lame, lazy thesis doesn't even begin to approach a "taboo" subject. She could have written an interesting piece on the varieties and complexities of being "black" in the current U.S. of A. without coming off reductive to the point of not making much sense and, frankly, abusing her subject. And her predictions in the piece have turned out to be fairly consistently wrong. It was a lousy piece of writing - mostly because the thinking behind it was remarkably superficial.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
04-08-2008, 11:52 AM
"I don't recall her referencing Obama as a Kenyan even once." Listen again. She clearly refers to him as a Kenyan and turns much of the discussion surrounding Obama's alleged "non-blackness" toward African immigrants. It's all very odd. As I said, if Obama's not black in Dickerson's world, neither have been W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Stokely Carmichael, Colin Powell nor Orlando Patterson - none of whom have any lineage traceable to the "typical black persons" who form the core of African-American culture/demographics, i.e. non-immigrant descendants of slaves from the American south.

brucds,

You can also add Louis Farrakhan to your list. And Malcolm's mother who raised him was from Grenada. It's actually striking how many prominent Blackamerican leaders (especially Black Nationalists) are of Caribbean heritage.

Partially, because of your comments I am reluctant to even listen to this diavlog, but I assume that someone trying to make the argument that Obama's heritage was not consistent with most Blackamericans, would probably try to argue that all of these people from the Caribbean still came out of the experience of being enslaved and brought forcibly to the western hemisphere rather than out of any immigrant experience, which is a different experience. But someone from the Caribbean whose either decided themselves or whose parents decided to immigrate to the U.S. still also shares some of the voluntary immigrant experience.

In any event, it is clear in the case of Barack Obama that, regardless of his heritage or background, he identifies himself with the Black community and that is how he's perceived and that's been true for many years.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

brucds
04-08-2008, 11:56 AM
Also, when I said Dickerson was "whining" it had nothing to do with the quality of her voice nor her persona. She's pleasant enough and I don't find anything striking about her voice one way or the other. The "whining" was her notion that the only reason someone would find fault in her piece was because it was so "deep" in parsing race that they didn't get it. It was a silly piece. Remarkably so.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
04-08-2008, 12:02 PM
Oh, and just to be topical, neither of the two gentlemen just inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon are "Black" (according to Ms. Dickerson's definition) either.

http://abunooralirlandee.wordpress.com

brucds
04-08-2008, 12:02 PM
Abu - I shouldn't have limited that to "African immigrants." Dickerson also explicitly includes immigrants from the Caribbean in her discussion of folks who are percieved as "black"' but who don't share the "typical" African-American experience in the USA. The problem with Dickerson is that while she claims to want to parse "complexity" she does it in a way that's actually reductive.

brucds
04-08-2008, 12:13 PM
"I don't see what's "very odd" about pointing out that Obama's background is quite different than that of most blacks in the United States, and thinking about how that different experience shapes his relationship with the black community and his relationship with the white community."

Nothing odd about that - what's odd is writing a stupid piece in Salon that pretty much in retrospect gets everything wrong about Obama's potential and uses the nonsensical forumlation that, given his having a Kenyan father, he's "not black" in the context of the U.S.of A. There are people who would claim that Dickerson "isn't really black" or "isn't black enough" anymore because she married a white man and has a relatively elite professional status. Their case has almost as much merit as Dickerson's silly construct of Obama's credibility as a "black man in America." And of course, they're idiots.

basman
04-08-2008, 01:42 PM
I say the fundamental intellectual problem with Debra Dickerson is to conflate public and private spheres and assert Blackness as a social construct into the public sphere where, generally speaking, race and ethnicity should be incidental. Social construct analysis is a post modernist bane that privileges identity politics, which itself leads to special pleading. Which is why, underlying David Thomson's strange and wierd posts, lies a kernel of truth.

uncle ebeneezer
04-08-2008, 03:31 PM
One thing that stood out in this diavlog...I will never understand why so many Americans (especially conservatives) get their panties in such a bunch over "patriotism." In such a large and complex world, where an understanding of everyone's interests and motivations is crucial, the America-as-the-center-of-the-universe and damn anybody who says otherwise outlook seems overly simplistic to the point where it irrationally retards critical thought. the irony is that the same "patriotism" crowd often seems to completely fail to understand how people in other countries (like Iraq) might feel the same way. At what point is it ok to condemn the actions of your government? Should the Chinese be patriotic today? How about citizens in Nazi Germany? I just don't understand why people are so intolerant of anyone pointing out the warts that are apparent to all, on the face of our own country. Isn't that the first step to trying to improve it.

Ross is right about this, especially in white America.

bigfish
04-08-2008, 03:52 PM
His FATHER was black. His MOTHER was white. That makes him half black & half white. When we call him black, aren't we accepting the old racist canard that one drop of black blood makes you black? I thought we really had gotten beyond that.

bigfish
04-08-2008, 03:56 PM
Obama's FATHER was black. His MOTHER was white. Therefore, he's half black & half white, & would be just as justified in calling himself white. Unless we accept the old racist canard that one drop of black blood makes you black. But I thought we really HAD gotten by that.

basman
04-08-2008, 05:01 PM
I am a white Canadian, but if I were an American, I believe--and I am a liberal--that I would not owe nobody anything except to look out for those near and dear to me, support a fair and decent, race neutral safety social net, obey the law and pay my taxes. And I don't think I would feel one ounce of what is called so easily and loosely --even though perhaps only to reify it --"white guilt".

Wonderment
04-08-2008, 05:40 PM
Perhaps it isn't odd. But in any case that isn't all she's saying. She's also saying something about the meaning of the term "black" in America -- that it properly applies only to the descendants of West African slaves.

That's not what I got from listening to her comments or reading the article. I concede that the most felicitous way to make her argument was not to say, "Obama isn't black," but what she means neither not mysterious nor wrong:

She's simply pointing to the distinction between immigrants with African ancestry on the one hand and the descendants of slaves and segregation on the other.

She is making a very rational call for more research into how these societies/experiences/cultures differ, intersect and converge.

I'm as mystified as she is that her article stirred up a shitstorm of controversy.

"Asian" is general, but we can speak of Koreans or Japanese when we want also. Similarly, the (for many purposes important) distinction between descendants of West African slaves and Nigerian or Caribbean US immigrants is an easy one to make. (I just made it, and it was easy.)

It's not easy. That's her whole point. If it were easy for Americans to make those distinctions regarding African immigrants to the USA and African-Americans of slave/segregation descent, the question of Obama's identity would be crystal clear. But it's not.

For some people, he's "black" -- just like Nelson Mandela, Colin Powell or Aretha Franklin. For some, his "blackness" is genetic, for others it's cultural. For some, he's "automatically" black; for others he had to be "baptised" into blackness; i.e. accepted into the community.

I think the "baptised in" best reflects our general understanding of "blackness" in the USA.

It's a little bit like conversion to a religion, say Judaism. Barack self-identified. He married in. He moved to the neighborhood. He joined the church. He got the blessings of the elders. He became black as an adult.

What do you think would have happened if he took a different path? "Hello. My name is Barack Obama. I'm a Republican senator from Hawaii. I have dark-skin because my birth dad is from Kenya. This is my wife Ellen. She's from Norway. We met at grad school in Paris, and we're both Buddhists. We regularly attend the Buddhist temple both here in Honolulu and in Washington. I'm opposed to affrmative action programs and think we should have tougher penalties for first-time drug offenders."

Still black? Still African American? No ambiguity?

brucds
04-08-2008, 06:20 PM
What room does Barack Obama walk into and people's heads turn ("black" peoples or "white" peoples) and somebody whispers to another, "Look at that cute white guy!" or some such.

Let's please stop the stupid. And given Dickerson's attempts to parse the "varieties of black experience" let's stop and think for a minute what the hell "white" means. How can Dickerson justify the vernacular, all-purpose use of the term "white" - which includes in the American context folks of extraordinarily disparate ethnicity, cultural heritage and national origin. "White" means nothing more than "not black." In fact, I doubt that the generic term "white" was particularly important as a catch-all designation prior to the American experience. It is a term that is predicated on the proximity and legacy of subjugation of people who are "black" and exists solely because of, frankly, the utility of racism in American history. "White" became a way of binding a bunch of disparate groups - and most importantly classes - together on the basis of an assumed shared superiority and privilege.

The very notion of "passing for white" makes it obvious that this has historically been a matter of how one is percieved in a social context based on skin color. So how "black" one looks is the marker. And it's very odd to hear Dickerson say "White is a race" and then deny Obama his "blackness" in a terrain where "the white race" is an even more meaningless concept in discerning any particulars about one's cultural, ethnic, national or "native-born" origins.

brucds
04-08-2008, 07:18 PM
I should have said "equally meaningless" rather than "even more meaningless"

Wonderment
04-08-2008, 07:23 PM
In fact, I doubt that the generic term "white" was particularly important as a catch-all designation prior to the American experience.

European colonialism invented "whiteness" and exported the racist ideology to the rest of the world. It's a hard meme to erradicate.

The very notion of "passing for white" makes it obvious that this has historically been a matter of how one is percieved in a social context based on skin color. So how "black" one looks is the marker.

Not true anymore. Biracial people who look as white as Hillary Clinton or John McCain often identify as "black," just as Barack Obama does -- by adhering to a black cultural community; i.e., belonging to a church, living in a neighborhood, marrying, speaking African American English, attending a predominantly black university like Howard or Spelman, etc.

brucds
04-08-2008, 08:09 PM
"Biracial people, etc. etc." - yeah but that's a choice THEY make if they, in fact, look "as white as Hillary Clinton." In fact there have been numerous examples of "white" people, i.e. soley of European national origin, who made this same choice during the era of segregation because of marriage, cultural affinity or even an ethical choice. But a person who "looks black" doesn't experience that as a choice - even today. Obama, in fact, "looks black" and doesn't have a choice as to how folks percieve him (given his celebrity it begins to become a moot point because so much stuff is attached to his person that goes well beyond "black guy.") There are all kinds of qualifiers and caveats one can attach to the notion of "blackness" but I know from my own family that if you are biracial and have obviously black features one of the most peristent experiences one confronts in social situations is dealing with a set of assumptions based on "black" stereotypes. This happens if you're a student at an elite college who gets dealt with by campus security in ways that white kids never have happen to them; driving with the proverbial busted tail light and getting extra harsh treatment, full car search, etc. by the police; etc. etc. ad nauseum. "Black" may not be as much of a stigma as it has been in the past, but let's not pretend - like Geraldine Ferraro - that it's so cool now to be black that young black folks are very, very lucky to be walking around in their particular skin and their careers and social acceptance are on overdrive with the next stop at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

fedorovingtonboop
04-08-2008, 09:04 PM
i've got a great game for all you pc nerds:
http://backhand.uchicago.edu/Center/ShooterEffect/
you probably saw it as it was in the nyt. pretty revealing, huh?

fedorovingtonboop
04-08-2008, 09:20 PM
“We can make categorization by race go away, but we could never make gender categorization go away,”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/opinion/06kristof.html?em&ex=1207713600&en=cee1db633094044e&ei=5087%0A

here's the adjoining article for all of you 'tards to who have a hard time with this stuff.

do you guys ever get tired of getting owned or do you just get used to it?;)

sleepyhead
04-08-2008, 11:04 PM
What room does Barack Obama walk into and people's heads turn ("black" peoples or "white" peoples) and somebody whispers to another, "Look at that cute white guy!" or some such.

Let's please stop the stupid.

Good idea! Let's start by dispensing with the stupid rhetorical questions that distort and caricature arguments you disagree with, such "Is Dickerson even aware that Obama was born in the U.S.?" or "What room does Obama walk into and somebody whispers to another, 'Look at that cute white guy!' or some such?"

brucds
04-08-2008, 11:07 PM
Since Dickerson called Obama a "Kenyan" and obsessed on the issue of African and West Indian immigrants as somehow invalidating Obama's "blackness" in an American context, that's a valid question. As for the rest, what's your point ? You're just blowing smoke out of your ass.

fedorovingtonboop
04-08-2008, 11:08 PM
holy shit!
MORE pwnage:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcdnlNZg2iM&eurl=http://www.salon.com/opinion/walsh/?last_story=/opinion/walsh/election_2008/2008/04/09/one_last_time/

god damn!

sleepyhead
04-09-2008, 04:04 AM
Since Dickerson called Obama a "Kenyan" and obsessed on the issue of African and West Indian immigrants as somehow invalidating Obama's "blackness" in an American context, that's a valid question. As for the rest, what's your point ? You're just blowing smoke out of your ass.

It's only a valid question if you pretend that you didn't hear her discussing the fact that Obama was born in the U.S. to a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya who then abandoned his family and left the country again. Let's stop the stupid, as you say.

Wonderment
04-09-2008, 04:43 AM
Again, she's not simply doing that. She's also expressing a thesis about the meaning of "black," even though that may not be a main concern of hers.


I think we differ on what is the take-away message of her article. For me, the key point (both existentially for African Americans and in general for intellectual clarity) is the distinction between immigrants with black African ancestry and American descendants of slavery/segregation.

For Debra's critics the uproar is that she "accused" Obama of not being "black." She is dismayed by this criticism because she didn't mean to call his identity into question.

The confusion is partly because of her punchline buried deep in the article:

Obama isn't black.

Shocking on its face, but followed by a working definition of "black" (in quotes in the original) which clarifies what she means:

"Black," in our political and social reality, means those descended from West African slaves. Voluntary immigrants of African descent (even those descended from West Indian slaves) are just that, voluntary immigrants of African descent with markedly different outlooks on the role of race in their lives and in politics. At a minimum, it can't be assumed that a Nigerian cabdriver and a third-generation Harlemite have more in common than the fact a cop won't bother to make the distinction. They're both "black" as a matter of skin color and DNA, but only the Harlemite, for better or worse, is politically and culturally black, as we use the term.


I understand her to be saying, "For the purposes of this conversation let's call the third generation Harlemite "black" and the Nigerian cabdriver a Nigerian."

The problem that Debra faces from her critics is a) Obama is too politicized to make for a good example; b) his case is not as black-and-white (forgive the pun) as the Nigerian cabdriver.

So you make a valid point when you say Obama is not a borderline case:

Given his racial ancestry, his history in the US, and the identity he's adopted for himself, I'd say he's a pretty clear case of being black, according to the term's current meaning

But Debra's point is (and this is why I used the Republican doppelgänger Obama example) that his "blackness" is not a given, but something he acquired and chose (in Chicago, as an adult).

Wonderment
04-09-2008, 07:09 AM
She nowhere says anything like, "For the purposes of this conversation let's call..."

But she does. She says,

"Black," in our political and social reality, means those descended from West African slaves.

This implies that OUTSIDE "our political and social reality," black means something else.

I doubt very much that if she met Desmond Tutu and he said, "I am a black man," she would reply, "No, you're not. Your ancestors never lived in Georgia."

She would, of course, concede that by "black" Tutu meant people like him (and Obama's father). That's because "black" means something different in Tutu's "political and social reality."

I do think your and my disagreement is a further illustration of the fact that her position on this matter is less clear (or at least has been expressed less clearly) than she believes.

On that we can agree!

brucds
04-09-2008, 10:35 AM
"voluntary immigrants of African descent with markedly different outlooks on the role of race in their lives and in politics" is the new black.

Dickerson was discussing a phenomenon which any reasonably informed person who has spent fifteen minutes thinking about what the dubious concept of "race" means in various social contexts would already likely know. She did it poorly and used a particularly stupid locution in asserting that in our "political and social reality" a person of Obama's particular ethnicity and background isn't "black." The distinction she's attempting to make goes much deeper than even she asserts in the "varieties of blackness" in America. For her assertion regarding our "political and social reality" to be even "half-true" it would be necessary for the answer to the question, "How is a person of Obama's ethnicity percieved by the majority of folks who function within our political and social reality?" to be "Not black!" That's not true of the way such persons in general - or even Obama, about whom we know much - are percieved among black folks, much less white folks.
Dickerson belabors some obvious differences in attempt to do what folks who write columns too often do - waste other people's time with glib, catchy half-backed commentary that obscures as much as it illuminates. That so much time has been expended trying to explain why "what she meant" makes more sense than "what she said" is testimony to the fact that her column pretty much just sucked.

The "political and social reality" is - and has been for centuries - that people who are discernably from African descent are "black" in America. The complexity of that reality surely has increased over time as our demographic map gets more varied. But complexity doesn't eradicate it. So while the question of the varieties and implications of "blackness" in various contexts is a potentially interesting discussion, Dickerson gets no props from me for her clumsy stab at it. Even her allusion to the different psychology of "black" immigrants is a garden-variety observation. The truth about Dickerson is that she made a series of claims and observations about Obama back in January of 2007 that turned out not to be even remotely prescient in our "political and social reality." That's what she gets judged on IMHO - not "what she was trying to say" or some "larger meaning." I also have to say that her contention that "this is one of the most misunderstood articles that anyone has ever written" is quite remarkable. It elevates a piece of dubious ephemera to a literary phenomenon.

sleepy - The particulars of Obama being born to a Kansan and a Kenyan, which apparently Dickerson also referenced - although frankly I heard the Obama "isn't black" nonsense used as a springboard for discussing the particulars of black immigrants from Africa and the West Indies more than any consideration Obama's own trajectory - doesn't preclude the possibility of her confusion as to where he was actually born. She followed that line with her "observation" that it gave him a portfolio to speak authentically about colonialism, which compounds the confusion. So yes, her calling him a Kenyan was very odd, especially given her alleged fetish for precision about "national origin" and, yes, it made me wonder if she thought he'd been born in Kenya to a Kansan. More to the point, it just illustrated her penchant to use terms very loosely in the service of supposedly asking for more precision in our terminology. As for what I "pretend" to hear, shove that line - since you apparently "pretended" to not hear her refer to Obama as a "Kenyan" and then proceeded to get into a pissing contest over whether she said it and then whether she meant to say it.

fedorovingtonboop
04-09-2008, 06:20 PM
damn! another one.
http://http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2008_04/013495.php

triple own??

bjkeefe
04-09-2008, 06:57 PM
damn! another one.
http://http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2008_04/013495.php

triple own??

You want praise for demonstrating an inability to cut and paste?

Joel_Cairo
04-10-2008, 03:40 PM
Why are we even still having diavlogs about race relations in America? Don't you people remember that Bruce Bartlett solved all these issues almost a month ago?? (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/9394)

Carolyn Knox
04-30-2008, 03:23 PM
Important and very inclusive discussion for those of us who are desperate for peace and reconciliation.

About Senator Obama, anyone who can endure the ridiculous campaign process for over a year, with sleep deprivation and barely seeing ones young children is proof enough of patriotism for me.

Thank you, Debra.