Saying He Can’t Win Because He’s Black Is a Racist, Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

US Politics
on 9 Comments

Barack Obama is black. He had a white mother and was raised by his white grandparents, and the white world continually reached out to include him, but he was more comfortable in the black world. It’s where he needed to be to feel safe. It took him a while to figure his identity out, that’s what his first book is about, finding comfort in his African skin. In his 20s, Obama fell in love with a white woman but their relationship came apart partly because he took her to a black play in New York, full of anger. The girl said, I can’t be black, I can’t go into this culture. Even though he could go to hers– could canoe around her family’s pretty lake with her.

Obama ended up marrying a black woman with a defiantly anti-assimilationist view of black culture. The man who married them, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was a leading pastor at the hip professional black church on the south side of Chicago.

Obama ran for the state Senate from that district, and think of it, just 3-1/2 years ago, that’s all Obama was, a state senator from a black district, who nobody knew about.

You can’t tear Obama completely from that scene. It’s a genuine American scene, as genuine as American synagogues (which send money to racist settlements on the West Bank), or mainstream religious organizations Joe Lieberman belonged to (which ban intermarriage), or Pastor Hagee’s evangelical community (where they treat gays like scurvy).  As genuine as Jack Kennedy’s (bootlegging) Irish father.

Is Obama to be blamed for the alienation of American blacks? Tonight Chris Matthews says that Rev Wright is Obama’s "Iraq." But the O.J. verdict should have taught us that there are two realities here. That is what Obama’s race speech was about, blacks had real reason to be angry and now is our time to try and talk about it and deal, or push it off another election. The courage of that speech was Obama didn’t try to cover up Rev. Wright, he spoke of Wright again and again. He trusted us to have the intelligence and depth to hear him. Young people did,  they’re not  afraid. They have more black friends than older white people do. Maybe they didn’t tell racist jokes, like I did when I was young. Maybe when they hear Rev. Wright saying that AIDS was a conspiracy against black people they understand that angry black people say that kind of stuff, maybe because doctors not long ago injected blacks with syphilis to see how the disease worked, and they don’t hold Obama responsible for every wild statement in his community.

Let’s not punish Obama for the color of his skin. He has the ability to transcend these differences. Can we go there with him? 


9 Responses

  1. Duscany
    April 25, 2008, 1:11 am

    ". . . maybe because doctors not long ago injected blacks with syphilis to see how the disease worked."

    Phil, I don't think doctors injected anyone with syphilis. They denied treatment to black men who already had syphilis in order to use them as a control group.

  2. hlmeankin
    April 25, 2008, 3:50 am

    Save your tears.
    Obama may be perceived in the eyes of many Blacks as a way of improving their lives..
    Many women may view Hillary in a similar way. That doesn't mean that in the real world where class is the dominant vector, and state power responds to the interests of the plutocrats, the election of either would make much difference. Race and gender discrimination is driven by a need of the ruling elites to divide their opposition.
    Furthermore the pandering of Obama to the zionists should be ample reason to believe that he poses no threat to the ruling class.

  3. Richard Witty
    April 25, 2008, 8:26 am

    Obama will survive the pettiness if he sticks with the content and conscientiously.

  4. bondo
    April 25, 2008, 9:00 am

    another peace offering by israel:

    IAF Attacks Lebanese Targets; No Injuries Reported
    20 Nissan 5768, 25 April 08 03:41by (

    Arab media have reported that IDF jets attacked several targets in southern Lebanon Wednesday, including the cities of Nebatiyeh, Tyre and the western Bekaa Valley. Lebanese anti-aircraft positions fired Israeli aircraft, but all IDF servicemen are believed to have returned safely to Israel.

    The IDF will not comment on the incident.

  5. doug
    April 25, 2008, 9:32 am

    Duscany is correct. Doctors did not inject blacks with Syphilis, a known fatal disease. What they did, withhold treatment after effective antibiotics became available, is bad enough though hardly on a par with purposely infecting blacks.

  6. benjoya
    April 25, 2008, 10:54 am

    big surprise, cops cleared of all charges in 50-shots-at-unarmed-non-criminals sean bell case. same ending to this story every single time.

  7. MM
    April 25, 2008, 11:22 am

    Phil's comments on what young people think are a little bit mystifying to me, maybe because I was born some 30-40 years later than he.

    Does Phil have kids or any regular exposure to these curiously odd creatures, these "the youth"? I'm guessing: not so much.

    The comment by hlmeankin on the other hand represents what I and most educated, "leftist" youth think about Obama, Hillary, and the rest. They are at most figureheads for policies determined by much larger forces, dominantly structured by class. Of course I don't mean that we are a representative sample of anything–most American youth are painfully ignorant of history, politics, economics, monetary theory, thus without the requisite tools to digest a fatty mass media diet.

    The masses of young people who are into Obama like he was Jesus, maybe Phil would like to consider himself one of them, are enamored with what they imagine he represents. They like the sound of his discourse, they like his relative youth and (rhetorical) separation from Washington D.C. I do, too.

    But I would venture that 99% of them do not know who is funding Obama's campaign, and when asked, would probably reply, "It's all small donors." After all, that is the media line.

    I haven't seen that mensch Chris Matthews, who received a first-rate education (Holy Cross & UNC-Chapel Hill), worked in the Congress, and is even considering a run for the Senate in 2010, mention anything about where Obama's real money is coming from. Has he?

    I suppose that little detail is hardly as relevant as what Barack's one-time pastor thinks about a country half a world away. But so it goes in 21st century plutocratic America, where as Phil says, his people are the principals.

    But Obama's "blackness," carefully cultivated by himself and now by the Washington media, is actually irrelevant to his qualifications for president. Had he been raised in Watts, or Detroit, then yes, his black experience would be noteworthy. However working with, or for, black people, even marrying a black person, having black children, would not make me or anyone else an actual black person, one who had lived the African-American experience continuously since birth. Obama has to an extent chosen his blackness, and it happened after he went to Harvard, and you know what? That's great–but I just don't really care; the man is running for president of the U.S.A., not Stokely Carmichael's old gig.

    So as a member of Phil's younger audience, I wonder aloud: will our courageous lobby-slayer ever fix his laser on the audacity of all this hope, or: is there anything audacious about east coast establishment money calling itself "change"?

  8. Jim Haygood
    April 25, 2008, 12:16 pm


    "In his 20s, Obama fell in love with a white woman but their relationship came apart partly because he took her to a black play in New York, full of anger. The girl said, I can't be black, I can't go into this culture."


    Obama's "race speech" was so painfully sincere. Didn't Rev. Wright ever crack jokes in church? They both need to lighten up.

    Preachers and politicians provide an endless mine of joke material. Here is one from Zora Neale Hurston's "Every Tongue Got To Confess: Negro Folk-Tales from the Gulf States." Hurston, a protegé of Columbia U. anthropologist Franz Boas, had both black and white ancestry. In 1927, driving through the Deep South by herself in a tin lizzie with a pistol tucked under the seat, she visited the lumber mills, flophouses and turpentine camps to collect folk tales. I dare you to tell this one, Barack:

    In de old days when folks was seeking religion they went to a mourning-ground. There was a big old n****r name Ike used to lead all de mourners to de praying ground.

    One right pretty gal wid long legs, she fell under conviction. So Ike didn't lead her, he thowed her crost his shoulder and toted her on down thew de swamp to de praying ground. It was getting on towards night and he wagged on thew de woods singing:

    It'll take us all night long, baby
    It'll take us all night long —
    Drinking de wine

    He laid her down when he got there and got down on his knees. He was looking from side to side as hard as he could to see who saw 'im whilst he was easing up her dress.

    Another man was out there seeking and he spied old Ike. He hollered at 'im, say: "Whut're you doin there, Ike?"

    Ike says: "I ain't doin a damn thing, but you fixin to go off and tell a damn lie."

  9. Charles Keating
    April 25, 2008, 12:48 pm

    LOL, Haygood, you're too much. But it sure fits what's happening
    on the election circuit. A common rule of thumb for the NAZIs was that the electorate was like a dumb young girl.

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