Saturday, October 20, 2012

Obama's way

A glimpse into the inner Obama.
NYTimes: ... On rare occasions, Mr. Obama allows others a glimpse of the history, expectations and hope he carries with him. At the funeral of the civil rights leader Dorothy Height in 2010, he wept openly. Again and again, those close to him say, Mr. Obama is moved by the grace with which other blacks who broke the color barrier behaved under pressure.

When Ruby Bridges Hall went to see the famous Norman Rockwell portrait of her marching into school, which Mr. Obama had hung just outside the Oval Office, the president opened up a bit. The painting shows a 6-year-old Ms. Hall in an immaculate white dress walking calmly into school, a hurled tomato and a racial slur on the wall behind her.

The president asked Ms. Hall, now 58, how she summoned up such courage at that age and said he sometimes found his daughters staring at the portrait. “I really think they see themselves in this little girl,” he said, according to an interview with Ms. Hall.

“Doing the work we do, it gets really lonely,” Ms. Hall said. “I felt like we understood each other because we belong to the same club.”

The Rockwell painting:

Original photo:

I find these images deeply moving, all the more so because I have a 6 year old daughter. Can you imagine your child having to experience this?
Wikipedia: ... Former United States Deputy Marshal Charles Burks later recalled, "She showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn't whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier, and we're all very proud of her."


asdf asdf said...

The sad thing is Obama knows nothing about this girl. He didn't experience the civil rights movement. He is a child of privilege who grew up away from all this. If anything he came of age in which his race was an asset rather then a curse. His own girls will never know what life is like for this girl. His entire identity as a black American is wishful thinking, a desire for purpose and identity he doesn't actually have.

Meanwhile, his policies have been an absolute disaster for real black men. They have no jobs, no future, no hope. Worse still one gets the feeling that the solidarity and strength of the black community in that picture is gone too.

The inner Obama is a half white child of privilege whose signature policy legacies will be bailing out rich white bankers, sending none to jail, and passing a 2,000 page lobbyist dream for healthcare.

Yan Shen said...

Well it's certainly true that these days, being black or Hispanic or Jewish American or whatever is more of an asset than a curse. What's the closet thing in contemporary American society to what Ms. Hall experienced as a child many decades ago? I submit that it's this... because every other form of racism in American society today is widely denounced.

Rusty Shackleford said...

"A glimpse into the inner Obama."

It sounds like someone is in love with a race-hustling shyster lawyer.

"I find these images deeply moving, all the more so because I have a 6 year old daughter."

The race-hustling shyster supports discrimination against her because of her race.

Jeff said...

Yan, the assertion that Asians may face the most discrimination may be true, I am not sure. However, you have yet to put your big Chinese brains to task and to show it to be true through math. I would also prefer that the model go at least four levels deep (every assertion of the major argument is then backloaded by a supporting claim and so forth until you have moved back to three supporting claims each building upon the other) and to clearly identify the various fundamental dynamics that gird your major premises.

One thing you will need to account for, is how people are not afraid of Asians like they are of Southern Redneck whites or urban blacks. Life is not just about going to the best school. Jeb Corbliss lives a better life than just about any dork from Harvard and inspires far more people. There are just so many vectors to consider and to analyze and to cross reference and to then identify common fundamentals and disparate fundamentals, that I don't think you can actually issue a cohesive argument to show that Asians are the most discriminated against persons in the USA. Instead, very quickly, you will find that not everything comes down to race, and that the most accurate analyses are on the individual level. People with certain traits and characteristics are most championed regardless of race. You seem to be the Asian version of the white guy who believes in HBD but doesn't like that whites are clearly not superior and is thus always a bit grumpy. You seem to think that Asians are superior because of their superior intelligence and you appear to be flummoxed as to why the world doesn't share your simplistic view that a high capacity for logical reasoning should be equated with superior status. My advice: get rich, buy lots of hookers, buy a Zonda-R, buy a Gulfstream, give lots to charity, lift tons of weight and get huge muscles, learn to heli-ski, to base jump and to wingsuit. For once you are on top, then you won't be mired in the loserville, albeit one of truth, that is HBD.

asdf asdf said...

I don't want to touch on the rest of your post, but jump straight to the end.

"My advice: get rich, buy lots of hookers, buy a Zonda-R, buy a Gulfstream, give lots to charity, lift tons of weight and get huge muscles, learn to heli-ski, to base jump and to wingsuit. For once you are on top, then you won't be mired in the loserville, albeit one of truth, that is HBD."

Can basically be translated too, "fill your life with enough pleasurable distractions that you are no longer bothered by injustice."

Kyrilluk said...

In France, this little girl would be white and will go to one of the school where the majority is black or of arab descent. She knows that she would be bullied, spit on, etc.. because she's white. Racism, like stupidity, don't have a colour. It's Universal.

Michael Bacon said...

"a child of privilege" -- really? How's that exactly? The son of an african immigrant to the US? Grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii being raised for the most part by his grandparents? If you'd said his was pretty lucky, then perhaps yes, there are numerous instances of luck in his life. But a child of "privilege" -- please.

Jeff said...

asdf asdf, "fill your life with enough pleasurable distractions that you are no longer bothered by injustice." Injustice is everywhere. There is injustice in choosing which injustice which to fight. My post is not about no longer be bother via distraction. It is about realizing that you have but limited time. Act ethically, responsibly, and do good things to help others. At the same time, realize that you cannot control everything. If 6 billion people are swimming one way, you are fighting a losing battle when you swim against them.

MtMoru said...

So now it is revealed (who didn't know?) that Steve is an Obama butt boy, because he belongs to a racial minority.

MtMoru said...

That the US has and has had a race problem/question much bigger than any other first world country and that its liberal elite give lip service to the dream of a country where race doesn't matter, where race is irrelevant, where every child can realize his potential irrespective of race has its appeal BUT

1. America's race issue is a DISTRACTION from its CLASS issue.
2. A multiethnic, multinational, multiracial, multicultural state (all New World states) is at a disadvantage to states like Japan.

MtMoru said...


Obama has been captured (as president if not before). How could he have raised any money for the primary had he not been "on-board"?

He is the first AA president. (Who would bring "change" if not a black guy? So his supporters are "fooled again".) Yet he is not a descendant of slaves. (There were no slaves from Kenya.) His mother told him he was superior because he was mixed race. He was the only black kid at the prep school his grandfather got him into. The only black kid at my public shit hole was prom king. Being the only black kid might have been an advantage.

As one white trash inhabitant of Easter Kentucky said, "Nothing will change for me until a poor man is president."

MtMoru said...

You're right Yan shen, but the solution is the end of the Les Etats-Unis Merdeux, a country that should never have been and has no raison d'etre.

MtMoru said...

His grandpa got him into his prep school, the Groton of Hawaii.

MtMoru said...

Right on.

It would be wonderful if all could join hands and sing Kumbaya and erase biological differences.

It isn't possible. Grow up.

UO Matters said...

Thanks for posting this Steve.

My family moved to Virginia from the north in 1967, and I started 3rd grade in a school that had been integrated for I think 3 years. It had been a black school - the school board didn't even build a gym until after integration. I was the new kid and awkward, and my first friend was a black kid. I invited him over to play one weekend. His mother had to call up my mother, and say - my Mom told me this years later - "I just want to make sure you understand. We're a negro family. Are you sure it's OK if my son comes to your house?" Those were bad times for this country. While I sure don't like the diversity police that seem to have taken over higher education, and I completely agree about class being more important than race, I have to say that a little Kumbaya is a huge improvement from where we were then.

Michael Bacon said...

Yeah, he was lucky to get in -- often, it is who you know . . . . but a child of privilege -- not even close. Look around, there are lots of children of privilege. His opponent in the election is one. And, that's not meant as a negative -- you don't choose your parents (or grandparents for that matter). Anyone who thinks Obama was a child of privilage because once he had become a young man his was lucky to get into Groton simple has no grasp of what it really means to be privilaged.

SamMurphy said...

Steve is an Obama butt boy because he's in academia. If Steve professed
any other opinion he'd be pilloried without mercy. His HBD opinions get
him in enough hot water as it is...

I do find it amusing that
Obama is pretty much the archetype of moderate-to-high V but low M - a
type Steve has correctly noted in the past who can talk pretty but not
actually have anything of substance to say.

Richard Seiter said...

I think there is some truth in your 1. I think 2 is more complicated than that. I think diversity can bring both strengths and weaknesses (FWIW I spent a fair amount of time recently arguing this with the "diversity is always good" crew in an online class recently). I think diversity of viewpoints can offer better chances of finding innovative solutions. I think diversity of preferences can offer opportunities to more completely fill all niches (e.g. in jobs). However, I think diversity also makes it more (often much more) difficult to achieve group consensus and so act effectively together. Diversity also introduces opportunity for inter-group conflict (to which humans seem all too prone) which I think is destructive to a society.

Yan Shen said...

Isn't it fair to say that today any decently talented African American is significantly privileged because of affirmative action? I don't know how most corporations function, but I do know that any decently talented African American, say SAT score of 1300+/1600 would've been targeted like crazy by elite universities like Harvard, MIT, etc and probably would've gained an upper hand in terms of career opportunities at top companies. In today's harsh economic environment, isn't that a significant privilege?

Michael Bacon said...

You know, I don't think of it in those terms. The race centric analysis you and others often seem to champion and, in my opinion, inappropriately elevate in importance, may be part of the picture, but for me it isn't always the most important part.
People keep using the word "privilege" like it is synonymous with every break, little or big, that people may or may not get as they go through life. That's not "privilege", at least not in the pejorative sense that MtMoru first used the term and to which I responded.
I think he was lucky to get into Groton -- heck, George Bush was lucky to get into Yale. Was he lucky because he was black, or because as MtMoru implied, he had a particularly well connected grandfather, or because Groton was looking for a power forward with an awesome hook shot (actually I don't know if Groton even had a basketball team, but I hear that Obama did have a great hook shot) to strengthen their basketball team?
I don't know the answer to that. What I do know is that if he'd been white kid raised by an improbable and volatile couple and then was carted off to Indonesia and finally ended up doing what he did, I'd call him lucky. Just the fact that he's black doesn't change that.

asdf asdf said...

"you are fighting a losing battle when you swim against them."

Do you have any idea how much evil happens because of this principal? True evil people aren't that great in number. For the most part its simply people not wanting to go against the grain. So you do evil because there are "practical" reasons to do so. And when you add up everyone acting "practically" you get the same evil circumstances that cause them to compromise in the first place. If all people simply had the courage to do the right thing we would not have the circumstances we have today. Instead each person justifies their weakness and sin under the rubicon that "everyone else is doing it" or "I can't do anything on my own."

asdf asdf said...

If you have an advantage most people don't have I think it's fair to call it privilege Most people didn't grow up in a household as prosperous as Obama. Most don't get to go to fancy prep schools. I'm sure there are people out there even more privileged then Obama, but are we really going to start nit picking over what level of prep school constitutes privileged.

Michael Bacon said...

Upper class since birth? I find that statement really amazing. We must have been born and raised in different countries and cultures. :) I agree with you that the question of class is real and deserves to be addressed more often than it is -- often race is incorrectly used as a more politically correct surrogate. But if you really think that he was born into the "upper class" and lived an early life of "privilege", then we won't even be able to agree on definitions.

asdf asdf said...

First, if Obama was white he wouldn't be president. No white guy with his resume would have become president. His being black was an important part of his charismatic story and personality that put him over the top.

However, that is an aside. The point is that Obama did not have the American black experience. He never lived the life that the people in the photograph lived. He doesn't understand them, and his attempt to hijack that experience and call it his own is disingenuous.
This is made especially hypocritical by the fact that his policies have been terrible for black people. He offers them ego boosting spectacle (calling Travyon his son, having the beer summit at the white house), but when it comes to actually giving blacks things they need to live healthy, productive, satisfying lives he offers nothing. His administration is one mostly geared towards selling out to rich white dudes while paying lip service to his own people. This is exactly what the race hustlers do, and Obama is the ultimate race hustler. Put there to calm the masses while their public treasury is looted.

MtMoru said...

There is no need for narratives or new narratives. The US isn't worth narrating anymore than Peru or Guatemala. It's a New World country and therefore after 200+ y is destined for shitholedom.

"ceteris paribus"

But not all else is equal Yan.

MtMoru said...

Mike, Obama never attended Groton. He attended Punahou. the Groton of Hawaii/

MtMoru said...

Only in Les Etats-Unis Merdeux is talking about class politically incorrect.

Amy Chua pointed out the obvious in World on Fire that the class isue is obscured by race in Les Etats-Unis Merdeux.

MtMoru said...

Or the late but not so great public pseudointellectual Christopher Hitchens who admitted he was bad at natsci and maths. (He said his Dad was good at them.)

"inter-group conflict" is human nature and so is dismissing the stammerer, the uhhh-er, even when what he says is has much more substance than the Hitchenses.

SamMurphy said...

What an amusing coincidence:

Richard Seiter said...

Sigh. I'm not sure which is worse: to believe he is speaking truth or to believe he is pandering to the average American's feelings about math.

visitorfromeurope said...

please excuse my bad english, i am no natiev english speaker...

i don´t find those pictures moving. or better said: they are potentially moving but only when you believe in th greater narrative they stand for. pictures as such always have a history of being used for certain ends: in this case it shall obviously tell us something about the history of opression against black people. But when you take only the 20th century you find many other histories of opression, and many of them are much worse than jim crow. is is for example worse beeing an armeinan 6 yeasr old gilr in eraly 20th century Turkey than being a black kid in the USA of the 50´s, when your father maybe was not allowed to go shopping in very shop he wanted to.

which story is told in public is always a matter of power.

in my opinion the concentration on westafrica/bantu storys when it comes to poluitical correctns, antiracim, humanity, "getting over the past", etc. (which includes the whole african american story) stands in no relation to the historical imporatnace, but has more to do with up-side-down felings europeans and americans have about the question of race.

so for me this pictures is part of a huge ideological movement which works for the intgration of especially westafrican people in every society which was europeasn before and every institution aswell, and i have to admit tht i do not fully support this movement.

i don´t think that every single country in the world needs to have a substantial share of black people to "heal the wounds of racism". for example i dont think that china needs to have immigration of this sort. and when we talk about emotional moving pictures of videos i warn everybody to search for this video which went around in the internt a week or two ago which shows a "french" person of westafrican ancestry who attacks and old chinese women on a street in southern china without any reason. THIS makes you sick, so better don´t watch it when you want to have a nice day

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