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    Obama’s impact on race politics


    by Sunny on 13th November, 2008 at 6:00 am    

    This ‘letter to my son’, published in Newsweek magazine, is excellent:

    No election can wipe away racism, and bigotry will show itself to you in ways subtle and not. But it is easier today than it was yesterday to see that racism, once a barrier, is now more like a hurdle. What a fine new addition I have to my mother’s arsenal of aphorisms: Son, I can (and probably will) say to you, Barack Obama faced hurdles but succeeded, and you can, too. You are only 4 months old, but already I dream of what a great rocket scientist you’d be. But if you want to be a cattle wrangler, that’s OK, too. And if you want to be president? Well, we’ll talk.

    We can no longer look to blame outside forces for our failures or rest our shortcomings in the cold comfort of bigotry. If you want to be like Obama, you have to work and work hard. He went to Columbia University and Harvard Law School. He traveled the world and opened his mind. He did not simply dream of being president; he summoned the discipline to get there.

    Your black classmates might see you reading a book at recess or raising your hand in class and call you “too white” or “Uncle Tom.” Ignore them. Don’t let them mess with your mind or steer you from your goals. … For now just understand that your race is part of who you are, but it isn’t all of who you are. If anyone doubts your “authenticity,” you can tell them that you want to be as black as the man behind the desk in the Oval Office.

    What struck out to me most was ‘discipline’. Having read books and articles on Obama, it is the word that leaps out at you. The man was supremely disciplined; his campaign was supremely disciplined. I want to be that disciplined. Will write more on this topic soon.



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    9 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. Jai — on 13th November, 2008 at 11:37 am  

      It was mentioned during one of the late night “next day papers review” programmes on Sky News or BBC24 a couple of days ago (after Bush gave Obama a tour of the White House) that much of the main residential area of the White House building itself was actually originally built by black slaves (I hadn’t been aware of that).

      Which adds even more to the poignancy and revolutionary impact of what has happened, and of course the fact that Obama will shortly be occupying the Oval Office itself and his family will be moving into the mansion as the “First Family”.

      ************************

      Also, as a further indication of how much times have changed for the better, the invitation of the African-American civil rights leader Booker T. Washington to the White House as a guest of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1901 apparently caused outrage in the US at the time.

    2. Leon — on 13th November, 2008 at 12:42 pm  

      I want to be that disciplined.

      Do, or do not. There is no try. ;)

    3. zaffer — on 13th November, 2008 at 2:42 pm  

      ‘I want to be that disciplined.’

      Will or will not- wanting something is not a strong enough conviction.

    4. WhitDawg — on 13th November, 2008 at 3:16 pm  

      Salt water wells in my eyes …

    5. Tu S. Tin — on 13th November, 2008 at 5:14 pm  

      We can no longer look to blame outside forces for our failures or rest our shortcomings in the cold comfort of bigotry.

      why did this epiphany take so long?

      I hate racism in any form! And I am sick of hearing about how racist both my race and entire country are.
      Even if a trillion white people stand to be not racist in anyway, at all, ever!… the ignorance of a handful is allowed to represent the entire population. Why is that?
      So much emphasis is put on the past … but mostly through the negatives - slavery and segregation.
      Again, I wonder if some will need a reminder the goal is unity! From the very beginning the fight for equality has been a joint effort! Whites have played just a big of a role as blacks! But why is it only black civil rights leaders get credit now? our history is full of people from all races who fought to do right!
      from John Brown, Susan B Anthony, to native american indians, all worked together to end slavery!

      Your black classmates might see you reading a book at recess or raising your hand in class and call you “too white” or “Uncle Tom.” Ignore them. Don’t let them mess with your mind or steer you from your goals

      Not the first time I have seen/heard that said.
      Anyone who hates racism, but denies it’s existence in all races is delusional!
      Back when the world was a much smaller place, race was defined more in terms of nationality than skin colour.
      The vision for the united states through the eyes of Thomas Jefferson’s was for a new race, one that brought people from all the world together as one. I am sorry to say this but everyone (including blacks) need to get over how and why blacks became part of that new race … and just start being it!
      One thing I don’t understand about todays world is when did simplicity lose it’s value? Everyone has to be the best, have the most.. blah blah.

      # I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”
      # “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
      # “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.”

      I think it is time for some new dreams

    6. Bhargavi — on 13th November, 2008 at 10:00 pm  

      The great David Remnick wrote a very wonderful piece on race and the Obama campaign in this week’s New Yorker … describing how the torch has passed from the Moses generation of King, Lewis and Jackson … to the new Joshua generation … sublime writing …

      http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/11/17/081117fa_fact_remnick?yrail

    7. Ravi Naik — on 14th November, 2008 at 12:03 am  

      the main residential area of the White House building itself was actually originally built by black slaves (I hadn’t been aware of that).
      Which adds even more to the poignancy and revolutionary impact of what has happened

      Actually, Obama’s ancestors (white mother) were slave owners. And his black father is from Kenya, so Obama’s ancestors were not slaves. Though Michelle is most likely a descendant of slaves.

    8. Jai — on 14th November, 2008 at 10:02 am  

      I know that, Ravi ;)

    9. billericaydicky — on 15th November, 2008 at 9:58 am  

      Interesting discussion. It is very likey that Mrs Obama had slave ancestors and I believe the White House was built with slave labour. What is almost never refered to by black commenators is that her ancestors and the builders were most likely sold to the European slavers by their fellow Africans.

      All of the literature shows a thriving slave trade when the first Europeans sailed down the West African coast in the mid to late 1400s.

      All of the black leadership in this country and the States, most of it self appointed, are in denial as to this rather uncomfortable fact.

      In the ridiculuos book “When We Ruled” by Robin Walker, a revisionist history of Africa, no mention is made of this.

      Booker T Washington the founder of the Tuskagee Institute was wlecomed to the White House because he was for segregation and an opponent of multi racial Trades Unions. He was financed by Carnegie, Bethlehem Steel and other American big business outfits and had meetings with the KKK as did the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X recalls how he went to meetings with the Klan as the emissary of Elija Mohommed.

      The anti racist struggle, as I have pointed out elsewhere, both in this country and America always had a very large white, Jewish and left wing component. This started to change in the States when black nationalism emerged in the late sixties and in this country when the loony left got control of County Hallunder Livingstone and the anti white reign of terror was unleashed by people like the clinically insane Linda Bellos.

      It even got so bad that when a black newspaper in London did an article on the incident on which the film Mississippi Burning is based on where two white and one black civil rights workers were murdered by the Klan they all became black.

      The ridiculous ” Black History Month” edits out virtually all references to white and particularly Jewish involvement in the abolishment movement and instead attributes the whole thing to slave uprisings.

      I have always detected a real strain of white hating amongst African Caribbeans the more so the more white genes they obviously have in them. A very strange phenomena.

      The NP took another seat in rural Lincolnshire, this time it is the issue of Eastern European agricultural workers. If anyone lives in South East London the Lib Dems in Bexley are pouring resources into a by election and need help to keep the BNP candidate from being elected. Details are on http://www.hopenothate.org.uk. Hope to see some of you down there.



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