Thursday, October 9, 2008

The New Republic Says It: Obama Hates White People

A must-read article from The New Republic:

The Barack Obama who appears in Dreams, and, one presumes, in his own continuing interior life, is not a comforting multiracial or post-racial figure like Tiger Woods or Derek Jeter who prefers to be looked at through a kaleidoscope. Though there are many structural parallels between Dreams and Invisible Man, Obama believes in the old-fashioned, unabashedly romantic, and, in the end, quite weird idea of racial authenticity that Ellison rejected. He embraces his racial identity despite his mixed parentage through a kind of Kierkegaardian leap into blackness, through which he hopes to become a whole, untroubled person.

Obama's decision to identify with the lineage of his black Kenyan father to the exclusion of his white U.S.-born mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and her parents allows him a measure of release from the cruel racial logic that binds Ellison's narrator--he comes from outside American society, and therefore he is not entirely bound by the overdetermined racial logic that unites the children of slaves and masters. Yet, while Obama's rejection of his "white blood" may seem familiar from the writings of African American authors like Malcolm X, it is actually much stranger; Obama's partial "whiteness" is not the product of an ancient rape by an anonymous slave-master but is instead the color of the mother who raised him.

The assumption that Obama racially identifies to some strong extent with his white mother and grandparents comes naturally to white people, but it is contradicted by the evidence of his work. ... Dreams from My Father does not end with the expected discovery that we are all radically alone in the world, but rather with the discovery that he is a member of a strong and loving black African family--even if the father he identified with as a child is a myth created by guilty white liberals. Throughout his narrative, Obama's evolving "blackness" requires a deliberate and increasing degree of mental and physical alienation from the white relatives who cared for him as a child.

And as the author also observes, Obama's campaign is one big cover-up -- he simply cannot reveal who he really is to the American people:

While the identity that he constructed for himself in his autobiography has allowed him to blossom as a man and as a politician, it bears little resemblance to the conventional narratives of white men who run for president--and contains elements that are likely to frighten off large portions of the electorate, before or after November 4. The story of a man who identifies with a foreign father, and with people who are not Americans, and who does so on the basis of the color of their skin, flies in the face of the simplistic racial pieties that white Americans have embraced since the end of Jim Crow. The identity that Obama so painstakingly created for himself is not one that he can share with the electorate, and so the price of his political success is that he is forced to sublimate the material he had so painfully excavated and again become invisible.

Read the entire piece. It is probably the most accurate depiction of Obama I've seen in any mainstream publication.

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