Obama Speaks of Racism

    Review of Obama's Volume 1

    Recalling the arduous 2008 path that ultimately led to his first term in the White House, Barack Obama writes in his new presidential memoir, A Promised Land,that his campaign was careful to avoid leaning into any issues that might be construed as “racial grievance.” By this, of course, he means Black concerns about the lethal consequences of institutional white supremacist power.

    “[T]oo much focus on civil rights, police misconduct or other issues considered specific to Black people risked triggering suspicion, if not a backlash from the broader electorate,” Obama writes. “You might decide to speak up anyway as a matter of conscience, but you understood there’d be a price.”

    White feelings matter, in other words. More specifically, the white majority’s fears of Black equality, even as a mere political proposition, can sink Black electoral aspirations. This was implicitly understood by Black American voters, who forgave the candidate for avoiding full-throated advocacy for racial justice on the campaign trail, considering it a necessary calculation to quell the anti-Black imaginings of those “for whom the image of me in the White House involved a big psychological leap.” Like Obama, many believed “the immediate formula for racial progress” would be getting the first Black president into office, where change could happen.

    But Obama’s public reticence on race—and more specifically, on anti-Black racism—would turn out not to be just a campaign strategy, but one of the defining characteristics of his years in office, and especially his first term. Yet even as he avoided the topic, white grievance festered, an expression of rage at a Black man occupying a seat of power that had been marked “whites only.” Long before his primary win, for the perceived affront of even joining the presidential race, “the number of threats directed my way exceeded anything the Secret Service had ever seen before” and the candidate was assigned a 24-hour security detail. The rise of the Tea Party, the obstructionism of Republicans who seized control of Congress in 2010, the birtherism of Donald Trump—all these signaled “an emotional, almost visceral reaction to my presidency, distinct from any differences in policy or ideology. It was as if my very presence in the White House had triggered a deep-seated panic, a sense that the natural order had been disrupted.”

    Those words were published in 2020, and there’s no way Obama could have predicted in 2009 that white resentment would run so deep as to send Trump into office on a wave of racism and xenophobia—that, as he writes, “millions of Americans spooked by a Black man in White House” would elect as his successor an incompetent lying conman who boasts about sexual assault to soothe “their racial anxiety.” But what is clear is that during the first three years of his presidency, Obama recognized the seething white racist reaction to his election and the ways that Republicans lawmakers stoked that anger to their own political ends.

    This recognition is part of what prompted Obama to designate Joe Biden as his deal-maker with the Senate, since “in McConnell’s mind, negotiations with the Vice President didn’t inflame the Republican base in quite the same way that any appearance of cooperating with (Black, Muslim socialist) Obama was bound to do.” Obama saw, in then-House Majority Leader John Boehner’s false depiction of him as “angry” during budget talks, more evidence that the racism on full display during “the Tea Party summer had migrated from the fringe of the GOP to the center.” He writes of his frustration in warring with Republicans dedicated to “undoing whatever I’d done,” as the Grand Old Party “increasingly seemed to consider opposition to me to be its unifying principle, the objective that superseded” everything else. “Cooperate with the Obama administration at your own peril” became an unwritten rule among GOP lawmakers, he writes. “And if you have to shake his hand, make sure you don’t look happy doing it.”

    What he did not do in response to any of this was respond in kind, rhetorically or otherwise. Writing about the Tea Party, whose blatantly racist protest signs, “enraged flag waving and inflammatory slogans” became a fixture on the nightly news, Obama notes that he “didn’t believe a president should ever publicly whine about criticism from voters,” which, fair point. But he also cites his team’s “reams of data telling us that white voters, including many who supported me, reacted poorly to lectures about race,” ultimately concluding, “I knew I wasn’t going to win over any voters by labeling my opponents racist


    His election took us on a similar journey as the 1960s and 1970s, which led from Kennedy to Nixon and a tense social culture in which we got perhaps a closer look at one another than we would have desired during more normative times.

    It hasn't really been said out that loud that much but a lot of the hostility toward Biden's election may be rooted in that Kamala Harris is sitting in the waiting. A black female president would be even more jarring than Obama in some ways - no woman of any kind has gotten as far as she has, and we'd better believe there are some white women that would be envious.

    as a white woman, just got to say this part of your comment:  and we'd better believe there are some white women that would be envious strikes me as a very loony statement for which I see zero evidence. It's almost like saying white women want to see Oprah toppled from her perch because they're jealous. Have you seen any evidence so far in California women, didn't they vote for her? Haven't even seen any efforts to paint her as a radical which some conservative women buy into with Pelosi, Hillary and The Squad. For a former prosecutor, she's amazingly got a real "gal pal" persona, which Liz Warren tries to do but doesn't make it, LIz seems too elite, wonky, angry and zealous. You could kaffeeklatch with Kamala, she's got that everybody's favorite next door lady neighbor thing down pat. I ithink of every woman I have ever known in the white neighborhoods of Milwaukee and its suburbs, and I think they would all love having her have a powerful job.

    Nationally, Trump picked up more support from white women than in 2016

    I don't think that was because those women are jealous of Kamala. I bet some of them don't even know she is half black. The more xenophobic might have got a kick out of the funny name jokes, others may have fallen for that she is a dangerous librul who will support tax and spend and defund police.  I really really don't buy swing voter women thinking she is dangerous or being jealous of her, though. She is not AOC and can't be painted that way, it won't stick. And left wing feminist types would have a hard time attacking her because she's got charisma.

    When we use these generalized terms from polling data, they're clearly not absolute. Nevertheless he picked up a lot of white female support. While I was in Castro Valley, CA, a known KKK spot, one of the nurses at a hospital said aloud that "media don't decide elections" and that blacks "always get considered for the job first." If we can expect white men to be jealous that a black man could be president, I don't see it being far fetched that a woman could carry the same animus and carry Trumpism over to a new demographic.

    Is it possible that at that hospital in that town, blacks always/usually get considered for a job first?

    And I don't know if we "expect white men to be jealous that a black man could be president" -
    I think a lot of shit-disturbing messaging went into whatever controversy there became in that.
    Overall, it seemed acceptance was pretty good in 2008. I think it was later, whether with the
    health care fights or the budget/gov shutdown that a new initiative against Obama started.

    Imagine, for a minute, Ivanka Trump running for president. Imagine who her strongest supporters would be: https://youtu.be/TJf4bILeakk

    That is actually what I predict. Trump backed down when he was convinced that holding out hurt his "brand." Old man Trump won't come back but Ivanka will, with the brothers Donald and Eric working the RNC machinery to make it possible.


    Uhhh  "... a very loony statement..."??

    Can't you make a point without having
    to resort to these types of snotty digs?


    Agreed - she should at least smile more as guys explain the white women resentment demo to her. Cuz we all know if there be one thing white folk be good at is sitting up in mansion dissing on any progress black folk make. And Kamala Harris epitomizes the struggle that black people have made, aside from her Hindu background and Jewish husband. It's time white women took a step back - they've had it too good too long, time for someone else in center stage.

    Did I do good?

    Look who's talking about being snide. I didn't notice Orion taking offense, rather we seem to enjoy challenging each other with our own takes on things. You should try it sometimes (Why is it ALWAYS ALWAYS WITH THE META with you? got a daddy complex about forums? Why not apply for a moderator job for real, fulfill your fantasy of ruling pseudonymous role players?)

    seriously, you always seem to spend more time in commenting and analyzing about players on a forum than on actual content. And I never have a problem with the rare content you post, it's often high quality. But no you'd rather do the bar room brawl thing with role play.

    Orion just published a piece on a feminist icon & pioneer who left behind the feminist movement she founded because of too much buy-in for questionable tropes and stereotype, and in general the cancelling of the more typical majority women and their outlook. I think he can handle a bit if pushback on one line of thought.

    Just smile and obey

    oh what a surprise reveling in victimhood, poor anonymous rmrd on the internet, can't take intellectual challenge of his news gathering as to bias verification, hoping that daddy anonymous OGD will come to protect him, gang up with him and fight the oppressive overlords at dagblog. GEEZ can you just grow up! How old are you? 12?







    RMRD...10 years here with Arty

    I may me be snide, but I'm
    sure the hell not SNOTTY.

    That's Arty's very own domain...

    And the rest of Arty's diatribe is
    just more yadda yadda yadda
    and a steaming pile of horse pucky.


    a variant of what your mom probably said: the children are starving in Rhode Island and you are all upset about what's on your own plate at dagblog

    She really goes off the rails

    Anonymous rmrd, etc....


    It would be bipartisanship for the hoodlums in the White House to be free of possible criminal charges, but the hoodlums who spray painted federal buildings need to face punishment 

    It's clear here...


    Hey but didja notice Obama's not speaking about fear and loathing of a coup? He's just going about trying to sell his book, talking about plans for his presidential center, helping the Senate candidates in GA, teaching youth about opportunity and democracy ...

    as if everything's gonna be okay and even getting better! go figure!

    The issue at hand was the delay in the transition.

    Few Republicans have congratulated Biden

    From People magazine

    Since their family left the White House in 2017, former First Daughters Maliaand Sasha Obama have largely stayed out of the spotlight — but they were right there among the tens of thousands of demonstrators this summer, masked and without fanfare.

    That's according to former President Barack Obama himself, who recently spoke with PEOPLE about his memoir A Promised Land and life in quarantine with wife Michelle Obama, and their daughters.

    During the wide-ranging conversation, President Obama said 19-year-old Sasha and Malia, 22, felt "the need to participate" in the midst of nationwide demonstrations against police brutality after the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others.

    "I didn't have to give them a lot of advice because they had a very clear sense of what was right and what was wrong and [of] their own agency and the power of their voice and the need to participate," their dad says. "Malia and Sasha found their own ways to get involved with the demonstrations and activism that you saw with young people this summer, without any prompting from Michelle and myself, on their own initiative."


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