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Andrew Sullivan over at the dailybeast found a brilliant comment from commenter named "Tom", and the funny this is the comment was from the Washington Monthly.  Heh, I can't believe I missed this comment as I read the Washington Monthly daily...>_<  but it truly sums up how I feel about some of the postings I read on this site:

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/...

I rather glibly wrote recently that one reason president Obama has not opened a can of rhetorical whup-ass on those actually seeking the default of the US Treasury, is that he wants to avoid the "angry black man" trope. Once he is defined as that, the GOP needs nothing more to use the race card silently against him. That's why they keep arguing that the president who killed bin Laden, prevented a Second Great Depression and achieved universal healthcare in his first term is somehow another Jimmy Carter.

But of course he isn't. And of course he understands the political dynamic out there. He just knows that the one thing the far right wants - and needs - to do is get into a fight with him, elevating them, dimnishing him, and alienating the middle of the American electorate. His approach is the classic civil rights movement approach with a black leader addressing a largely white electorate: non-violence, reasoned argument ... well, this Washington Monthly commenter puts it all far better than I can:

Here's the full comment from Washington Monthly:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/...

Tom on August 11, 2011 10:54 AM:

The predominately white progressive intelligentsia don't see Obama clearly because of our racial blind spot. We don't see the role of race in how he seems to understand himself and how other perceive him.

First of all, we think that he understands himself as one of us. A progressive activist, heir to the radical and New Left movements most of us were raised in. He is not; I think that he understands himself (and certainly his real base understands him) as the first African American President. We're thinking Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. We should be thinking about Harold Washington, the first African American mayor of Chicago. Washington was elected and immediately faced a solid wall of opposition from most white aldermen in the city. Washington understood his role as breaking down that wall of opposition and assembling a governing majority, which he finally did after his re-election. Unfortunately, he died shortly thereafter. By the way, one of Washington's political strategists was David Axelrod.

How does Obama break the iron unity of the GOP opposition to assemble a governing majority in the US Congress?

If we progressives were not blinded by our own assumption that our history is the only history, we might see how Obama may be seeing his situation.

White progressives often think that African American elected officials are politically naive. We will far more credit to Cornel West, who has never been elected to anything, than to an elected state senator, or even the President of the United States. We think that Obama does not understand the nature of John Boehner, Mitch McConnell or Eric Cantor, as though he has not sat across the table from them. He doesn't understand how mean they are, we think.

Obama acts entirely within the tradition of mainstream African American political strategy and tactics. The epitome of that tradition was the non-violence of the Civil Rights Movement, but goes back much further in time. It recognizes the inequality of power between whites and blacks. Number one: maintain your dignity. Number two: call your adversaries to the highest principles they hold. Number three: Seize the moral high ground and Number four: Win by winning over your adversaries, by revealing the contradiction between their own ideals and their actions. It is one way that a oppressed people struggle.

Obama has taken a seat at the negotiating table and said "There is no reason why we cannot work out solutions to our problems by acting like responsible adults. That is what people expect us to do and that is why we have entered into public service." That is the moral high ground.

Honestly, I have been reminded more than once in the last few months of those brave college students sitting in at a Woolworth's lunch counter, back in the day. Obama sits at that table, like they did at the counter. Boehner and McConnell and Cantor clown around, mugging for the camera, competing to ritually humiliate Obama, to dump ketchup on his head.

I don't think those students got their sandwiches the first day, but they won in the end.

Obama is winning. Democrats are uniting behind him, although some white progressives think that they could do the job better. Independents are flocking to him. Even some Republicans are getting disgusted with their Washington leaders. Obama is not telling us about lack of seriousness of the Congressional GOP; he is showing us the vivid contrast between what we expect of our leaders and their behavior. The last two and half years have been a revelation of the essential conflicts in our society and politics.

If white progressives understood much about the politics of the African American struggle in the United States, we would see Obama in the context of that struggle and understand him better. And you don't have to be African American to know something about the history of the African American struggle. The books and the testimony is there. It's not all freedom songs. But you have to be convinced that it is something that can teach you something you don't already know.

Originally posted to kenna on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 07:49 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement and DKOMA.

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Comment Preferences

    •  You know, I agree (18+ / 0-)

      It's that it is thoughtful.  You can agree or disagree but someone reasoned something out and wrote about it.  As opposed to emotional reactions and rants.

    •  Funny (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RickD, magnetics

      I was just thinking this is the most insane thing I've read at Daily Kos in a long time. It's an insult to "white progressives" to assume that they are not steeped in the strategy and tactics of the civil rights movement (which by the way included extensive white participation), and it's an insult to black politicians to say that it's our "maintream" tradition to favor Wall Street and corporate lobbyists over the concerns of the working class and the poor. Tsk-tsk.

      •  Where did it say this... (16+ / 0-)
        it's an insult to black politicians to say that it's our "maintream" tradition to favor Wall Street and corporate lobbyists over the concerns of the working class and the poor.

        I missed that and I've actually read it twice.  Can you point me to it?

        I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

        by princss6 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:47:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  wrong (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        princss6

        You are falling victim to the tendency to see things solely through your own narrow understanding and then wondering why things are not exactly as you would expect them. The clear implication of saying "mainstream" tactics is to differentiate MLK, SNCC and other such movements from the Black Panther or Malcolm X tactics. Without assigning a value of which tactic is better or worse, the commenter was simply stating that  the MLK version is the mainstream way (e.g. we have a MLK day but not Malcoml X day).

        •  The Black Panthers and Malcolm X (0+ / 0-)

          were not civil rights leaders, so that's irrelevant. I'm talking about the mainstream tactics, i.e. MLK, and they are about nothing else if not standing on principle no matter the costs, and confronting the powers that be no matter how inconvenient it might be politically.

          This has nothing to do with the Panthers and MX. They didn't even share the same goals (integration) as the civil rights movement.

          •  Repeating something stupid doesn't make it true (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FrankAletha, samddobermann, princss6
            they are about nothing else if not standing on principle no matter the costs, and confronting the powers that be no matter how inconvenient it might be politically.

            Dude, get a book already.  At least look it up on Wiki.

            The civil rights movement was entirely about pragmatism.  Thurgood Marshall worked with Senator Hugo Black on legislation even though Black was known to have been a member of the KKK.  King was constantly refusing to escalate confrontations on principal if he thought that he could get more through compromise.

            Haven't you ever read about how MLK was excoriated for pragmatism by the "true progressives" and "radicals" of his day?  How he refused for years, almost to the end of his life, to mention the Vietnam war in order to preserve his relationship with Johnson?  Don't you know anything about the incremental legislation that led up to the civil rights acts of the 60s, and how they were riddled with compromises?

            Dude, you are sounding foolish and uninformed and you should quit before you confirm it completely.

            •  You are so far off base it's unbelievable (0+ / 0-)
              The civil rights movement was entirely about pragmatism.

              That is exactly 180 degrees from the truth. I suggest you start your educational process with any book that describes the debates between W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington. DuBois founded the NAACP on the basis of refusing to accomodate segregation, even though it was to be a full half-century before their arguments got any real traction. Booker T. Washington took the more "pragmatic" (literally termed as such) approach of accomodating to segregation, and building black industry and institutions without challenging that framework.

              King was constantly refusing to escalate confrontations on principal if he thought that he could get more through compromise.

              Again, you are precisely wrong. king purposefully sought to escalate confrontations. I'd suggest for starters reading King's Letter from Birmingham Jail:

              I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.
              How he refused for years, almost to the end of his life, to mention the Vietnam war in order to preserve his relationship with Johnson?

              Again, incorrect. King was the first major black or civil rights leader to come out against the War in Vietnam, and he did so forcefully, and to great effect. His statement against the Vietnam war in April 1967 came towards the beginning of the rising tide of public protest against it, not late.

              With respect to "incremental legislation" worked on by Thurgood Marshall and Hugo Black that led up to the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964, I honestly do not know what you're talking about. If you want to go ahead and cite some of this legislation, it would be much appreciated, but I don't see what it has to do with whether the movement itself was pragmatic or stood on principle. Washington will always respond to the demands of a grassroots social movement with compromised, pragmatic legislation. That goes with the territory, but it doesn't mean that the movement itself should be characterized as such.

              I don't have an issue with President Obama being a politician who has to make pragmatic decisions in order to move things in Washington. I have a problem with calling that kind of activity a result of being informed by the stategies and tactics of the civil rights movement. It's not. It's just typical politics.

              A whole lot of people gave up everything they had including some cases their lives in order to stand up for the basic principle of equality. Have

              •  Sorry, man you are wrong in so many ways. (0+ / 0-)

                First, the NAACP was created with the participation of white people. How's that for pragmatism?  Second, yes, Booker T was the more pragmatic of the two. So what? Who are you to remove him from the Civil Rights Movement? Again, who the fuck are you?

                Second, on the idea of standing on principle.  Are you saying that every time MLK confronted an evil he walked away victorious?  Maybe you need to open YOUR eyes and get a book or two. The Civil Rights Movement was full of disappointments, tactical retreats and long term planning.

                Finally, civl rights does not equal integration. Malcolm X and the Black Panthers were definitely, 100% for civil rights for black people. In addition to being an arrogant comment, in the case of Malcolm X, your comment is utterly false. Brother Malcolm returned from his holy pilgrimage renewed in the idea that all who stood for the civil rights of blacks would be welcomed by him.

                Your view that civil rights equals integration, coupled with your view that Booker T is not part of the Civil Rights Movement is telling.

                •  What does the participation of white people (0+ / 0-)

                  have to do with pragmatism? It's not standing on principle as a civil rights leader to exclude white people from the movement. MLK wasn't always victorious of course, and of course there were tactical retreats, but he was not a politician, he was a moral leader in society, a movement leader, which means that he stood for principle and confronted the power structure regardless of whether it was popular or not. To compare his strategies and tactics, or that of the movement of which he was a part, to that of the current President, who has not stood for principle even one single time during his administration, is just insanity IMHO. It's an insult to the moral and ethical courage of those who put their lives on the line in the Civil Rights Movement. Obama has not "gone to the mat" for anything.

                  If you want to redefine the civil rights movement include all black political struggle, then that's your perogative I suppose, but to me it's wrong. If the term is to have any meaning it must distinguish a particular strategy within the context of the broader set of strategies of black politics in general. The Black Panthers and Malcolm X themselves consistently presented themselves as alternatives to the strategies and tactics of the civil rights movement, and they criticised the civil rights movement from the perspective of outsiders. Same thing with Booker T. Washington. Read his own words; he didn't think pushing for civil rights was a wise move for blacks at the time.

                  Integration is a yet smaller part of the wider civil rights movement, so yes, integration does not equal civil rights, but that does not mean that civil rights equals black politics. They are each distinct.

                  "Telling" of what?

                  •  come on (0+ / 0-)

                    You do not get to define the civil rights movement. That Malcolm and MLK differed in their chosen tactics does not change the fact that they were both part of a huge historical movement.

                    And, I didn not compare MLK's strategies to Obama's. I agreed with the view that Obama may himself be adopting tactics from MLK.  There is a difference in that.

                    What do you mean by "black politics"?

                    Anyway, to try and remove Malcolm X from the history of the civil rights movement is amazing.

                    •  Well you can define the civil rights movement (0+ / 0-)

                      however you want, and certainly many people do define it broadly enough to include essentially any black political leader. My only point is that Malcolm X did not consider himself to be a part of the civil rights movement, so from my perspective it's a bit of an historical insult to after the fact come along and redefine things it and his legacy to include him in it.

                      Maybe the difference goes to your question of what does "black politics" mean. I would define black politics as all political activity by black people. You can define all political activity by black people as "the civil rights movement", but that definition IMHO erases civil rights as a meaningful term.

                      I think it's more historically accurate to say that the civil rights movement is a particular set of activities within the wider context of black politics, wherein nonviolent strategy and tactics were employed towards the goal of gaining formal recognition of legal equality and voting rights for black people. Defining Malcolm X exactly is not easy because he shifted his politics significantly over the years, but he always spoke out strongly against nonviolence, and his goals were always defined more in terms of self-determination and black power than in terms of appealing to (white) America for any sort of recognition at all.

                      I would ask you if you consider Malcolm X to have been a civil rights leader, would that also include Elijah Muhammad and Louis Farrakhan? Is the Nation of Islam a civil rights organization?

                      •  I think we are going to have to agree to disagree (0+ / 0-)

                        I will say this though, Malcolm X did in fact picture himself as part of the movement for civil rights. He did not align with the mainstream guys, but he was fully aware of his place in a social movement transforming the country.  

                        As for all black "leaders", no.  That is not what I said or implied. Its pretty ridiculous of you to even go there. You talk about erasing the importance of the civil rights movement then come with that BS.  Malcolm X is not just another black guy.

                        And if black politics is all politics by black people, is Herman Cain involved in black politics?  At what point are you minimizing black people?  Every black person, whether he interested in the advancement of black people's rights or not, is involved in black politics?  Michael Steele?

              •  You read things differently (0+ / 0-)

                DuBois lived and worked in New York; Washington in deepest Alabama.

                DuBois espoused the "talented tenth" but Washington thought all were capable of building and climbing high.

                Don't mistake the very pragmatic trappings for the truth. If BTW had had an academy dedicated to showing the superiority required for Blacks to excel it would have been burnt to the ground including many of the students.

                DuBois is just a name and some stirring writings (and some that grate) but Tuskegee is, and has long been, a living breathing influential institution giving a quality education and more than most white students get in Alabama.

                Tuskegee built an airfield and was training pilots before the start of the WW II and produced the Tuskegee pilots that was the nucleus of the group that forced their way into Air Force acceptance as the Tuskegee Airmen. They flew as fighter pilots during the war. They had to produce their own top rated mechanics  and other ground crew, many of whom had college degrees but just missed qualifying as pilots.

                They forced their recognition and acceptance from a military who fought against them since "Blacks had smaller brains and couldn't meet the demands of being able to pilot planes."

                And they did the first of the "lunch room sit downs" when they insisted on admission to the Officers Club in Pittsburg. Known as "The Flyboys of Pittsburg Tuskegee Airmen, the officers, about 160 of them iirc, were arrested, charged with disobeying a direct order by the base commander, sent to a base in KY I think (?) and kept under guard about to face court martial for what could be a death sentence.

                They eventually prevailed; they were returned to duty; the base commander was transferred to a less desirable base; and the Officer's Clubs were integrated.

                Their service is what directly led to the integration of the military. They proved by their exemplary service that "the Negro" was as capable as any White in service.

                That was a result of Booker T. Washington's dream and pragmatic efforts. And DuBois? His elitist dreams and works? You.

                I honestly do not know what you're talking about. If you want to go ahead and cite some of this legislation,

                You sure don't know what anyone is talking about. I don't know if you realize but Courts make Law as much and more so than most legislation reaches.

                No legislation produced school integration: Brown v Board of Education did. It was built on a long string of cases leading up to the full integration of schools.

                Go educate yourself.

                I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

                by samddobermann on Tue Aug 16, 2011 at 12:06:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks for some interesting information (0+ / 0-)

                  I think you may be misunderstanding me. I'm well aware of the decades of incremental changes through litigation that resulted in Brown v. Board of Education, but that is not legislation in any sense of the term that I understand it. The comment I was responding to indicated that there was incremental "pragmatic" civil rights legislation, not litigation, that led up to the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964, and I plain have not heard of it, so requested cites. I'd be equally interested to get them from you.

                  If I say that Booker T. Washington defined himself as pragmatic and in opposition to the civil rights movement of his time, that is not to say that I think he didn't make incredible contributions to the upliftment of black people in America. I think there were very good arguments in that period of time for blacks to focus on business and industrial advancement as opposed to civil rights, and his successes are a testament to that.

            •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clarknt67
              Thurgood Marshall worked with Senator Hugo Black on legislation even though Black was known to have been a member of the KKK.

              Are you sure you haven't confused Hugo Black with someone else?  Marshall was born in 1908 and graduated from law school in 1933.  Black was elected to the Senate in 1926 and ascended to the Supreme Court in 1937, when Marshall was not quite 30 years old.  I don't think I've ever read anything about them having worked together on legislation, although Black was an important vote on the Supreme Court in a number of cases argued by Marshall, and they later served together as justices before Black's death in 1971.

              "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

              by FogCityJohn on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 09:04:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  In Marshall's own words---> (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FogCityJohn

                He worked on legislative lobbying during the New Deal:

                http://www.thurgoodmarshall.com/...

                Q: In 1937 Hugo Black was appointed to the Supreme Court. Were you aware of those things back then?
                A: I was. I remember Hugo Black as a senator. I remembered on one occasion there was the HarrisonBlackFletcher bill which was a bill to get federal funds for public education. The southerners so worded it that we knew that Negroes weren't going to get that money. So Charlie Houston and I said, let's go over and talk to Sen. Black and Walter White.

                So Charlie and I went over there and talked to him and he said, you don't know how right you are. And he had his brother there, Hollis, who was his aide and he said, you know, we've got to get around this so I'll propose an amendment. Is that what you want? And we said, yessir. And he said you don't have to worry. And we said you know we've got one drafted here. So we showed it to him and he said, no, this won't do. The southerners won't buy this. Hollis you go draft one that the southerners will buy.

                Now I remember that the man did that, why should we fight him…But Hugo's a good man. I don't know where he got because he was brought up in the Klan.  You had to have a Klan sign in your window in Alabama. Any place in Alabama. He's from Alabama.

                •  Thanks! (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  HamdenRice

                  Hadn't realized this.  Marshall is so well known for his career as a courtroom advocate and a jurist, I guess this slipped under my radar.  (But then, I'm a lawyer, so I suppose I may be suffering from a certain professionally induced myopia.  ;-) )

                  "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                  by FogCityJohn on Tue Aug 16, 2011 at 12:38:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Malcolm X not a civil rights leader? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            princss6, RasAlula

            Who shot ya? Seperate the weak from the ob-solete Hard to creep them Brooklyn streets It's on ____, f**k all that bickering beef I can hear sweat trickling down your cheek

            by mim5677 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 10:49:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Of course not (0+ / 0-)

              He was first a black nationalist leader, and then he became on top of that a human rights activist. At no time would he have ever described himself as a civil rights leader. But don't trust my word for it, take it from the horse's mouth:

              This old, tricky blue eyed liberal who is supposed to be your and my friend, supposed to be in our corner, supposed to be subsidizing our struggle, and supposed to be acting in the capacity of an adviser, never tells you anything about human rights. They keep you wrapped up in civil rights. And you spend so much time barking up the civil-rights tree, you don't even know there's a human-rights tree on the same floor.

              . . .

              Civil rights keeps you under his restrictions, under his jurisdiction. Civil rights keeps you in his pocket. Civil rights means you're asking Uncle Sam to treat you right. Human rights are something you were born with. Human rights are your God-given rights. Human rights are the rights that are recognized by all nations of this earth. And any time any one violates your human rights, you can take them to the world court.

              . . .

              Our gospel is black nationalism. We're not trying to threaten the existence of any organization, but we're spreading the gospel of black nationalism.

              . . .

              It's time for you and me to stop sitting in this country, letting some cracker senators, Northern crackers and Southern crackers, sit there in Washington, D.C., and come to a conclusion in their mind that you and I are supposed to have civil rights. There's no white man going to tell me anything about my rights. Brothers and sisters, always remember, if it doesn't take senators and congressmen and presidential proclamations to give freedom to the white man, it is not necessary for legislation or proclamation or Supreme Court decisions to give freedom to the black man.

              Malcolm X, The Ballot or the Bullet, April 3, 1964, Cleveland, Ohio.


              •  This is from the same damn speech... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RasAlula

                You just got caught slippin' on some straight up BS.

                So, where do we go from here? First, we need some friends. We need some new allies.

                The entire civil-rights struggle needs a new interpretation, a broader interpretation. We need to look at this civil-rights thing from another angle -- from the inside as well as from the outside. To those of us whose philosophy is black nationalism, the only way you can get involved in the civil-rights struggle is give it a new interpretation. That old interpretation excluded us. It kept us out. So, we're giving a new interpretation to the civil-rights struggle, an interpretation that will enable us to come into it, take part in it.

                And these handkerchief-heads who have been dillydallying and pussy footing and compromising -- we don't intend to let them pussyfoot and dillydally and compromise any longer.

                Instead of denying the truth you could have used it to bolster your argument, aside from the fact that you know how Malcolm's version of it went.  He came back to the light.  Man I can't believe you tried to push that bullshit here.  Trying to make Malcolm out to be a small man when he was a giant.  That was some foul shit.

                Read that bold shit once or twice from the source not a horse.

                And you got the nerve to put some shit in here with him calling white people crackers with all that text you had to choose from.

                Here is some more with a part of the paragraph you so conveniently left out, in bold once again.

                When you expand the civil-rights struggle to the level of human rights, you can then take the case of the black man in this country before the nations in the UN. You can take it before the General Assembly. You can take Uncle Sam before a world court. But the only level you can do it on is the level of human rights. Civil rights keeps you under his restrictions, under his jurisdiction. Civil rights keeps you in his pocket. Civil rights means you're asking Uncle Sam to treat you right. Human rights are something you were born with. Human rights are your God-given rights. Human rights are the rights that are recognized by all nations of this earth. And any time any one violates your human rights, you can take them to the world court.

                 Don't insult my intelligence fool, your gonna tell me that the civil rights movement wasn't broad?  It affected a nation of people man, are you that stuck on shitting on Obama that you are going to act like you don't know.  Selectively quoting Malcolm like I'm not going to check you out.

                I don't mind a disagreement but what you did is disrespectful  and sinister at that.  You read yourself that he wanted to be in it but left it out to make a point, basically ignoring the deeds and goals of a great man and for what, not a damn thing.  

                ninjaugotbusted, lemme find out you are masquerading as Ron Christie up in this piece.

                Who shot ya? Seperate the weak from the ob-solete Hard to creep them Brooklyn streets It's on ____, f**k all that bickering beef I can hear sweat trickling down your cheek

                by mim5677 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:26:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What in the hell are you talking about? (0+ / 0-)

                  The speech is 8000 words long, I excerpted the sections where he criticized the concept of civil rights, and provided a link to the whole thing. If I was trying to "pull a fast one" why would I link to the source?

                  I don't even know what you're trying to argue. I love that speech by Malcolm X. It's brilliant. It was a devastating critique of the civil rights movement and it was incredibly influential in terms of moving the discussion to the international human rights level. The "ballot or the bullet", man, and not too long after this speech, we got our muthafuckin' ballots!

                  If you are too dense to understand that the black nationalist movement and the civil rights movement were not one and the same thing, don't blame me. But that is the historical fact and it derives from straight logic: black nationalism is about black power and control, which can never be achieved in an environment of full integration. They are mutually exclusive.

                  •  FAIL (0+ / 0-)

                    Shut up man the shit is right there for you again...

                    So, we're giving a new interpretation to the civil-rights struggle, an interpretation that will enable us to come into it, take part in it.

                    You are wrong buddy, move on

                    Who shot ya? Seperate the weak from the ob-solete Hard to creep them Brooklyn streets It's on ____, f**k all that bickering beef I can hear sweat trickling down your cheek

                    by mim5677 on Tue Aug 16, 2011 at 04:36:33 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Exactly . . . (0+ / 0-)
                      "will enable us to COME INTO IT, TAKE PART IN IT"

                      . . . means that when he made that statement, THE STATUS QUO was that he hadn't yet COME INTO IT, and that in order for him to come into it, to TAKE PART IN IT, something would have to CHANGE about it. He made this statement in April of 1964. In case you're not familiar with history, NEITHER MLK NOR ANY OTHER CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER TOOK OUR CASE TO THE UNITED NATIONS in 1964 or 1965 (when Malcolm X died)!!! Therefore, Malcolm X NEVER JOINED THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT!!!. Geezus Christ are you really this dense?

                      Instead of trying to endless justify Obama's failures with tortured, pretzel-like arguments, you could instead educate yourself. There's actually an entire book on the subject of the failure of the civil rights paradigm to effectively address the African-American situation. Apparently, African-American leaders in the immediate post-war period did consider taking our case to the U.N., but political considerations caused them to change course BEFORE the beginning of what we now consider to be the Civil Rights Movement:

                      As World War II drew to a close and the world awakened to the horrors wrought by white supremacists in Nazi Germany, the NAACP and African-American leaders sensed an opportunity to launch an offensive against the conditions of segregation and inequality in the United States. The "prize" they sought was not civil rights, but human rights. Only the human rights lexicon, shaped by the Holocaust and articulated by the United Nations, contained the language and the moral power to address not only the political and legal inequality but also the education, health care, housing, and employment needs that haunted the black community. The NAACP understood this and wielded its influence and resources to take its human rights agenda before the United Nations. But the onset of the Cold War and rising anti-communism allowed powerful southerners to cast those rights as Soviet-inspired and a threat to the American "ways of life." Enemies and friends excoriated the movement, and the NAACP retreated to a narrow civil rights agenda that was easier to maintain politically. Thus the Civil Rights Movement was launched with neither the language nor the mission it needed to truly achieve black equality.

                      http://www.amazon.com/...

                      Sounds like Malcolm X was more right on point than anyone knew. Read a book, son.

              •  Seriously man 8,623 words... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RasAlula

                and those 4 paragraphs were the best you could muster?

                I may not be the most eloquent person up in here but I'm not the dumbest.  Come correct man, seriously, I can't have a back and forth if you are going to be on some snake oil shit.

                Who shot ya? Seperate the weak from the ob-solete Hard to creep them Brooklyn streets It's on ____, f**k all that bickering beef I can hear sweat trickling down your cheek

                by mim5677 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:30:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  All day every day... (5+ / 0-)

          this...

          You are falling victim to the tendency to see things solely through your own narrow understanding and then wondering why things are not exactly as you would expect them.

          But he knows Obama because they are both bi-racial, attorneys and went to elite colleges.  

          Again, narrow experiences but he knows and when you correct him he moves to some other inane point and is wrong about that, too!

          I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

          by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:55:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oh and don't challenge him on Civil Rights... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          conlakappa, Diogenes2008, HamdenRice

          since he "knows the foremost scholar on MLK."

          I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

          by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:55:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I never said that (0+ / 0-)

            I cited a piece written by a well-known scholar on MLK, and you doubted its veracity. I claim no particular special knowledge, other than where to find links to those who are the experts.

            •  I never doubted its veracity... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              conlakappa

              what I said was that everybody is a "foremost scholar."

              And it is abundantly clear why you shouldn't even claim particular knowledge on this topic.  Abundantly.

              I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

              by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 01:49:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  White progressives ARE NOT steeped in the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        princss6, Diogenes2008

        strategy and tactics of the civil rights movement, and have not been since the late 1960s.

        Martin Luther King did not use giant street puppets which other than complaining on the internet seems to be the entire tactical and strategic tool kit of the American left.

        •  Insanity (0+ / 0-)

          Have you ever heard of the Highlander School?

          During the 1950s, it played a critical role in the American Civil Rights Movement. It trained civil rights leader Rosa Parks prior to her historic role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, as well as providing training for many other movement activists including the members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Septima Clark, Anne Braden, Martin Luther King, Jr., James Bevel, Bernard Lafayette, Ralph Abernathy and John Lewis in the mid- and-late 1950s.
          •  Have you read my comment? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            princss6

            I said, "since the late 1960s."  White progressives have not been steeped in the strategy and tactics of the civil rights movement for many decades.

            Can you provide a single counter example from recent history that would support your assertion?

            The point of the diary is that today's white progressives cannot understand the administration through the civil rights lens because they are completely unfamiliar with it, which is extremely convincing.

            •  Um, the Highlander School hasn't gone anywhere (0+ / 0-)

              but it's insane to me to say that white progressives are not steeped in the strategy and tactics of the civil rights movement. How many thousands of acts of civil disobedience have occurred during that period? How many protest marches? How many grass roots organizing campaigns? I really have no idea what you're talking about because the progressive movement outside of electoral politics knows little else other than the strategy and tactics of the civil rights movement.

              •  Umm... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                blindyone, Diogenes2008

                yes, I have a good friend who is connected to the Highlander School.  He is not on dkos, lol.  And would be appalled at the racism on this blog.  

                I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

                by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:57:48 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well I have a good friend (0+ / 0-)

                  who's been working for the upliftment of black folks his entire life, at the grass roots level, and he's not on Daily Kos, and he would be absolutely appalled if the amount of Obama apologia at Daily Kos being submitted in the name of black people.

                  •  The point was the Highlander School... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    conlakappa, Diogenes2008

                    remember that?

                    Once again pivot and deflect.

                    I think my friend was there this summer.  I know he was just out in Cali this spring doing anti-racist work.  So, yeah, as much organizing that he does for the black community because of his anti-racist work, he has no problem with centering black people in our struggle.  

                    I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

                    by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 08:41:45 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  for "upliftment of black folks his entire life" (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    princss6

                    ROFL!

                  •  Wow! the "upliftment" of black folks (0+ / 0-)
                    who's been working for the upliftment of black folks

                    How about working on the cluing in of white folks since that is the major problem for "black folks."

                    I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

                    by samddobermann on Tue Aug 16, 2011 at 12:30:59 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  "acts of civil disobedience" shows ur not steeped (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                princss6

                in the strategy and tactics of the civil rights movement, because like most historically non-literate people who comment on the civil rights movement, you seem not to know what happened before those acts of civil disobedience.

                In fact the problem with the so-called left and so-called progressive movement, is that they learned all the wrong lessons from the 1960s, and seem only to know about it from tv images of the most public tactics and strategy while failing to learn anything whatsoever about the 90% of the activity that did not involve, as so many call it, "marching."

                Your post kind of reflects that.  And this is completely separate from the issue of the Obama administration.  This is solely about how miniscule the historical knowledge base of today's so called progressive community is.

  •  No. (30+ / 0-)

    The analysis may hold water with respect to his style - but in no way excuses the substance of the policies he promotes.

    From continuing and enhancing the national security state, to doubling down on the waste of blood and treasure in our misbegotten wars, to the creation of the catfood committee, to the opening of the door to cuts in bedrock entitlement programs, to the appointment of supply side, trickle down ideologues to shape his economic policy, etc.

    Not buying it.

    Riddle me this: WHAT exactly would Obama lose if he were to forcefully and consistently advocate Keynesian solutions, REGARDLESS of the current impossibility of achieving Keynesian legislation?

    by WisePiper on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:03:05 PM PDT

  •  Andrew is conflating Obama with (13+ / 0-)

    the civil rights movement.  I do not agree.

    •  he's also equating you (19+ / 0-)

      with a large blind spot.

      Progressives wish race would go away, but unfortunately racism is very much alive. There's a reason that black voters are dems and not pubs. If racism every really goes away, those numbers will equalize. Conservatives want a return to the 50's with apple pie for white people only. That's why they are going after social programs, head start, etc. And that is also exactly why Obama can't advocate as strongly for these programs as we'd like. However, seems like cutting the military seems politically feasable now, which is a welcome turn of events.

      In a democracy, everyone is a politician. ~ Ehren Watada

      by Lefty Mama on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:43:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And he's 100% correct about that blindspot...n/t (5+ / 0-)
      •  ASre you saying the USA isn't ready (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lefty Mama

        to have a President with an  African ancestor,  yet.

        OK ... you might be right. BHO catches a great deal of undeserved crap based on his race and biography.  When I hear "Taking our Country Back" for example ... yeah, I hear the the whistle calling the Kluxer dog.  And on the other hand he seems to have a "family hold back" policy where legislation might be seen as advancing the interests of black people, per se.  

        But, unfortunately, a lot of us "Liberal Intelligentsia" have had 30 or 40 years of political conditioning NOT to consider an African father to be a handicap, much less a disqualification for high public office -- not to entertain the idea for even so long as it takes to form the thought.  So, we picked Obama, on his personal merits, as the best deal we were likely to get ... and put his "Blackness" in the same mind-closet that we keep Charles Schumer's "Jewishness."

        You seem to be saying that we were naive:  a Black President would, of course,  be LESS able to advocate effectively for the kinds of programs that we most approve  of, and which the "left behind" portions of the AA community most NEED.

        Who knew ?  "Blacks really CAN'T lead." -- because  Whites "ain't ready yet."  Was it only wishful thinking to think otherwise?

      •  which is why Obama is using (0+ / 0-)

        the Republicans' stated positions of being for cutting spending to actually cut spending for what he wants to trim.

        Did you know that kids getting free lunches in the schools will now get free lunches AND breakfasts every school day? That is one of the major achievements for Obama that was snuck through under the deficit peacocks' noses.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Tue Aug 16, 2011 at 12:51:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Where is the Civil Rights Prism? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poe, FishOutofWater, kurt, cville townie

    In this day and age, what sane discussion of Civil Rights ignores GLBT issues?

  •  Wow. Whew. Interesting.... (31+ / 0-)

    OK, as one of those white progressives who keeps saying she wishes he'd kick ass a bit, I need to think very seriously about this post. I must say, it sounds like an excellent point. I hope your title attracts some of the African American thinkers on dKos so we can hear their responses to these ideas.

    I also note the comment above distinguishing style from substance. Lots to think about.

    "...I think a good chunk of the Republican caucus is either stupid, crazy, ignorant or craven cowards..."
    Bruce Bartlett on Hardball, transcribed by SharksBreath, 27 July 2011

    by pixxer on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:18:19 PM PDT

    •  Tom Hayden made a similar argument (26+ / 0-)

      in the Nation, in response to Drew Westen's much admired take down of Obama at the New York Times.  This is the link to Hayden's piece:

      Tom Hayden on Drew Westen

      And on the question of White progressive positions on Obama's policies:  I was struck when reading Dem from Ct's excellent post on Medicaid today that many White progressives, along with their allies in communities of color, describe Obama's policies in the most negative possible ways. Indeed, that diary makes me think that many of Obama's most ardent critics have not actually looked closely at what he has proposed.  This comports with my experience as a Black woman who has worked in overwhelmingly White institutions, where the people I work with often assume that they know better than I how everything should be done.  This is not an intentional racism, it is simply the operation of a kind of privilege which comes from always being in the majority.  

      I was really struck by the quality of the discussion in Dem from Ct's diary.  It included all kinds of people with real expertise on health care, and they were actually willing to consider the possibility that the idea of "reforming" Medicaid and Medicare and social security that has been attributed to the Obama administration might not the capitulation that has set many White progressives' hair on fire.  The diary talked about all the corporate welfare that has, over time, made its way into Medicare and Medicaid,  as well as the real problem of taking care of the aging baby boom cohort.  It was for the most part a respectful discussion.  It included very little of the kind of anger at Obama that I've gotten used to from this community.  Because the discussion acknowledged the existence of corporate welfare  and also the baby boom problem, it did not assume the "no cuts" position was the only possible progressive position

      And here's the bottom line.  I learned a lot from this discussion because it was not dominated by the usual self-assurance and condescending certainty that I am used to hearing from White people in White majority situations.  One of my favorite thought experiments, in fact, is to imagine what White progressives would say if they were the lone White speaker in a community of color.  I can't imagine that they would say some of the things they feel free to say on this blog.

      •  This still boils down to this (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pixxer, cville townie, WisePiper

        while it would be ok for progressives to judge a white Democratic president to deliver on progressive agenda items, it is not ok to ask the same thing of a black President.   Here, we see the same old tired arguments trotted out, even though they were never very compelling to begin with but rather have the feel of merely the latest version of the "critics of Obama are racist" trope that we have seen for years now.  

        Frankly , the giant screaming hole here is that one can make a strong argument and be a forceful advocate without being angry.  Indeed, Obama has exactly the temperament to pull this off.  

        On the flip side, and more distressingly, this article suggests that if progressives want an effective fighter we are better of not electing a black president.   I am sorry but that argument is tripe too.  There are a great number of principled black advocates who aren't angry black men but still fight.   It can be done, and Obama could do it if be chose.   He chooses not to

        Intelligent, passionate, perceptive people will always disagree, but we should not let that disagreement, however heartfelt, lead us to become deaf to those better angels of our nature.

        by Mindful Nature on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:31:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is an excellent point. I guess it is kind of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TrueBlueMajority

          what I have been thinking:

          one can make a strong argument and be a forceful advocate without being angry.  Indeed, Obama has exactly the temperament to pull this off.  

          as in, you can kick ass without looking like you're kicking ass.

          Of course, it is also possible he's been doing that. Lawrence O'Donnell suggested that Obama has been playing rope-a-dope with the repugs.

          "...I think a good chunk of the Republican caucus is either stupid, crazy, ignorant or craven cowards..."
          Bruce Bartlett on Hardball, transcribed by SharksBreath, 27 July 2011

          by pixxer on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:46:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's worse than that. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Christin, snout, princss6, evergreen2

          Obama did more in terms of Keynesian economics during his first two years than either Carter or Clinton.

          Obama has opened the doorway to centrist economics but then again, Clinton was both an economic and a social centrist:

          Welfare Reform
          DOMA
          DADT
          Gramm-Leach-Bliley
          Telecommunications Act

          Every single one of those bills is odious, with the possible exception of DADT. But Clinton signed all of them.  Those are, in fact, his landmark laws, besides some creepy ass bills that had to do with our vanishing civil liberties.

          If Obama ever made laws so hideously offensive, if he was an active participant in new laws that harmed LGBTQ Americans, or enriched FOX News, or enriched Wall Street, Obama would be under impeachment talks. And yet, the only people who ever wanted to impeach Clinton were mad over Clinton's having more sex than them.

          "Hahai nō ka ua i ka ululā'au" -- Hawaiian proverb.

          John Boehner? The sleaze bucket who hands out bribes from big tobacco on the House floor?

          by Nulwee on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:48:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Clinton raised taxes in his first term (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DEQ54

            Let's not forget that.  He may have been a centrist, but at least he knew enough that to fund government operations, you have to get the rich to pay more.

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:58:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It wasn't that easy--and it included Medicare cuts (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HiKa, snout, DEQ54, Nulwee, blindyone, princess k

              Speaking as a voter who vividly remembers Clinton's 1993 budget agreement that raised taxes, it almost didn't pass. It literally squeaked by over loud and raucous Republican outrage by one (1) vote...and that one vote was Al Gore.

              Also, as Lawrence O'Donnell noted recently in the last couple months, that budget package included cuts to Medicare. No one said a word and every Democrat voted for it. O'Donnell also helped write the Clinton budget.

              If one Democrat had defected, just one? The whole deal would've completely failed. It was razor close and Clinton was damn lucky. Then, the GOP took over the House in 1994 and everybody wrote Clinton's obituary.
              Even Clinton himself had to explain in a speech why he was still relevant! And we all remember the debacle that was Hillary's health reform initiative.  Once the GOP took the House, everyone figured it was all over for Clinton.

              This led to our brave Democratic defender signing into law things like DOMA, welfare reform and the Telecommunications Deregulation Act. So I wish people would take off the rose-colored glasses when it comes to the Clinton Administration.

              Oddly enough, things still did eventually get better. And I think they will again. I have faith in Obama.

              Thanks for a great diary. Tipped and recc'd!

              •  Never said it was easy (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Nulwee, Gay CA Democrat

                I remember it well, too.  I know it was close.  It barely passed in Congress.  Marjorie Margolis-Mezvinski lost the congressional seat she'd just won because of her vote on that legislation.  But Clinton pushed it and it passed.  

                And please don't misunderstand me, I'm not letting Clinton off the hook for some of the other shit he pulled.  I protested against DADT and DOMA.  Contrary to what you may hear in these parts, Clinton took a lot of heat from the gay community for those two pieces of legislation.  

                I don't know about other people, but I, for one, never wore a pair of rose-colored glasses when it came to Bill Clinton.  His administration's record of DLC policies and triangulation was one of the main reasons I opposed his wife's bid for the Democratic nomination.  My hope was that with Obama, we would avoid what I saw as an undesirable "Clinton restoration."

                If things are going to get better, we had best hope they start getting better soon.  In my view, people are not going to start returning to the Democratic fold until they start seeing a unified effort from the Democrats in DC to make the concerns of ordinary Americans a priority.  No matter what the Beltway elites think, the deficit is not a priority for most people.

                OT:  Good to see you again.  Don't think you've been around much lately.

                "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                by FogCityJohn on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 08:44:10 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Please help me understand what you are saying. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          princss6, Fogiv, DEQ54, conlakappa

          Are you suggesting that Tom Hayden is not a progressive, because he is certainly not arguing that "we" would be better off not electing a Black president.  Or are you responding to something else?  And by the way, I put "we" in quotation marks because I want to call attention to the fact that you are speaking for me (I'm a progressive) without my permission.

          •  Hmmm (0+ / 0-)

            where to start

            I suppose yes, I would not naturally call people who line up behind the President's agenda progressives, it is true.  And I don't need your permission or anyone else's to speak.  It hardly makes sense to suggest that people need to get a signed permission slip from millions of people

            But yes, I am saying that Mr Hayden is saying tha progressive ideals would be better served under a non-black President.  It follows logically as an implication of his point that Obama cannot speak up for fear of being called an "angry black man". If we accept his point, then the corollary is that black presidents won't be able to fight for progressive ideals.  Personally, I think both statements are bogus.  I say that because a lot of black leaders have been very effective and forceful advocates for change.  

            Intelligent, passionate, perceptive people will always disagree, but we should not let that disagreement, however heartfelt, lead us to become deaf to those better angels of our nature.

            by Mindful Nature on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 10:05:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Just help me understand where you find the (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              conlakappa, princss6

              arrogance required to put yourself in charge of what people should be called.  I said I am a progressive.  Who are you to dispute that, with no information whatsoever besides a few posts on a public blog?  

              And you are also not a careful reader.  Hayden did not say explicitly, nor did he even suggest, what you attribute to him.  I willing to bet that he has a better understanding of how race operates in this nation than you do.  He is, after all, a person who has actually put his life on the line to help Black Mississippians secure the vote.  

              Finally, the fact that you feel free to put words in Hayden's mouth also strikes me as arrogant.

              •  Well of course (0+ / 0-)

                as usual we see condescension and insult as regular rhetorical tools.  I read the diary but not Haydens piece. However, I will stand by the general statement that the Presidents agenda is not a progressive one, and those who supportive of it do not strike me as progressive.  I make no particular claims about you specifically.  For all I know you could be a solid progressive in other areas it is true.  What you choose to call yourself is none of my business.  I only comment that for me the hallmark of being progressive is supporting progressive positions, and since Obamas positions are rarely progressive, I characterize his positions as centrist ones.  Therefore, absent other information, I would tend to think of those who support those positions as centrists rather than progressives, but as you say, it'd be on a limited record, so it would be a limited conclusion

                Intelligent, passionate, perceptive people will always disagree, but we should not let that disagreement, however heartfelt, lead us to become deaf to those better angels of our nature.

                by Mindful Nature on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 10:48:58 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  He totally saw Troy Garity try to bogart (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FrankAletha, princss6

                a joint at a Tribe Called Quest concert.  It gave him unrealized insight on Hayden.  Makes as much sense as anything else.

                Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.--MLK, Jr.

                by conlakappa on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 11:20:28 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I would add (0+ / 0-)

              that looking at the diary again, I am drawn to that four steps analysis, including calling on adversaries to observe their highest principles and winning the moral high ground

              I think a lot of progressives see correctly that Obama has done neither of these steps, and indeed this is precisely why there is so much frustration with him

              As for Mr Hayden, I have no idea what he thinks.  Nor do I particularly matters.  Here, I am sure Obama has all kinds of reasons for not pursuing a progressive agenda. However it doesn't matter to me what those reasons are anywhere near as much as the fact that he isn't pursuing a progressive agenda.  I do not care if a cat is black or white so long as it catches mice

              Intelligent, passionate, perceptive people will always disagree, but we should not let that disagreement, however heartfelt, lead us to become deaf to those better angels of our nature.

              by Mindful Nature on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 11:02:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  MF, Obama has passed more progressive (0+ / 0-)

          legislation in 2½ years than
          Clinton and Carter in 12.

          And neither faced the level of intransigence that Obama has faced from the get go. He is fighting. But he isn't preening on stage.

          So go on waiting for your great white hope.

          I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

          by samddobermann on Tue Aug 16, 2011 at 01:09:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Amazing comment. Excellent. (0+ / 0-)

        As an outsider most all my life, I know the truth of what you say.

         This is not an intentional racism, it is simply the operation of a kind of privilege which comes from always being in the majority.

        But it is so resistant to any one pointing it out.

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Tue Aug 16, 2011 at 12:59:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This particular African-American (8+ / 0-)

      thinks this is the biggest piece of dog poo-poo that I've read in a very long time. Black politics and the civil rights movement if they've been about anything, they've been about standing on principle no matter the cost, and getting in the freakin' face of the powers that be and demanding justice. The author acts like white progressives don't understand the history of the civil rights movement like black people do, which is insane, because white progressives/liberals were just as important to the civil rights movement as black people, and most black establishment types didn't want to have anything to do with it. Give me a freakin' break.

      I think this whole line of argument of trying to explain away Barack Obama's failings with reference to his race is just horrible and wrong. It's horrible because the take away is, "don't every elect another black person President, because as a black person, he's not really in a position to stand up for you, for fear of being called an angry black man". It's also just plain wrong because you don't need to look any further than the sources for the $1 billion that Obama plans to raise for his re-election campaign for explanations of why he does what he does.

      •  This African Amercan dsagrees with you (8+ / 0-)

        And would suggest that the vast majority of the White Progressives complaining have no clue as to the history of the Civil Rights Movement other than what they read in their history books....

        It's evidenced on this blog daily

        •  The vast majority of African-Americans (0+ / 0-)

          have no clue either outside of the history books, being that most of us were born after the major events and victories of the civil rights movement had already taken place.

          •  This statement is so vapid that it's hard to (7+ / 0-)

            know how to respond.  A huge chunk of African Americans are baby boomers (I am).  We lived through both de facto and de jure segregation.  We were alive through the Montgomery bus boycott, the sit-ins, the March on Washington, etc. etc. etc.  Some of us even attended these events.  Our parents told us about civil rights activities in the 30s (the movement to free the Scottsboro boys) and the 40s (A. Phillip Randolph).

            Your commentary suggests that you are highly self-absorbed and more than a little willing to generalize from your own limited experiences.  Please take some time out to read and/or take a course on the civil rights movement.

            •  A "huge chunk" are certainly baby boomers (0+ / 0-)

              but that doesn't change the fact that "most" of us learned about the major events of the civil rights movement second-hand.

                •  Why? (0+ / 0-)

                  Princess's tag line, citing soothsayer, says:

                  I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

                  So here I am reading to discuss this anyways you want, and now you want me to stop? Why?

                  •  FrankAletha... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    HamdenRice, FrankAletha, conlakappa

                    is right and you've been told numerous times.  

                    Here is a hint for you - unless you were there, your knowledge of it will be second  hand.

                    make up your mind - are you going to lecture us black folks on the CRM (with your second hand source) or are you going to argue that second hand sourcing leads to a lack of knowledge about the events.

                    Just because you didn't hear about it in your environs doesn't mean that is universal for most black people.  

                    I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

                    by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 01:56:11 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Nowhere have I ever said that anything (0+ / 0-)

                      that I've experienced is "universal" for most black people. You consistently make that claim, and my only role is to see, "no, not all black people see it that way". You free to think whatever you want about the CRM, and I think it's always a good discussion to debrief about what happened there because it's very important for the future of black people and humanity in general. What I don't like is appealing to the legacy of that movement in order to provide some kind of weak justification for the Wall Street-coddling actions of a President who IMHO is not a part of that movement. A beneficiary for sure, but not a part of it.

              •  You're quite hopeless (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FrankAletha

                Ignorant as sin and willfully uninterested in learning.

          •  This AA was born after the civil rights movement (3+ / 0-)

            but living in the south; MS, specifically in the early 70's was no picnic. We were treated by many whites and we had to live our lives as if Jim Crow still existed. There are many trauma's of my childhood that don't fit neatly into that analogy.

        •  Disagree! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FrankAletha, bruddaone, princss6
          other than what they read in their history books....

          It's pretty obvious that they haven't even read anything about it in their history books either!

      •  Are you serious about this? (9+ / 0-)

        ..because white progressives/liberals were just as important to the civil rights movement as black people..

        If you are, you need to go back to the books.  This is the premise of the Hollywood film Mississippi Burning. This film constructs a narrative that is similar to your comment in the sense that it refuses to acknowledge the centrality of Black people in their own liberation movement.  That's not to say that White people played no role, but they were not the primary movers in SNCC or the SCLC or any number of other movement organizations.  Black people like Fannie Lou Hamer took great risks, largely in solidarity with other Blacks, to struggle for the Black vote.  Please do not denigrate her memory.  

        What's saddest about your comment is that I'm pretty sure that the White people who were actually involved deeply in the movement at the grass roots level (people like Tom Hayden or Bob Zellner) would never claim that they were just as important to the civil rights movement as black people were.  The fact that you're Black (or you claim you are Black) makes your claim especially troublesome because it makes it legitimate to re-center of Whiteness in a movement where Whites were not, in fact, at the center.

        •  Hmm . . . let's see (0+ / 0-)

          Yeah, these guys were not central at all to the civil rights movement:

          Andrew Goodman

          Michael Schwerner

          They only died in it. No biggie.

          Look my point is not to get into some discussion about the role of white people in the civil rights movement. It's only to say that it makes no more sense to assume that white progressives don't understand it than it does to assume that black pol's don't understand it, because both of them as groups played significant roles in it.

          •  This is just silly and deeply ignorant. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Adept2u, princss6, HamdenRice, blindyone

            Their martyrdom (and that of other Whites) does not prove that Whites were as central to the civil rights movement as Blacks.  I am just appalled by the ignorance of the Civil Rights Movement (including its long roots in Black activism going back to the turn of the 20th Century and its grounding in local Black activism - the kind that is not as visible in Hollywood and the television industry as the stories of Goodman, Schwerner and Cheney) that is displayed at many points in these comments.  There are faux experts here who are writing as if the movement was all about competition with the Black Power Movement, for example, when there  was not serious Black Power challenge to the civil rights strategy during the bus boycott movement of the 1950s (that pushback was most powerful in the 1960s).

            And your ignorance is especially disappointing since you are performing the role of the Black legitimizer on this thread.  You need to take a break from posting and read some books.

            •  I'm well aware of the history of black activism (0+ / 0-)

              prior to the Civil Rights Movement, and of the timeline for the emergence of the Black Power Movement. I don't see what either has to do with whether white progressives can understand the civil rights movement or not. What about the history of white progressive activism prior to the civil rights movement, and its influence on it? I cited the Highlander Folk School up above, and its role in the civil rights movement is described by Wikipedia as follows:

              During the 1950s, it played a critical role in the American Civil Rights Movement. It trained civil rights leader Rosa Parks prior to her historic role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, as well as providing training for many other movement activists including the members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Septima Clark, Anne Braden, Martin Luther King, Jr., James Bevel, Bernard Lafayette, Ralph Abernathy and John Lewis in the mid- and-late 1950s.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              •  Stop digging (6+ / 0-)

                Nothing you have cited proves that Whites were as central to the civil rights movement as Blacks, which is the argument you originally made.   And I will continue to maintain (and the facts are on my side) that Black people played The Central role in movements for Black liberation, despite what Hollywood and the television industry would have people believe. And Wikipedia is not a book.  

                •  I mentioned recently the two black men whose (4+ / 0-)

                  bodies were found during the search for Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney.  Their legacies and deaths were sadly eclipsed by those of the other three.  Maybe our wiki scholar can look up Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore and run their lives and deaths through his filter.

                  Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.--MLK, Jr.

                  by conlakappa on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 09:49:55 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Of course you could cite hundreds of cases (0+ / 0-)

                    where black people lost their lives at the hands of racism in the South, but that doesn't have anything to do with the role that white people played in the civil rights movement.

                  •  Wiki scholar? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    conlakappa

                    didn't you know he knows the "foremost scholar on MLK?"  

                    Can't mess with that CRM-cred!

                    I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

                    by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 12:19:32 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Whites were given more attention (4+ / 0-)

                  They were given more of the spotlight than Blacks who worked much harder, and faced far more danger.

                  The "Noble" White Man, with his "White Man's Burden".

                  Excuse me while I go lose my lunch.

                  "We have only the moral ground we actually inhabit, not the moral ground we claim." - It Really Is That Important

                  by Diogenes2008 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 09:56:14 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Here's a line I like from a review of The (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    conlakappa, princss6

                    Help that one of my students just sent to me, and that is relevant to this thread:

                    “Even more troubling, though, is how the structure of narratives like The Help underscores the failure of pop culture to acknowledge a central truth: Within the civil rights movement, white people were the help. “

                    Here's a link to the review:

                    Reviews of the Help

                    •  How about Stanley Levison? (0+ / 0-)
                      Levison was instrumental in all the activities of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the organization established by King and other Southern black preachers to further the cause of civil rights. He professionalized the fund raising of the organization and took on much of the publicity tasks, in addition to serving as King's literary agent. He was also a close adviser of King.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/...


                      Naw, he wasn't central at all . . .
                      •  I really can not believe... (0+ / 0-)

                        that you have moved this discussion to such a low place.  Comparing MURDERS all committed by WHITE SUPREMACIST in which no one received any type of justice.

                        Just stop trying to pit allies against themselves!  

                        I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

                        by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 12:22:18 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You're the one pitting allies against themselves (0+ / 0-)

                          I'm saying that all who participated in the civil rights movement were important and crucial to its success. You guys are trying to argue that one group was more important than the other.

          •  LOL (4+ / 0-)

            They got their names written down because they were Jewish.  There were 100's of Black people to be murdered and no one gave an entire fuck, but they gave their lives to the cause, but oh no it was the white boys on summer vacation that won our freedom.  Funny both my Black parents fought everyday and for years for civil rights and never saw one white man in the jails they were put in.

            "I honor the place in you where Spirit lives I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, then we are One." Namaste friends!

            by Adept2u on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:18:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  How old are you? Fourteen? (5+ / 0-)
        the civil rights movement if they've been about anything, they've been about standing on principle no matter the cost, and getting in the freakin' face of the powers that be and demanding justice.

        If you think that's what the civil rights movement was like, I have to assume you weren't alive then, and worse, have never read a book about it.

        •  OK, please explain to me exactly (0+ / 0-)

          how the civil rights movement was not about standing on principle and demanding justice?

          •  Hundreds of ways because they were pragmatists (3+ / 0-)

            above all.  For example, the litigators, like Marshall, would not take cases of black people who were not "perfect" litigants, ie not respectable enough to a white audience.  Marshall also spent decades litigating cases to desegregate higher education accepting the doctrineof  "separate but equal" (arguing that certain black and white university facilities were not in fact equal) even though he found it repulsive and was working up a collection of precedents to attack separate but equal directly.  MLK would settle for partial desegregation in many campaigns and work out written agreements with mayors, business leaders and other officials.  Your question is kind of like asking me to tell you everything about the movement from day one.  Compromise to get concrete results was always built into the movement.  They accepted really weak Civil Rights Acts amendments in the 1950s that they knew were ineffective, and even the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act and Fair Housing Act of the mid 1960s had loopholes big enough to drive a segregated bus through.  The entire focus on appearing meek, non-violent, and religious as a tactic outraged many leftists at the time, which is why Malcolm X existed and why SNCC broke away from the SCLC.  

            •  Well we just have different definitions of things (0+ / 0-)

              As I said, of course when you have a litigation strategy, you are going to take the best, most sympathetic cases, and take incremental victories wherever you can get them. How is that even noteworthy? What other choice did Thurgood Marshall have? To bring bad cases and refuse to accept partial victories?

              But the NAACP LDF legal strategy was a small part of the civil rights movement proper. It was never the core of the civil rights movement.

              You still haven't cited to any of these "Civil Rights Acts amendments" in the 1950's (prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1957). What were they amendments to?

              Where did MLK sign agreements for "partial desegregation"? As far as I know, the Montgomery buses were fully desegregated. Birmingham? Selma? I literally don't know what you're talking about.

              But standing on principle and demanding justice are not mutually exclusive with taking incremental victories wherever you can anyways. The movement remained principled and demanding, even as the politicians reacted to it in various ways, but they are not the same thing.

              Characterizing nonviolent direct action as "meek" in any ways evidences a profound lack of understanding of the philosophy and tactic of nonviolence. There's nothing meek about facing down dogs, battons, angry mobs, and armed policemen with nonviolent action.

              Again, Malcolm X never even shared the goals of the civil rights movement. Yes SNCC wanted to go in a different direction by the mid-1960's, but again it reflected a different set of goals as well as strategy and tactics: black power vs. integration.

            •  i wish you would diary this, HamdenRice (0+ / 0-)

              this fight between incrementalists and people who are dissatisfied with anything less than uncompromising radical action has been going on as long as I can remember

              "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
              I am a volunteer for Bob Massie for MA-Sen

              by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:36:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  This particular African-American (12+ / 0-)

      thinks it gives you a good reason to think and not really feel that bad.  

      Obama deals with realities and gets information that we don't quite have the capacity to wrap our heads around.  Not because we are dumb but because we are the leader of the free world.  

      A Presidents job is always bigger than what we think it is, race, party, religion, all that stuff.  

      If Obama felt empowered to call people out like many wish he would, he would.  In fact he does from time to time just not in the way people think he should.  

      The civil rights movement was about a lot of things and a lot of styles and the style that Obama uses was certainly one of them and it certainly was effective.  

      I'm one of the people who has been saying this since he got in the democratic primary.  (He never went after Hillary either) and why was Jeremiah Wright such an issue?  Obama has to deal with a lot of stuff and some people may sound like excuses but remember that no other black person in this country has had to deal with the issues Barack Obama is dealing with at this level....ev-er.  He is shouldering a load that people have been waiting on for over 100 years at the least.  It behooves him to take special care of that load so that a more progressive "other" will be able to pick up the ball.

      Who shot ya? Seperate the weak from the ob-solete Hard to creep them Brooklyn streets It's on ____, f**k all that bickering beef I can hear sweat trickling down your cheek

      by mim5677 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:29:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you're right that (0+ / 0-)

        It does "behoove him to take special care" of the role that he's been elected to play in our nation's history. That's why we all care so very deeply about what he does, and that he not fuck it up.

        I'm sure that there are many issues that we don't know about. But I don't think it's helpful to define the civil rights movement so broadly ("a lot of things and a lot of styles") that it loses all meaning. He's not a civil rights leaders, and I really don't see that he uses the strategies and tactics of the civil rights movement much at all. If you have cites where something is specifically tied back to there, I would love to see them.

        The main issue I have is the inanity of talking about the President's performance with reference to his race. Do we really want to be arguing that he is failing because of his race? Doesn't anyone see the obvious logical conclusion to that kind of argument? Even the converse would seem to be an argument that we wouldn't want to make ("he succeeded because of his race"). Isn't that Rush Limbaugh's explanation for how he got elected?

        The obvious answer to me is that you don't do either. He's a free individual, and should be judged based on his own actions, good or bad. Leave race out of it.

        •  You are dreaming (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HamdenRice, princss6

          Obama climbs a mountain no one has ever climbed before in a country like this and your complaint is that we view him in a historical context that is outside of what you think the proper view is.  

          The civil rights movement had a lot of styles whether you like it or not, there wasn't just one approach and you are lying if you say there was.  The civil rights movement doesn't fit into some little box you created in your own head.(I can already see the "I marched with Martin lecture coming"...well save it)

          You think Rush Limbaugh says that's why he's President, take a look around you, this place is full of people that voted for Obama for the historical significance.

          WE LIVE IN AMERICA!!!!!! don't you get it, race and color is everything in this place.  You want Obama to ignore the racial history of this country so you can feel better about yourself, it has nothing to do with his job and how difficult it is and how little you know about what he has to deal with.

          You keep talking about these things as if the discussion around his race is due to some inherent trait that black people have.  That's the old argument you may have had back in the day.  We've moved beyond that to the realities and perceptions of the larger world and the implications of those very realities.  They may not exist in your tiny utopia where nobody is scared of anybody but again, Obama doesn't live in your world.

          He's the president.

          Who shot ya? Seperate the weak from the ob-solete Hard to creep them Brooklyn streets It's on ____, f**k all that bickering beef I can hear sweat trickling down your cheek

          by mim5677 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 09:39:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  This. A thousand times. (0+ / 0-)

        "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
        I am a volunteer for Bob Massie for MA-Sen

        by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:37:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  two things I disagree with (12+ / 0-)
    White progressives often think that African American elected officials are politically naive.

    and

    Independents are flocking to him.

    On the first point: who? why would anyone think that?

    on the second: no they're not, unfortunately. It sounds great but it's not really true.

    There are some good points in Sullivan's piece, of course, that are something to think about.

    "Things are never so bad they can't get worse" - Dallasdoc

    by Shahryar on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:22:05 PM PDT

  •  Obama didn't grow up in the U.S. (9+ / 0-)

    His mother and grandparents who raised him were white; he spent his childhood in two multi-racial countries and went to a school for privileged kids in Hawaii.   When he came to the U.S., he went to the best universities, was popular and successful.

    He isn't your typical African American and I think even he would be disdainful of people trying to fit him into a stereotype he may relate to but never belonged to.    

    Could there be a certain ambivalence about his heritage?  Maybe but it's a moot point.  He's the most powerful leader in the world right now; there is no excuse for him to kowtow to white trash in the tea party and Congress.    

    I am seriously disillusioned with Obama as a leader but not because he's some minority guy who is intimidated by powerful white folks.  This interpretation is condescending and inaccurate.

    •  I hear what you are saying but (24+ / 0-)

      I think the diarist has a point that should be considered.

      I didn't grow up in the atmosphere he did but I was raised by a mother who knew about "Jack and Jill" (it was a group for the black elite where way back in the past if you were darker than a paper bag, you couldn't get in). She was raised by her grandmother who believed that we must be educated in order to succeed but we should never forget how we are viewed by Caucasians (a generality, I know). Both of them could pass the paper bag test whereas I could not, being dark-skinned.

      My dark-skinned father was full of African pride. He was born and raised in Antigua and to the end of his life was not fond of white people. He taught me that you have to always be aware that they (the whites who want to keep the black man down) are watching us and we can't afford the luxury of showing the more aggressive side of ourselves until we are truly taken seriously as human beings equal to whites (though in his mindset, most colors of people are better than whites with Africans being on top).

      It is not an easy place to be in but even with President Obama being raised in a mostly white environment, it is unlikely that he didn't get the message that I got from my black parents. He may have gotten it later in life than I did but Michelle would definitely have shown him the kind of things that I saw and still see.

      I don't think the author is saying the president is intimidated by whites; rather that he is aware of the meme in some parts of white society and understands that the best way to handle this is to not come out with an agressive stance. This may not be the time for a strong black man acting like any other strong progressive white man (or even a moderate white man) simply because the small, petty minds of the conservative right will take any appearance of that kind of black president, and use all the racial dog whistles they can get away with.

      It is a sad thing to say, but everything I see and live says that it is true.

      This may be a bit long for a comment but I am not willing to make it a separate diary. :-)

    •  Gobsmacked by your assertion that Obama (14+ / 0-)

      "is not your typical African American."  What?  There is a "typical?" Oh, wow.  And here is my 2 cents from an old white woman whose family is multiracial.  My daughter had lots of privilege, too.  Raised by a white professional mom and Black professional father.  Quess what?  In our affluent community she was still that "new black girl."  I am offended by your naive assumptions.  I am shocked by your belief Obama stands in contrast to a "typical" stereotype.

      •  the word 'typical' offends you? (3+ / 0-)

        How odd.

        Most African Americans are descendants of slaves.  Obama is not.

        Most (but far from all) have two black parents.  Obama does not.

        Most grew up entirely in the United States.

        Obama did not.

        Pointing this out offends you?

        You daughter was not raised only by white people.

        You seem to have reacted to a comment saying that Obama is not typical because he's multi-racial.

        But that's not what was said.

        •  You sound kinda dumb (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          amk for obama, Inameli

          and should do something about that.

          Who shot ya? Seperate the weak from the ob-solete Hard to creep them Brooklyn streets It's on ____, f**k all that bickering beef I can hear sweat trickling down your cheek

          by mim5677 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:31:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  foul response to a valid point...n/t (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shwing, cas2
            •  Let's take a closer look at that. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              princss6, blindyone

              Decedants of slaves...
                    While most African Americans are decendants of slaves, an equally high percentage of African-Americans have no clue what that means as slavery ended 200 years ago.
                     What is true is that ALL African-Americans in the US, have experienced racism for the past couple of hundred years and you would have to argue that one who lives among non-African-American minorities would experience it more often(oops, perspective hurts sometimes).

              Obama lived in Indonesia from the ages of 6-10, not exactly a coming of age.  I lived in Canada from those ages, I grew up in MN.

              A high number of African Americans have other races in their families, so does Obama, you don't want to discuss the single parent aspect of it do you?

              If Obama is not typical he is awfully close.

              Poor excuse for a valid point.

              Who shot ya? Seperate the weak from the ob-solete Hard to creep them Brooklyn streets It's on ____, f**k all that bickering beef I can hear sweat trickling down your cheek

              by mim5677 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 06:23:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  So unless one grows up entirely in US, he (6+ / 0-)

          is not a typical american. Guess all that 7 odd years as a child growing outside america must make him somehow non-american. Where have we heard that before ?

          One bitter fact is two bit hacks populate the third rate fourth estate who are truly the fifth columnists. So, how did Obama piss you off today ?
          Call the media when they Lie

          by amk for obama on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 12:12:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You are incorrect in claim that most AA have two (0+ / 0-)

          black parents.  Blacks in this country are a category whose membership rules were designated by hypo-descent--one drop ob so-called Negro blood.  Ergo, "blacks" in this country are almost all multiracial unless they are recent immigrants.

        •  Just flip the script. Are you offended by a (0+ / 0-)

          comment that somebody is "not a typical white person?"

      •  You're over reacting. (0+ / 0-)

        Obama's heritage and childhood are totally unique and unlike many African Americans who grew up in this country.  That he shares some of their experiences, as the commenter points out upthread, is unquestionable and he was undoubtedly different from the mainstream in all of the places he lived.  

        I am not the least naive about racial issues and have lived in foreign countries where I was the different face in the crowd.

    •  This is ridiculous, (15+ / 0-)

      aside from the 4 years he spent in Indonesia, he grew up in Hawaii.  That was then, and still is, the US.

      He was not 'popular', he was often a loner.

      The trajectory of The President's life may not parallel that of large numbers of US blacks, but his experience living in black skin has no doubt, given him all the examples every black person gets about racism.   I doubt he would be disdainful of being included among blacks who adopt a certain 'stance' in order to attempt to be effective against entrenched ideas.  

      Could there be ambivalence in whom regarding his background?  Himself?  I doubt it.  He deftly straddles the fence between all the inputs which make him who he is.

      The writer of the comment Sullivan referenced is in no way implying that The President is either 'kowtowing' or intimidated.  Your understanding of what's been highlighted in this diary is what is condescending and inaccurate.

      "There are always 10% screaming about something"--Hollydem's Dad.

      by pvlb on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:22:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It comes from a fundamental... (20+ / 0-)

        lack of understanding of the history and the terrain.  Double consciousness all day long, every single day.  Too many here can't comprehend this and instead see it as a weakness instead of a necessary survival instinct to achieve what you want.

        Do you think I can just go into my job and say what is really on my mind?  Who can?  None of us and they know it.  Power is not a replacement for intelligence as the head of BP found out.  

        But puzzle me shocked...there are perfect examples here of black men speaking their mind on this blog and you see how they are hounded on this very blog.  

        To my President, I keep saying, you do you.  Trying to please some people who will never be pleased whether he be reasonable or gangsta is no way to govern.  And I can see how it would play out if he came out blasting folks rhetorically.  There would be handwringing here about how he seems too angry, etc. etc. etc. and he will scare the middle.  

        On and on and on...

        I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

        by princss6 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:29:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not really (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bruddaone, cville townie, cas2

        I challenge you to find anywhere in any of his books or statements more than a couple of examples where he was personally affected by racism. I've read most of what there is out there, and I couldn't think of one of the top of my head. Think about it, Hawaii is by far the most racially liberal state in the union, and he was a biracial kid attending an elite prep school. Then he went to an ultra-liberal small college in Los Angeles, then Columbia and Harvard Law.

        I'm sure a cab passed him by in New York at some point, but really, if you study his history, he didn't come into his black consciousness because of the experience of discrimination based on his skin color; he came into it more as an abstract political and social community that he felt drawn to and wanted to be a part of. Nothing wrong with that, but I think it's just inaccurate based on the record to say that he experienced a lot of skin color prejudice in his own life growing up.

        The effect of being abandoned by his father was obviously of far greater impact.

        •  Ummm... (11+ / 0-)

          when his grandmother said she was sometimes afraid to see black men....nah, that had no profound affect on him...and if she the white lady that raised him had that fear...I guess NOBODY else in Hawaii did, right?

          I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

          by princss6 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:07:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Even that experience was not about him (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bruddaone, princess k

            His grandmother was talking about someone else. Sure you can say that as a black person he was affected by the knowledge that white people discriminate against black people. But the question is whether he himself experienced discrimination based on his skin color, and I see no evidence of that in any of his writings or statements.

            •  You didn't hear the race speech... (11+ / 0-)

              it did have an impact on him and as I said, I guess she was the only lady in Hawaii, despite having a familial relationship with a black man, who was afraid of black men.

              Come on!  Stop playing.

              I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

              by princss6 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:29:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I said that obviously a black person would be (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bruddaone

                affected by the knowledge that white people discriminate against blacks. That's a different issue than whether he himself had felt the sting of skin color prejudice. You are either unable to understand the point, or you're just being purposefully obtuse.

                •  cuz (8+ / 0-)

                  i guess grandmom dunham was THE only lady on the island scared of black men.

                  Read more - there is a story from an article about his mom.  Search for it.  It recounts an incident where kids threw stones at him and teased him for being black.  but hey, let's just make up stuff and pretend that a black man in America or Indonesia grew up and never ever faced a racist incident.  And I'm being obtuse, lol!!!!

                  I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

                  by princss6 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:44:57 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Wow, that really proves your point (0+ / 0-)

                    Hmm, we're talking about whether Barack's perspective was at all informed by racism that he may have experienced personally in Hawaii, at Punohou, at Occidental, at Columbia, or Harvard, or Chicago, and you cite an incident not from Hawaii, or even the United States, or even involving white people, but from Indonesia, and you don't have a first-person account (Barack) or even a second-person (his mother or even the person who allegedly witnessed it), but you have an account by her biographer, and the story plainly says that young Barack was not even conscious of the event, or there is no evidence that he ever remembered it, or that it played any role whatsoever in forming his consciousness. Hmm . . . love the way you "prove" your points.

                    •  BS (3+ / 0-)
                      I challenge you to find anywhere in any of his books or statements more than a couple of examples where he was personally affected by racism.

                      Ummm - that was your opening (failed) gambit.  

                      I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

                      by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 05:37:14 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

                        No evidence that he was personally affected by this incident. None.

                      •  And even if he had been affected (0+ / 0-)

                        by this incident, how is one incident "more than a couple"?

                        •  Despite not agreeing with you... (7+ / 0-)

                          I used to at least respect your opinions because you didn't make stuff up.  Our last few encounters, I've been floored by how much you just make up, based on your own filtered and often uninformed view.  

                          It is sad to see an attorney sit here and argue that a black man in America has to provide a detailed list of racial incidents or he never experienced any.  Oh for sure, you will get some to sign on to it because their denialism allows them to live in a fantasy world.  

                          When presented with evidence you dissemble and deflect.  i wouldn't even engage you if your comments were so painfully wrong.

                          I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

                          by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 05:56:58 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  *weren't so painfully wrong... (3+ / 0-)

                            I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

                            by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 05:58:04 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Look I grew up in a similar environment to (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            cas2

                            Obama. I was a biracial kid with very liberal/left/academic parents, went to good schools for the most part. I've been to elite colleges and law schools, also lived in places like the South Side of Chicago (in my case, D.C. and Oakland), where you rarely even see white people. I know of what I speak when I say that it's very possible that Obama has not had a lot of personal experiences with blatant racism directed against him.

                            Of course, that's not to say that more subtle forms of racism doesn't affect you. You are still living in an environment structured by racism, and if you have any solidarity with your fellow blacks, you empathize and want to do something about it. And then of course there could be all kinds of subtle experiences of discrimination that you never even find out about. But believe me, it's possible to go through life without a lot of direct, explicit experiences of racism.

                            If he had had those experiences, I'm pretty sure that he would've talked about them in one of his books or public experiences.

                          •  Yes... (5+ / 0-)

                            yes...because your experience is Obama's.  Who can argue that one since you share some similar experiences.  Crack logic right there.

                            I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

                            by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:13:48 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Not saying that's dispositive, just that it's (0+ / 0-)

                            possible, and there's nothing in the voluminous record of his own writings and statements that would lead one to think otherwise.

                          •  It's possible... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            conlakappa

                            that I've got fifteen fingers.  But I wouldn't bet on it.  And it is more than possible that he has seen his share of racists incidents but hey let's settle for the thing that is least likely to have happened in racist America.  But it IS POSSIBLE.

                            Knock it off with the foolishness.

                            I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

                            by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 08:00:12 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Actually, no. If a Black person has any (5+ / 0-)

                            plans to be successful in politics, business, academia etc it probably isn't a good idea to have laid out, in the public record, how persecuted you have felt because of your racial background in American society. It makes White people feel uncomfortable. I see that every day on DK.

                            Most of the people who go to the top in major institutions in our society Tom Bradley, Colin Powell, etc etc... and Barack Obama... are known as hard workers and quiet types.  I think that I know why.  

                            My two children are biracial, too. Both were born and raised in California. Both went to public schools all the way up until college- they both graduated from Harvard. They are both in grad school now.

                            We were liberal parents, but we weren't academics. We both graduated college- me at 22, my husband at 34. He was a high school drop out who went back to school starting at LA City College, and then transferred to UCLA.  We were both the first in our respective families to attend and graduate from college.

                            My two children have experienced racism as biracial people growing up in America. The advantages of having a really good education, and a White mother, haven't completely protected them. So, I wouldn't say that you aren't being truthful, I'll just say that I really find it hard to believe much of what you write here.

                            You have to get over the color green; you have to quit associating beauty with gardens and lawns; you have to get used to an inhuman scale; you have to understand geological time- Wallace Stegner

                            by blindyone on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 10:38:22 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Maybe . . . (0+ / 0-)

                            It's quite common for blacks of all stripes to speak about various kind of personal experiences with racism in their memoirs, autobiographies, more personal speeches though. I'm sure you as well as I have seen it hundreds of times. White society doesn't generally fault you for experiencing racism; they may fault you for the way you react to it. Those who have experienced a lot of racism, but still managed to "rise above it" seem to get the most accolades.

                            Before I go further, let me congratulate you on having two children who graduated from Harvard and are in graduate school. That is so wonderful, and a tribute to great parenting!

                            I'm not saying that my experience is typical of biracial people, or of other black people. I've been fortunate, however,  to have known many, many biracial people in my life, scores well enough to have had deeper conversations (this is what happens when you grow up/live in multicultural/multiracial places like the SF Bay Area and Los Angeles). I have a pretty good sense of the different kinds of experiences that people have had. It really depends a lot on the person, too. My own sister relates a lot more difficulties with her experience growing up biracial than I did.

                            But what I do know is that it's entirely possible to grow up in Hawaii, go to Occidential, go to Columbia and Harvard and live on the Southside of Chicago and not personally experience a whole lot of direct racism, especially if you are, like Obama, a smart, great-looking, mild-mannered, culturally-sophisticated person. And, again, there is nothing in the actual record of his writings and speeches that would lend one to think otherwise.

                          •  Is direct racism... (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            conlakappa, soothsayer99, blindyone

                            kinda sorta like "real" or "actual" racism?  

                            I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

                            by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 11:05:13 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

                            Do you see no discernible difference between, say, being called the "N-word", or harrassed by the police for no other reason other than being black in a white neigborhood, or having a cross burned on your lawn, or experiencing racial epithets in the workplace with no response from management, and dealing with "structural racism" like attending predominantly white schools, or suffering from a lack of social networking-based employment opportunities?

                          •  You are splitting hairs... (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            soothsayer99, conlakappa, blindyone

                            And it is really more complex than your ill-informed, soundbyte inducing racial manifestos are.

                            I have work to do and really am not going to waste any more brain cells on a relativism discussion about white supremacy when I know damn well and you do too that white people are still killing my people and your half-people.

                            I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

                            by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 11:31:13 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  preach it and teach it!!! (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            blindyone

                            "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
                            I am a volunteer for Bob Massie for MA-Sen

                            by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:44:39 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  There was even more about this in the (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    conlakappa, princss6

                    biography about his mother:  A Singular Woman.
                    The author is Janny Scott.

                    My son gave it to me for Mother's Day. :) I highly recommend it.  

                    I do think that it might have been a problem for him if the book came out in 2008 because it would have forced Obama to spend a lot of time explaining and defending his mother.

                    You have to get over the color green; you have to quit associating beauty with gardens and lawns; you have to get used to an inhuman scale; you have to understand geological time- Wallace Stegner

                    by blindyone on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 10:10:40 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  So, you admit that there is knowledge that (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Diogenes2008, conlakappa, princss6

                  White people discriminate against Blacks, yet you believe that with his appearance none of that affected him personally?

                  I truly don't understand this. It seems contradictory.

                  You have to get over the color green; you have to quit associating beauty with gardens and lawns; you have to get used to an inhuman scale; you have to understand geological time- Wallace Stegner

                  by blindyone on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 10:05:16 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Wow, black skin in this society in America is a (4+ / 0-)

              daily struggle said or unsaid, just the way it is.

              •  Not necessarily (0+ / 0-)

                For a biracial kid growing up in liberal places like Hawaii and coastal California, and attending elite schools on the East Coast, it can often by as much of an advantage as disadvantaged. I should know.

                •  A bi-racial (6+ / 0-)

                  kid in 1961.  Don't forget he's not a toddler in 2011 US.

                  "There are always 10% screaming about something"--Hollydem's Dad.

                  by pvlb on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 05:57:59 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Coastal California Liberal? (5+ / 0-)

                  BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

                  I guess you've never taken your Black ass into Orange country.  He was in LA during the Gates terrorist streak, yeah real fucking liberal.

                  "I honor the place in you where Spirit lives I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, then we are One." Namaste friends!

                  by Adept2u on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:13:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  He was up at Occidental College (0+ / 0-)

                    I mean get real, don't you think if Barack Obama had experienced Chief Gates in any direct way that he would've mentioned at some point in the hundreds of thousands of public words that he's uttered over the past twenty years. I'm sure you've been to Occidental, but if you haven't, it's a little secluded little paradise in a very nice, mostly white corner of L.A. South Central might as well be a million miles away.

                    •  Um Occi is in Eagle Rock (4+ / 0-)

                      In case you don't know that's patrolled by LAPD and he was definitely an out of placer.  Occi is in no secuded paradise, wait Eagle Rock is paradise?  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  It's not mostly white its Hispanic!  A million miles its 10!!!!!  Lol OMG, oh and maybe he heard about that racism as an academic exercise given to him by that church he sat in for 20 years.  This shit slays me.  America showed us yet again what it thinks of unapologetic civil rights talk when they destroyed the Rev. Wright, and you think a man as smart as Barack Obama is going to be talking about it, well there was that speech on race and 100's of others, but you don't hear him though huh?  You are an entire trip Pilk, you're like a progressives Larry Elder.

                      "I honor the place in you where Spirit lives I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, then we are One." Namaste friends!

                      by Adept2u on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 08:40:14 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I like Larry Elder! (0+ / 0-)

                        So I'll take that as a compliment. But you apparently have not been to Eagle Rock lately, maybe you're confusing it with Highland Park, or Glassell Park. I have a number of (white) friends/co-workers who live there, and believe me, the area around Occidental College is NICE!!! I took my niece up to Occidental on a college tour, and she wouldn't go because it was too "quiet and serene" for her (she grew up in East Palo Alto). And even Eagle Rock itself is not the college.

                        Darryl Gates-LAPD was cracking heads in South Central in order to scare black and Latino kids from ever thinking about doing anything in a place like Occidental, and it worked for the most part (once Westwood was locked down). Again, given how high profile that LAPD was as a national issue at that time, through the time he wrote his memoir, what are the chances that he had an experience with them that he never talked about, in his book or elsewhere?

                        •  Bwahahahah! (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          princss6, conlakappa, blindyone

                          Say no more.  You like Larry Elder and I actually had no doubt you did.

                          I'm in Eagle Rock every week and no the fuck it isn't NICE.  San Marino is NICE, Palos Verdes is NICE,

                          My girlfriend in Highschools mom's was a secretary at Occi and I was there all the time, hell I even considered going, and if you walked your black ass one block off that campus quiet and serene would be the last things you'd find.

                          LOL Larry check this out, I don't know a Black person who never had an issue with the LAPD it was so ubiquitous as to not warrant mention hell it still is.

                          That you can take comparison to a man who gives white people license to call Black men stupid is all the evidence I need of the kind of Black person you are.

                          "I honor the place in you where Spirit lives I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, then we are One." Namaste friends!

                          by Adept2u on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 09:03:00 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Just because I like him doesn't mean I agree (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Adept2u

                            with him on everything, or even most things. I just think he has an entertaining radio show, though somewhat less so since his mother passed.

                          •  Where did Larry Elder give white people (0+ / 0-)

                            license to call black men stupid?

                          •  Oh dear lord (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            conlakappa, princss6, blindyone

                            http://www.amazon.com/...

                            Stupid Black Men:  How to Play the Race Card

                            So he puts out a book calling racism a card so that white people can feel comfortable as they always have been in minimizing racism.  It's a card.  Like a white man ever listened to the card like it isn't the 2 of clubs.  Fuck Larry Elder he's just cashing in on White hatred and providing a Black face for racism, there is a lucrative industry in that.  Cornell and Tavis are milking the left hand side the same way.

                            "I honor the place in you where Spirit lives I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, then we are One." Namaste friends!

                            by Adept2u on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 09:11:00 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, I wouldn't have used that title (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Adept2u

                            and I've never bought any of his books. This is a great line:

                            Like a white man ever listened to the card like it isn't the 2 of clubs.

                            But I listen to the show on occasion and find it entertaining. My radio isn't connected to Nielson or anything, so I don't see that he's getting any money from me.

                          •  I'd never like any person who would (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            princss6

                            ever say such a thing and that attitude is quite apparent in his radio show.  I listened to it before.  I called in and made him cry.  He hung up on me and boo hoo'd for half an hour afterwards.  I love that memory.

                            "I honor the place in you where Spirit lives I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, then we are One." Namaste friends!

                            by Adept2u on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 09:44:17 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Wish I had tape of that! (0+ / 0-)
                        •  Ummm... (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Adept2u, conlakappa
                          have not been to Eagle Rock lately

                          What does Eagle Rock now have to do with the Eagle Rock of the 70s?

                          He is deflecting...

                          I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

                          by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 09:03:03 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I go to Eagle Rock all the time (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            princss6, conlakappa, blindyone

                            I live in Pasadena it's right next to Eagle Rock, my high school is less than 3 miles from the Eagle Rock.  I know what it was like in the 70's and now, and what he is busted because he's up against someone who knows better.

                            "I honor the place in you where Spirit lives I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, then we are One." Namaste friends!

                            by Adept2u on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 09:04:21 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I live two blocks from the Jungle (0+ / 0-)

                            and work at Florence and Broadway. Believe me, in the 1970's or now, Eagle Rock (especially the Occidental campus itself) is nice from where I sit.

                          •  Some thing just made me LAUGH (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            princss6, conlakappa

                            See right between Pasadena and Eagle Rock and by Eagle Rock there is actually a big assed boulder you can see from the freeway where if the light is right the crack looks like an Eagle hence the name Eagle Rock, anyway literally right behind the Eagle Rock is the Annendale Country Club.  BEAUTIFUL golf course I understand, but ask me how many Black members it has?  Oh you mean there was an actual LPGA event scheduled there once and rather than admit some people of color they told the tournament to get bent?  That's right they told the tournament to get bent.  Hmm.  That would have been right around the time the President was there.  All Hail Liberal California!!!

                            "I honor the place in you where Spirit lives I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, then we are One." Namaste friends!

                            by Adept2u on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 09:42:10 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh I see this hard knocks 'hood (0+ / 0-)

                            has an exclusive country club that doesn't allow blacks right around the corner from it. OK.

        •  This is a ridiculous (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          princss6, soothsayer99, FrankAletha

          line of argument you're making. So I probably should take a more substantive response.

          But I'll simply ask if you know anything about racism against blacks in Indonesia? If not, I'd suggest that you stop making a fool of yourself and go learn something.

          •  Show me where Obama has ever talked about (0+ / 0-)

            his perspective being informed by racism against blacks in Indonesia? There's racism everywhere, but when you have a guy who has two autobiographies, and thousands of public statements, and you can't show a single time where he's talked about a personal experience of racism and how it affected him, then I think you have to consider that as some sort of data point.

            I'm not saying that it doesn't exist. It must somewhere. But I don't know of it, and it hasn't been cited yet.

            •  Really...I suggested (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              princss6

              that you inform yourself rather than make ridiculous statements. Its something you should undertake before you go making a fool of yourself.

              But if you need to be hand-held in that process, I'd suggest you start by reading some of what Janny Scott has written about those early years.

              And if you read "Dreams From My Father" and missed the whole point about Obama's struggle with his identity development as a black man, then perhaps there's some blindness on your part that is affecting your conclusions.

              •  Others have cited the Janny Scott book (0+ / 0-)

                above, but it does not have anything on Obama himself talking about racism that he personally experienced and how it affected him. Dreams from My Father does not include any such incidents either; struggling to find your identity as a black person is not the same thing as personally experiencing racism.

                •  So you seriously (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  princss6, TrueBlueMajority

                  want to claim that if Obama never wrote about a specific incident where he experienced racism - then it never happened?

                  That's REALLY the point you want to make?

                  Seriously?

                  You've managed to paint yourself into a pretty tiny corner there in terms of making any kind of meaningful point.

                  Oh, and by the way, he does talk about several specific experiences in "Dreams From My Father." The fact that you didn't notice them is, shall we say...telling.

                  But then to suggest that there's a difference between a whole book devoted to the struggle to find an identity as a black man and the prevalence of racism is perhaps even more telling.

                  •  I resent this "telling" thing you've got going (0+ / 0-)

                    Telling what?

                    You guys are also erecting a straw man around my statement. I stated that you would not find "more than a couple of instances" of his talking about his personal, direct experience of racism in any of his writings and speeches. If you can find one or two, that doesn't disprove the point, though nobody in this thread has actually cited even one.

                    What effect that may or may not have on his perspective as President is another question entirely. I don't know. Nobody (except maybe Michelle) will really know the answer to that until he writes his memoirs of his Presidential years.

                  •  Because.. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    cryptodira, Diogenes2008
                    Dreams From My Father." The fact that you didn't notice them is, shall we say...telling.

                    as I've observed unfortunately, there guy is in denial and is always first out the gates to deny, deny, deflect.

                    Sad.

                    I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

                    by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 08:31:25 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Read his book (5+ / 0-)

              Or maybe it's in his mother's book where she relates the story to the Indonesian kids calling him nigger and hitting him in the head with rocks.  He learned to dodge and that he was a nigger all over the planet.

              "I honor the place in you where Spirit lives I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, then we are One." Namaste friends!

              by Adept2u on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:11:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Which also happened to a man I knew who had (4+ / 0-)

                a Korean mother and a black father and was adopted by a black military family.  When they were stationed in Japan, he was called the Japanese equivalent of nigger daily.  But, hey, if it didn't happen to Pilkie, it only might have happened at all.

                Shocker for me that I've been in D.C. for over 30 years now and must have missed all the moments of great racial understanding all over the city.  There are areas of the city one could traverse without seeing a nonwhite person but, hey, I guess Pilkie wasn't aware of them.

                Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.--MLK, Jr.

                by conlakappa on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:32:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I didn't say that there aren't areas of DC (0+ / 0-)

                  where you can traverse without seeing a nonwhite person, I said that there are areas where you rarely see white people, that I've lived in, and of course, didn't directly experience much in the way of racism there for obvious reasons.

              •  You guys keep citing an incident (0+ / 0-)

                that is told by a biographer of his mother, but there's no record of Obama himself every talking about it, so there's no basis for the belief that it affected him. And anyways, in my original comments I asked for a cite to him talking about "more than a couple" of incidents of racism that he had personally experienced in his life. Not one has been proffered as of yet.

                •  I see upthread (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  princss6, TrueBlueMajority

                  that you are perhaps a lawyer.

                  Its painfully obvious that you don't have much understanding of child development.

                  Those incidents happened in what we normally call "the formative years" for a reason. They tend to form our identity.

                  There are lots of things I was taught as a child that were racist and that I don't necessarily remember in terms of specific incidents. But they are there in my unconscious and affect how I see the world every day.

                  I'm not sure what your point is about Obama not  relaying these experiences himself personally. Its like you want to pretend that he grew up in a post-racial world back in the 60's and 70's. That's just ludicrous.

                  One more thing from your comments upthread...very few people of color these days have experiences with direct hatred for being black. That's not the predominant racism of our times. It tends to come in the form of institutional racism and the subtle variety of diminished expectations and disrespect. It seems as though you think those kinds are less damaging. I'd beg to disagree.

                  •  You are putting normative values (0+ / 0-)

                    on things that I don't think I've put forward. I absolutely agree that "very few people of color these days have experiences with direct hatred for being black". I'm saying that Obama was one of the first to experience life as a black person in America in that way. I don't believe that I've tried to speculate as to what degree the more subtle sort of experience with racism that he like the rest of us has encountered may have had on him.

                    I do take issue with the "less damaging" part. We used to get whipped and beaten as slaves. We were lynched during Jim Crow. We were physically restricted in our movements. We were categorically excluded from certain benefits and privileges. I'll take "institutional racism and the subtle variety of diminished expectations and disrespect" over all of that any day of the week!

        •  Because he didn't write about it in one (5+ / 0-)

          of his books, it never happened to him.  Really?

          It's clear that by the time he transferred to Columbia from Occidental, he was beginning to feel a direction in his life drawing him towards political activism and, maybe eventually, electoral politics.

          He doesn't have much mess or stupidity that we can talk about from the time he was a college student on. I'm sure that the GOP, and the Clinton campaign, were turning over every rock looking for dirt on him.

          So, he learned to be careful as a bi-racial kid negotiating at least two cultures all the time, and negotiating life in a more multi-cultural situation in Indonesia and Hawaii.

          He learned how to deal with people predisposed to distrust and dislike him based upon his appearance and family background. By the time that he was working with the other Harvard Law Review students, he knew how to deal with people whose political ideology put them on the opposite side.

          This kind of careful person would not be loading up books that would be read by potential voters with numerous anecdotes about how racism in American society hurt him as an individual.

          Even here, on DKos, it is abundantly clear that many people wish that the whole topic of racism, not to mention certain BKos affiliated people, would just go away.

          You have to get over the color green; you have to quit associating beauty with gardens and lawns; you have to get used to an inhuman scale; you have to understand geological time- Wallace Stegner

          by blindyone on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 10:02:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Excuse me.. (9+ / 0-)

      but who the hell gives you the right to decide who and who isn't the typical African American...?  Is there a typical White American?  What's the litmus test.  And yet YOU think that the diarist's interpretation is condescending?  Look in the mirror and think before you type such ignorant nonsense.

    •  Where did he grow up? wtf? (0+ / 0-)

      "But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower." - President Obama, 12-07-2010

      by justmy2 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:13:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "When he came to the U.S...." (6+ / 0-)

      seriously?

      maybe you meant to say, "when he came to the mainland"

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:30:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is the most intelligent analysis yet (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bruddaone, cville townie, DEQ54, cas2

      Obama's Has no African American heritage he has an African  one.   Very, very different   And grew up in very atypical contexts.  As someone else who grew up in similar contexts I am not surprised that people completely miss the relevance of this

      Intelligent, passionate, perceptive people will always disagree, but we should not let that disagreement, however heartfelt, lead us to become deaf to those better angels of our nature.

      by Mindful Nature on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:34:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wrong... (5+ / 0-)

        African Americans are Americans of African descent.  That makes Obama an African American...bonus...he even says so himself.

        I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

        by princss6 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:54:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Uh not really (0+ / 0-)

          th same thing.  If you talk with African immigrants they will tell you that their experiences are quite different than those of African Americans who have an entire cultural experience of slavery and hundreds of years in the new world.  Obama is different yet again for having been raised overseas and by a white mother.  Obama is a very very complicated figure

          Of course what this has to do with the current discussion, beyond the obvious point that he can't be boiled down to a stereotype

          Intelligent, passionate, perceptive people will always disagree, but we should not let that disagreement, however heartfelt, lead us to become deaf to those better angels of our nature.

          by Mindful Nature on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 10:42:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You do not know what you are talking about... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            princess k, conlakappa, blindyone

            Obama isn't an African Immigrant.  Point - irrelevant.  

            If we were talking about his dad, that would be something different.

            His mother being white does not mean he isn't African American.  The man says so himself!  

            He is an African descended US citizen.  That makes him an African American and all the exception to the rules do not change that and African American isn't ONLY defined by a history of enslaved ancestors.  If that was the case, Freed persons of color wouldn't be African Americans I guess!  

            For goodness sake.  Please try not to tell AAs who we are.  We know who we are.  He really truly is African American.

            I wish some of you would just open a book and read instead offering up your ill-informed opinions.

            I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

            by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 02:10:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Gosh (0+ / 0-)

              excuse me for interpreting things based on my experiences and the reports of others I have known instead of referring to the Holy Scripture of Orthodoxy.  Point taken I guess we can reduce Obama to a stereotype then.  Silly me!

              Intelligent, passionate, perceptive people will always disagree, but we should not let that disagreement, however heartfelt, lead us to become deaf to those better angels of our nature.

              by Mindful Nature on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 03:48:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  So, in your mind growing up in "multi-racial (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      princss6, Adept2u, Diogenes2008

      countries" necessarily means there was no othering/no race considered at the bottom?  That would probably be news to people in Indonesia, the only country not in the U.S. where he grew up.  And further news to the nonwhites of Hawai'i, which was segregated when he was growing up.

      Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.--MLK, Jr.

      by conlakappa on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 05:32:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  At least this makes some sense out of (0+ / 0-)

    Obama's postures.

    Well? Shall we go? At least that man is gone.

    by whenwego on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:40:15 PM PDT

  •  Absolute, unadulterated nonsense. (18+ / 0-)

    Firstly, President Obama has not had a difficult time pushing aggressively for what he wants when pushing against the left.

    Secondly, President Obama's record on policy is not only spotty but reflects an incredible rightward-bent given that he is a Democrat.  This is not an issue of tone.

    Thirdly, and this cannot be stressed enough, the tactic of non-violent resistance only works when your opposition is subject to introspection and shame.  The current Republican opposition has no principles that Obama can hold them too, they lack the requisite integrity.  Nor does a large portion of their base (who are by-and-large authoritarians, and thus unlikely to compare principles, which they don't in fact hold, and positions, which they obtain from their authorities).  To pursue this course would indeed demand that President Obama fail to recognize his opposition.

    Fourthly, if, for a brief moment, we were to buy into this rather offensive notion that President Obama is fundamentally handicapped by his race, a man that has successfully become the leader of the most powerful nation the Earth has ever known and still enjoys remarkable popularity in comparison to his predecessors of the past half-century despite numerous ongoing national emergencies, let us explore its implications.  It would mean that every one of the compromises that he has made, compromises that cost rights, livelihoods, and lives, were predictable consequences of his race.  Knowing this, as he must have to follow the path you appear to suggest, he ran anyway.  For two years he asked, begged and pleaded for votes, just so when he got into office he could less effectively implement critical policies at a crucial juncture in our nations history.  It would impart to President Obama a tremendously selfish egotism, it would imply that his ambition outstrips any desire to use the office of the presidency to help the hungry, the terrified, the deployed, the desperate, the sick, the wounded, the homeless, the wrongfully imprisoned, the tortured, the left-behind, the ignored, the working, the destitute, the children, the voiceless.   I am hardly his biggest fan, but even I would never make such an absurd and offensive charge.

    Justice deferred is justice denied. -MLK

    by zephron on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:45:10 PM PDT

  •  Compare him to MLK if you want (7+ / 0-)

    The Obama I elected was certainly as bold and as eloquent as MLK.  The milquetoast wimpy version we've had since the inaguration can't hold a candle to the man I elected and the great men whose memories he invoked.

    If Obama actually ever used some fighting words instead or talking about "folks" this and "bipartisan" that, he might have better than approval in the 30s.

  •  Who wins in the end? Obama? (11+ / 0-)

    The commenter might have a reasonable argument if he were limiting his discussion to Obama's personal political fortunes.  It may well be that his strategy (assuming it is a conscious strategy) is one that will make him look reasonable and make the Republicans look unreasonable.  That may, in turn, help the president's chance's of re-election.

    But the issue is not, or at least should not be, Obama's political fortunes.  It should be the country's political fortunes.  And when you start looking at things from that perspective, the strategy looks a lot less impressive.  At a time when unemployment remains at historic highs, the president keeps talking about the deficit.  He's just signed the Budget Control Act, which will suck untold billions of dollars in federal spending out of an already teetering economy.  Perhaps conceding lots of ground to Republicans and allowing John Boeher to get 98% of what he wanted out of the debt ceiling negotiations will make the president look like "the only adult in the room," but it's not going to do the country a damn bit of good.  

    So when "Tom" writes about "winning in the end," maybe he needs to start by defining exactly who it will be who wins.

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:51:26 PM PDT

  •  Ridiculous nonsense by Sullivan (8+ / 0-)

    So he, a white guy, is the one who understands Obama, the "black/African-American President" via a commenter (white commenter)? The "other white guys" do not?

    Please!

  •  I think volumes might be written someday on the (22+ / 0-)

    very special predicament of the first African-American
    president. Progressives here who haven't spent much time exploring their own unaware racism won't get it.

    And that takes in pretty much the majority of progressives here.

    O, it is excellent to have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant." --Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

    by Wildthumb on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:58:43 PM PDT

  •  Some white Progressives will (21+ / 0-)

    prove the diary right on this one by showing us their lack of empathy.

    Right or wrong, we'll see a lot of resentful hateful pushback on this diary, and that ugliness will more than prove the point on how right this diary actually is.

    If it weren't, people would at least be sensitive enough to African Americans to treat the issue in this diary with more respect.

    The lack of empathy is often the most revealing part of what's going on. Anyway, that's my bet on how this one unfolds.

    Hand in hand with that will probably be a healthy sense of entitlement - ie white liberals feel entitled to their "firebrand" politician, because that's what they are somehow owed: someone who will express their anger, come what may - even if it's a mistake.

    And that's of course the case because white progressives on websites like this don't suffer nearly as much as African Americans do when those mistakes are made. They don't have to pay as high a price in terms of real world life/death poverty related payback from conservative whites like Bachmann or Perry.

    •  oh they''ll show up. (7+ / 0-)

      they always do.
      and then run back to uprate the hate crying "AA's are so mean to us and what' their problem. "
      they can't stay away.
      they could not leave blackwaterdog alone.
      they don't leave TiMT alone.
      or adept2you.
      white progressives.
      so persecuted.

      it's really gross.
      there is no other word for it.

      "Oh no...you changed your hair color? It's just so dark. You like it? And with your skin tone?" My Mom ♥ 12.25.2007 ------- A true sportsman is a hunter lost in the woods and out of ammo. ~Robert Brault

      by Christin on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:14:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Who pays the most due to Obama's conservatism? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MrWebster, WisePiper, FishOutofWater

      Who is suffering from the unemployment that he has ignored in favor of deficit reduction? Who will lose if he achieves his Grand Bargain? Who is rotting away in the lawless detention that he has championed?

      Number one: maintain your dignity. Number two: call your adversaries to the highest principles they hold. Number three: Seize the moral high ground and Number four: Win by winning over your adversaries, by revealing the contradiction between their own ideals and their actions.

      Obama hasn't "seized the moral high ground" as the diary claims. He has sunk to the level of his political adversaries. He has advocated their world view, concealing from the electorate the oppression that is the very goal of conservative ideology.

      "I am confident that we're going to be able to leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before." Barack Obama

      by quagmiremonkey on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:02:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  He's Jackie Robinson.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snout

    wearing Bill Clinton's Number....

    "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

    by durrati on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:26:11 PM PDT

  •  To me opening a can of whup-ass (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    prfb, justmy2, DEQ54

    is not what I expect or even need. Sure, sometimes that sounds good but what I want is a voice for the working people of the country.

    Obama rarely attemts to sieze the moral high ground or reveal the contradiction between their ideals and actions. He adopts their talking points and flawed arguments with the ease of a true believer.

    Unapologetically pro-citizen. Not anti-corporation just very pro-citizen.

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:30:10 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for this kenna, a whole lot... (10+ / 0-)

    of people here should read and pay attention to this.

    "The United States will not be able to dictate the pace and scope of this change. Only the people of the region can do that. But we can make a difference." 3/28/11

    by BarackStarObama on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:32:56 PM PDT

  •  Andrew is down with the brutha' (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pilkington

    Jeez, how i detest an insider white liberal preaching about the black psyche. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  •  I assume that Andrew Sullivan is (20+ / 0-)

    speaking of tactic rather than policy which is where the point is widely missed about what people are saying about Obama in his defense.

    Up and down this thread are people who still find it hard to avoid a nuance black hole when discussing the criticism of Barack Obama. It is not ALL racism to criticize Obama but don't forget that there are proverbial glass bottles being thrown at the WH towards Barack Obama, the same ones that were tossed at Jackie Robinson and still, even after a black man is elected potus 50 years later, a black man can't toss them back in his own defense.

    All I see is people still swearing that somehow, he's not gonna get off that easily for being black. 'It's no excuse'. Nobody said it was. Obama is just not going to jump up from that lunch counter and start swinging on white folks. It's just not happening. You can say what you will about how un-leftist he's turned out to be but that is a completely separate issue than people wishing he would be more scary. As IF.

    I responded to someone on this site once who declared that there shall be no more discussion about "scary black men" and it was all nonsense. Great! Glad to hear it. Maybe you can also declare that my son is now safe from people's stereotypes and the cops might not kill him. Thank God almighty we're free at last.

    The nerve, the fucking nerve of someone to tell me that there shall be "no more scary black man nonsense" even as I lay awake at night and wonder if the southern Ohio cops are gonna kill my son in the next 4 years while he's in college.

    But someone will still respond to me declaring their undying colorblindness and swearing that the potus is not beholden to feeling powerless against a wall of opposition of white people because he has arrived at some untouchable pinnacle of racelessness. They still won't understand that I have no issue with their policy objections to Barack Obama. I have an issue with their wistful "colorblindness" and refusal to defend a black man against racism because he's the president. If they don't know it's racism, why don't they learn? Because it's not really on their radar of concerns. They claim to care about Obama's black constituents but don't really know anything about the blunders they are making in regards to missing the opportunity to eradicate a large chunk of racism from the world.

    "Warm smell of Moulitsas rising up in the air..." -seanwright

    by GenXangster on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:38:40 PM PDT

    •  This ~ (16+ / 0-)
      I have an issue with their wistful "colorblindness" and refusal to defend a black man against racism because he's the president. If they don't know it's racism, why don't they learn? Because it's not really on their radar of concerns. They claim to care about Obama's black constituents but don't really know anything about the blunders they are making in regards to missing the opportunity to eradicate a large chunk of racism from the world.

      it is both maddening and just plain sad

    •  wow (13+ / 0-)

      I feel like making a bunch of sock puppets so I can rec this comment again and again.

      I responded to someone on this site once who declared that there shall be no more discussion about "scary black men" and it was all nonsense. Great! Glad to hear it. Maybe you can also declare that my son is now safe from people's stereotypes and the cops might not kill him. Thank God almighty we're free at last.

      The nerve, the fucking nerve of someone to tell me that there shall be "no more scary black man nonsense" even as I lay awake at night and wonder if the southern Ohio cops are gonna kill my son in the next 4 years while he's in college.

      This knocked the wind out of me.  Thank you.

      Motley Moose: Progress Through Politics

      by Fogiv on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:23:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What, exactly, do you mean by this: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GenXangster
      But someone will still respond to me declaring their undying colorblindness and swearing that the potus is not beholden to feeling powerless against a wall of opposition of white people because he has arrived at some untouchable pinnacle of racelessness.

      Are you saying you think the president feels powerless because he feels he's facing opposition from white people?  If so, then what is to be done?  

      For my part, I think that some of the argument over this "scary black man" issue is misconceived, because it's based on a false dichotomy.  I don't think it's a simple choice between the president appearing "angry" and appearing "reasonable" (or whatever adjective one chooses).  I think there are ways to be (and to appear) firm and principled without being angry.  That's not to say that the president's choices in this area aren't more restricted than a white president's would be, but I don't think it's an either/or issue.

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:44:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I disagree, FCJ. (7+ / 0-)

        What can be done about racism? It's up to the white people.

        What can be done about homophobia? It's up to the straight people.

        All these "isms" are institutionalized "isms" and to eradicate such bullshit takes time. How long, my brother? I wish I knew. But we cannot ignore historical racial context when teabaggers (The New White Citizens Council) aren't backing off racist dogwhistles and racist scare tactics. That is also our battle as progressives and it's part of our mission; to eradicate racism. I believe it is possible to be dissatisfied with Barack Obama's policies, yet defend him from racism at the same time. Defending him from racism is defending ME from racism.

        "Warm smell of Moulitsas rising up in the air..." -seanwright

        by GenXangster on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 06:02:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I get that part. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GenXangster, evergreen2

          My question really was about the blockquoted portion of what you wrote.  Perhaps I didn't frame my question clearly enough.  You seem to be saying that President Obama is adopting some of the stances he is because he feels intimidated by the opposition, some or much of which is based in racism.  (Correct me, please, if that's not what you're saying.)  If that's the case, how does one keep the president from feeling intimidated?

          I ask this because I feel like we're living in Bizarro World when it comes to the political discussion in this country.  There are certain topics that are simply off limits.  One of these is the extent to which opposition to Obama is grounded in racism.  It's a subject that one doesn't see treated in the mainstream media, although the evidence for it is pretty obvious if one looks at the statements and actions of the Tea Party and of a lot of "respectable" Republicans.  It seems that the media have agreed that this discussion is too hot to handle.  (Look at what happened to Jimmy Carter when he suggested that racism played a role in some of the opposition to Obama.)

          Given that state of affairs, I guess I just feel at a loss as to what can be done to push the discussion into the national consciousness.  People write about it on web sites like this, but as we know, they have limited reach.  It seems to me that it would be enormously helpful if white politicians were willing to call this stuff out, but there seems to be a conspiracy of silence on this topic.  (One which predates Obama, obviously, but which has become even more pernicious since he assumed office.)

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 09:36:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think it's something that can (7+ / 0-)

            be compartmentalized to the president. It's a thread that runs through all of us, this "thing" of having to deal with stepping around stereotypes and not being able to get too angry because majority white America buys into the scary black person meme. I would like for progressives to understand that and stop pushing for him to get all "Suge Knight" which is something different than whatever they may feel about how left-ish he leans. If he doesn't lean left enough for them, I don't see how insisting that he be angry and get some "balls" adds anything to the conversation except to invoke some old fears of black people from the kind of white people that still outnumber people like us. If he's not leftist enough, insisting on "balls" is a moot point.

            All opposition isn't grounded in racism and no one ever said that. But the situation remains that being black is a marginalized thing in a white majority and plenty of people will never see that it is something that must be dealt with when you're black. It's really hard for some people to process the tactic of the Civil Rights Underdog and separate it's limitations from what they perceive as a bully pulpit. I believe Obama could use a bit more support in the area of racism because he absolutely cannot address it. I'm not saying it will change anything about Barack Obama but things would certainly change for me and mine.  

            What it boils down to (separate from policy) is how the world will form perceptions about Me as a person of a certain race. If I haven't done my job, that's one thing. If I've been railroaded by a purposeful opposition AND beaten with the racism stick the whole time and my "base" and my "friends" don't come to my aid at least on that, what's the future of anyone else who will be judged by someones previous performance who was the same race? This trickles down to everyone and every single life situation. A black quarterback who may be mediocre at best but yet is further sabotaged and then BLAMED without proper defense from his own teammates....? Oh, that's a big problem for all of us who are ancestors of slaves.

            "Warm smell of Moulitsas rising up in the air..." -seanwright

            by GenXangster on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 11:51:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And this in a nutshell... (6+ / 0-)

              is at the heart of the conflation of policy criticism and character assassination that so many AAs and their allies object to here.

              If he doesn't lean left enough for them, I don't see how insisting that he be angry and get some "balls" adds anything to the conversation except to invoke some old fears of black people from the kind of white people that still outnumber people like us. If he's not leftist enough, insisting on "balls" is a moot point.

              But of course, they will stare back starry eyed like...but, but, but, how are we supposed to criticize him if we can't use stereotypical racist memes as if they don't know the damn different between policy criticism and racist memes.  Hell, they are about to convince me that they don't for all the protestation from high on down.  Fancy that, a debate on policy can take place with impugning his character based on stereotypical racist memes and therefore creating space for the further stereotyping of all blacks INSTEAD of being progressive and pushing back on it.  But you know what, I know they know the difference because they push back on it on the Republican side, some times.  It is just the temperature is kept so hot hear that things inadvertently slip out and then they go into full-force defensive posture and try to sell to AAs and their allies that water isn't wet.  GTFOH with that mess.  Been dealing with it all my life and ain't going to stop pushing back on it here or elsewhere.

              I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

              by princss6 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 12:13:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I hope I didn't appear to suggest . . . (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              evergreen2, GenXangster

              that this was something that can be compartmentalized to the president, because I certainly don't think it can be.  I asked my question the way I did because the discussion was centering around the president in this instance.

              I agree that the crap about "balls" or "growing a pair" or any of the rest of list of personal insults is out of line.  And frankly, I don't see that it contributes anything to any discussion of politics.  (I've remarked before that inquiring into things like a politician's motives, personality, and "true beliefs" is largely a waste of time, since those are things that are effectively unknowable.)  It's disappointing (to use a charitable term) that such things are said here on DK, but the anonymity of the Internet makes people feel they can say things they would never say to another person's face.  As I used to tell clients about the dangers of creating e-mail evidence, if the message isn't something you'd say to your grandmother's face, it doesn't belong in an e-mail.

              I keep thinking that what is needed is an "icebreaker" moment.  That is, some prominent white Democrat needs to denounce the racism of some of the criticism directed at the president.  It would make the issue "newsworthy" because a powerful person would have broken the unspoken agreement that the subject not be discussed.  Maybe that would get it into the mainstream media, and if other prominent white Democrats then provided backup, the discussion might at least start rolling.  Sure, there'd be a lot of pearl-clutching, smelling salts, and swooning couches, but it couldn't be worse then what we see now.

              "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

              by FogCityJohn on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 12:45:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  THIS!!! (0+ / 0-)

              "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
              I am a volunteer for Bob Massie for MA-Sen

              by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 08:00:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  The civil rights analogy is inaccurate (4+ / 0-)

    One of the reasons the non-violent civil rights movement was able to have some success was because there were black nationalists with an ideology of armed self defense also in the USA at that time. They were active  mostly in northern cities. Although they were a relatively small group, they had influence beyond their numbers.

    Malcolm X explained it all very clearly in his speech, "The Bullet the Ballot." The civil rights movement was able to negotiate politically not only because of their tactic of mass non-violent protest, but also because there was always somebody less appealing to the white power structure waiting in the wings.

    There is no militant movement waiting in the wings as an alternative to Obama's policies, not even an unarmed mass civil disobedience movement. Even if he wanted to play the role of a civil rights era politician (which I seriously doubt), he'd be playing with a very weak hand.

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:42:21 PM PDT

  •  This is stupid and wrong (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    O112358, MrWebster, cville townie

    First of all this statement is just insane:

    Obama is winning. Democrats are uniting behind him, although some white progressives think that they could do the job better. Independents are flocking to him. Even some Republicans are getting disgusted with their Washington leaders.

    Obama's approval rating just dropped into Bush territory for the first time -- 39%. Among independents it's at 34% and dropping. Independents are not flocking to Obama. And Republicans are not disgusted with their leaders; they just had the best off-year election in decades, and they just held off a national Democratic/labor onslaught to take back control of what was until very recently a solid blue state.

    The idea that Obama's strategy and tactics have anything whatsoever to do with the civil rights movement is downright offensive. First of all it's offensive to say that white progressives don't understand the civil rights movement and nonviolence. That's insane, white people helped chart the course of the civil rights movement from its inception, and participated in all of the major events. Second, the civil rights movement was about standing on principle no matter the cost and getting in the face of the powers that be no matter how inconvenient it might be for them. Obama has done neither, at all.

    Attributing Obama's unpopular and ineffective tactics and strategy to his race is a very dangerous place to go. Have you not consider where that logic ends up? It ends up with the conclusion that a black politician should never be supported for higher office because they will be crippled by their race in all of their attempts to do anything. I know you don't think that, so putting this argument out there is just stupid.

    Lastly, there's no need to resort to these weird attempts to understand Obama's politics through the prism of race. It's clear that he believes in neoliberal economics, just read his books for that, and if he wants to raise $1 billion for his re-election campaign, you can bet your bottom dollar that civil rights tactics and strategies aren't going to get him there!

    •  First of all, I wish everyone (9+ / 0-)

      would stop hyping ONE day in ONE tracking poll as the be all and end all in a discussion of Pres. Obama's approval ratings. Tracking polls are notoriously volatile. One day's bad sample can skew it for several days. Having said that, I think it's clear his approval has been hovering somewhere in the low to mid 40s throughout this "debt ceiling" debate, stock market roller coaster ride, etc.

      Second, 39% is not "Bush territory". That would be something closer to 29%. 39% (even if it's not an outlier) is Clinton, Reagan... and every President since Kennedy territory. Happens to all of them at some point, and it's surprising it didn't happen sooner to Obama considering the horrible economy. But it's certainly not unusual.

      I'm a dyslexic agnostic insomniac. I lie awake at night wondering if there's a dog.

      by rennert on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:03:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Remember that article... (6+ / 0-)

        a little while ago, I believe from Gallup saying that the Prez was defying their modeling because he was polling higher than Clinton and Reagan given the circumstances?  

        I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

        by princss6 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:08:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly. Gallup says it... then, what, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          princss6, Diogenes2008

          2 weeks later the number lowers?  Gosh, you think questions were worded a la those in CNN polls to get the desired response?  Nah, pollsters would never do that!

          Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.--MLK, Jr.

          by conlakappa on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 05:47:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I got polled recently (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            conlakappa

            I think it was by Pew, if I remember correctly.

            I refused to answer one of their questions, because I felt it was worded imprecisely, and could be taken a couple different ways.

            This is very nearly verbatim:

            "Who do you think could do a better job in Congress? Democrats or Republicans?"

            Now if they had asked me who WOULD do a better job, I would have said "Democrats". But they said "could".

            That can be taken two ways - "Who would" or "Who SHOULD". Republicans SHOULD do better, but Democrats WOULD do better.

            I told them I didn't like the way the question was worded, because then the pollster could (or would, but should not) take it either way, to bolster whatever agenda they were trying to push.

            I had to decline to answer. Pissed me off, but I did tell him exactly how I felt on the issue.

            "We have only the moral ground we actually inhabit, not the moral ground we claim." - It Really Is That Important

            by Diogenes2008 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 10:01:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not hyping it (0+ / 0-)

        but to say that Obama is "winning" on the say that it hits the low point of his Presidency is only appropo if you consider it in the ironic way in which that terms was popularized (i.e. Charlie Sheen, upon being fired from $2 million an episode gig on television).

  •  1. It isn't 1983 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    O112358, offgrid

    2.  His tactics have nothing to do with his policies (i.e. the same tactics could have been used to push different policies)....

    3.  Unless...I missed something, MLK didn't advocate the fierce urgency of next time...and he didn't call for sit-ins and boycotts...only if they would immediately work....

    Want an analogy...try Jackie Robinson...

    If he batted .200, he would have been used as an excuse for future discrimination....and comments like the one linked to here seem like they are attempting to start pushing that meme....that isn't the intention, but to start saying the President was hamstrung by his race will inherently create race based tension in future voters minds.

    I think it is much more critical for the President to succeed.  I understand the pressure he is under.  But I fear that the hesistancy to push forward is creating the exact effect and impression they may be attempting to avoid.

    "But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower." - President Obama, 12-07-2010

    by justmy2 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:23:38 PM PDT

  •  Hate to tell ya (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MrWebster, Pilkington

    But Obama's victory a couple of Novembers ago was a signal that things had already changed, and that we were within a new paradigm. As such that called for a new play book to be written. If he is doing as the author indicated ,using the old play book. Well than that is a failure on his part.

    You can see him in the light as advancing civil right via passive fortitude all you want. But we simply need far too much change right the hell now to play the waiting game.  This not the slow march achieves equal rights (which I have mixed feelings about some pro and some con) , this is act the fuck right now or the whole world takes a digger(falls on its face).  

    Obama is not a civil rights leader, he was a national leader...he has lost that right now but I still think he can get that back. The comparison to civil rights movements is partial at best.

    Any way if you want to go that route (which I disagree with). I would say we need more of a MLK type, You know up in your face with a million people kind of shit. and a lot less Uncle Tom

  •  Kenna, (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you for this diary.  

    Public polls have a wide swing, and it all depends on whom you poll.   They can be manipulated.

    I don't put much faith in them.

    Everyone needs to settle down.  Right now no one is winning.  

    Most Americans are sick of all of them, the congress, the senate, and the white house.  And rightfully so, they all have acted like clowns.

    It makes you wonder if they realize just how bad they all look to us.   Do they have any idea of what we really think of them?

    If he wants to get re-elected he will step up, and do what is right by the American people.  If he doesn't want a second term, it will be business as usual.

  •  Too many here believe they have nothing to learn (9+ / 0-)

    That is part of the reason we have such division within the Left blogosphere and Left elites.

    President Obama will be reelected mainly because voters do not ant crazy in the White House. This is why so many of his Left critics are desperate for drama aren't going to get it.

    Tweety daily begs for drama even though he admits that it will accomplish nothing. The truth is that the case for a large job creation package can be made without histrionics and showboating.

    This place no longer believes in people-powered movement. It seem clear to me that was just sloganeering, marketing to draw a certain affluent market. If Progressives really are about bottom-up, people-powered organization, then President Obama, or any president, should be incidental to our efforts.

    Too many of the people with nothing to learn are after the quick fix. Everything hinges on President Obama. This seems to go for the Congress as well. Al Sharpton listen to a Representative go on and on about how, "Obama needed to do this and that on jobs", and yet when asked what plans Congressional Dems proposed, the Representative couldn't clearly articulate any plans.

    The Left needs to get to work.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:37:19 PM PDT

    •  I am doing things I never imagined I would be (9+ / 0-)

      doing in my rural county to organize "people power" because of the President.  Its his community organizing model that we are following and its working.  It takes time and commitment and it is definitely not going to be about drama.  Everything that is said in this diary about decency winning the long struggle applies to what we are doing in my area.  People who would have dismissed the policies the Democrats are fighting for (well at least most) are listening to the discussion we want to have more and more frequently because they know us and they are more open to the President than they were before.  Also many progressives would have been clueless that there were like minded people in their community but we are finding each other through the same community organizing model and working together for change.

      •  Thank you for your work, it's how we'll win! (0+ / 0-)

        Offline, there's work afoot. Online, not so much.

        "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

        by sebastianguy99 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 01:14:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Do not underestimate Barack Obama (6+ / 0-)

    I do not agree with most of Obama's policies and I have serious questions about exactly whom he represents.

    But the one thing I would never do is underestimate his political savvy. He learned politics on the South Side of Chicago. The politically weak and stupid do not fare well there. He is also highly educated and extremely intelligent. In Chicagoland we have a saying, "Don't get mad, get even." You may not get even immediately, but timing is everything in politics.

    Personally I think Obama has an excellent chance for re-election for two reasons, who he is and who he is not.

    Reason #1: He is a calming figure in a  crazy confusing world

    Reason #2: He is not Michelle Bachman, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin or any of the other Republicans.

    If he is re-elected, I don't think I'll like his second term any more than I liked his first. But I am a socialist and way out of the mainstream of American politics.

    I wish we had a strong socialist alternative to push Obama from the left, but if wishes were horses we'd all get on them and ride. I don't see my horse anywhere in sight.

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:37:26 PM PDT

    •  Actually quite the opposite. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NyteByrd1954

      "Reason #1: He is a calming figure in a  crazy confusing world""

      People tend to drift to the person who is NOT  "
      calming figure in a  crazy confusing world"

      This is in-fact his greatest weakness.  I do agree, I think Obama will be elected.  I am however becoming worried.  But just like has been said in the past he seems to be doing his damnedest to give it to the republicans.

      Despite obvious controversy I like a joke a comedian once said something like "Bush did not steal an election. It may have fallen off the back of a truck and he ran away with it. But this was only possible due to Gore's campaign to end charisma as we know it"

      Obama is doing his best to end fortitude as we know it.

      And this COULD cost him the election.

  •  I have his back. (6+ / 0-)

    I will not abandon him.

    He is mine & I am his.

    I adore Michelle & the whole family.

    He is intelligent, super smart, grounded & level-headed.

    doesn't get better than that.

    GSA Making your School a Hate-Free Zone

    by x on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:44:01 PM PDT

  •  Obama is thee most poweful man in the world. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NyteByrd1954

    He has the power to start wars, order the murder of other Americans, impose his will over the Bill of Rights, controls the salaries of government workers, etc ect etc,

    And yet we are too believe he is incapable of weilding that power because basically he must be concilatory and deferential to the white republican racists or else they may get made and hate and vilify him some more.

    And yet we are to believe that as Obama sits at the center of world power that he is following in the same mode of tactics and resistence as Rosa Parks as if Rosa Parks and beaten and killed civil rights workers were actually engaged in some deliberative debate born out of Jon Stewarts book of debate rules?

    This whole narrative stinks.  Stinks because  it fundamentally posits that the racists have the power, and get to demand and have their power accepted by the black guy whether he likes it or not,from in fact, the most powerful man in the country.  

    It almost borders on making Obama powerless because he is black and thus must be compelled to acknowledge the progeratives of the racists.  No black man, no matter the position seems to be allowed the assertion of power--this narrative ultimately seems to be aiming at there.

  •  A fucking outstanding diary... (11+ / 0-)

    Finally someone has a fucking clue...about what Obama is up against...I'm glad to see, reality is starting to break through.

    If you don't think every minority/women in this country who has ever held a job particularly in a ivory tower Corporate environment isn't taking notice and has a real clear understanding of what is going on...you're sadly mistaken....they've seen this shit before...and understands it's not Obama or his policies...

    The only people who are faulting Obama are folks who have slim to no real world experience or they didn't really support him to begin with...

    When Obama came into office his  own party members weren't 100% behind him...guys like Reid, Nelson and Baucus....

    And now every one wants to point fingers at him like it's his fault shit is falling apart...it's a ridiculous notion....and white progressives need to pull their heads out and recognize what's going on....

  •  there are saner perspectives (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MrWebster, cville townie

    on Obama's Adminstration.

    Click here.

    Peak Oil is NOW! Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

    by alizard on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:22:06 PM PDT

  •  This toon nails many dkos progressives too. (6+ / 0-)

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    One bitter fact is two bit hacks populate the third rate fourth estate who are truly the fifth columnists. So, how did Obama piss you off today ?
    Call the media when they Lie

    by amk for obama on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 12:57:30 AM PDT

  •  Yeah, I read that article, too... (0+ / 0-)

    And I think it explains the president very well.  It also validates the idea that we really picked the wrong guy.  When you had overwhelming majorities, to pick a person who has to be submissive in order to get things done was a mistake.... a big one, and we are paying the price.

    GODSPEED TO THE WISCONSIN FOURTEEN!

    by LordMike on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 01:03:36 AM PDT

  •  This was a great diary. Reading through every (7+ / 0-)

    comment was a real eye opener.  Being a progressive does not equal having no racial issues.  Many of the people commenting will never see their superior attitude commonly found in racists, the I know what you need better than do attitude commonly found in racists, as a problem they need to deal with.  

    They think because they don't hate the other there is no racism.  But isn't considering yourself better than the other another form of racism?

    Some food for thought to chew on.

    "The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled." -Plutarch

    by DEQ54 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 04:45:27 AM PDT

  •  I've been saying the same thing for 2 months now (6+ / 0-)

    And I'll add on to it.  The "progressive" lacks the heart and intestinal fortitude to have been a fighter for Black civil rights.  They lack the discipline to accept the punishment the racist handed out with out reacting negatively, and they lack the basic motivation to get their own ass on the line and in the streets.  I can see from the comment stream it's the same line of denying bullshit that this place is famous for when issues of the Black community are raised.

    "I honor the place in you where Spirit lives I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, of Peace, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, then we are One." Namaste friends!

    by Adept2u on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 06:53:00 AM PDT

    •  I guess it depends on what you mean (0+ / 0-)

      by "progressive".

    •  Keep your cool (8+ / 0-)

      When someone throws coffee at you, stay seated, and keep your cool.

      When someone throws ketchup on you, stay calm.

      When they burn a cross on your lawn, don't go after them, because that's what they want. You know damned well tomorrow you'll end up hanging from a tree, and your family will be left alone. The police? Ha! Some of the people who put up that cross ARE police.

      Stay calm. Stay cool. Keep pushing forward.

      When someone calls you a name, freak out and threaten to leave the party, and yell at the person who hired the guy that called you a name, because your feelings are hurt, and you can't sit still or keep your cool... oh, wait. That's today's progressive. Would those who get so upset about being called a name be able to sit at a lunch counter and have food dumped on them? No. Obviously not.

      Would they be able to march through the streets peacefully and ignore the rocks thrown at them? Hell no.

      And yet they know what it was like in those days. Because they read something somewhere. Or they claim to have "lived it". Wonder why I'm not buying it?

      President Obama does remind me of the civil rights workers of the sixties - he keeps his cool, ignores the stones, the ketchup, and the vitriol from both sides, and does what needs to be done. He gets into the trenches and does the dirty work - makes the tough decisions. He doesn't get what he wants every time, because he's not the only person in the equation. Not a dictator, just a President.

      And yet he's accomplished a lot. Did he do it by yelling and screaming at people? No. Did he do it by being offended every time someone called him a name? No. He did it by pushing forward, keeping his head down, and doing what needed to be done, regardless of how he was treated.

      Sounds a hell of a lot like someone who understands the civil right movement, to me. I think the diarist and Sullivan are spot on.

      "We have only the moral ground we actually inhabit, not the moral ground we claim." - It Really Is That Important

      by Diogenes2008 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 10:14:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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