Skip to comments.What Obama isn't: black like me (Stanley Crouch Eats His Own)
Posted on 11/02/2006 9:29:22 AM PST by presidio9
If Barack Obama makes it all the way to becoming the Democratic nominee for President in 2008, a feat he says he may attempt, a much more complex understanding of the difference between color and ethnic identity will be upon us for the very first time. Back in 2004, Alan Keyes made this point quite often. Keyes was the black Republican carpetbagger chosen by the elephants to run against Obama for the U.S. Senate seat from Illinois. The choice of Keyes was either a Republican version of affirmative action or an example of just how dumb the party believes black voters to be, since it was obvious that Keyes came from the Southeast, not the Midwest.
That race was never much of a contest, but one fascinating subplot was how Keyes was unable to draw a meaningful distinction between himself as a black American and Obama as an African-American. After all, Obama's mother is of white U.S. stock. His father is a black Kenyan. Other than color, Obama did not - does not - share a heritage with the majority of black Americans, who are descendants of plantation slaves.
Of course, the idea that one would be a better or a worse representative of black Americans depending upon his or her culture or ethnic group is clearly absurd. Even slavery itself initially came under fire from white Christians - the first of whom to separate themselves from the institution were Quakers. The majority of the Union troops were white, and so were those who have brought about the most important civil rights legislation.
Why then do we still have such a simple-minded conception of black and white - and how does it color the way we see Obama? The naive ideas coming out of Pan-Africanism are at the root of the confusion. When Pan-African ideas began to take shape in the 19th century, all black people, regardless of where in the world they lived, suffered and shared a common body of injustices. Europe, after all, had colonized much of the black world, and the United States had enslaved people of African descent for nearly 250 years.
Suffice it to say: This is no longer the case.
So when black Americans refer to Obama as "one of us," I do not know what they are talking about. In his new book, "The Audacity of Hope," Obama makes it clear that, while he has experienced some light versions of typical racial stereotypes, he cannot claim those problems as his own - nor has he lived the life of a black American.
Will this matter in the end? Probably not. Obama is being greeted with the same kind of public affection that Colin Powell had when he seemed ready to knock Bill Clinton out of the Oval Office. For many reasons, most of them personal, Powell did not become the first black American to be a serious presidential contender.
I doubt Obama will share Powell's fate, but if he throws his hat in the ring, he will have to run as the son of a white woman and an African immigrant. If we then end up with him as our first black President, he will have come into the White House through a side door - which might, at this point, be the only one that's open.
HE IS NOT BLACK.
Interesting point. Republicans would be crucified for making the point -- not worth the cost in this case -- but it is interesting. Considering the Dems tried to sell us on the idea that Bill Clinton was the first black president, I am quite sure they won't care that Obama has a white mother and a black father from Kenya -- no American slave heritage.
Yes, that's right. People INSTINCTIVELY knew Obama was Kenyan, so they treated him a million times better than a typical Compton thug. This Crouch is an idiot, and his column is written for idiots.
With Mrs. Clinton an absolute dud, the dims have to reach back to their past with old, old African-Americans.
The United States had legalized slavery for about 90 years. In those 90 years there was tremendous amount of turmoil over it and its relation to what the Founders had envisioned. It eventually ended up in a civil war where 500,000 white people died fighting over it.
The British colony's of course had slaves before the America won its independence from them. If Britain had wanted it banned from the colonies it could have done so.
Here with his mother, Ann Durham
Where did you hear that from?
As far as I know, he is a baptist, and his father (whom he never really knew) followed some kind of tribal religion.
As far as I can tell, he doesn't even have any muslim family members....marxist yes, muslim, not likely.
What was that Talking Heads album? Oh yeah, "Stop Making Sense". ;)
Just imagine how offended Stanley Crouch would be if a white supremacist had produced a sitcom or movie in which the main character was an African-American presidential candidate named Al Sharpton -- or even Jesse Jackson, for that matter.
According to this guy we still have another 20 years of slavery left to go.
The only way an "african american" can get elected is as a Republican IMO. Of course Colin Powell isn't technically an African American.....
Too bad Blackwell and Steele aren't in more conservative states.
We will probably get a latino Pres. before a "black" Pres. the way things are going.
And just what are those signs?
Suffice it to say: This is no longer the case.
Seeing as how the United States haven't been around 250 years yet, let alone in the 19th C., suffice to say it was NEVER the case.
Also, he is DEFINITELY not a Republican...
His grandfather and father are Muslims.
America is generally on this subject so confused.. This might be a worldwide delusion.. The scope of it is awesome..
An entire planet deluded..
I see they are now going to move the "goal lines," eh?
Not Our Kind, Dear.
Yes, as are his African half-brothers on his Dad's side, but Barack is not Muslim. He says that he is Christian. I read his first book.
Doesn't he also say he's from KANSAS...?!
No. If I recall correctly, he said Hawaii, then off to Harvard, then Chicago.
You obviously haven't a clue about Crouch. He is a refreshingly clear thinker and speaker about matters racial. He's the opposite of a racial demagogue, he's the anti-Jesse Jackson. Oh and he's also an expert on jazz ... and a public denouncer of rap.
Here's an amazon listing of "the idiot's" books.
Here's a review of one of his books .
Crouch, contributing editor to the New Republic, once a jazz critic for Village Voice, artistic consultant to Jazz at Lincoln Center, and author of Notes of a Hanging Judge (1990), is not an easy person to relate to because he is one of those "in-your-face" thinkers whose very smugness seems meant to alienate and provoke. He refers to himself and other blacks as "Negroes" and Amiri Baraka as LeRoi Jones; surprisingly, Malcolm X is not recognized as Malcolm Little (mustn't give him ideas). One gets the feeling from his numerous television appearances that the conservative Right consult only with Crouch on questions about black Americans, for no black critic attacks liberals, feminists, and black power leaders with the flair of Mr. Crouch. This self-conscious flair extends to his writing in spades, as in the opening essay on the role of the outlaw in American democracy, where at one point he writes of a "set of appetites focused on the exotic, bedeviled by a nostalgia for the mud, given to a love of sensationalism that completely hollows out a pretentious vulgarity." So, imagine my frustration as I continued reading to discover a creative, at times, eloquent thinker who will lead readers through many subtle discoveries if given the chance. The book is a collection of pieces Crouch prepared for diverse purposes: essays printed elsewhere, converted talks, and reflections on cultural happenings. His interests are wide ranging--film, literature, politics--all informed by a keen analytical mind that, at times, transcends the liberal or conservative labels. His analysis of films vis-a-vis his concerns for the challenges black filmmakers "need to meet" yields startling results when applied to the work of Quentin Tarantino, Albert and Allen Hughes' Menace to Society, and Leon Ichaso's Sugar Hill. This in-your-face Negro, this provocateur, talks a lot of interesting stuff. Bonnie Smothers --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Crouch is not an idiot. He is a great columnist an an independent thinker. He's pointing out a truth that hurts the Donkey's here: their poster-child Black candidate is really . ahem .. not Black as the term in commonly used. It's an interesing insight, and one no other commentator has seen fit to make in the thousands of fawning words written about the man.
I haven't read his book, but I remember reading an article that reviewed "dreams of my father", that explicitly stated his fathers family followed some kind of tribal religion (earth, wind, spirits type stuff).
I've seen it also referanced several times, I have never read or heard anywhere that any member of his family is muslim, do you have a source for that?
No, but the post I was referring to questioned whether he had any Muslim family members, to which the answer is yes. As I stated.
I was replying to a question about family members as well as the distinguished senator himself.
I remember watching him on CNN and when he was doing the BS story about his father being a goat herder (which was bull) and he made some referances to his dads family and loving the earth and sky (tribal religion referances).
The fact that he may have been pulling the con job this long is frigtening.
Obama is very smooth, and possibly less of a commie than Hillary, but he's still a Dim and that's enough for me to say: "Back, Undead, back!"
Actually, I think he is more of a commie then her.
That said, the both of them are artifical media created hype machines, and both have no chance, what so ever, of ever being elected to national office.
Here is what Obama said about himself:
"And I speak with some experience on this matter. I was not raised in a particularly religious household, as undoubtedly many in the audience were. My father, who returned to Kenya when I was just two, was born Muslim but as an adult became an atheist. My mother, whose parents were non-practicing Baptists and Methodists, was probably one of the most spiritual and kindest people I've ever known, but grew up with a healthy skepticism of organized religion herself. As a consequence, so did I.
It wasn't until after college, when I went to Chicago to work as a community organizer for a group of Christian churches, that I confronted my own spiritual dilemma.
I was working with churches, and the Christians who I worked with recognized themselves in me. They saw that I knew their Book and that I shared their values and sang their songs. But they sensed that a part of me that remained removed, detached, that I was an observer in their midst.
And in time, I came to realize that something was missing as well -- that without a vessel for my beliefs, without a commitment to a particular community of faith, at some level I would always remain apart, and alone.
And if it weren't for the particular attributes of the historically black church, I may have accepted this fate. But as the months passed in Chicago, I found myself drawn - not just to work with the church, but to be in the church.
For one thing, I believed and still believe in the power of the African-American religious tradition to spur social change, a power made real by some of the leaders here today. Because of its past, the black church understands in an intimate way the Biblical call to feed the hungry and cloth the naked and challenge powers and principalities. And in its historical struggles for freedom and the rights of man, I was able to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world. As a source of hope.
And perhaps it was out of this intimate knowledge of hardship -- the grounding of faith in struggle -- that the church offered me a second insight, one that I think is important to emphasize today.
Faith doesn't mean that you don't have doubts.
You need to come to church in the first place precisely because you are first of this world, not apart from it. You need to embrace Christ precisely because you have sins to wash away - because you are human and need an ally in this difficult journey.
It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street in the Southside of Chicago one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn't fall out in church. The questions I had didn't magically disappear. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt that I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth.
That's a path that has been shared by millions upon millions of Americans - evangelicals, Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Muslims alike; some since birth, others at certain turning points in their lives. It is not something they set apart from the rest of their beliefs and values. In fact, it is often what drives their beliefs and their values.
And that is why that, if we truly hope to speak to people where they're at - to communicate our hopes and values in a way that's relevant to their own - then as progressives, we cannot abandon the field of religious discourse.
Because when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations towards one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome - others will fill the vacuum, those with the most insular views of faith, or those who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends. "
He's not a Muslim. And since when did we start the "he's not black enough" argument? That's a dim argument. Obama's an idiot. Black has nothing to do with it.
From an interview by Steve Malzberg in 2004 of Alan Keyes:
". . . Barack Obama and I are of the same race, but we are not of the same heritage. And there is a distinction. Race is something physical. Heritage is something that may have an element that is physical or biological, but that also includes other elements of history and experience--the kinds of things that have helped to shape the mind and heart of an individual and that are not determined by physics and biology. And we are of different heritages. I'm of a slave heritage, and he is not. I have wrestled all my life with the reality of the injustices done to my ancestors, and it has been deeply important to me. It's influenced fundamental choices that I have made in life, things I take seriously, things I am still, to this day, preoccupied with, like the question of justice and liberty. So, I think it makes a tremendous difference, and if we just look at it with racial blinders on, we will miss the fact that these are two people of the same race, but they are not two people of the same heritage."
I believe Keyes made this point a number of times during that campaign.
"(Stanley Crouch Eats His Own)"
That's just the point. Mr. Crouch doesn't consider Mr. Obama to be one of "his own."
I think he makes a good case.
Powell's parents were immigrants from Jamaica.
When I was growing up in that neighborhood, Trinity United was the Beverly Theater, where I saw lots of movies - like "Hell Up In Harlem" and "The Spook Who Sat By The Door."
Or at the same time. A lot of Cubans and Dominicans, for example, are of part African ancestry. But the leading Latinos currently on the radar -- Bill Richardson and Mel Martinez are the first to spring to mind -- appear to be of mostly European ancestry.
If the blasted revolutionists had not had their way and taken the colonies out of the Realm, she WOULD have banned slavery decades before the US went into convulsions over it.
what's the big deal?
You're right - my bad - I was looking at a different post I thought you were replying to...
Wrong on both counts. The author is guilty of not doing his homework, but instead projection his own presumptions. Keyes was selected because the Illinois Reflublican party's moderates, having blown the entire election and having seen their own candidate go down in flames in a sex scandal, decided to turn the selection of the party's senatorial candidate over to the rightmost part of their party they could find in order to discredit them when they lost. Said group, being nuts, promptly fulfilled this expectation.
It was all local politics and had nothing to do with the national Republican party, who would have done anything to prevent it.
The great part of the PC use of "African American" is when white people from South Africa come over here and apply the term to themselves.
Hell, I've got a black great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother who are listed in the records of a Bermuda parish as "colored". I'm African-American, and I look so white I'm pink.
It's a minefield. When baseball was segregated, some managers snuck in black players by saying they were Cuban. One of the Negro League teams was called the "Cuban Giants," in a broad wink and a nod to that convention.
When my parents moved to Tallahassee in the late '60s -- Dad was working on his Master's at FSU -- my maternal grandmother was horrified to learn that they lived next to a "colored" couple in the married student housing. But when she found out they were foreign, it was okay.
I can't say it's rational, but it's a distinction that exists.
I think they wanted to find someone who would draw some attention to the race, to get out the message, and to get some attention. There was a near-zero chance of any IL Republican beating Obama, and I have to salute Keyes -- he knew he would lose, but he was willing to take that hit to get the message out. Might as well bring in a national celebrity and make it a proxy fight, because where else are you going to take it?
If you can't win, lose loudly, strongly and without apology. If Goldwater hadn't been smeared and smacked down as he was, the way wouldn't have been paved for Reagan.
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