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I am a black woman and my family and me are ardent supporters of the President so this is not an easy diary to write.

I will say it again

Obama's avoidance of race hurting blacks & country


NOTE: I am speaking for myself in this diary and not black community. Only my opinion and observations.

I am a black woman but I am not African-American.  My husband and daughter are African-American.

Until I married my husband I did not understand the African-American experience.

I wrote a diary yesterday entitled Obama is compromised by the Skin he is in

and was hr'ed and slammed by some who called me racist.  I did not and will not respond to those charges because those who said that do not know me or my life and they are entitled to their opinion.

However, what I know as a black person who was not born or raised in this country, is that living here as a Permanent Resident married to an African-American and raising an African-American daughter has been an education and also an eye-opener.  

Growing up abroad as a black in a mostly black country I always heard other blacks talk about African-Americans in "not nice ways".  So my opinion about them was formed from this.  Later when I migrated to this country, before my marriage, I met African-Americans who made fun of my accent and the fact that people from my background were suck-ups to white folk. Many of them also made fun of how many jobs people like us had and were mad at us for taking their jobs. Our country was colonized by whites so our experience with whites although rooted in the slave era differed from that of the African-American experience.  The African-American painful experience with regards to racism is evident once you live in this country even as a black without their history.  Anyone from a different race or different country who gets married to an African-American will know what I am talking about because race and racism becomes part and parcel of your life at some level or some time no matter what.  

At first I was angry at African-Americans because I thought that they had it much better than they thought. Looking from the outside I thought they had lots to be grateful for because they seemed to be able to afford to travel to vacation in my country, stay at hotels etc.  Little did I know I was just seeing a sliver of their experience.  Today, after living here for more than 20 years, and now married to an African-American for 11 years I can stand here and say that the African-American experience in this country is a painful and horrendous one that never goes away.  Living everyday with an educated African-American man who is honest and does his level best to take care of his family and do the right thing in his life I see his and their struggle firsthand.

The racism that African-Americans experience in this country is mostly not evident to others.  Believe me African-Americans experience some type of racist or insensitive behavior towards them everyday.  However, like most, they just want to live their lives and they get on with it.  Many of them do not complain and only talk about it amongst themselves.  Some of them prefer to ignore it and pretend it is not a part of their life experience.  To me this is a coping mechanism even if I do not understand it.   There is alot of love, faith, hope, joy amidst all the sorrows within this proud community.

My husband's mother is bi-racial but she sees herself as a black woman.  She could pass for white but she refuses to.  She does not have the dark skin of President Obama and could have chosen, like some bi-racial folk in her time, to live as white but she decided to live as a black woman.  She is proud of her heritage and raised her kids to be proud of theirs. One of her sons is also bi-racial and the other 2 kids are President Obama's complexion.  Growing up as kids in an all white neighborhood the darker boys were not treated like the darker boys.  Their lighter skinned brother was invited to the white kids' houses and to hang out while his darker brothers were ignored.  My husband's mother was not having it though and let him know that she was not going to let them diss her darker sons.  My husband saw racism in his life from early on and still continues to experience it even though he is well-educated and is an expert in his field.  He rarely gets offered positions in management and if he does they always find a way to get rid of him and his well-earned salary.  The racism he experiences now is the institutionalized type but we still get spurts of blatant racism directed at us in the white community in which we live.

Now to the point of this diary regarding my feeling that Obama's avoidance of race is hurting this country.

I strongly believe and will continue to believe that President Obama is not doing us any favors by avoiding race.  Race and racism is a part and parcel of every person's life experience in this country, whether we admit it or believe it or not.

It does not do us any good to have the first African-American looking like he is cowering from the the racism in the Conservative media.  Even if this is not what he is doing it appears that he is and perceptions matter in politics. African-Americans understand President Obama's situation and do not expect him to single out their communities to give them special help.  More than any other community they understand that he will be labeled as favoring them and so they are willing give him a chance to govern. However,  what is fast becoming an issue in the African-American community, much like in the Progrssive community, is his obsessive need to be accepted by the Republicans and Conservatives.  It appears that he bends over backwards to help them but runs from anything that might link him to the African-American community.  African-Americans do not like what they are seeing regarding the dismissal of minorities in his Administration or the way how he does not stand up for his people.  They did not like when he backed away from Prof Gates but they understood to a certain extend why.  Again perception is everything.  

FOX and their conservative allies are looking for ways to bait him and they have been doing it for the past 18 months it is time now for him to stand up and fight back. I think it is unwise for him to let this moment pass.  I think that it does not help us as a country if he does not engage in a positive way with regards to race.

He did a good job with his speech on Race but now he has to engage those words and take action.  Unless he does we will continue to be bombarded by the right. Bullies need to be confronted and stopped in their tracks not ignored or scurried away from.  This only makes them stronger and they go on to hurt others in worse ways.  Just look at what has happened to Ms. Sherrod. An innocent woman was hurt because of his and his administration's sensitivity to the word race and the charge of racism. Like Rachel Maddow said on her show the other night unless he deals with this"who is next?"  

I know that some might say he is President and he has alot to do so why should he do this.  Those who would say this know not what they are talking about.  He only hurts his Presidency if he separates race and ignores it because it is part of who he is. I know he knows this at some level because he is much smarter than I am. He won the Presidency for crying out loud.  This man can do this if no one else can.  This is a moment to be grasped and not to be wasted.  This is an actual opportunity that can move us forward regarding race in a positive way if only the President has the courage to reach out and hold on to it.

Sir, talk to Ms. Sherrod. Apologize to her directly. Hear her out. It need not be a beer summit. You have not seen or experienced what she has.  My husband helped me to understand as an outsider who was not raised in the African-American experience.  I know I am a lowly peasant who is not on your level but you were raised in Hawaii and not in an African-American community where the experience, even of your wife and her family, differs from yours.  I know that you worked in Chicago with African-Americans and understand at some level their plight but what Shirley Sherrod is saying is not only raising the coversation out of just Race, she is allowing the conversation to be broadened to include the poor and that includes all poor here in the USA.  This is where we need to if only we can navigate the third rail of race, which blocks us from dealing with the plight of poor people of all races in this country.

If we can navigate this moment with courage and not let the Beitbards of the right own the conversation and the direction of that conversation each time, we might be actually be able to come out on the other side.

Originally posted to hotchimera on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:08 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  "avoidance of race?" Have you read (12+ / 0-)

      either of his books? Did you hear about a certain speech he gave in Philadelphia during the election? Did you miss the whole Prof. Gates fiasco?

      How exactly can a black man - the FIRST black president (fo real this time) avoid race? Please explain that to me.

      "Palin tried marijuana years ago. She said it distorted her perceptions & impaired her thinking. She hopes the effects will eventually one day wear off." -

      by marabout40 on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:30:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •   from my perspective does not mean (0+ / 0-)

        there is not more to learn. As long as there is life there is the opportunity to grow and learn even for the first African-American Prez.  He knows alot but not everything. He is still human and growing like all of us.  Now he is Prez his experience of race and his education about race in this country is changing and expanding.  His position will open up different aspects of race to him because he is in a different place in his life with more responsibility.  He does not know everything as Prez, a black man or as a human being. Do you know that there are some who are black and try to avoid race? I do not think he is doing it on purpose.  He is a good man and I know he wants to find the answer but the current environment is compromising his position and his attitudes.

        •  The folks who avoid race are (10+ / 0-)

          Clarence Thomas, Alan Keyes, Ron Christy, etc...I would not put Obama in any of those categories. Just look at whom Obama is married to. I'm sure he could have easily married a non-Black person if he really wanted to "avoid race."

          •  those are well-known ones (0+ / 0-)

            many who are not well-known do

          •  The Guys You Named Don't Avoid Race, They (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            exploit it.  They bend over backwards to serve the status quo while lying about and demonizing other blacks, and all poor people.

            President Obama's getting and taking very bad political advice on race issues, jobs and deficit issues, labor issues, and reproductive freedom issues.  

            The buck stops with him and the cavalier way in which they treated Mrs. Sherrod in the face of the hatemongers assault has IMO hurt his standing among AAs.

            Notorious race-baiting wingers were clamoring for Mrs. Sherrod's head and the WH's first instinct was to help the race-baiters 'lynch' her.  

            That's bad anyway you look at it.

        •  If I could get a reply please (7+ / 0-)

          I am a 53 year old black male, born and raised in Nashville, TN.  I offer these thoughts to you and hope that you reply.  Who  would President Obama have this conversation about race with?  Are you talking  about the right wing nut jobs?  He would sit down and talk about race to the likes of limbaugh and those other fools on fox and conservative radio.  Is that what you are talking about?  It is not worth the president's time to engage in that conversation.  It will not change any of their minds.  

          I think the president has studied Dr. King and the rest of those who lead their people to freedom.  Mandela and so on.  

          Let me give you this quote from Dr. King's speech called "How long, not long," "Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding. We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man. (Yes)"

          So if the president was to give another speech on race, it would humiliate and defeat the white racist of this  country.  The rest of us black and white have moved on to making this country better.  

          Don't fall for the race baiting.  

          Before I go, could you please give me your thoughts on Dr. King's comments?  I think there is a lot in that one paragraph.  One thing I get out of it, is we could use the sordid history of America and beat the white people with it, like it was a baseball bat.  

          •  I'm assuming (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            justmy2, majcmb1

            the Vice President needs to be on the same ship of state as his commander in chief. When Biden proclaims:

            I don’t believe—the president doesn’t believe—that the Tea Party is a racist organization. Very conservative, very different views on government… but it is not a racist organization.

            that's a masterpiece of avoidance. I could go on and on, but this is current and speaks to the point.

            In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects. J. William Fulbright

            by crescentdave on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 10:11:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I, Too, Am a Student of Dr. King ... (0+ / 0-)

            And a Disciple of Malcom X.

            Let me give you this quote from Dr. King's speech called "How long, not long,"

            "Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding. We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man. (Yes)"

            The only thing I dis-agree about in the approach of Dr. King is this:  

            Our struggle is not a struggle of/for Civil Rights.  Our struggle is to be Respected as HUMANS of Equal and Like Passions as Every other Human on the Planet.

            We Don't Beg Others For That!  DNA has proven that Black People are the Original People of the Earth.  We are the Mothers and Fathers of ALL Civilization.  So we don't approach from a Position of Weakness.  We are NOT asking or begging anyone for anything we don't ALREADY possess.  We INSIST that others Recognize us for WHO and WHAT we ARE/WERE.  

            So it is NOT the Black/Brown Peoples of the World who need to "Make Friends".  It is the White Peoples of the world who need to learn to:  Respect Their Mothers and Fathers.

            "Of All Our Studies, H-i-s-t-o-r-y is Best Qualified to Reward Our Research" ... Malcom X

            by Day24Day7 on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 10:37:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  history proved Dr. King right. (0+ / 0-)

              no disrepect to brother Malcom, but Dr. King's way is the one that worked.  As Dr. King said in one of his speeches in response to the black panthers call for revolution, you cannot win a revolution without the support of the people.  And he used Castro as a example, Castro could not have won without the people hiding and feeding him. I think that Malcom did change his mind more to Dr. King's thinking than that of Elijah.   Not a conversation I want to have at this moment.  Time has moved on.  

              •  King worked because X was the other option. (0+ / 0-)

                It's not one or the other approach -- you offer the hand of friendship while letting them know that the other option is the hand of war.

                Gandhi didn't work merely because he eschewed violence -- he worked because he offered active non-violent resistance, and the British knew if they eliminated him, the next step was civil war.

                King worked because he offered active non-violent resistance. But the US was forced to accept his offer of friendship, because we knew that the other option was the path of Malcolm X -- and worse. That the country was facing civil war if we eliminated King. In face, when he was eliminated, we came quite close -- and that was after he had mostly succeeded.

                It's not a choice between taking two paths. It's giving your "opponent" for want of a better word, a choice between two paths. If only one or the other is offered, change will not happen.

                History proves that King and X were both right -- in that both were necessary for peace. It was the same in India, it's been the same in any struggle. When only war is offered, the weak lose -- see the Palestinians. When only non-violent active resistance is offered, the weak lose as well. It's only when you give the powerful a clear choice, that they have an opportunity to choose well.

      •  The Philadelphia Speech is interesting though (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LaEscapee, Blogvirgin, witkacy, Adept2u

        it sounded better then than it reads now.  And ultimately there was some intellectual dishonesty there about what Wright actually sad - stuff to win an election but probably avoided a more insightful point on race.  That said, Obama was not there to explain his pastor's insights - he was there to win an election.

        Sherrod's speech of course contained a lovely, nuanced, interesting sentiment on race ... and it nearly got her fired with the government this close to backing the truck over her.  I weep for the present.  

    •  while I agreed with your diary yesterday (0+ / 0-)

      in no way shape or form do I feel the president is avoiding race.

      reacting to others' perceptions of his race?  maybe.

      President Obama isn't my boyfriend. He's also not the guy who f*cked you and never called back.

      by mallyroyal on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 12:40:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry, but your diary (15+ / 0-)

    yesterday was offensive.

    I don't want President Obama to be my Black President -- I want him to be my President who is concerned about the effects of the far right on poor people -- black, white or green.  He is doing that.

    "We think the truth is bad enough. It obviously is." -- Fishgrease

    by gchaucer2 on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:12:48 AM PDT

  •  This is the right place for this comment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jalenth, moonpal

    Can someone explain what Ms. Sherrod means when she said this today:

    "I can't say that the president is fully behind me, I would hope that he is," she said on Good Morning America. "I would love to talk to him."

    "He is not someone who has experienced what I have experienced through life, being a person of color.

    Did she just say Obama ain't black?

    •  Link? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Little, WeBetterWinThisTime, Tulips

      I bet she's referring to the fact that he's not African-American, in the sense of being descended from those who went through slavery and segregation.

    •  No. I am familiar with this argument by older (13+ / 0-)

      AA's because I had to deal with it all during the campaign when they were asking if Obama was "Black enough". I'm Black too but I'm a GenXer . Okay, so when they say that Obama has not dealt with the stuff Blacks in America have this is what they mean.

      1. His father was African and although he was a British subject and faced his own bigotry, his son Barack Obama Jr., is not the descendant of an American African Slave. He did not grow up in a nation that did wrong to his father.
      1. He got to travel when he was young and did not grow up JUST in American schools and face being called the many name that the typical African American his age dealt with.
      1. When he did live in the states , he grew up in Hawaii which is not as hard core racist as the rest of America and still did not go through what the average AA in his age group went through.

      Those are the arguments that I had to deal with when I was an early supporter of his during the Primaries. These were the questions that I had to answer to my older African Americans.

      The Diaries of Blackwaterdog,Tia Rachel and Tim Wise are why I'm still here.

      by WeBetterWinThisTime on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:25:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't mind her elaboration that Fou (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sherijr, moonpal

        highlights up top. But these arguments go nowhere. Obama has so proved himself to be intricately informed on race in America.

      •  And I am Grateful (6+ / 0-)

        That you did take the time to answer them (although I defensively recoil a bit at your use of the word "older".  Not your fault - I am technically "older", since I've got grown kids.  But I am middle aged and just a few weeks younger than the President and I can say that the concerns are just as evident in my generation as they are anyone older than us.  Answering them means showing respect for the possibility that as young people you don't have the same having lived it experience of racism (indeed, the elders worked hard so that me and our children wouldn't have to deal with it as much as they did - not that it really worked, but that's a different discussion for a different time.)

        If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

        by shanikka on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:55:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If the transcript is correct, it is merely (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      indicative of a schism in the AA community with dividing lines along the lines of class, hue, educational background, and generational affiliation.

      "Because I am a river to my people."

      by lordcopper on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:37:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep it is (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lordcopper, jalenth, sherijr, mallyroyal

        My sister told me that some older AA were not happy with the fact that the first black presents did not descend from African American slaves. I told her that she was wrong, I guess not. I'm truly disappointed.

        "Don't bet against us" -President Barack Obama

        by moonpal on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 10:14:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which is why I believe that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mallyroyal, moonpal

          many African Americans didn't like him.  I believe that that is a problem for people like Tavis Smiley, or Harold Ford.  I think they feel that the first African American president should have come down the lines of Slaves.  It would have been a better American story.  Just my opinion!

        •  I recall Michelle Obama speaking of this (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mallyroyal, moonpal, ahumbleopinion

          during the election, how for some folks Barack was too black.. and for other folks he wasn't black enough.. always moving the bar, as said by his own wife.

          •  I can never decide how black is too black (0+ / 0-)

            or black enough, or Goldilocks' favorite:  "JUST RIGHT!"

            I have the same problem with white people, too.  How white?  Ghost white?  Lily white?  Seems to me, most of them are always trying to get tanned.  Is that pigment-envy?

            What the fuck?

            This is America.  The 1 Percent Rule was good enough for my racist forefathers and foreflushers, and damn it, it's good enough for me.

            I say the kids with their pants down should all be considered black.  Any of us who actually shake our asses when we dance should be considered black, and since I actually use the phrase "right on," I should be considered black.

            How about just if we're "pro-black?"  Doesn't that make us black, too?  And what about the NFL?  You have to admit, there are a LOT of black guys in that league.  I hear they're letting some of them COACH now!

            MLK's dream was this crazy world where no one would be judged by the color of their skin.  You know what's funny about that?

            Someone's heritage or color has NO influence whatsoever on whether or not they're a good person.

            How fucking obvious should that be to everybody?

            Barrack Obama did not campaign as the "Black Candidate," and he does not govern as the "Black President."

            We are the change we have been waiting for.

            by mellowinman on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 11:13:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  You just did what Bietbart did (0+ / 0-)

      partial qotes are how they do it, not us.

    •  The Reference (8+ / 0-)

      Is to the fact that he was raised by American whites almost exclusively while very young, then taken to Indonesia, then returned to the United States and again raised by whites.  Until his adulthood, he appeared therefore to have been shielded from a great deal that most African-Americans experience from day one of their lives, without any real rest, when it comes to the impact of racism.

      So it raises the question of whether he "understands" or he truly UNDERSTANDS.

      I think reasonable Black minds can disagree about whether that matters, should matter, or does in fact even exist as an issue.  I also think that on this issue, Black voices should never be hiderated or silenced for being honest about those misgivings, because like it or not for Black people this long-standing question of race and racism is about far more than our President (it better be, anyway, or we as a people have not learned from our history).  But it is very difficult to convey in anything other than face-to-face discussion why any of this should matter to us.  Certainly it's hard when it is an "out of family" discussion, such as exists by default here on a majority blog.

      If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

      by shanikka on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:52:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No (5+ / 0-)

      Also you have to understand Obama had a far different upbringing.  He was insulated from the worse of American racism simply by growing up on a mostly benign island.  He didn't understand the plight of the Black man he actually made an effort to learn it.  Of course he was shown how America treats the Black man, but he probably didnt get called nigger the first time by a grown white person when he was 6 like I was.

      Fox News is America's Radio Rwanda

      by Adept2u on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:54:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well hello, I'm the mother of (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jalenth, icemilkcoffee

        bi-racial sons, one of which was called the n word when he was 2, the other 5.  My point being that you are actually doing what you apparently think he's doing: projecting, that because of his geographic environment, his caucasian parentage, that he was somehow not exposed to the racism of being black.  Do you honestly think that racists ASK one if he is AA or biracial or whatever before inflicting their racism?  To diminish the president's experience as a black man in this country because he had white grandparents and white mother, grew up in Hawaii is just another form of racial profiling.  

        •  What i said was he was insulated from the worst (0+ / 0-)

          I did not say he did not experience it and with all due respect to him his experience was tame compared to what a black person raised in a black environment during the same time had to undergo.  

          Fox News is America's Radio Rwanda

          by Adept2u on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 11:09:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  From your perspective, which I won't (0+ / 0-)

            diminish.  And yet what I will state is that being black, raised in a black community is also being insulated, Adept.

            •  insulated from what? (0+ / 0-)

              just an fyi i grew up in a hippie home with 2 sets of white parents along with my biological set.

              Fox News is America's Radio Rwanda

              by Adept2u on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 11:25:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  insulated from the all on bigotry of white people (0+ / 0-)

                I would think that was evident.  And incidentally I was responding to what you stated, not who you are or who raised you.  What I'm reading here is what appears to be an effort to diminish the president's blackness based on his white parentage.  

                •  That's something you are missing (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  The Presidents blackness isn't diminished in the slightest by being biracial or even 9 times racial.  As I consider it the club of Blackness is not at all exclusive.  As far as I'm concerned you're in if you want in with all the rights and privileges due.

                  I know you werent looking for personal info, but I wanted to share some because I know and like you around here, it was helpful to know you were raising black kids as a white lady until you shared that info I thought you were Black.


                  Fox News is America's Radio Rwanda

                  by Adept2u on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 12:56:56 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Then you and I are not in disagreement, my (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    initial comment to you was based on what I now suspect may have been a misinterpretation on my part Adept, in that I thought I was reading you as feeling the president's blackness was less than that of someone raised black by black parents in a black community.  I agree that it's different and even agree that it allows for a different perspective with both pluses and minuses, but not lesser.  Anyway from what you just wrote, I believe I was indeed misinterpreting.

                    Also I just read your comments and genx's in the diary about Sherrod's father being murdered.. and I am in whole hearted agreement, I have never doubted for an instant that the goal in all of this was to undermine and ultimately hurt President Obama, to take down any black folks they could, and better yet to get black folks going after each other.. a win win for the racists.  What I've been arguing along with a few others these past few days is that folks here were joining the right and the racists in their battle, imo.

                    which brings me to this diary and others like it that want the president to speak to the ongoing racism in this country.  I believe that is OUR responsibility.  He spoke candidly and I believe empathetically to this country about racism.. and he was beat up for that too.  Folks accused him of 'throwing his grandma under the bus'.. folks accused him of 'throwing Rev. Wright under the bus'.  Frankly too many folks bash him and distrust him and accuse him of all and sundry but they want him to go one further.. and take on all the racists in the country- along with their ever-loving friends the media.. and will they have his back?  I do not believe they will.  We may not want to be saved in this country, but we sure do want someone to fight for us.. about damn time we fight for ourselves, imo.

                    Oh, no I'm not black, I was not delving into your race or history because I don't alway think that is my business.  Yes I'm caucasian and my sons are bi-racial/AA, I don't want my questions or comments to be determined by race, and yet I know that we all bring our experiences and heritage with us on this blog and those are the things that help make us us and so yes it is important that you injected how you were raised.  It's funny because even in the 60s growing up in southern CA, integration was already a given, my teachers were Hispanic, friends, etc..and then the army which was fully integrated at that time.. it wasn't until I lived in the south briefly that I saw segregation and all out racism.

                    I have a great deal of respect for your comments and diaries on this blog and you are one of the reasons I continue to come back here.  

        •  Wow- that's just horrendous (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Calling a sweet 2 year old a n*??? I have 2 & 4 yo sons, and if somebody were to call them 'chinks' or 'gooks' (we're asians) I'd go apesh*t!

          •  My sons were two and five and we were camping (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            at a river in CA- this ocurred 26 years ago.. as they were walking twenty feet from me to use the restroom, I saw two caucasian men look at them and speak.. I caught up to my sons, my eldest (when asked what the men said) responded that the one man said:  Get out of here you little n...s.  And yes I would say apeshit is relatively close to my response.. although keep in mind my little boys were viewing this thus I wasn't too explicit.  It was the first time, it wasn't the last time by any means.

      •  If you read "Dreams from My Father" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        you'll see that he did have painful experiences as a youth, even in Hawaii. No, it was not exactly the same experience as yours, but no two people have exactly the same experiences. I know that's not what you're claiming, but people can and do learn to empathize with others, especially if they're exposed to different perspectives from an early age, as Obama was. He may not have felt the "African-American" experience as deeply as most other black men, but I think what he brings to the table is a broader experience that helped him get to where he is today, and will continue to help him in the future.

      •  I can't ride with you on that adept (0+ / 0-)

        I'm quite sure growing up black (lets face it he looks as mixed as will smith or myself) with white grandparents... IN HAWAII (whats the black population there?) wasn't a picnic all the time.

        and I've NEVER been called "nigger" to my face by anyone trying to stress the 'r' black or white so what does that mean about me?

        President Obama isn't my boyfriend. He's also not the guy who f*cked you and never called back.

        by mallyroyal on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 12:31:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No, but he ddn't have the Klan (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      murder his family.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:56:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No. her father was killed by a white man in the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sherijr, SoCaliana, ahumbleopinion

      60s. The President was a baby during the 60s and has only read about that time. I was a teenager roughly the same age as Mrs. Sherrod. I know exactly what she meant. I lived through that time.

      I doubt that you or the diarist experienced the bus rides, marches, sit-ins, desegregation, night riders,White riots (they are called race riots in American history, but African Americans were home in bed and armed White men came into their areas and burnt down their homes, businesses, raped their wives and sons and daughters and shot as many men as they could) not exactly my idea of a "race" riot.

      This happened all over the country, in the South, North, East and West.
        Link here and scroll down for list of US race riots  Focus on the period 1865-Present

      Now is the time to register everyone you know will vote Democratic! Over 18 and breathing - get them registered now and to the polls in November!

      by Blogvirgin on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 10:33:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think she may be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      referring to the fact that he did not grow up in the segregated south.  His father was not murdered by a white man with no prosecution; his mother did not have a cross burned on her lawn.  Hers is a different version of racism that what he has experienced.

      Superman may be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, we mortals have to do it one step at a time. Patience, persistence, votes.

      by ahumbleopinion on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 10:58:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Black approval rating for Obama has stayed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ETF, marabout40, Tulips

    steady at 90+% even as it has dropped for virtually every other demographic and political grouping. He must be doing something good for blacks, right?

  •  Am I missing something? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ETF, marabout40, moonpal

    Where does the NAACP factor in? I see no mention of their role in this event. I don't see NAACP in your diary at all.

    Does the "R" next to a politician's name stand for "Racist"? I'm starting to wonder.

    by kitebro on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:21:47 AM PDT

  •  Please (11+ / 0-)
    1. Obama has HIRED exponentially more Blacks than he has fired. Unless you can show that the opposite is true, you are simply running a diary on talking points and hearsay. The facts simply do NOT support the basic premise of your diary.
    1. Obama did the "beer summit" because he had personally commented on the situation and was personally involved. However, with the Sherrod case, he was not personally involved, and therefore, should remain OUT of this. The USDA officials involved in the firing addressed the situation, and Ms. Sherrod accepted their apologies.
    1. Have you spoken to Van Jones about his firing? Have you gotten his take on this situation? Because I'm sure he would disagree with your diary and your approach towards this president.
    1. People keep citing ACORN as though it was President Obama who threw ACORN under the bus. Again, that is a ridiculous leftwing talking point that is as specious as the ludicrous nonsense coming from the right. Congress voted to defund ACORDN and that includes many well-respected and admired "progressive" congressment on this site including Alan Grayson, Chuck Schumer and Anthony Weiner. Where were they to defend ACORN while this was going on? And why aren't people chastising these "progressive heroes" for throwing ACORN under the bus?
  •  I can see why his administration has chosen (10+ / 0-)

    to soft-pedal the issues whereever possible.  It's part of their non-confrontational style and makes sense of an especially sensitive topic.

    But there IS a point at which the silence becomes deafening.  At which time it becomes even more distracting than open conflict would be.  This is one such time, and we shall see what will be the outcome.  Reverend Wright was another.  Obama acted then, and despite the personal cost of the rupture, delivered a speech which was timely, eloquent, and effective.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:32:02 AM PDT

    •  Whenever "race" becomes the issue, AA people (6+ / 0-)

      lose.  Maybe because it requires everyone to choose sides, and AAs are a minority.

      "Because I am a river to my people."

      by lordcopper on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:42:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  President Obama's "meta-job" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, sherijr, moonpal

      in my opinion, is to demonstrate that a black man in the Oval Office can do a good job running the country. That, and that alone, is what will make it possible to elect anyone other than a white man to the WH in the forseeable future. If he messes that up, nothing else matters. To the extent that race is a distraction from doing his job, I totally understand the need to "soft-pedal the issues wherever possible." It's not just a matter of style.

      I disagree that this rises to a "Wright-level" distraction. In my opinion, the Rev. Wright didn't even rise to "Wright-level" distraction. It was in the middle of an epic presidential campaign, and Obama was in danger of losing the primary. He is not a candidate anymore, but the President of the United States. There will be many more Shirley Sherrods, as well as others who will have non-racial grievances. And if they can, the media will make sure to give each and every one of them a megaphone. The President cannot meet with each and every one to make them whole. Each of us needs to step up and take responsibility for making things better, and not expect one man to do it all.

  •  This country has demonstrated over and over (12+ / 0-)

    again that it is utterly incapable of undertaking a CONSTRUCTIVE dialogue on race.  The really ironic thing is that that problem seems to have gotten worse since Obama was elected!

    Exhibit A: Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and "Beergate."  In that instance, the cop was wrong, plain and simple, but a white media, fully possessed of white priviledge, and a society with confused priorities, couldn't stand the sight of a black president siding with a black man, whose civil rights had been, at best, treated with blithe indifference, over a white cop.  

    Until America is mature enough to have this discourse, I don't see how it's in any way politically possible for Obama to lead it.  

    "This shit would be interesting if we weren't in the middle of it." -Barack Obama

    by dlh77489 on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:32:16 AM PDT

  •  some of the naive and--let's be up front about it (3+ / 0-)

    --ridiculous remarks that this very thoughtful diary is eliciting ("Where is the NAACP in your article?" "Black people support Obama so what is the problem?) really make clear--as so much on this very white middle-class site--how disconnected if not downright clueless most people are about the plight of Black and poor people in this country.

    The real shame is not that dutiful Black people are not undergoing political lynchings but that they're not rising up and demanding serious change. But--hey--they're only just like everyone the hell else in that. . .  

    Let's let the pols do the selling out, you and I keep fighting for what's right.

    by Matthew Detroit on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:33:58 AM PDT

  •  May I respectfully suggest to the diarist, you (6+ / 0-)

    are putting too much responsibility for your life on the President.  President Obama's job is to tackle the big issues, and while he may be able to contribute to racial reconciliation, he's has only marginally more power to do so than the average citizen.

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:34:38 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for sharing this experience (5+ / 0-)

    I've never heard the impressions of a non American black person living here expressed this way and I was always curious.  I wondered if the people in Africa just forgot us what did they think happened do they think we are just chilling.

    I doubt you will get a great reception for this diary here because people are so open and able to accept other points of view as valid specially if coming from a black person


    However I see what you are saying and I understand.  However, I'm going to have to introduce you to a concept Black Americans have lived with for 400 years, and that's patience.

    If you noticed the injustices paid to your husband and your resolution I hope you notice the difference.  This lady had redress of an equitable nature in 24 hours.  This would never have happened under a white administration even if it were Democratic.

    I'm far more happy to have non racist in the equal opportunity departments of the doj etc. to ask that he ride head on this.  That used to be what the NAACP etc. were for before it was headed by the needs to resign Ben Jealous etc.

    I miss you around here Hotchimera, and don't let these people shut you up.

    Fox News is America's Radio Rwanda

    by Adept2u on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:34:55 AM PDT

  •  President Obama is an African-American man (9+ / 0-)

    who, while raised in Hawaii and Indonesia by a white mother and grandparents, has lived as a Black man in America for his entire adult life. His experience is multicultural, and he can empathize with more than one community, as his speech on race reflected.

    I think he understands more than you give him credit for.

  •  Please don't call me a "mulatto" (6+ / 0-)

    I actually am bi-racial and I prefer the term bi-racial, mixed raced etc.  "Mulatto" is a term that went out in the 70's.

  •  No matter what the reality... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of his understanding of the race issues, the bottom line is that the White House political operation is a shambles.  It is one of the worst I have ever seen.  Axelrod and Emanual are tone deaf and stupid.  This screw up was totally their responsibility and they should be gone now.

    Now whoa whoa whoa right there spinach chin!

    by Borg Warner on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:44:51 AM PDT

    •  Wow. Are you a political operative of any kind? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sherijr, moonpal

      Have you any experience in professional politics beyond the volunteer level?  More salient to this line of thinking, do you remember the Clinton political operation and how completely incompetent they seemed at times?  Some of you guys around here really need to get some perspective.  Seriously.

      "This shit would be interesting if we weren't in the middle of it." -Barack Obama

      by dlh77489 on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 10:05:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What makes you think the "professionals" have (0+ / 0-)

        any superior position to make claims than an amateur in politics?

        This isn't physics, where if you don't have a Ph.D., you need to shut up and listen. This is politics -- it's not essentially different from coping with who gets the biggest cube in the office.

        Really -- get some perspective. There are "professions" in the old usage of the word, careers that require many years of education to even begin to understand the work, and "jobs" where adequacy is measured in talent and smarts. Being a political operative is essentially no different from being a car salesman -- it doesn't take a Ph.D. Just a bit of common sense.

        •  Just as I thought. You have no experience (0+ / 0-)

          in politics at all, so it's hard to take your random judgments on things you don't understand seriously.  Perspective, indeed.  

          "This shit would be interesting if we weren't in the middle of it." -Barack Obama

          by dlh77489 on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 02:52:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What an ass -- I'm not even the person you were (0+ / 0-)

            responding to.

            The worst possible response in the world in domains outside of the sciences were expertise actually matters is the Courtier's Reply -- that only the elite are worthy of analyzing material which is purely a cultural production.

            You are certainly a pompous little person, ain't you?

            I sure as hell hope you aren't a "professional analyst" at any level -- you'd be more destructive than useful with that attitude. Yes, only English Lit professors have anything useful to say about Shakespeare...

  •  thank you...this is exactly right (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pithy Cherub, Adept2u, PhilJD

    Guilt is what you feel because of the kinds of things you've done. Responsibility is what you take because of the kind of person you are...

    by tim wise on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 10:29:10 AM PDT

  •  At every juncture in our history when (5+ / 0-)

    racial progress has been made in this country, there has always been a white backlash.

    After the passage of the Civil War amendments,  Rutherford B. Hayes made a deal to trade the presidency for Radical Republican Reconstruction, the white population of the South responded with Jim Crow.

    After the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and before that, the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court in Brown, the response came in the form of white resentment, which the GOP has expertly exploited for most of the last 40 years as a "Southern Strategy."

    After the election of the first African American president of the United States, the backlash has taken on many forms, including a "Tea Party Movement" to 'take back our counrty'.  

    My point in all this is that Obama has too much to contend with, including a media full of the heirs of white priviledge, to galavant about the country trying to fix every racial problem; the Gates situation should've illustrated that point vividly to everyone by now.

    What's more, is that in this instance, Obama's mistake was not a "racial" mistake, it was a personnel mistake.  Vilsack should've checked the voracity of any tape before he made any decisions.  

    The racial "mistake" here--if we want to call it that--was made by Brietbart, Fox, and the media at-large.  They used a piece of fixed tape to push their favorite narrative: that Obama has a racial prejudice problem.  

    Josh Marshall has a great article about this on TPM.

    "This shit would be interesting if we weren't in the middle of it." -Barack Obama

    by dlh77489 on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 10:36:14 AM PDT

  •  very well written its bizarre that out of 155 (0+ / 0-)

    comments only 8 see the light to recommend this.
    Its clear that fear of racial strife that can tear usunder the new and perhaps fragile coalition Pres Obama built, is to blame.

  •  I mostly disagree with this diary (0+ / 0-)
    1. Obama has in fact talked about racism. Prof. Gates' incidence was exactly such an occassion. He talked about race during the campaign, and he continued to talk about it in office.
    1. I totally disagree that he is 'cowering' from the right wing racist. If he was cowering then why did he appoint Dr. Benjamin to surgeon general, Susan Rice to be UN ambassador, Holder to be attorney general, Bolden to be NASA head, Lisa Jackson to EPA, Valerie Jarrett to be advisor, Van Jones etc, etc? Does this sound like somebody who is afraid to associate with other black people? He also appointed Steven Chu, a chinese-american, to DOE, Shinseki, a japanese-american to VA, Sotomayor, a Latina, to the Supreme Court. Dos this sound like 'cowering' to you? NO. In fact he is enraging these right wing racists.

    Yes- I want him to push back more. We all do. But I voiciferously disagree that he's been 'cowering'.

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