Barack Obama’s Black Nationalism per Dreams From My Father

This is the third installment on our series about Barack Obama and his open association with racists, anti-Semites, and Catholic-hating bigots, as well as his highly questionable campaign financing methods.

There are many urban legends and outright smears about Dreams From My Father and Michelle Obama’s thesis, such as “America is a nation founded on crime and hatred.” Our position is that, unless you can show us an independently-verifiable reference or page number, don’t show it to us at all. None of the smears and urban legends provide references of the kind one would cite in a scholarly paper or trade journal article. The quotes below all have page numbers, and they show that Obama is not qualified to represent Americans of all races and ethnicities.

I would occasionally pick up the paper [Louis Farrakhan’s “The Final Call”] from these unfailingly polite men, in part out of sympathy to their heavy suits in the summer, their thin coats in winter; or sometimes because my attention was caught by the sensational, tabloid-style headlines (CAUCASIAN WOMAN ADMITS: WHITES ARE THE DEVIL). Inside the front cover, one found reprints of the minister’s [Farrakhan’s] speeches, as well as stories that could have been picked straight off the AP news wire were it not for certain editorial embelleshments (”Jewish Senator Metzenbaum announced today…”).

Dreams From My Father, p. 201

While Obama does not praise this hate speech from Farrakhan’s magazine, he does not condemn it either.

Obama the Racial Unifier:

That was the problem with people like Joyce [a college classmate of Italian, African-American, Native American, and French ethnicity]. They talked about the richness of their multicultural heritage and it sounced real good, until you noticed that they avoided black people. …The truth was that I understood [Joyce], her and all the other black kids who felt the way she did. In their mannerisms, their speech, their mixed-up hearts, I kept recognizing pieces of myself. And that’s exactly what scared me. Their confusion made me question my own racial credentials all over again. …To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets.

“Dreams From My Father,” pages 99-100

Obama’s only problem with Black Nationalism has to do with questions of its effectiveness

It contradicted the morality my mother had taught me, a morality of subtle distinctions–between individuals of goodwill and those who wished me ill, between active malice and ignorance or indifference. I had a personal stake in that moral framework; I’d discovered that I couldn’t escape it if I tried. And yet perhaps it was a framework that blacks in this country could no longer afford; perhaps it weakened black resolve, encouraged confusion within the ranks. Desperate times called for desperate measures, and for many blacks, times were chronically desperate. If nationalism could create a strong and effective insularity, deliver on its promise of self-respect, then the hurt it might cause well-meaning whites, or the inner turmoil it caused people like me, would be of little consequence.

If nationalism could deliver. As it turned out, questions of effectiveness, and not sentiment, caused most of my quarrels with Rafiq.

–Dreams From My Father, pp. 199-200

…I ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of twelve or thirteen, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites… (page xv)

Barry the Cokehead

I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though… (page 93) [http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/streetterms/ByAlpha.asp?strTerm=B, “Blow” = “Cocaine; to inhale cocaine; to smoke marijuana; to inject heroin”]

The truth about the “Stand with the Muslims” piece from Audacity of Hope

Much as we dislike Obama, we deal in truth as opposed to smears and urban legends. Here is what The Audacity of Hope really says (with “stand with them” in context):

Of course, not all my conversations in immigrant communities follow this easy pattern. In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific reassurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.

“The Audacity of Hope,” page 261 (paperback version)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, and we agree with it. The United States’ treatment of Japanese-American citizens during the Second World War was shameful and dishonorable. Those citizens would have been within their rights to disobey, ignore, and treat with contempt the Roosevelt Administration’s illegal and unconstitutional relocation orders. It would be similarly dishonorable and shameful to treat all Muslims, many of whom came here to escape the Stone Age barbarism of their home countries, as enemies or even suspects.

Michelle Obama’s “Princeton Educated Blacks and the Black Community”

The thesis is available from Politico.com as of August 14 2008, in four parts as a .pdf file. Contrary to the smears and urban legends that are in circulation, it says nothing about the United States being founded on racism or violence–a keyword search of a Word version found no such content. Michelle Obama does, however, proclaim her primary loyalty to the Black community while suggesting that there is a problem with Blacks who assimilate into the surrounding culture–a position shared by her husband in Dreams From My Father.

Earlier in my college career, there was no doubt in my mind that as a member of the Black community I was somehow obligated to this community and would use all of my present and future resources to benefit this community first and foremost. My experiences at Princeton have made me more aware of my “Blackness” than ever before.

These experiences have made it apparent to me that the path I have chosen to follow by attending Princeton will likely lead to my further integration and/or assimilation into a White cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society. [page 2]

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson [Obama], “Princeton Educated Blacks and the Black Community,” page 2

Elements of Black culture which make it unique from White culture such as its music, its language, the struggles and a “consciousness” shared by its people may be attributed to the injustices and oppression suffered by this race of people which are not comparable to the experiences of any other race of people through this country’s history. However, with the increasing integration of Blacks into the mainstream society, many “integrated Blacks” have lost touch with the Black culture in their attempts to become adjusted and comfortable in their new culture–the White culture. Some of these Blacks are no longer able to enjoy the qualities which make Black culture so unique or are unable to share their culture openly with other Blacks because they have become so far removed from these experiences and, in some instances, ashamed of them because of their integration.

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson [Obama], “Princeton Educated Blacks and the Black Community,” page 54

Um, Michelle, wasn’t integration the goal of Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders???

The bottom line is that Barack and Michelle Obama’s own statements demonstrate an obsession with Black identity (i.e. racist) politics, and that neither is prepared to represent Americans of all races, ethnicities, and religions.

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3 Responses to “Barack Obama’s Black Nationalism per Dreams From My Father”

  1. theocon1 Says:

    since you just basically rehashed a collection of misleading and rather inocuous quotes, i’m just going to copy my reply to your first posting of this bs:

    The first MO quote is cropped before she talks about being tempted to conform to more typical expectations of an ivy league graduate such as going to grad school or taking a corporate job. i really didn’t understand what the second quote is supposed to suggest. has all of this reverse racism nonsense gone so far that is now possible to suggest that anyone who sees any value in any aspect of black culture is somehow anti-white? if MO were writing about her conflicted feelings about trying to keep connected to the irish community or the italian community would this also be somehow racist?
    as for the BO quotes, although conflicted, it seems as though BO is arguing against black nationalism and somewhat embarrassed by the associations of his youth. it is difficult to understand the context because you fail to attempt to provide any. and, for the record, i don’t have any love for marxist professors or structural feminists (whatever that means) but i have known a few punk rock poets that weren’t half bad.

    as for the “blew smoke rings” quote, i think he was actually talking about blowing… SMOKE RINGS! i think i read somewhere that obama had admitted to cocaine use in his youth, but this is clearly not a reference to cocaine.

    did you see MO speak a the convention tonight? i thought she was great. a completely different person than the caricature of her created by clowns that post misleading trash on the internet.
    also, i do applaud your one instance of honest reporting in that bit about BO standing with muslim american citizens should the “political winds shift in an ugly direction.” good work!

  2. theocon1 Says:

    i just reread the line about the blow. you were right about that. i was wrong. he was clearly saying that he bought cocaine when he could afford it. sorry about that. please disregard that portion of my comment. thank you.

  3. wingedhussar1683 Says:

    Re: the BO quotes. “If nationalism could deliver. As it turned out, questions of effectiveness, and not sentiment, caused most of my quarrels with Rafiq.” This suggests that he was ideologically friendly to Black Nationalism, and only questions as to its effectiveness kept him from embracing it.

    Re: “if MO were writing about her conflicted feelings about trying to keep connected to the irish community or the italian community would this also be somehow racist?”

    As I understand her thesis, she wanted to do more than just remain connected to the Black community in the sense that, for example, people of Irish origin celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and invite others to celebrate with them. (If I dared to continue to eat products with animal fat, I could ingest several corned beef and cabbage sandwiches…)

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