About Black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, who was arrested by a white officer while trying to break into his own house, Obama sees his view as “more specific, more human than the simple black and white moral story.” He argues that the police overreacted to arrest Gates, just as the professor overreacted to their arrival at his house, which feels like a simple equation that is usually the forte of the racially naive. Both sides were bad, as if both sides were equally strong. (And yet, from internal polls, he learns that the only incident that caused the largest drop in support among white voters during his entire presidency was the Gates incident.)
There is a similar grandeur, if not a slight condescension, to Jeremiah Wright, the pastor of the Church the Obamas attended sporadically in Chicago, whose fiery sermon criticizing American racism during Obama’s campaign became a scandal. Obama writes of his “insults that were usually substantiated but had no context,” suggesting that the anger over racism was misplaced in a gathering of wealthy, successful blacks, as if the class in America is somehow annulling the race. Obviously, Obama has a fine understanding of American racism, but perhaps because of his unique ancestry and history, he referred to himself as a conciliatory middle child, preferring to leave behind unspoken truths that could ignite and isolate those cited at different layers of propensity .
He’s still brooding over his infamous description of the rural white working class: “They get bitter, they cling to their weapons or religion or antipathy towards people who are not like them, or to the sentiment against immigrants or against trading any possibility theirs Explain frustrations ”- because he hates being misunderstood, which is reasonable enough. He has empathy for the white working class and was ultimately raised by a grandfather with working class roots. To clarify his position, however, he writes: “Throughout American history, politicians have turned white frustration about their economic or social circumstances on black and brown people.” It’s a strange act of giving up responsibility. Is white working class racism just the result of evil politicians deceiving unhappy whites?
And when he writes that John McCain never displayed the “racial nativism” common in other Republican politicians, one would wish there could be more extensive examples of it in a book that sometimes seems to combine a refined view of race and race repellent.
To reset the debate on the health bill, Obama speaks at a joint congressional session. As he corrects the lie that the bill would cover undocumented immigrants, a little-known congressman named Joe Wilson, who is red with anger (racist anger in my opinion), shouts “You are lying!” And at that moment he takes it off Part of age-related American tradition of a white man disrespecting a black man, even if that black man is of a higher class. Obama writes that he was “tempted to get out of my seat, walk down the aisle and hit that guy in the head”. His downplaying at the time is understandable – he’s a black man who can’t afford trouble – but now, in this narrative, writing about his reaction in the childish language of hypothetical gossip is confusing. What does it mean to be publicly insulted the first time this has happened to a President of the United States speaking at a joint congressional session?
Yes, his suspected strangeness, unusual parentage and name played a role in the inclusion, but if he was a white stranger, if his father was Scandinavian or Irish or Eastern European, and his middle name was Olaf or even Vladimir The demonization would not be so dark. If he weren’t black, he wouldn’t have received so many death threats that he got protection from the secret service very early in the primaries; Long before he even knew he was going to win, he already had bulletproof barriers in his bedroom.
And what does the “protective pessimism” of so many black Americans who believed they would be killed for daring to run for president say about America’s imaginative poverty among black people? Why is Obama lucky enough to be in the White House with a middle name like Hussein? Why did we cry when he won?
During the Obama presidency, I would often reproach my friend and argumentator Chinaku, “You’re making an Obama. Take a damned point of view.” Making an Obama meant that Chinaku saw 73 pages of each issue, and he aired and described them detailed, and it felt like a ruse to me, a watery look at so many sides that resulted in no page at all. In this book, Barack Obama often makes an Obama. He is a self-observing man, strangely puritanical in his skepticism, turning to see every corner and possibly dissatisfied with all of them and genetically incapable of being an ideologue. Early in their relationship, Michelle asks why he always chooses the hard way. Later she said to him, “It’s like you have a hole to fill. That’s why you can’t slow down.” Indeed. So here’s a mostly decent man who honestly reports about himself. It is now normal to add the word “flawed” to any public praise, but who is not flawed? As a convention, it feels like an ungracious hedge, a sullen aversion to praising the mighty or famous, no matter how well deserved they are. The story continues in Volume Two, but Barack Obama has already highlighted a pivotal moment in American history and how America has changed while it has remained unchanged.