“The faint echoes of Sister Souljah rattling around American racial politics”

NewImage

I’m basically a Barack Obama fan, albeit less of one than I was 5 years ago (who isn’t?), but I am so, so, so sick of this shit:

And then, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that during the course of 50 years, there were times when some of us claiming to push for change lost our way. The anguish of assassinations set off self-defeating riots. Legitimate grievances against police brutality tipped into excuse-making for criminal behavior. Racial politics could cut both ways, as the transformative message of unity and brotherhood was drowned out by the language of recrimination. And what had once been a call for equality of opportunity, the chance for all Americans to work hard and get ahead was too often framed as a mere desire for government support — as if we had no agency in our own liberation, as if poverty was an excuse for not raising your child, and the bigotry of others was reason to give up on yourself.

As Matt Yglesias jokes, this is the portion of Obama’s MLK speech wherein he assures certain kinds of white voters that he’s not “one of those” kind of black politicians. He’s been doing it since day 1 of his career as a national politician. I’m willing to grant that, for a time, it was a necessity. America’s a racist country, after all. But at this point? There are no more elections to be won, Mr. President. Give it a rest.

For more on this execrable portion of Obama’s otherwise fine speech, check out Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jamelle Bouie.

Please do be so kind as to share this post.
TwitterFacebookRedditEmailPrintFriendlyMore options

12 thoughts on ““The faint echoes of Sister Souljah rattling around American racial politics”

  1. I don’t find this portion of the president’s speech “execrable.” Is it possible to disagree about the extent to which some aspects of African-American culture make it difficult to close the gaps between that African-Americans and other groups?

    Sure, but I don’t see why the mere mention of this issue has to be treated as a transgression.

    Report

    • It’s perfectly acceptable for anyone to criticise anyone, especially a politician, especially to compare and contrast what said person has said vs what he’s actually done.

      Report

      • Damon,

        My point is not that Obama is beyond criticism. Maybe Barack Obama just ISN’T one of “those kinds of black politicians”. Whatever that means. To be disappointed in that assumes expectations that he would be or should be otherwise. If this is something he has been doing since day one of his career as a national politician, why should we expect anything otherwise? Where does Elias get off being disappointed? Do all black politicians have to be “those kinds of black politicians”?

        Report

      • Kazzy,
        Fairly certain he hasn’t been bought off to go be a racial prejudice monger like Al Sharpton. I could be wrong, but if someone did buy him off to do that, it’s money poorly spent.

        Report

    • I’m uncomfortable with black people attempting to push someone else into the Race Box. It’s the ultimate in Political Correctness, that the victims of injustice are usually the first to condemn their fellow victims.

      Report

  2. There are no more elections to be won, Mr. President. Give it a rest.

    2014 is *RIGHT THERE*.

    It’s arguably the most important midterm our country has ever had.

    Report

  3. And then, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that during the course of 50 years, there were times when some of us claiming to push for change lost our way. The anguish of assassinations set off self-defeating riots. Legitimate grievances against police brutality tipped into excuse-making for criminal behavior. Racial politics could cut both ways, as the transformative message of unity and brotherhood was drowned out by the language of recrimination. And what had once been a call for equality of opportunity, the chance for all Americans to work hard and get ahead was too often framed as a mere desire for government support — as if we had no agency in our own liberation, as if poverty was an excuse for not raising your child, and the bigotry of others was reason to give up on yourself.

    There you have it, folks. Elias, who speaks for every Democrat who doesn’t explicitly rebuke him, supports riots, making excuses for criminal behavior, welfare dependence, child neglect, and sloth.

    Being a pundit is easy. I can’t believe people get paid for this.

    Report

Comments are closed.