Imagined ethnicity and Obama

When Barack Obama left Hawaii to go to college at Occidental College, he quickly abandoned Hawaii's broadly favorable cultural attitude toward 'mixed' marriages in order to embrace "authentic black experience" and "provide the distance I wanted from Joyce, or my past." (Dreams p101) 

Who "Joyce" is and why she is relevant will soon become apparent.   But first let's meet the newly minted beauty queen, Nikole Churchill who, like Obama, grew up in Hawaii and upon leaving for college for the first time encounters racial attitudes on the Mainland. She was so surprised that she wrote to Obama:

This past Friday October 9, 2009, I was honored to be crowned Miss Hampton University 2009-2010. It truly was the best night of my life! With that being said, I am sad to say that my crowning was not widely accepted and many negative comments regarding my win have been shared throughout my campus.

It would be much easier to say that possibly some were not accepting of the news because I wasn't the most qualified contestant; however, the true reason for the disapproval was because of the color of my skin. I am not African American.

Few on the mainland have the guts to say that about black attitudes.  But being from outside of that culture, Churchill perhaps didn't realize she was doing something which would become national news.  So she asks Obama to visit the campus...

...so that my fellow Hamptonians can stop focusing so much on the color of my skin and doubting my abilities to represent, but rather be proud of the changes our nation is making towards accepting diversity....I am hoping that you can assist me in opening some closed minds.

Hampton is an historically black university which provided higher education to black students when many other colleges excluded them.  But many students were not thrilled at the invitation to America's first black President.  Take a look a these excuses the students come up with.  Do they remind the reader of excuses given by segregationists about 40 years ago?

"I think most are upset because this young lady has no ties to the student body. She is a transfer student who attends an HU satellite campus. She has never lived in a dorm, eaten in the cafe, or spent time in the Student Center. And I am sure she knows little to nothing about the history and culture of the institution she is supposed to represent. Black or white, this young lady is not qualified to be the face of Hampton University." --A person who signed themselves as a 2009 Hampton University graduate commenting on an Essence Magazine article.

"i currently attend hampton university and i was present at the pageant. it has nothing to do with race and if you weren't there then i do not feel as though you can have an educated and informed opinion on the subject. Nikole was not the best candidate. Her dress was did not follow the guidelines. It did not touch the ground, and besides, that it was hideous. There were girls there that had beautiful voices and her talent was not on the level as some of the other dancers.

it is also a problem that she does not attend the school. she failed to mention that in her letter. She attends the virginia beach campus and no one has ever seen her before. If you are the most qualified contestant then no one can argue with the decision whether you're black or white. She was not even a contestant that should have placed, let alone win. -- A commenter on The Life Files web magazine.

AP titled its article "White beauty queen at Black univ pens letter to Obama" but Essence Magazine says she's part Chamorro (from Guam), part Italian"

"On October 21, Hampton University will make history by crowning their first White Miss Hampton. Last Friday, the Historically Black University, who counts Booker T. Washington among its alumni, named Nikole Churchill, a 22-year-old nursing major from Virginia Beach, as Miss Hampton 2009-2010. Churchill's mother is Italian and her father is from Guam, according to published reports."

The dispute has provoked discussion across the Internet.  Here's a comment from the Essence article:

"Hello fellow earthlings: blacks are racist too."

And from The Life Files:

"...it's just that it's an HBCU and certain positions on campus are ‘supposed' to be held by Black students."

Nikole Churchill is hapa (Hawaiian for 'mixed'), so why is she labeled "white" by AP?  And what about Obama's response?  The President is probably too busy sorting out neighborhood disputes in Cambridge, collecting prizes, and playing golf, basketball, and "Olympics".  He may soon make time to decide on something or other in Afghanistan.  But drawing upon Obama's voluminous writings about himself one can create a virtual Obama response to Nikole's letter.  From "Dreams from My Father" (page 99) we finally meet the "Joyce" Obama was so eager to "distance" himself from:

...I hadn't grown up in Compton, or Watts.  I had nothing to escape from except my own inner doubt.  I was more like the black students who had grown up in the suburbs, kids whose parents had already paid the price of escape.  You could spot them right away by the way they talked, the people they sat with in the cafeteria.  When pressed, they would sputter and explain that they refused to be categorized.  They weren't defined by the color of their skin, they would tell you.  They were individuals.

That's how Joyce liked to talk.  She was a good-looking woman, Joyce was, with her green eyes and honey skin and pouty lips.  We lived in the same dorm my freshman year, and all the brothers were after her.  One day I asked her if she was going to the Black Students' Association meeting.  She looked at me funny, then started shaking her head like a baby who doesn't want what it sees on the spoon.

"I'm not black," Joyce said, "I'm multiracial."  Then she started telling me about her father, who happened to be Italian and was the sweetest man in the world; and her mother, who happened to be part African and part French and part native American and part something else.

Did he say "Italian" and "multiracial"?  Joyce's parents sound a lot like the parents of Nikole Churchill.  But there's more:

"Why should I have to choose between them?" she asked me.  Her voice cracked, and I thought she was gong to cry.  "It's not white people who are making me choose.  Maybe it used to be that way, but now they're willing to treat me like a person.  No--it's black people who always have to make everything racial.  They're the ones making me choose.  They're the ones who are telling me that I can't be who I am...."

They, they, they.  That was the problem with people like Joyce.  They talked about the richness of their multicultural heritage and it sounded real good, until you noticed that they avoided black people.  It wasn't a matter of conscious choice, necessarily, just a matter of gravitational pull, the way integration always worked, a one-way street.  The minority assimilated into the dominant culture, not the other way around.  Only white culture could be neutral and objective.  Only white culture could be nonracial, willing to adopt the occasional exotic into its ranks.  Only white culture had individuals

And so there is the answer to Nikole Churchill's letter.  Obama describes objectivity and nonracialism--ideals he had grown up with in Hawaii--ideals among the best classically liberal ideals of American culture--as "white."  This is strong confirmation that all nationality is imaginary.   Ethnicity now has an ideological definition, not a genetic one.  Nikole Churchill is labeled "white"--even though she is partly Chamorro--because of her nonracial attitude.  Obama chose to abandon that cultural attitude in order to become "black."  And Obama is quite clear about this.  He continues:

And we the half-breeds and the college degreed, take a survey of the situation and think to ourselves, Why should we get lumped in with the losers if we don't have to. 

Why does "college degreed" define ethnicity?  Liberals have defined "black" as "victim" or "loser".  If one goes to college and succeeds one is no longer "black"--unless that success comes in the field of politics or "community organizing."  Black students who study hard, look out for number one, and do what it takes to succeed are widely derided as "acting white."  But the reality is that they are "acting American" by embracing the ethic of enlightened self-interest upon which he American Dream is built.  Obama's chosen culture rejects Americanism and calls that rejection "authentic black experience".

Obama continues:

We become only so grateful to lose ourselves in the crowd, America's happy, faceless marketplace; and we're never so outraged as when a cabbie drives past us or the woman in the elevator clutches her purse, not so much because we're bothered by the fact that such indignities are what less fortunate coloreds have to put up with every single day  of their lives--although that's what we tell ourselves--but because we're wearing a Brooks Brothers suit and speak impeccable English and yet have somehow been mistaken for an ordinary nigger.

Don't you know who I am?  I'm an individual!

But this is seemingly contradicted in Obama's famous 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention:

"Children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white."

Which is the true Obama?  Both. And the resolution of this seeming contradiction explains how Obama was won to "Christianity" by a church whose "Black Value System" preaches "disavowal of the pursuit of middleclassness." 

Instead of "middleclassness", he--and the entire post-Great-Society class of black political leaders and their hangers-on who now rule over black America--climb the political ladder and achieve middle class or upper class status for themselves by specifically appealing to and enhancing the "culture" of "losers"--to the extent of labeling it the one true black culture.  It is a culture which exalts the trappings of wealth--especially gained without apparent work--while providing scapegoats to the impoverished masses. 

When Obama got his million dollar mansion in a dirty deal with Tony Rezko, he was acting as an exemplar of this culture--no different than the pro-athlete or the rapper who illusorily seems to rocket from nowhere to sign a multi-million dollar contract.  Barack and Michelle Obama, Valerie Jarrett, and other Rezko cronies exploited South Chicago black communities to enrich themselves--at times provoking protest along the way. 

Hypocrisy?  No.  "Middleclassness" as defined by Trinity involves learning a profession or starting a business, buying your own home, and earning wealth by creating wealth--the American Dream.  If one listens to Obama or Hillary Clinton for that matter exhort their followers to become more involved in politics, their work ethic sounds remarkably similar to that of an entrepreneur.  The difference: A businessperson creates wealth; a politician exploits it.  The politician climbs based on his or her ability to grab and trade government grants, subsidies, tax breaks, approvals, and licenses--and thereby win elections.  The entrepreneur climbs by providing a better product or service to meet consumer demand in the marketplace.

Obama's former Trinity United Church of Christ also preaches, "Dedication to the Pursuit of Education."  To Obama and Hillary, "a black youth with a book" is not "acting white" only if he is preparing to follow in their political footsteps.     

The distinction between an economy based on "middleclassness" and one based on "political ladder climbing" explains why Democrats now represent the nation's richest and poorest Congressional districts.  This also explains why the income disparity of "liberal" American urban centers is so much greater than that of "conservative" American suburbs. 

It is "black" Americans who pay the highest price for living under the dominion of the exploitative political class which Obama now exemplifies--and which another Hawaii student has just begun to discover.

Related: Obama and the Disunited States

Andrew Walden is editor of Hawaii Free Press.
When Barack Obama left Hawaii to go to college at Occidental College, he quickly abandoned Hawaii's broadly favorable cultural attitude toward 'mixed' marriages in order to embrace "authentic black experience" and "provide the distance I wanted from Joyce, or my past." (Dreams p101) 

Who "Joyce" is and why she is relevant will soon become apparent.   But first let's meet the newly minted beauty queen, Nikole Churchill who, like Obama, grew up in Hawaii and upon leaving for college for the first time encounters racial attitudes on the Mainland. She was so surprised that she wrote to Obama:

This past Friday October 9, 2009, I was honored to be crowned Miss Hampton University 2009-2010. It truly was the best night of my life! With that being said, I am sad to say that my crowning was not widely accepted and many negative comments regarding my win have been shared throughout my campus.

It would be much easier to say that possibly some were not accepting of the news because I wasn't the most qualified contestant; however, the true reason for the disapproval was because of the color of my skin. I am not African American.

Few on the mainland have the guts to say that about black attitudes.  But being from outside of that culture, Churchill perhaps didn't realize she was doing something which would become national news.  So she asks Obama to visit the campus...

...so that my fellow Hamptonians can stop focusing so much on the color of my skin and doubting my abilities to represent, but rather be proud of the changes our nation is making towards accepting diversity....I am hoping that you can assist me in opening some closed minds.

Hampton is an historically black university which provided higher education to black students when many other colleges excluded them.  But many students were not thrilled at the invitation to America's first black President.  Take a look a these excuses the students come up with.  Do they remind the reader of excuses given by segregationists about 40 years ago?

"I think most are upset because this young lady has no ties to the student body. She is a transfer student who attends an HU satellite campus. She has never lived in a dorm, eaten in the cafe, or spent time in the Student Center. And I am sure she knows little to nothing about the history and culture of the institution she is supposed to represent. Black or white, this young lady is not qualified to be the face of Hampton University." --A person who signed themselves as a 2009 Hampton University graduate commenting on an Essence Magazine article.

"i currently attend hampton university and i was present at the pageant. it has nothing to do with race and if you weren't there then i do not feel as though you can have an educated and informed opinion on the subject. Nikole was not the best candidate. Her dress was did not follow the guidelines. It did not touch the ground, and besides, that it was hideous. There were girls there that had beautiful voices and her talent was not on the level as some of the other dancers.

it is also a problem that she does not attend the school. she failed to mention that in her letter. She attends the virginia beach campus and no one has ever seen her before. If you are the most qualified contestant then no one can argue with the decision whether you're black or white. She was not even a contestant that should have placed, let alone win. -- A commenter on The Life Files web magazine.

AP titled its article "White beauty queen at Black univ pens letter to Obama" but Essence Magazine says she's part Chamorro (from Guam), part Italian"

"On October 21, Hampton University will make history by crowning their first White Miss Hampton. Last Friday, the Historically Black University, who counts Booker T. Washington among its alumni, named Nikole Churchill, a 22-year-old nursing major from Virginia Beach, as Miss Hampton 2009-2010. Churchill's mother is Italian and her father is from Guam, according to published reports."

The dispute has provoked discussion across the Internet.  Here's a comment from the Essence article:

"Hello fellow earthlings: blacks are racist too."

And from The Life Files:

"...it's just that it's an HBCU and certain positions on campus are ‘supposed' to be held by Black students."

Nikole Churchill is hapa (Hawaiian for 'mixed'), so why is she labeled "white" by AP?  And what about Obama's response?  The President is probably too busy sorting out neighborhood disputes in Cambridge, collecting prizes, and playing golf, basketball, and "Olympics".  He may soon make time to decide on something or other in Afghanistan.  But drawing upon Obama's voluminous writings about himself one can create a virtual Obama response to Nikole's letter.  From "Dreams from My Father" (page 99) we finally meet the "Joyce" Obama was so eager to "distance" himself from:

...I hadn't grown up in Compton, or Watts.  I had nothing to escape from except my own inner doubt.  I was more like the black students who had grown up in the suburbs, kids whose parents had already paid the price of escape.  You could spot them right away by the way they talked, the people they sat with in the cafeteria.  When pressed, they would sputter and explain that they refused to be categorized.  They weren't defined by the color of their skin, they would tell you.  They were individuals.

That's how Joyce liked to talk.  She was a good-looking woman, Joyce was, with her green eyes and honey skin and pouty lips.  We lived in the same dorm my freshman year, and all the brothers were after her.  One day I asked her if she was going to the Black Students' Association meeting.  She looked at me funny, then started shaking her head like a baby who doesn't want what it sees on the spoon.

"I'm not black," Joyce said, "I'm multiracial."  Then she started telling me about her father, who happened to be Italian and was the sweetest man in the world; and her mother, who happened to be part African and part French and part native American and part something else.

Did he say "Italian" and "multiracial"?  Joyce's parents sound a lot like the parents of Nikole Churchill.  But there's more:

"Why should I have to choose between them?" she asked me.  Her voice cracked, and I thought she was gong to cry.  "It's not white people who are making me choose.  Maybe it used to be that way, but now they're willing to treat me like a person.  No--it's black people who always have to make everything racial.  They're the ones making me choose.  They're the ones who are telling me that I can't be who I am...."

They, they, they.  That was the problem with people like Joyce.  They talked about the richness of their multicultural heritage and it sounded real good, until you noticed that they avoided black people.  It wasn't a matter of conscious choice, necessarily, just a matter of gravitational pull, the way integration always worked, a one-way street.  The minority assimilated into the dominant culture, not the other way around.  Only white culture could be neutral and objective.  Only white culture could be nonracial, willing to adopt the occasional exotic into its ranks.  Only white culture had individuals

And so there is the answer to Nikole Churchill's letter.  Obama describes objectivity and nonracialism--ideals he had grown up with in Hawaii--ideals among the best classically liberal ideals of American culture--as "white."  This is strong confirmation that all nationality is imaginary.   Ethnicity now has an ideological definition, not a genetic one.  Nikole Churchill is labeled "white"--even though she is partly Chamorro--because of her nonracial attitude.  Obama chose to abandon that cultural attitude in order to become "black."  And Obama is quite clear about this.  He continues:

And we the half-breeds and the college degreed, take a survey of the situation and think to ourselves, Why should we get lumped in with the losers if we don't have to. 

Why does "college degreed" define ethnicity?  Liberals have defined "black" as "victim" or "loser".  If one goes to college and succeeds one is no longer "black"--unless that success comes in the field of politics or "community organizing."  Black students who study hard, look out for number one, and do what it takes to succeed are widely derided as "acting white."  But the reality is that they are "acting American" by embracing the ethic of enlightened self-interest upon which he American Dream is built.  Obama's chosen culture rejects Americanism and calls that rejection "authentic black experience".

Obama continues:

We become only so grateful to lose ourselves in the crowd, America's happy, faceless marketplace; and we're never so outraged as when a cabbie drives past us or the woman in the elevator clutches her purse, not so much because we're bothered by the fact that such indignities are what less fortunate coloreds have to put up with every single day  of their lives--although that's what we tell ourselves--but because we're wearing a Brooks Brothers suit and speak impeccable English and yet have somehow been mistaken for an ordinary nigger.

Don't you know who I am?  I'm an individual!

But this is seemingly contradicted in Obama's famous 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention:

"Children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white."

Which is the true Obama?  Both. And the resolution of this seeming contradiction explains how Obama was won to "Christianity" by a church whose "Black Value System" preaches "disavowal of the pursuit of middleclassness." 

Instead of "middleclassness", he--and the entire post-Great-Society class of black political leaders and their hangers-on who now rule over black America--climb the political ladder and achieve middle class or upper class status for themselves by specifically appealing to and enhancing the "culture" of "losers"--to the extent of labeling it the one true black culture.  It is a culture which exalts the trappings of wealth--especially gained without apparent work--while providing scapegoats to the impoverished masses. 

When Obama got his million dollar mansion in a dirty deal with Tony Rezko, he was acting as an exemplar of this culture--no different than the pro-athlete or the rapper who illusorily seems to rocket from nowhere to sign a multi-million dollar contract.  Barack and Michelle Obama, Valerie Jarrett, and other Rezko cronies exploited South Chicago black communities to enrich themselves--at times provoking protest along the way. 

Hypocrisy?  No.  "Middleclassness" as defined by Trinity involves learning a profession or starting a business, buying your own home, and earning wealth by creating wealth--the American Dream.  If one listens to Obama or Hillary Clinton for that matter exhort their followers to become more involved in politics, their work ethic sounds remarkably similar to that of an entrepreneur.  The difference: A businessperson creates wealth; a politician exploits it.  The politician climbs based on his or her ability to grab and trade government grants, subsidies, tax breaks, approvals, and licenses--and thereby win elections.  The entrepreneur climbs by providing a better product or service to meet consumer demand in the marketplace.

Obama's former Trinity United Church of Christ also preaches, "Dedication to the Pursuit of Education."  To Obama and Hillary, "a black youth with a book" is not "acting white" only if he is preparing to follow in their political footsteps.     

The distinction between an economy based on "middleclassness" and one based on "political ladder climbing" explains why Democrats now represent the nation's richest and poorest Congressional districts.  This also explains why the income disparity of "liberal" American urban centers is so much greater than that of "conservative" American suburbs. 

It is "black" Americans who pay the highest price for living under the dominion of the exploitative political class which Obama now exemplifies--and which another Hawaii student has just begun to discover.

Related: Obama and the Disunited States

Andrew Walden is editor of Hawaii Free Press.