October 19, 2009
Imagined ethnicity and ObamaBy Andrew Walden
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:
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...
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?
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"
The dispute has provoked discussion across the Internet. Here's a comment from the Essence article:
And from The Life Files:
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:
Did he say "Italian" and "multiracial"? Joyce's parents sound a lot like the parents of Nikole Churchill. But there's more:
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:
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".
But this is seemingly contradicted in Obama's famous 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention:
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.