A gut level reaction to Obama

Thomas Lifson
Mary Grabar, a Slovenian-American college English teacher and poet, reacts to Barack Obama's condescending comments in his San Francisco fundraiser, articulating thoughts that many other ethnic groups may share.

We know who you're talking about, Barack Obama, when you talk about Pennsylvania and the Midwest, about small towns where the jobs have left.  [....]

You're talking about white people who have neither the family connections nor the racial credentials to gain entrance to the world that you inhabit. Many of the people you're talking about are those whose parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe who came to these places to work in steel mills, coal mines, and factories. We know the code words.

You're talking about people whose culture is little known. We have been pretty quiet. We never tried to impose our culture on everyone. We never insisted on putting pictures of ourselves in our native dress into schoolbooks or mandating that our stories and songs be part of the curriculums.

We tried to maintain our culture without government aid, by forming our own churches and groups, and building Polish, Ukrainian, and Slovenian halls.

We never wore buttons declaring "Slav Power" or grouped together for purposes of intimidation or violence.

The power we asked for was the power of the paycheck which we earned in factories, steel mills, coal mines, or by cleaning houses. Yet, we were taken aside and told that because of affirmative action it was no use trying to advance off the assembly line; we were told in "diversity workshops" that people of color had to be promoted over more qualified white people. I know this, Barack, because I have family members and friends who worked in factories.

Obama proclaimed his desire for a conversation on race. Perhaps because he and his wife have led such a charmed life with ready access to elite schools, high paying jobs, and acclaim, and have moved in radical left circles their entire adult lives, they may not realize that very large numbers of white, Asian, and Hispanic Americans whose families immigrated in the late 19th and 20th centuries share similar reactions to what they perceive as the privileged position blacks occupy.

Michelle Obama, even more than Barack, with her bitterness after being admitted and attending Princeton despite getting what she described as relative low SAT scores, and her resentment at having to pay back college loans, despite earning very healthy incomes for years, sparks a tremendous backlash from other groups that see themselves as working their butts off to ascend the occupational ladder.

This is a powerful piece of writing. Read the whole thing.

Hat tip: Richard Baehr
Mary Grabar, a Slovenian-American college English teacher and poet, reacts to Barack Obama's condescending comments in his San Francisco fundraiser, articulating thoughts that many other ethnic groups may share.

We know who you're talking about, Barack Obama, when you talk about Pennsylvania and the Midwest, about small towns where the jobs have left.  [....]

You're talking about white people who have neither the family connections nor the racial credentials to gain entrance to the world that you inhabit. Many of the people you're talking about are those whose parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe who came to these places to work in steel mills, coal mines, and factories. We know the code words.

You're talking about people whose culture is little known. We have been pretty quiet. We never tried to impose our culture on everyone. We never insisted on putting pictures of ourselves in our native dress into schoolbooks or mandating that our stories and songs be part of the curriculums.

We tried to maintain our culture without government aid, by forming our own churches and groups, and building Polish, Ukrainian, and Slovenian halls.

We never wore buttons declaring "Slav Power" or grouped together for purposes of intimidation or violence.

The power we asked for was the power of the paycheck which we earned in factories, steel mills, coal mines, or by cleaning houses. Yet, we were taken aside and told that because of affirmative action it was no use trying to advance off the assembly line; we were told in "diversity workshops" that people of color had to be promoted over more qualified white people. I know this, Barack, because I have family members and friends who worked in factories.

Obama proclaimed his desire for a conversation on race. Perhaps because he and his wife have led such a charmed life with ready access to elite schools, high paying jobs, and acclaim, and have moved in radical left circles their entire adult lives, they may not realize that very large numbers of white, Asian, and Hispanic Americans whose families immigrated in the late 19th and 20th centuries share similar reactions to what they perceive as the privileged position blacks occupy.

Michelle Obama, even more than Barack, with her bitterness after being admitted and attending Princeton despite getting what she described as relative low SAT scores, and her resentment at having to pay back college loans, despite earning very healthy incomes for years, sparks a tremendous backlash from other groups that see themselves as working their butts off to ascend the occupational ladder.

This is a powerful piece of writing. Read the whole thing.

Hat tip: Richard Baehr