Sasha Harrison: Obama Politics

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Paper Review- Barack Obama and the Politics of Race By Martell Teasley and David Ikard

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Sasha Harrison: Obama Politics

  1. 1. Week 7: The Future of Ethnic and Racial Minority Citizenship Barack Obama and the Politics of Race: The Myth of Postracism in America: Martell Teasley and David Ikard By Sasha Harrison 590 GCE
  2. 2. <ul><li>“ Ideological disconnect between the desire and reality of a race-free society.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ hope” from Obama Presidency </li></ul><ul><li>BUT </li></ul><ul><li>Problem with wholesale investment in postracial thinking. </li></ul>The Issue
  3. 3. <ul><li>White Americans and others: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Problem divesting themselves of idea that they have an intrinsic value that Black people need/want. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This Assumption- </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Solution to problem depends on how fast Negroes accept White Standards </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>BUT </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Corroborates White sense of own value </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ignore white unearned privilege-high standard-most whites can’t achieve </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Rejects Kennedy’s postracial declaration </li></ul><ul><li>Argument: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>End goal as society=obliterate racial categorization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can’t accomplish if we close discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teasley- “hope” is not enough </li></ul></ul>Baldwin’s Essay: The Fire Next Time: 1960’s
  5. 5. <ul><li>Can Obama “change” perceived postracial paradigm to attack social inequities along race lines or become “bound man” using “color-blind” rhetoric to reify status quo instead of challenging it? </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Notion of postracial society has become tool of political Right as backlash to affirmative action policies created during 1960’s and 1970’s </li></ul><ul><li>Used by those who benefit from it’s use as form of social capital-maintain American power structure </li></ul>Dynamics of Race and Politics in America: Background
  7. 7. <ul><li>Economic factors </li></ul><ul><li>Structural factors </li></ul><ul><li>Historical mechanisms </li></ul><ul><li>How they have oppressed and marginalized non-Anglo-American ethnic groups </li></ul>Race Analysis: What to Address
  8. 8. <ul><li>2 CATEGORIES: Viewing Race: (Kittles, 2008) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1) Social Construct </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>CHALLENGE (conceals scientific/genetic factors) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not explain biological variations </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Various cultural interpretations </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of consensus </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Perpetuates biological determinism </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2) Biogenetic Construct </li></ul></ul>Race Analysis: What to Address
  9. 9. <ul><ul><li>EXISTENTIAL IMPORT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ the notion of attributing a tangible property to race that really does not exit” (Copi, 1978) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why Important? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Obfuscate realities of clear social inequity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Policy fails b/c faulty logic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skewed perception of race realities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Affirmative action b/c White guilt </li></ul></ul>Myth of Postracial Society
  10. 10. <ul><li>Obama’s rhetorical dexterity makes progressives and centrists believe he sees their side. (Straddle the fence) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Secular Sermonizers” (Asim, 2009) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Abraham Lincoln </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Frederick Douglass </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Barack Obama </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>RHETORIC OF HOPE </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>Symbolic Capital of Hope
  11. 11. <ul><li>Potential is there </li></ul><ul><li>Could mask realities of racial/ethnic disparities-$- increasing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media ignoring this </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bailouts-Banks can’t fail but families can </li></ul></ul>False Hope?
  12. 12. <ul><li>“… a 2008 Pew Research poll shows that nearly half (45%) of African Americans born to middle-income parents during the post-civil rights era have descended into near poverty or poverty as adults (Younge, 2008).” </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Obama’s rhetoric has obscured national: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic decline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wealth disparities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chaos of fighting 2 foreign wars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3 CHALLENGES TO POSTRACIAL THINKING: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>unclear meaning of race </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ignores economic disparities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>disregard enactment of social policy mechanisms that maintain disparity </li></ul></ul>Conclusion
  14. 14. <ul><li>Can Obama “change” the perceived postracial paradigm to attack social inequities along race lines or will he become a “bound man” using “color-blind” rhetoric to reify status quo instead of challenging it? </li></ul><ul><li>Is Obama giving false hope to citizens? </li></ul><ul><li>Does he really support both sides- the progressives and centrists or is this “hope” merely a political tool? </li></ul>Discussion Questions:

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