- Why I Voted For President Barack Hussein Obama II.
- Biography Newsletter.
- Barack Obama: Life Before the Presidency | Miller Center.
Wright are still locked in a vision of the United States that reflects a terrible history, but in fact it is history. Wright and like-minded blacks have not moved beyond their memories of a race conscious United States.
Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.
They are out of touch with the current social reality of the United States regarding race. They have failed to embrace the truly color-blind nature of the United States at this moment in history. On the other end of the spectrum, we find whites that are resentful about what they perceive to be the loss of their economic and social standing because of race conscious policies that seem to favor blacks. Obama notes that we must also understand that there is white resentment.
They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation.
Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Accordingly, we must move beyond race. Holding on to bad memories and the media keeps the racial animosity potboiling. Obama thinks that we must acknowledge that both blacks and whites have bad feelings regarding race-based policies in the United States.
What should blacks do? It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances — for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs — to the larger aspirations of all Americans — the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family.
And it means taking full responsibility for own lives — by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.
He then insists that blacks must believe that society has changed and can continue to change to improve the social and economic standing of blacks. In this regard, appeals to race-based public policies would be counter-productive. What must whites do? Whites must understand that there has been a history of racism that has impacted negatively on the economic and social standing of blacks. Blacks must understand White resentment. But in the end we must look beyond race. Drawing on color denies the mutual respect individuals should have.
Not that we forget the history but the history cannot hold us down or separate. Whites must respect the history of racism and blacks must respect the feelings of whites that their understanding of the world has been shaken.
The Democratic president was re-elected in 2012
To do less will make the possibility of social progress nearly impossible. We should remember the history, but also remember that it is history. It is not the America in which we now find ourselves. Race has played a divisive role in the relationships between all persons in the United States. However, we are now at a different point in American history, a moment when character matters more than race.
Accordingly, we must remember this if we are to perfect this union. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well. In sum, his white supporters have been able to see beyond race and see the man Obama for his beliefs and principles. Many whites have become color-blind. If Blacks can come to this position America will move forward. The goal then is to create a society in which opportunities are not stalled because of those things for which a person is not responsible, particularly race or gender. Race and racism still plays an important role in the lives of black Americans, indeed all Americans.
We cannot and should not forget this important social fact.
What impression does this way of viewing the current racial climate in the United States create about race relations in the United States and those programs that might be direct to the problems of African Americans? Obama makes the not-so-subtle shift from color-blindness in voting to color-blindness in public policy. In doing so, he in the past three years through his policies and statements has 1 Given the false impression that societal racism has lessened to a much greater degree than it has.
Obama seems to be asking Blacks to give up insistence on race based public policies and view their future economic and social progress on programs solely meant to benefit all Americans. What is being asserted is that while it may be true that race and racism played an important part in the history of race relations, race and race conscious policies cannot be used to correct for the current conditions in which blacks find themselves. Hard work and personal responsibility are more important now.
It is character that counts more than race. Has racism diminished enough to not require race-based public policies? Obama appears to think that both of these questions can be answered in the affirmative. We know if we try to use race based programs whites will not support them. In support of Obama, some will claim that he is just being pragmatic in that he could acknowledge that race is a problem, but it is not the major problem that needs his concern at the present moment.
He also understands that to bring a discussion of race into the political mix will bog the country down. Here is the intellectual rub: Obama calls for Blacks to believe in a positive future in the United States and not make appeals to race or color conscious public policies. He is asking African Americans to put their faith in future Presidents to have their Blacks best interests as an important part of their public policy agenda. Should black Americans take this bet? I think not!
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Blacks want him to show that he understands the plight of blacks and will do something positive as President to address their concerns. He is, indeed, black. Whites, on the other hand, want him to show no favoritism towards blacks.
Obama therefore must walk the line between supporting black interest and not offending white racial sensitivities. This may be why he couches his public policies as benefitting all Americans regardless of race. Still he has to show blacks that his programs have a positive impact on the black community, while these programs are geared to the larger American community. To address these charges, he appeared on BET TV to address black America and explain why his programs and policies were the best for all Americans including the majority of black Americans.
In this interview, the President was asked about targeting programs to and for the African-American community. In the end, Obama asks the African-American community to work hard, take responsibility for their lives and believe that all boats will rise with the improving economic tide.
They must also believe that he is doing his part to make life better for all Americans. He is the President of all Americans; he is not just the president of black America. This is where the intellectual rubber meets the road. As I noted Obama adeptly draws on the liberal conception of the individual as the locus of social respect. We must look to those attributes to which the individual is responsible for to assess his or her accomplishments.
People must take responsibility for their condition. The government should be working to make the lives of all citizens better regardless of race. Public policies must be colorblind. By drawing on color-blindness Obama does two things: he affirms the individual responsibility tradition that many whites and most blacks feel and he distances himself from issues of social justice that arise out of the civil rights era.
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This is not to deny the significant changes in the United States regarding race, it is, nonetheless, still unclear how deep these changes are in the hearts and minds of many white United States citizens. Remember Obama only ask whites to understand that some Blacks are still resentful because of the history of racism. Blacks are asked to have faith and believe that the country will take their problems seriously. These problems were caused by the use of race conscious policies and race conscious policies are needed to address the problems. I now want to draw on the work of philosopher Paul Taylor to show how a Deweyan pragmatic understanding of the role of race-talk can be used as a provocative critique of the Obama position on public policy and colorblindness.
I will then argue for the value of race-talk and race conscious public policies. The problem for the United States is how to complete the task of incorporating members of that population that have a history of chattel slavery into the full social and political fabric of the United States.
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Any problems blacks encounter currently cannot be attributed to societal racism, but to their own personal failings. Again race-talk or color conscious policies are unneeded to resolve the problems of African Americans. Can Dewey help us here? The knowledge must be useful; it must help us make things better for us and our fellow humans:.
From this perspective, knowing how things stand involves — but is not equivalent to — being in a position to interact harmoniously and fruitfully with them. Knowledge is an instrument, and knowing is a practice and skill that helps us getting along better in the world. Persons of color in the United States who think that race and racism still impact on their lives are asking different questions about the use of race than the politician who is trying to present his or herself as a person of the people.
Attending to the context of inquiry helps us decide which theoretical vocabulary is most appropriate to the situation, and to choose between theoretical vocabularies is also to choose between sets of entities and forces. Dewey resisted this reductionist impulse. He insisted that there are different levels, different reals, valid for different purposes, and he made this contextualist pluralism an integral part of his pragmatism. Knowing this, we may wish to find some way of supplementing individual contributions to the process of inquiry, or of bringing individual interests and commitments to light especially if, as it might be, these interests are opaque even to the agent in question.
It has a broader, metaphilosophical view. Like the narrower view, this metaphilosophy can be broken down into a few now familiar ideas. He refers to these as naturalism, experimentalism, and sodalism. A naturalist rejects the view of the super-natural and insists that the world is through and through a place of nomological regularities. He uses this label to indicate the view that, under the irremediable conditions of human finitude, all we can do is act, though more or less intelligently, and take our chances with the outcomes.
Conduct is always dogged by the possibility of error, and though we try to minimize this possibility through the applications of intelligence, we can never shake it. Republicans controlled the state senate, and many of his black Democratic colleagues resented th hardball tactics he had employed against Palmer. But he adapted, developing cordial personal relations with legislators of both parties and cultivating Senate Democratic leader Emil Jones Jr.
Obama was able to get campaign finance reform and crime legislation enacted even when his party was in the minority, and after , when the Democrats won control of the Senate, he became a leading legislator on a wide range of issues, passing nearly bills aimed at helping children, old people, labor unions, and the poor. Rush remained in the House; he was reelected to his thirteenth consecutive term in Returning to the state senate, Obama began eyeing a race for the US Senate seat held by Peter Fitzgerald, an unpopular first-term Republican who decided not to run for reelection.
Bush to launch a war to depose the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Obama spoke at an antiwar rally in Chicago. What I am opposed to is a rash war. Advised by political consultant David Axelrod, who had a strong record of helping black candidates succeed in majority-white constituencies, Obama assembled a coalition of African Americans and white liberals to win the Democratic Senate primary with 53 percent of the vote, more than all five of his opponents combined. He then moved toward the political center to wage his general election campaign against Republican nominee Jack Ryan, an attractive candidate who, after making hundreds of millions of dollars as an investor, had left the business world to teach in an inner-city Chicago school.
Obama won by the largest margin in the history of Senate elections in Illinois, 70 percent to 27 percent. In addition to his election, the other highlight of for Obama was his wildly successful keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. Obama also used the phrase as the title of his second book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream , which became a national bestseller in the wake of his newfound national popularity. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth. Grant Rutherford B. Hayes James A. Garfield Chester A.
His values are strongly shaped by his expertise as a Constitutional law professor and civil rights attorney, and by Christianity. While private by nature, Obama mingles easily with others, but is most comfortable addressing large crowds. He is known for being unafraid to speak and hear hard truths when necessary. Obama was named by Time magazine in , and as one of the most influential people in the world. It's not just a matter of sticking in a quote from the Bible into a stock speech. We can read to them, talk to them about what they're reading and make time for this by turning off the TV ourselves.
Libraries can help parents with this. Knowing the constraints we face from busy schedules and a TV culture, we need to think outside the box here - to dream big like we always have in America. Right now, children come home from their first doctor's appointment with an extra bottle of formula.
But imagine if they came home with their first library card or their first copy of Goodnight Moon? What if instead of a toy in every Happy Meal, there was a book? What if there were portable libraries that rolled through parks and playgrounds like ice cream trucks? Or kiosks in stores where you could borrow books? What if during the summer, when kids often lose much of the reading progress they've made during the year, every child had a list of books they had to read and talk about and an invitation to a summer reading club at the local library?
Libraries have a special role to play in our knowledge economy. Share Flipboard Email.
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