Affirmative Action President

A striking claim from Barry O’Bama’s wife.

The First Lady said that her husband’s presidency had been made possible by the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) and urged the group to "increase its intensity".

I’m not sure that’s really to his credit, is it, dear?


UPDATE: Am obliged to @flayman in the comments, who has dug out the transcript of Mrs O’Bama’s speech.

The specific quote referred to is this:

So I know that I stand here today, and I know that my husband stands where he is today, because of this organization — (applause) — and because of the struggles and the sacrifices of all those who came before us.

But I also know that their legacy isn’t an entitlement to be taken for granted. And I know it is not simply a gift to be enjoyed. Instead, it is an obligation to be fulfilled.

One can argue about whether my post’s title – affirmative action – is fair, but I’m sure I’d like to think, in Barry’s shoes, that I became president on my own merit, and on that of my platform and activists, not because of my skin colour.

Her next comment in that speech is also interesting:

And when so many of our children still attend crumbling schools, and a black child is still far more likely to go to prison than a white child, I think the founders of this organization would agree that our work is not yet done. (Applause.)

Now then, disproportionate numbers of blacks in prison? There are two things the USA needs to do to fix that:

  1. Abandon such counterproductive policies as the 3-strikes law and mandatory minimum sentences, both of which have been shown to disproportionately impact on blacks.
  2. Abandon the war on drugs – look at how many people are imprisoned for drug offences, and look how many of those are black.

See? I iz sociologist.

13 thoughts on “Affirmative Action President

  1. Of course what you link to is not the actual statement, which was delivered in a key not speech to the NAACP, but to a story of Sarah Palin’s objection to it on the basis that the NAACP has branded the Tea Party movement as racist. There is evidence to support this claim, including video and audio of Tea Party protesters to the health care bill yelling racial epithets at black members of Congress. Classy.

    • True… the Tea Party movement has attracted all sorts of unsavoury characters.

      I neither support nor endorse them.

      None of which detracts from my observation.

    • What gives you that idea?

      The underlying point is that a black president seems happy to continue the penal policies that have had such a dramatic on black Americans.

  2. “I’m sure I’d like to think, in Barry’s shoes, that I became president on my own merit…”

    That’s the problem for Barry, isn’t it? He’s singularly lacking in merit.

    • That’s a very easy thing to say, but ad hominem negative comments add very little to the discussion. He’s my president and although I don’t approve of everything he’s done, I am happy with lots of it.

  3. Who would be so crass as to believe that Obama became president on the basis of his colour? After all, according to this article, “blacks [only] voted for Obama by 95 to 4”. Now I suspect that the majority of blacks vote Democrat anyway but, if that 95/4 ratio is accurate, either the black vote was a vote for “one of theirs” or the Democrats must have been very persuasive. In the same article we are told that “Latinos went for Obama by 66 to 32 and Asians backed Obama by 61 to 35”. So other US ethnics (in what can be assumed are similar economic circumstances) weren’t wholly convinced that Obama was “their” candidate. Why would that be?

  4. There’s no such thing as “black” people or “white” people… the sooner people start spotting this obvious fact, some light might start appearing at the end of the tunnel.

    Obama epitomises this – he’s not a “black” president, he’s a mixed-ethnicity president… and that’s part of why he was electable, and why Jesse Jackson never was. Obama was the “ethnic unity” candidate; not the “black” one. This is backed up by the stats cited by “Umbongo”.
    His success makes the NAACP look as anachronistic and odd as the all new friendly version of the KKK.

    Your proposed solutions are rubbish.
    The point about human beings, which is illustrated by America, is that ethnocentrism is one of the most potent forces in human self-organisation. The supposed “melting pot”, is overwhelmingly comprised of people who invoke part of their ethnic ancestry as part of their identity, and tend to cluster together in those groups. The very concept of “whiteness” is an American solution to protecting the interests of a set of different European ethnic groups, who retain their ethnic identities as Polish, Irish, Italian whatever, but created this artifice to protect themselves and their interests from later waves of more tinted folk.
    What ethnocentrism means is that it’s a permanent uphill struggle to try and get alien ethnic groups to be accepted in positions of authority/representation of a any given ethnic group – each needs their own leaders.
    I’m pretty certain that for “Bantu-Americans” (as they might more accurately be called) to make progress, they need their own domain… a “New Africa” if you like; because the fundamental problem for all African people is that there are almost no modern liberal democratic “Afro-run” states anywhere in the world that they can look up to with pride. South Africa is not the success it was “meant” to be; maybe a couple of the Caribbean tax haven states are OK, but the real problem for Afros is that they have nowhere but America to look to for heros, and they are too busy trying to achieve success in a non-Afro ethno-cultural paradigm.
    I’d say, lop off the South East states of the USA, and make Atlanta the capital of a modern Afro state, and you would see transformational leadership potentially for the whole of Afro-dom. Alas, it won’t happen. So unless somewhere Ghana manages to lift itself out of the cycle, I’m afraid, they are all basically fucked.

    • In anthropological terms, I agree with you entirely. Likeness and groupishness are powerful human instincts.

      But politically? Untenable doesn’t even begin to cover it.

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