Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide
By Joy-Ann Reid
Review by Dr. Herbert L. Calhoun
Ms. Joy Ann-Reid has penned a gem of a book here about what she saw on the way to the "Obama Revolution." And what she saw was not pretty.
She has framed what she saw as a series of extended contretemps between the Clintons and the Obamas. But once the reader gets beyond the introductory chapters, it becomes clear that this frame was little more than a cover for telling a much deeper story: the cold-blooded truth about how "Team Obama" undermined its own revolution by repeatedly cow-towing to the racist elements within its own team, within its own Democratic ranks, as well as within the racist America public at-large. And it is particularly a story about how Mr. Obama's hyper-sensitivity to rightwing blogs and radio shows, consistently and incongruously, allowed the racist "Tea Party" faction of the Republican Party, to set the agenda for the Obama Revolution.
In the end, Mr. Obama must take full responsibility for killing his own revolution through a series of missteps, faux pas, timidity, reticence, ambivalence, leading from behind, cowardly premature capitulations, vain search for a non-existent bipartisanism, dumb negotiating, and repeated acts of cowardice by caving in to those who bullied him about leaning too much in the direction of blacks on the issue of race.
Like an anti-black monk, never once in eight years did he ever lean in our direction, so, for all intents and purposes, Bill Clinton still remains "The First real Black President," since Mr. Obama is still a virgin as far as blacks are concerned. Yet, his deep allergy to his own blackness, in retrospect, must be seen as a sickness that lies within the Obama personality, as well as a racial sickness writ large within the American body politic.
Can anyone imagine, for instance, what would happen if Hillary Clinton were President, and black cops were repeatedly killing white women on the streets daily, and these killings were consistently being determined to be "justified homicides?" Would Hillary be silent, or would she be asking her white sisters to cut her some slack? No, I think she would cry out with the full rage of an injured human being!
But not Mr. Obama. He does not feel black pain. With a cool pose, he feels the hope of our shared humanity with the racists who are busy trying to undermine every black gain, and the hope of a non-existent bipartisanism. Therefore he sits in the Oval Office appealing to us blacks to be cool, not to take to the streets, and to allow justice to take its course?
He even puts his own very conservative, Reagan appointed Attorney General in a choke-hold to prevent him from being pro-active on behalf of blacks in the rash of police murders -- that is until Eric Holder could no longer stand it, and broke away from the BHO anti-black spell and went to Ferguson, Mo. on his own anyway.
In many ways, Mr. Obama has gotten a free ride to the Presidency. He did not pays any dues.
If you interview those in the Chicago Altgeld community where he briefly was a community organizer and activist, no one remembers him? And as a result, what Mrs. Clinton said about him on page 155, to the effect that "Dr. King did not just give speeches. He marched, he organized, he protested, he was gassed, he was beaten, he was jailed. He understood that he had to move the political process and bring those who were in political power ... to act on what he had devoted his life to achieving."
Mr. Obama, on the other hand, does not have an activist pedigree. He has been allowed to trade on his blackness cost-free, on Dr. King's legacy of activism, at the same time that he "denies" and "distances" himself from black concerns themselves. He hides behind the mantra that "he is the President of all the people," and that what he does for Americans generally will disproportionately impact blacks. But LBJ, who gave us so much; and even Richard Nixon, who gave us Affirmative Action; and Harry Truman who integrated the services, all had targeted programs that helped blacks. So where does Mr. Obama's lame excuse come from? I think he is just a coward, who does not want to pay the price for being black in a racist nation, period.
The wife of Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, Janet Langhart Cohen has best summarized the Obama tendency to beg for our indulgence with one hand, while double-crossing us behind our backs with the other. She says on page 269:
"On multiple occasions, Obama has asked blacks to understand the high wire he is forced to walk on the subject of race. He has pleaded that we cut him some slack. Most have done so even as conditions in the black community have become more desperate. We have waited and watched the president address issues of importance to women, gays, and lesbians, Latinos and the security of our allies. We praised the boldness in speaking to the issue of sexual orientation during his visit to Africa. For the past four years, we have remained silent; some have been satisfied that Obama being the first black president was reason enough to seal our lips and muffle our voices. But most were convinced that, once he entered his second term, Obama would be liberated from the harness that politics forced him to wear."
But sadly, that has not happened. And thus we are forced to conclude that there are no heroes in the ranks of "team Obama" on the way to the Obama Revolution -- only villains -- with the President's repeated acts of cowardice being the most villainous of them all.
And if Hillary intends to follow the Obama lead on issues of race, as she has repeatedly announced during the 2016 Presidential campaign, I think she will be treading on very thin ice indeed. Blacks will have a long painful memory of the Obama "hopelessness and no change, non-Revolution."
Since there is a leitmotif to Ms. Reid's narrative of "the death of the Obama Revolution by a thousand cuts," I want to cut to the chase and get to the issue that lies at the core of why Obama had to deny his own black humanity (and our's) in repeated cowardly preemptive capitulations to the racist sentiment in America's body politic.
In his appeals for "the brothers to cut him some slack," Mr. Obama repeatedly pled to us on grounds that we shared a "common humanity" with the racists who (through racist inner city police) were busy killing black men and boys in droves on the inner city streets; who were busy trying to roll back every Civil Rights gain since the LBJ administration, including rolling back the 1954 Supreme Court Decision, Affirmative Action, ending bussing to achieve better equality in inner city schools, gutting the fair housing Act, mass incarceration of black men, gerrymandering Congressional districts, and undermining voting rights across the nation.
I say to Mr. Obama, you are wrong, we do not share a common humanity with these racists who oppose and consistently roll back laws already enacted by our Congress and handed down by the highest Courts in the land. I say that they are not human because Nazi Germany proved to us that racists simply are not human. Racists, no matter their stripe, simply do not have a humanity, other than the desire to protect their own racism privileges and entitlements. Everything else bedamned!
You must first be human to have a shared humanity. And these racists, who call on the U.S. Constitution to defend their racist prerogatives at the same time that they do everything in their power to undermine the legitimate rights of black citizens, are not human.
And thus to treat them as if they are: to cater to them is to further empower them. It is to concede the moral high ground to them, and it is to do so at the expense of a legitimate black morality and humanity.
Isn't doing this just a round about way of saying that we blacks are still second-class citizens? Is it not another way of saying that our vote in a democratic system where one's vote is supposed to count at least for a modicum of political power, in reality (and even with a black president) actually counts for nothing?
After all, every other citizen whose votes overwhelmingly elects a new president, has every right to expect to at least have his issues placed on the national agenda, if not, at least in part, fully addressed. It happened in the JFK administration, in the Clinton administration, in the Jimmy Carter administration and in the LBJ administration. And no one ever accused either of them of not being the president of all the people?
Mr. Obama's appeal to us to defer to the racist white agenda solely because continued racism is the will of the white racist majority, echoes the same lame calls of the Uncle Tom Booker T. Washington at the turn of the last Century. Booker T also asked blacks to give up all hopes of full equality in exchange for being content with remaining second-class citizens. He wanted us to become farmers and carpenters, and give up on the idea of ever going to college. We did not listen to him either.
But here is the larger question for Mr. Obama: Can one really continue to defer to the non-humanity of an immoral racist majority without further corrupting our political system, and without remaining second-class citizens? Mr. Obama knows as well as Booker T. knew, that to suggest such is not only a moral absurdity, it is moral debasement and a moral insult to all our democratic institutions.
Ms. Joy Ann-Reid does give Mr. Obama a bit of breathing room here. She tells us that he does not exactly tell us not to fight for our own rights. According to her, Mr. Obama just says, even though blacks might have voted for him at the 95% level, he is not going to help them. As far as he is concerned, even though Gays and Lesbians, Native Americans and women can expect largesse from the Obama administration, blacks still have nothing coming from him?
The author intimates further that Mr. Obama's real constituency is not blacks at all, but racist white liberals who followed him here from Chicago. And judging by what Mr. Obama has shown us so far, the author's statement appears to be accurate.
I only have one final personal comment to make about Mr. Obama. It is based on reading at least a dozen books about his life and upbringing. (Most of them have been reviewed under my name on amazon.com.)
His two very well-written books were both carefully constructed psychologically-compelled lies, mostly designed to deflect attention away from the fact that he has suffered permanent psychic damage from his mother abandoning him (not his dad, whom he never even knew, except briefly when he was around ten), and having to choose between being white or being black.
The trajectory of his mental development proves that he never recovered from this psychic trauma. As a direct result, it seems self-evident that his worldview has been mediated and warped by the trauma of "mother abandonment," which is obviously one of the things that forced him to choose to become black. The other, was the draconian "one drop" rule, which robbed Mr. Obama from being anything other than black.
So, since he was forced to become black as a result of a racist psychological fait accompli, he adopted Chicago as his new psychological home. There Reverend Wright became his symbolic black father, and all the black women close to him became his new symbolic collective psychological mothers.
Thus, in order to fill-in the missing parts of his black psychological resume, Mr. Obama appended their ways of thinking to his own, When he was forced, out of political expediency, to break away from Reverend Wright, he was a man left in a racist void -- in a sea of blackness without a rudder. He thought white America would eventually play fair, and adopt and rescue him as their favorite black son, but the racists, which are majority of whites, rejected the black part of him too, just as he himself had done.
It is thus, everywhere self-evident that the black women he adopted to lead him to a safe cultural harbor, led him in the wrong direction: into a fantasizes version of what white America is all about: They are about maintaining the privileges of white supremacy at all costs.
Unconsciously Michelle, Valery and Oprah have taught him how to be a "soft Uncle Tom;" how to hate his own kind: black males; and to hate his own white mother, who if the truth were ever told, is the real champion and hero of his success in life.
So, when I see Mr. Obama groping in the dark, as he often does on the issue of race -- ever In search of a perpetual psychological crutch to grab onto, to help him define what his "faux blackness" is really suppose to mean, especially in tough times, I know it will be the hand of an Aunt Jemima black woman, like a certain very wealthy one from Chicago (who hand picked him to be President), who will provide that guidance. His policies have all remained in lock-step with her worldview. Five stars
Editor's note: This review was written by Dr. Herbert L. Calhoun and has been reposted with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.