Tag Archives: barack obama

Open Thread: How Do We Evaluate Barack Obama?

by Latoya Peterson

I’m not really a huge fan of politics, especially not the horserace thing that’s popular this time of year. I was planning to do an update to a 2008 post, where I asked:

Ask yourselves: what is your candidate going to do with the rising class gap in America? How do they propose to fix the problems (housing, retirement problems, education, wages) that contribute to the ever widening class divide?

Pathways Magazine, a Stanford University based publication dedicated to exploring poverty, inequality, and social policy, recently provided takes from the three major democratic front runners on their plans to alleviate poverty in America. (Hat tip to the Education and Class blog.)

Back in the day, Obama promised this:

Barack Obama – “Tackling Poverty and Inequality in America”
(p. 14-16; PDF p. 16-18)

1. Replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone model and create Promise Neighborhoods in 20 cities across the country. (Sites will be selected by the government – cities and private entities will be required to pay 50% of costs to ensure involvement)
2. Expand early childhood education, federal grants and school loans
3. Sponsor Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Legislation – providing financial support to fathers who pay their child support, cracking down on fathers who don’t; initiatives to stop the cycle of domestic violence that takes a toll on families Continue reading

Black Woman, Know Your Place: Cornel West Clings To His Privilege

By Guest Contributor Tami Winfrey Harris, cross-posted from What Tami Said

Sexism from a brown face is still sexism. Male privilege with a unique cadence and sartorial style is still male privilege. Patriarchy is still patriarchy when perpetrated by doctorate-wielding black activists. Demanding that a black woman march in lock step with your agenda or be labeled “treacherous” and “a fake and a fraud” is to further the twin demons of racism and sexism that black women battle every day. It’s disgraceful.

Cornel West on Melissa Harris-Perry in the latest issue of Diverse Issues magazine:

“I have a lot of love for the sister, but she’s a liar, and I hate lying,” says West.

Harris-Perry’s scathing critique, West says, has more to do with the fact that the Center for African American Studies unanimously voted against her when she came up for promotion from associate to full professor, adding that her work was not scholarly enough. “There’s not a lot of academic stuff with her, just a lot of Twittering,” says West, who added that her book Sister Citizen, released last year was “wild and out of control.”
“She’s become the momentary darling of liberals, but I pray for her because she’s in over her head. She’s a fake and a fraud. I was so surprised at how treacherous the sister was.”

Continue reading

Un-ringing The Bell: Elle France And Obama Style

By Fashion Correspondent Joseph Lamour

Thanks to the Obamas are in order, fellow African Americans! Black people–like me!–can look in a closet and not immediately reach for the saggy jeans and other “street wear codes.”

At least, according to Elle France.

For the first time, the chic has become a plausible option for a community so far pegged [only] to its street wear codes…

-Nathalie Dolivo, in French Elle
Tendance [Trend] – Black Fashion Power

Nathalie Dolivo, a writer for the magazine’s blog, seems to think that since the Obamas are so fashion-forward, they serve as a public forum to inspire African Americans to dress more fashionably in 2012. First of all, lady, this is the fourth year of Barack’s term. You’re a little late with this intensely racist idea, aren’t you?

That’s not even the worst of it. Dolivo goes so far as to coin the term, and this hurts me to type it, “black-geoisie”.  Now, we really should institute a “Sh-t Fashion Magazines Say” to add to the hundreds of others on YouTube. We have a wealth of material to work from. First we had Slave Earrings. Then we had the whole Rihanna, N*ggabitch debacle. To which Rihanna herself replied with a heartfelt “F*CK YOU”. And now this. It seems like American magazines are on their best behavior! Good work.

Dolivo uses a picture of Janelle Monae in the post to show how far we’ve come from over-sized pants, but Monae is a musician who’s particular style existed since her music was first released in 2003, well before this “black fashion renaissance” (Dolivo’s words, not mine) was to have taken place. And of course, much before public consumption as well.

The post has since been removed from Elle France’s website. Without an apology, I believe the magazine is hoping they can deny the post was published–or published in error, at least , if caught (too late for that!). Elle, you can’t un-ring a bell.

Open Thread: Jan. 24 State Of The Union Address

By Arturo R. García

From telling Congress, “I intend to fight obstruction with action” to calling for a more “common sense” approach to handling the country’s growing income gap, last night’s State of the Union address seemed to boil down to President Barack Obama telling his would-be opponents this election year, Come at the King, you best not miss.

But rather than quote more pundits, Racializens, we’d like your take on the speech: was it fair of him to call on Congress to deliver “comprehensive immigration reform right now,” while not mentioning the DREAM Act by name? Can Obama’s announcement of a task force to investigate what he called “the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis” and his “common sense” line be called, as The Guardian’s Gary Younge suggests, a response to the Occupy Wall Street movement? Was his take on what he described as partisan obstruction, as Indiana governor Mitch Daniels said in the Republican response, needlessly decisive?

If you missed the speech, the New York Times has a full transcript here. Otherwise, the floor is yours.

 

Excerpt: On The First Two Stops In The 2012 Election

The life of the average Iowan or New Hampshirite doesn’t reflect the reality of the average American. Take a look at New Hampshire’s demographics, and you’ll see a state that’s nearly 94 percent white, with wealthier residents than the many states, far fewer foreign-born residents, and higher levels of educational attainment. Iowa is much the same: 91 percent white, high rates of home ownership, and low rates of poverty.

The short answer for why Iowa and New Hampshire matter: Symbolism. The Iowa caucuses are the first electoral events of the presidential campaign season; the New Hampshire primary is the first primary.

The long answer: The process leading all the way to the general election starts here. In Iowa on Jan. 3, voters will meet in 99 conventions to elect county-level delegates. Those 99 county delegates select district and state delegates, who will eventually select the delegates that attend the national Democratic and Republican conventions—-where those delegates confirm the presidential nominee. (Remember the frantic counting of delegates that happened before Hillary Clinton suspended her campaign? The Iowa caucuses are the first step there.)

And it’s worth noting that Barack Obama won the largely white Iowa caucuses in 2008—Schaller calls it “one of great racial ironies of modern American politics”—which was the first sign that he actually was a viable candidate.

- From “Why (Very White) Iowa and New Hampshire Mean So Much In Politics,” by Shani O. Hilton

Community & Criticisms : Looking for the Answers in the Cecilia Muñoz Controversy

By Guest Contributor Maegan La Mala, cross-posted from Vivir Latino

It’s a long way from April, when hardly anyone paid much mind to my critique of the role Cecilia Muñoz, the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, was playing in her defense of the indefensible, the increase in detentions and deportations, and the growing criminalization of communities these increases requires.

Now, there are petitions, open letters, appearances, articles, and attacks. I knew that taking a position that directly challenged Muñoz as the Latina spokesperson for an administration that has actually done worse to our communities would be controversial and would also demand that community organizations who claim legitimacy in their role as community representatives be held accountable. I did/do this, not because it is in my mission statement, nor because I am beholden to any entity beyond the vecinos I stood doing laundry with on Sunday mornings, whom week after week watched Muñoz lie to them on behalf of an administration that promised change. The words in the American Prospect article are completely my own and I stand by them.

It is easy for organizations, their leadership, and the public relations departments housed within them, to attack an individual writer, calling them ill-informed and accusing them (me) of doing a disservice to the community. What has proven more difficult is answering the questions that remain. This is not about what services a specific organization provides nor about if they have condemned an immigration policy that deports an average of 400,000 people a year, leaving thousands of children in foster care. What it is about is answering precisely how does supporting Cecilia Muñoz serve the community? Claims about her attempting to change immigration policy fall flat in the face of reports that show that prosecutorial discretion is not being exercised, bolstering accusations that the Morton Memo and alleged reviews of deportation cases are nothing more than public relation tools.

As more data and documents are released and ICE fights tooth and nail to hide a paper trail that more than likely contains proof of the intentions behind their detention and deportation policies and practices, it falls on organizations claiming to represent community to show why shielding spokespeople for an administration that has failed in fulfilling it’s promises is beneficial.

Everything else, just like in the Obama administration is just PR.