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from The Root:

In an interview with the BBC this week, Oprah Winfrey said of President Obama: ‘There is a level of disrespect for the office that occurs. And that occurs, in some cases, and maybe even many cases, because he’s African-American.’

With that remark, Winfrey touched on an issue that many Americans have wrestled with: To what extent does this president’s race animate those loyal to him and those opposed? Is race a primary motivator or a subordinate, more elusive one, tainting motivations but not driving them?

To some degree, the answers lie with the questioners. There are different perceptions of racial realities. What some see as slights, others see as innocent opposition. But there are some objective truths here. Racism is a virus that is growing clever at avoiding detection. Race consciousness is real. Racial assumptions and prejudices are real. And racism is real. But these realities can operate without articulation and beneath awareness. For those reasons, some can see racism where it is absent, and others can willfully ignore any possibility that it could ever be present.

Obama doesn’t care about the black community. He is controlled by the same elitist bankers that Bush was controlled by. His policies have led to record highs in black unemployment and he has done nothing to help the black community but they still blindly follow him simply because he is black. If the black community desires real change they are going to have to drop the things that haven’t worked and start on a new path. One that doesn’t include blindly supporting democrats and policies that don’t deliver as promised. I am not insinuating that republicans are the answer because I believe they have been corrupted in recent years by the same elitist corporations as the democrats have. I do believe that blacks should be looking to real conservatives such as the ones I mentioned earlier if they hope to make real strides in helping their communities which should start with bringing the black fathers back into the home first.

Don’t let your blackness be all that you are for it can become a crutch and a hindrance to being all that (was) intended for you. Really look at the policies you support and use your mind to determine if they are really helping or if they are simply propaganda used to control you.

so this is from a reply about an article called: “

Beneath the Spin: Tavis Smiley and Cornel West – ‘Bligoted’ Turncoats Without A Home”

this was posted by Kim

found it to be legit in many senses

Cornel West: It's "Grounds For Impeachment" If Obama Bombs Syria Without Congressional Approval

President Obama at March on Washington 2013: We Need to Hear 'I Have a Plan'

"It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’ "

Fifty years later, we are still waiting for that check to clear.

As many other articles about the march that haveappeared on The Root and other websites have spelled out exhaustively, we have come a long way since the March on Washington, but not always in the right direction. There’s no need for me to detail the ambivalent facts about how the explosive growth in our economic and political power over the past 50 years has still left a huge number of our people trapped in the nightmare that is the precise opposite of King’s dream.

Achievements that would have been unthinkable when the great civil rights leader’s thundering voice boomed out across the National Mall have been realized. If King were making his speech today, demanding that that figurative check finally be cashed, it would be a black president who would be called on to find a response. But as much as it pains me to say this, I’m afraid that his response would be that the account is still overdrawn and the debt will remain unpaid.

I believe, with the full benefit of 20-20 hindsight, that our dilemma stems from a lack of strategic thinking about the full consequences of our strides toward freedom. Over and over again during the past 50 years, our leaders have failed to foresee the unintended consequences of our success.

A Black Father in the House By Kevin Jackson

By now you likely have heard that Chris Rock considers Barack Obama America’s father. If that is true, then would somebody call Child Protective Services and find us foster parents!

For Chris Rock, America’s true Founding Fathers were disappointingly white. I suspect that whatever the color of America’s Founding Fathers might have been, they would not have approved of having a failure like Obama among their esteemed membership.

Thought the Founding Fathers had many flaws, they were smart enough to eliminate the self-indulgent institution of slavery from America’s future. Further, they crafted the Constitution to help posterity avoid mistakes like Obama, so America could avoid having a “baby daddy” rather than a real father.

Obama reminds me of my father. And like my father, Obama uses anybody and everything at his disposal for his own personal exploitation. I thought it was detestable, that my father stole Christmas presents from the family one year. However when you consider that Obama not only steals Christmas, he steals our children’s futures, my deadbeat, drug-addicted murdering father doesn’t seem quite so bad.

My father and Obama do have one difference. My father was convicted of his crimes and served many years in San Quentin, while Obama’s crimes gained him the presidency.

Chris Rock wants a daddy who has spent the family’s mortgage money, and can’t keep food in the fridge. He wants a father who has gambled away the kids’ college fund, and made us believe he “invested” our money. All that is left for Obama to do is to kill mother for the insurance.

In Rock’s press conference he wanted to convey his respect for the office of the presidency, which is why he wanted to show public support for Obama. However when asked in 2007 about the possibility of a black Commander-in-Chief, Rock had this to say in reference to George Bush:

"It’s [America] ready for a retarded president, why wouldn’t it be ready for an African American president?"

There was no talk then of how citizens needed to shut up and do whatever Bush wanted without question. Chris Rock will step and fetch for Hollywood white men, but there was no way he would do so for a white president. I suspect Rock would rather get that bite in the ass he referenced, than kowtow to a white president.

Rock was dying for a reason to showcase his abject hatred of whites, something he and other Liberal blacks have been taught for decades, people angry without even knowing why. Obama is the manifest destiny of the pent up hatred. Obama represents payback; misplaced payback.

Instead of celebrating Obama’s achievement as the first recognizable black president, Rock denigrates that milestone in America’s evolution. Chris Rock is a creation of the guilty white Leftists, and he is unquestionably a modern-day racist. Guilty white Leftists have given Chris Rock and all racist blacks permission to be racists.

In some twisted way, these Liberal white elitists feel good being “accepted” by people like Rock, while actually holding dominion over them. Liberal elitists make sure that racist like Chris Rock keeps his day job. They support his movies and his twisted ideology, while knowing they still hold the puppet strings.

It’s sad that somebody convinced Chris Rock that there would never be a black president in his lifetime. So when he got one, Rock simply reverted back to his reptilian brain, which is to support the man based solely on his color. It’s tribal for him.

If Obama’s white heritage were more prominent, Rock would dedicate entire comedy routine on the destruction Obama has caused in the black community. But Obama proclaims blackness, so tribalism won’t allow Chris Rock to use sanity or logic in his evaluation of Obama. He must blindly support the man who is destroying blacks.

Such is the plight of the liberal black community, and the reason there are so many bad black leaders. So what your daddy can’t keep the lights on and he beats your mom? Who cares the family’s credit is in the toilet, and daddy spends money like a pimp. Chris Rock is just glad to have his black father in the home.

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Obama's war in Africa Lee Wengraf surveys the escalation of American military intervention in Africa.

well of course this issue would come about AFTER he gets re-elected.

By the way Kony 2012 was not well-researched or taken care of well on the journalist’s part.

Also, we never really know what’s going on in Africa, most people assume it’s a country riddled with civil wars, genocides and primitive/uncivilized life…when it isn’t. But what the news does/doesn’t show us helps create certain ideals in our heads about it soo…yeah basically we don’t really know what’s going on over there…

(here’s a little reminder that America was built off of genocide, killing, kidnapping, and enslavement-so hushhush America you are no better.)

WITH ELECTION Day approaching, antiwar activists and progressives have rightly criticized Barack Obama’s record of warfare across Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. But the Obama administration has also been waging a secret and brutal war in Africa, a continent already devastated by a long string of Western-fueled civil wars.

Attention most recently focused on Obama’s move against Joseph Kony, leader of the East African Lords’ Resistance Army (LRA). This spring’s Kony 2012 video, which went viral, spurred a renewed call to capture this “genocidal maniac.”

But beneath the “white man’s burden” framework of the Kony 2012 campaign, critical new developments in Obama’s strategy to expand military intervention in Africa have come to light.

First off, there is more to the Kony intervention than meets the eye. Obama justifies the pursuit of Kony in “humanitarian” terms. In October 2011, Obama dispatched 100 troops to Uganda to “remove Kony from the battlefield,” meaning to capture or kill him. This intervention was supplemented with a $45 million military aid package to Uganda, which included four drones. And in March 2012, the African Union (AU) announced a 5,000-strong force for the region.

Kony certainly has a long record of brutalizing villagers with campaigns of terror and murder. Nonetheless, five years ago, the LRA was routed from Uganda and reduced from 10,000 to a small, roving force of several hundred. Kony poses little military threat to the Ugandan government or U.S. national security.

At the same time, the human rights record of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, a close U.S. ally, is horrific—but Obama has continued the long tradition of U.S. assistance to the Ugandan regime, including funds to target the LRA. Museveni’s war against the people of Northern Uganda has been brutal, including 2008’s U.S.-supported Operation Lightning Thunder that killed more than 1,000 people and displaced up to 200,000.

One portrait of the Museveni regime from the Guardian describes “a constitutional dictatorship, with a rubber stamp parliament, powerless judiciary, censored media and heavily militarised civil institutions…[and] the harassment of Museveni’s political opponents.”

Yet sadly, mainstream organizations like Human Rights Watch—called “humanitarian militarists" by one critic—champion intervention against the LRA, lobbying Obama to “put real muscle into making [military operations] work.”

The Kony intervention brings Obama’s wider strategy into focus: under the cover of humanitarianism, Obama aims to expand U.S. military control over the continent. Intensifying competition with Europe and China throughout Africa has driven forward increased troop levels, “covert” operations—secret bases and drone warfare—and support for local proxies. Beneath lies a scramble for Africa’s many resources, including oil, a heightened counter-terrorism agenda and a new project of widening the U.S. footprint on the continent.

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IT IS no exaggeration to say that the U.S. is at war in Africa. The continent is awash with American military bases, covert operations and thousands of Western-funded troops, and responsibility for this escalation must be laid squarely on Obama’s doorstep.

Key to the Obama administration global strategy in the post-Iraq era is a shift from “boots on the ground” towards “alliance-building.” The idea is to cement American “indispensability” to African political stability in geo-strategically critical areas—from the Horn of Africa, with its proximity to the Suez Canal and Middle East, to West African nations, with billions of barrels of oil.

A Pentagon report from January 2012 outlines objectives of “working with allies and partners to establish control over ungoverned territories.” The U.S. can conveniently define and redefine this broadly stated policy as needed—whether it’s arming the “war on terror” or facilitating “humanitarian intervention” (the hunt for Kony). But beneath the veneer of “partnership” is the aim of asserting American power and shoring up key allies in order to expand the U.S. footprint on a resource-rich continent.

Foreign-policy architects have cynically marshaled support for this project by foregrounding the first American president of African descent. In the words of Obama adviser and “humanitarian hawk” Samantha Power:

Part of having a credible American leader again who is unimplicated with the war in Iraq, who is very attractive to people around the world, is to somehow use that early wind at his back to try to extract commitments to patrol the commons, to actually deal with these broken people and broken places.

This shift in strategy explains the Obama administration’s embrace of proxy warfare, secret operations and indirect military support. According to Wired contributor David Axe, a frequent writer on security in Africa:

The U.S. military’s “offshore balancing” strategy…[is] meant to minimize long-term deployments of large ground armies by emphasizing air and naval forces working in conjunction with local and regional “proxy” armies…Full-scale interventions like Afghanistan are probably a thing of the past. Somalia-style, “hands-off” campaigns are the future.

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THIS APPROACH has translated into an expansion of AFRICOM “smaller-scale” initiatives, including training for African militaries and the supply of military equipment like drones and naval forces. Earlier this year, the Department of Defense announced an increase of roughly 3,000 soldiers to be deployed across Africa in 2013.

U.S. troops are now in Uganda, Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan—in addition to a number of other locations. For example, several hundred Special Forces personnel operate in West Africa, including in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

In late 2011, a secret network of drone bases was revealed in the Horn of Africa, fully equipped with Reaper “hunter-killer” drones. Earlier this year, the Washington Postreported on the frightening expansion of this network of bases across the continent:

The operations have intensified in recent months, part of a growing shadow war against al-Qaeda affiliates and other militant groups. The surveillance is overseen by U.S. Special Operations forces but relies heavily on private military contractors and support from African troops.

The surveillance underscores how Special Operations forces, which have played an outsize role in the Obama administration’s national security strategy, are working clandestinely all over the globe, not just in war zones. The lightly equipped commando units train foreign security forces and perform aid missions, but they also include teams dedicated to tracking and killing terrorism suspects.

And just last month, reporters revealed a North African plan for “a series of clandestine intelligence missions…to conduct surveillance flights and monitor communications over the Sahara Desert and the arid region to the south, known as the Sahel.”

But it’s the crucial East and Central African regions that have been a particular focus for intensive counter-terror and military activities. Last year, Nation investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill uncovered a secret campaign against so-called Islamic terrorists al-Shabab in Somalia, with interrogation chambers, CIA surveillance, drones and Special Forces.

Following a drone attack in June 2011, Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser John Brennan reiterated focusing not on “deploying large armies abroad but delivering targeted, surgical pressure to the groups that threaten us.” According to Scahill, Brennan singled out al-Shabab, saying, “We cannot and we will not let down our guard. We will continue to pummel Al Qaeda and its ilk.”

In the words of David Axe:

Along with the counterterrorism campaigns in Pakistan, Yemen and the Philippines, the Somalia drone war demonstrates how high-tech U.S. forces can inflict major damage on America’s enemies at relatively low cost…and without most U.S. citizens having any idea it’s even happening…The sheer number of flying robots tumbling out of the sky over Somalia seems to indicate much more intensive…operations than official and press reports imply.

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DRONE WARFARE has had a devastating impact on Somalia, a nation engulfed in more than two decades of civil fueled throughout by U.S. intervention. As one Somali told Axe, “You Americans, you’ll destroy an entire city to get three people.”

Pursuing clandestine warfare and other tactics is only possible with the support of a network of regional allies. Ugandan President Museveni is a lynchpin of the Obama administration’s strategy in East Africa. Of course, a significant part of the administration’s interest is directly tied to oil. Two and a half billion barrels of oil have been discovered in Uganda.

South Sudan, Uganda’s neighbor and ally, split from the Sudan last year and nowcontrols about three-quarters of the formerly united country’s oil production. The U.S. has provided South Sudan with military aid, likely to further inflame conflicts between South Sudan and Sudan.

Uganda also supplies African Union troops to back up the U.S.-supported Somali government and its civil war with al-Shabab. Not only is Somalia’s location in the Horn of Africa strategically critical, but oil companies this spring began bidding for drilling rights.The Guardian cited claims that the “potential is comparable to that of Kuwait, which has more than 100 billion barrels of proven oil reserves,” and that “if true, the deposits would eclipse Nigeria’s reserves and make Somalia the seventh largest oil-rich nation.”

"Somalia is Uganda’s claim that we have a solution for your security concerns in the region," explains Africa scholar Mahmood Mamdani. “It fits very nicely with the American claim that the primary problem of Africa is not development, nor democracy, nor even the lack of human rights, but security.”

The U.S. also arms Somalia’s neighbor Kenya, an important regional ally for the U.S. in its counter-terror agenda. Within days of Obama’s Kony announcement, Kenya invaded Somalia, escalating one of the world’s largest refugee crises with a half-million Somali refugees along the border alone. Nearby Ethiopia, another important U.S. ally, invaded Somalia in 2006 and again last winter and received close to $1 billion in aid last year.

Further south, Uganda is the American proxy, along with Rwanda, in the nightmare plunder of the Congo where a decades-long conflict ”has emerged as nothing short of a blood-soaked scramble for the vast profits to be made off the Congolese people and their land.”

Responding to Obama’s Kony announcement, the online social justice journal Pambazuka asked:

Why now, when in the Congo worse atrocities occur daily, committed by militias far more brutal than the LRA, which were created and sustained by Uganda’s Museveni and Rwanda’s [Paul] Kagame? These two U.S.-backed dictators have been able to siphon billions of dollars of Congo’s wealth by sponsoring mayhem—massacres, mass rapes and mutilations…Why is Obama not lifting a finger to punish those responsible for crimes against humanity in Congo? Isn’t it because he is shielding Museveni and Kagame from accountability?

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THE OBAMA administration builds on a long tradition of U.S. intervention in Africa since the end of colonialism. During the Cold War, superpower competition drove both the U.S. and the USSR to create allies and proxies in Africa as a way to extend their global reach. This competition drove an ever-shifting network of alliances, military funding, proxy wars, clandestine operations and the use of the CIA as well as a drive to extend American influence through global financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

But as New York Times journalist Jeffrey Gettleman explains:

Africa…had the bad luck of gaining its independence as the Cold War was at its height and the United States and Soviet Union were trying to recruit proxies; the East–West rivalry therefore shaped much of Africa’s internal politics and many of its rebellions. The superpowers propped up brutal, thoroughly hated tyrants purely because they supported one side or another, and likewise co-opted rebel groups and plied them with money and guns to fight for or against communism. When the Cold War abruptly ended in 1990, the superpowers’ sudden disengagement from the African continent left a number of tyrants exposed and ripe for overthrow.

This background makes clear the willingness of the U.S.’s local allies to embrace superpower support and deploy local forces on their behalf.

Today, global competition drives Obama’s foreign policy. During the past decade, the U.S. has engaged in a fierce battle with China for worldwide economic and military preeminence. The aim has been to encircle and contain China’s growing reach. TheEconomist reported a Department of Defense announcement that by 2020, 60 percent of American warships would be stationed in Asia, along with “a range of other ‘investments’ to ensure that despite China’s fast-growing military might, America would still be able to ‘rapidly project military power if needed to meet our security commitments.’”

Intensified competition with China, and other powers such as Russia, is fueling the higher levels of U.S. military involvement in Africa and a new scramble for resources. This scramble is mainly about oil, in which Africa plays a critical supply role for both China and the U.S., but also about increased overall investment in resources—from diamonds and gold to land for agricultural investment. South Africa’s mineral wealth, for example, is estimated at $2.5 trillion.

Trade between Africa and the rest of the world has increased by 200 percent since 2000, and China is Africa’s largest trading partner. Trade between the two jumped more than 40 percent last year, compared with only 18 percent for the U.S.

Africa has about 10 per cent of global oil reserves, and West Africa is projected to supplyup to a quarter of U.S. oil consumption by 2015. Oil imports from Africa have alreadysurpassed those from the Middle East, and many American oil majors do big business in Africa.

But China has been elbowing the U.S. out of trade deals in African nations such as the Sudan, Angola and Congo, and secured drilling mineral rights across the continent. Earlier this year, a Chinese national oil company announced that its worldwide oil production capacity now surpassed Exxon.

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SECURING ACCESS to oil underpins Obama’s “security concerns.” Former President George W. Bush created the AFRICOM military command, celebrating its launch as “protecting the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market" in the face of "oil disruption," "terrorism" and the growing influence of China.

Yet under Obama, AFRICOM’s budget stands at $302 million, almost tripling since its 2007 launch. And these funds don’t include vast sums spent on training, arming and financing African militaries, which climbed to about $1 billion plus another $1 billion for private military contractors.

Asia Times writer Pepe Escobar describes the current dynamics this way:

The big picture remains the Pentagon’s AFRICOM spreading its militarized tentacles against the lure of Chinese soft power in Africa, which goes something like this: in exchange for oil and minerals, we build anything you want, and we don’t try to sell you “democracy for dummies.” The Bush administration woke up to this threat a bit too late…Under the Obama administration, the mood is total panic. For [CIA chief and four-star general David] Petraeus, the only thing that matters is “the long war” on steroids—from boots on the ground to armies of drones; and who are the Pentagon, the White House and the State Department to disagree?

Yet despite the millions for militarization, the legacies of colonialism and neoliberalism have saddled Africa with devastating rates of poverty, hunger and disease. Sub-Saharan Africa today has a gross national per capita income of about $1,125 and an average life expectancy of 53 years. Africa has immense resources, but these only enrich foreign corporations, a handful of African rulers and a small group of wealthy Africans.

Many have criticized the implicit racism of Kony 2012 and similar efforts, which assume that solutions must be driven by the West. In the words of one Ugandan writer who condemns this approach:

Our “freedom” today is fought for by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International…Our “civil wars” are ended by UN peacekeepers…Our “economic policies” are determined by the World Bank and IMF; our “poverty” is fought by Bill Gates, Bono and Jeffery Sachs; our “crimes” are adjudicated upon by the ICC [International Criminal Court]; our “liberation” achieved through NATO war planes.

Some have argued that the African Union offers an alternative to intervention by Western global powers. But the AU has proven itself an extension of superpower military interests, including its newfound alliances with NATO and AFRICOM.

None of these hold the solution to the terrifying militarization and corporatization of Africa. The only way forward is opposition to Obama’s plans for intervention in Africa in any form—from AFRICOM to covert operations to the corporate rampage of its natural resources. The U.S. is the greatest purveyor of violence in Africa, and it will only be brought to a halt by resistance from and solidarity with ordinary Africans struggling for an end to U.S. military intervention there.

Anyone watch Paul Ryan and all the hoorah that’s been happening this week?

I sure as hell haven’t…yeah I know horrible. It’d be good to hear what these guese really gotta say.

I don’t like him though (yes I’m judging)-I think it’s weird that he resembles Obama (think about how Obama was when he first ran for presidency). Young, great family, deeply religious, he’s got that edge of being able to connect to certain groups that Romney can’t because he’s a suave young dude. Anyone seen that?

Me and grandma were watching this blonde woman interview people about what they think of Paul Ryan…and ALL the people she interviewed were white, some young some older…but ALL were white. What does that say?

I’ll spell it out: the Republican Party’s never been really good at reaching out to the minority community, the black community, women who care about abortion and our rights and all that great stuff they keep making a deal about in the propagandist commercials etc.

Despite the fact that (from my understanding) the Republican Party has actually done a lot in the concern of Civil Rights and rights of all people…but that was back in the day, legit there’s an article about how odd it is that black america leans more towards the Democratic party even though they weren’t for us in the beginning etc etc. 

I dunno what chuuu think of it all?

Is Obama Now Black (Enough) Because He's White?

I have a slight issue with this…regardless of whether or not his mother is white his skin color is still identifiable as black. Same for me- when someone looks at me, they see a minority, a black person, a mixed person of color: it’s always those. And whether or not his ancestral history shows if his family was a part of slavery or not doesn’t matter either…What DOES MATTER relates to the title for me…There’s a play by George C Wolfe called The Colored Museum, and one of the clips (that I’ve previously posted before) is called Symbiosis where a clealy well off, well achieved black man is throwing away his past-history-culture he throws away a Jackson 5 album, a Free Huey button, dashiki, afro pic etc… ya know things he grew up with. But his past kept coming back to him…see where I’m going with this.

I’m not saying Obama isn’t black enuf…I’m saying there won’t be a day where we see Michelle and her kids sportin a fro and rapping to Slick Rick with Obeezy and then doin the chacha slide at a family picnic…follow me?

With the November election less than 100 days away, the Obama campaign continues to come up against questions about the president’s racial identity. Most recently, reports that the president is “passing,” or claiming that he’s representing himself as a member of a different racial group than the one(s) to which he belongs, have resurfaced. For instance, actor Morgan Freeman recently told NPR, “America’s first black president hasn’t arisen yet. He’s not America’s first black president — he’s America’s first mixed-race president.” The logic I see behind such claims is twofold. First, the president is not really African American because his American mother is white (and, by extension, his ancestors were not enslaved). Second, that “mixed-race” and “black” are mutually exclusive ways of being.

None of this particularly surprised me, as I have been writing for years about the power of passing — emphasizing a part of identity rather than the whole — when it comes to thinking about racial identities in America. My assessments are complied in my new book, Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity, which covers the same ground as many of Obama’s political and social critics and visits the president’s own responses to the claim that he is not really African American.

For example, in March 2008 Obama touted the power of personal relationships in promoting racial justice when he explained that he could identify with the experiences of African Americans (i.e., slavery) through the ancestry and experiences of his wife and daughters. Later, he privileged the role of the present over the past when he said that he understood what it means to be a black man in America today because of his racialized experiences and identity. In interviews he discussed what it felt like not to be able to catch a cab in New York City and how he confronted bigotry in the form of hate speech, among other incidents. As recently as 2010, he made an appearance on ABC’sThe View that called for more accurate historical accounts of racial identities and history. As the president put it, “We are sort of a mongrel people.” He continued, “I mean we’re [African Americans] all kinds of mixed up. That’s actually true of white people as well, but we just know more about it.”

And now, thanks to Obama’s own family tree, we’re beginning to know much more. On the heels ofreports about the First Lady’s multiracial heritage comes the latest headline, “Obama Has Ties to Slavery Not by His Father but His Mother, Research Suggests.” According to the Times the president and his mother are descendents of John Punch, “the first African to be legally sanctioned as a slave, years before Virginia adopted laws allowing slavery.”

The revelation that the president and his mother are descendents of the “first slave” provides us all with an opportunity to acknowledge racial relationships with all their problems and awkwardness. Perhaps now, rather than merely questioning the president’s racial identity, we can pose bigger questions about the meanings of race. Questions like: Is slavery still the defining experience of African American identity? If so, who says so? Is any racial identity — multiracial, African American, white — better understood as an idea that can change over time? Wouldn’t it be real progress to admit that an increasing number of people who identify with monoracial identities like black and white might also be mixed? How do we deal with the too often painful history of racial mixing in African American communities? How many families that we know as white might actually come from a history of racial mixing and passing?

President Obama embodies and embraces these tough questions about race like few others. His ever-evolving racial identity questions the construction of the color line. At the same time, the way his identity is reinterpreted and evaluated in mainstream media now begs the question: If Obama is now black enough for us because he’s white, then what does race really mean? In light of this, it may be most appropriate to understand our present and our president as embodiments of social rather than the biological constructions of race and the complicated histories from which such social constructions emerge.”

Black Christian Voters: Get Over It

I discussed the issue on twitter with a friend of mine about how black folk-especially religious black folk (not even then my parents who aren’t exactly religious don’t condone homosexuality) are very homophobic. So when Obama stated his support for same sex marriage I’m pretty sure some of their heads flipped. But he’s right; either way, denying same sex marriage is Discrimination regardless of whether or not your support that lifestyle. It’s not fair to Discriminate against someone because they love differently.

When I watched President Obama speaking to ABC’s Robin Roberts about his position on same-sex marriage, I didn’t think about it being another moment in history so much as I thought of another historic figure: Bayard Rustin.

Rustin, who died in 1987, is remembered as the principal organizer of the March on Washington in 1963. As one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s closest lieutenants, he was one of the primary architects of the civil rights movement, even said to have introduced King to Gandhi’s nonviolent-protest philosophies.

But he was also openly gay at a time when the very concept was largely unmentionable. It was all he could do to pursue human rights for African Americans who suffered oppressive discrimination in America, let alone ask for the same rights for people who loved the same gender.

The reaction of the black body politic of the time to men like Rustin, despite what he stood for, wasn’t necessarily tarring and feathering, or even outing him. (There were, however, instances where he had totake less-public positions in various campaigns.) Instead, for some black folks of the civil rights years, guided and influenced by the church, there was a de facto “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

For them, being gay was defined biblically as sin, an abomination. So the best response often was just to shut up about it. Listen to the preacher as he railed against homosexuality (even if he was in the closet himself), and hide behind a clergy-sanctioned veil of secrecy.

But this cultural behavior did not benefit anyone but authors and publishing houses (see J.L. King), because that attitude only served to spawn closeted gay men and women living double lives, the so-called down-low. Eventually it made us afraid to talk about HIV/AIDS, which so far has killed 240,627 blacks in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest figures.

Enter President Obama. Whether he was forced to say something by Vice President Joe Biden’s pronouncement supporting same-sex marriage, whether it was a political ploy or whether he really did the soul-searching he spoke about to come to the conclusion that gay people should be able to marry, his speaking out placed the issue squarely in the faces of African Americans, and it is making us address this whole thing….

This is because African Americans — 96 percent of whom supported President Obama in the 2008 election, but 41 percent of whom are against same-sex marriage — now seem to be presented with a decision: Either continue to support the president and find a way to get past this political issue, or continue to listen to people in our communities, in our churches and in our families who remain focused on gay people as if they were some major ailment for the black community.

Will black Christian voters stick with President Obama, trusting him to steward the country through four more years, as the sluggish but sure economic recovery hits its stride and as the wars that have turned the world’s view of America largely negative start to subside? Or will they decide that President Obama has betrayed their religious instruction — something they’ve been taught most of their lives about homosexuality — and either stay home on Election Day or vote for his presumptive opponent, Mitt Romney? The GOP front-runner has maintained that marriage should be exclusive to people of the opposite sex, and may well do the bidding of what could turn into a right-wing, Republican-controlled Congress.

I can break it down for you. Black people have much, much bigger fish to fry than what two adults do in their own private time or how they choose to spend their lives. Up to 10 percent of young blacks drop out of high school, rendering them largely unable to take advantage of a skilled-worker- and technology-oriented U.S. job market. Meanwhile, black males have a 1-in-3 chance of doing prison time at some point during their lives.

At the same time, we have disproportionately high numbers in far too many negative health statistics, ranging from diabetes to HIV/AIDS to heart disease to gunshots (pdf), which remain the leading cause of death among black adolescents.

So after all this, are we willing to let what people do in their bedrooms influence what we do at the polls? Whatever issue we may have concerning homosexuality is something for us to get over. We should focus instead on the healing that our communities desperately need.

Preventing gay people from getting married is not going to keep a kid in school. It is not going to stop people from using emergency rooms as clinics. It is not going to prevent two young rivals from shooting each other over a dirty look.

President Obama, in essence, has sent this message to African Americans. We can devote our energies to what churches have been preaching about same-sex marriage, or we can focus on solutions. I think Bayard Rustin would partner with Martin Luther King on the solutions part. But that’s what they would have done 50 years ago. The choice today is yours.”

Supporting Obama With "Facts"

I’m really glad he came up with a list of accomplishments Obama has made-a lot of people have been bashing him because he hasn’t fixed anything, when in reality the mess that Bush left for him was a huge gaping hole that will take years to fill up and fix.

"…The list is ridiculous. As a public policy professor, I am a stickler for understanding how government works — and does not. If one of my students presented me with a paper with as many flaws, problematic interpretations, and factual errors, then I would fail him or her on the assignment. Following are the five accomplishments listed by NewsOne and my analysis of their reporting.

"Awarded $1.2 Billion to Black Farmers"

There is disconnect between the sub-heading, which clearly states the President gave $1.2 billion to Black farmers, and the text that followed. The text said that the President’s administration “oversaw the $1.2 billion settlement awarded to Black farmers.” Legal action began in 1996, when 1000 Black farmers filed a class action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture for discriminatory practices against Black farmers. The original settlement occurred on January 5, 1999, just more than a decade before Barack Obama was inaugurated as President.

Yes, President Obama supported settlement. Yes, the settlement occurred on his watch. But he did not “award” the money. Congress appropriated the money after Federal Court judge Paul Friedman approved the settlement. The President’s signing of the appropriations measure occurred after court and congressional action. At best, it is an overstatement to say the President “awarded” the money. At worst, it is a misunderstanding of the case and how the appropriations process works.

"Expanded Funding for HBCU’s"

As a graduate of Hampton University and Howard University, this issue is close to my heart. The News One article noted that “President Obama signed an executive order increasing funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to $850 million over the next 10 years.” Executive Order 13532, signed on February 26, 2010, makes no mention at all of $850 million in increased funding. The funding is actually included in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA), which was signed into law on March 30, 2010. Either way, a simple civics lesson on the federal appropriations process would show that the $850 million may never materialize.

First, the Constitution empowers only Congress with the ability to spend money. No President can simply snap their fingers and spend money. Second, multi-year appropriations such as the 10-year time frame indicated in HCERA require annual action from Congress; they have to vote every year to give, for example, $85 million annually over the length of the funding authorization. Given the austere budget environment in which we now live, coupled with Republican opposition to virtually anything President Obama does, it’s highly unlikely that Congress would put up $85 million every year for ten years.

But let’s say they did and do some math. The executive order identifies 105 HBCU’s. Divide that number into the total “appropriation” of $850 and each institution would receive about $8 million, or about $800,000 annually over the decade. I can attest that every HBCU could use some help, but let’s not jump up and down as if $800,000 per year is a lot of money for HBCU’s, some of which have annual budgets in excess of $100 million. On the surface, $850 million sounds like a lot of money, but when you dig deeper one has to conclude that it’s impact won’t match the hype that heralded it’s announcement.

"Signed the Crack Cocaine Bill (Fair Sentencing Act)"

President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing on August 3, 2010. The law reduced the racist 100:1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentencing. While that should be applauded, it has to be noted that the new law still legitimizes racism by maintaining an 18:1 disparity. We still don’t have a great answer as to why the administration accepted the disparity, or if they intend to push for its complete abolition. Paraphrasing Malcolm X: we shouldn’t call it progress if 18% of the knife is still in our backs.

"Passed Health Care Reform (Affordable Care Act)"

It is indisputable that the Affordable Care Act will benefit millions of Americans, including African Americans. While I support a “single-payer” healthcare system the ACA is certainly an improvement.

"Created the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department"

This is too easy. From the Department of Justice website: “The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, created in 1957 by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957.” Future President Barack Obama Obama as born four years later (in Hawaii).

Bottom line: I support the President’s reelection and am all for strong, fact-based arguments on his behalf. I cannot support efforts to conflate his work and make it out to be something that it isn’t. Let’s lead with the facts. Putting up badly done analysis in the name of supporting the President only undermines legitimate arguments that can be made on his behalf.”

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