Hidden in Full View -- The Racial Obsessions of the 'Post-Racial' President
Robert Henderson relishes a revealing study of Barack Obama’s life and character
Steve Sailer is that great rarity in modern America, a white intellectual who publicly confronts political correctness. Most courageously, he is willing to be forthright even when dealing with the subject which intimidates educated American whites more than any other, namely, race. This latter attribute allowed him to perform a task in America’s Half-Blood Prince which should have been undertaken by the American mainstream media and Obama’s political opponents long before the late presidential election was concluded.
That task was the dissection of Obama’s pathological obsession with race as evidenced by his own writings, primarily Dreams From My Father (DFMF), and the crashing discord between this Obama and the one put before the American people in 2008. Sailer does this tellingly whilst marvelling at the sociological phenomenon which caused the entire American political and media mainstream to ignore this central aspect of the new president’s mentality.
Sailer hits the nail on the head with his opening sentence:“The fundamental irony of Sen. Barack Obama’s Presidential candidacy is that no nominee in living memory has been so misunderstood by the press and public, and yet no other candidate has ever written so intimately or eloquently (or, to be frank, endlessly) about his “deepest commitments”.... The deepest Obama commitment of all as Sailer sees it is to his race (or more correctly to half of his racial heritage): “Obama’s primal need for team triumph explains much about his life, both its dramatic political ascent and its pervasive racialism. To Obama, the black race was always his team, and he would do anything to see them win.” (p92)
As someone who has trudged wearily through Obama’s DFMF and The Audacity of Hope (AOH) in minute detail, I can vouch that this goes to the heart of the Obama phenomenon. His act as the post-racial unifying candidate during the presidential election is comically implausible when compared with the personality who emerges from DFMF, which is that of a deeply neurotic, very insecure person who is forever agonising about his place in the racial and cultural hierarchy – his perpetual question is ‘Am I black enough?’ – and who displays a disturbing pathological paranoia about whites. The irony of Obama’s post-racial stance is that unless you can believe that he has miraculously undergone a Damascene conversion in the past few years – and his retention of the bombastic anti-white Jeremiah Wright as his pastor until he became a political embarrassment suggests otherwise – he is the exact opposite of colour-blind.
Sailer sums up neatly Obama’s mentality in DFMF:“Obama’s worldview is simplistically black and white. In Dreams’ conceptual framework, there are three races: Black, White, and Miscellaneous. Despite all the years Obama spends in Indonesia and in heavily Asian Hawaii, Asians just don’t play much of a role in Obama’s turbulent emotions” (p210).… The book’s title derives from what Sailer views as Obama’s portrayal of himself as representing post-racial America being akin to a dynastic marriage, the joined partners in Obama’s case being black and white: “Obama launched himself on the national stage at the 2004 convention by devoting the first 380 words of his speech to detailing the two stocks, black and white, from which he was crossbred. He implied that, like the mutual heir to a dynastic merger of yore – think of England’s King Henry VIII, offspring of the Lancaster-York marriage that ended the War of the Roses – he is the one we’ve been waiting for to end the War of the Races.” (p31) Obama repeated the message in his “A More Perfect Union” speech: “I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas”.
... Sailer explains adroitly how Obama managed to avoid the mainstream media and his white opponents treating him as they would have treated a white candidate: “The New Obama is the candidate who is half-white when whites think about voting for him. Yet, he remains all black, and thus off-limits to polite public skepticism, when anyone tries to get up the courage to criticize him more harshly than by merely saying he is inexperienced.” The potency of this mentality can be seen in the failure of McCain to use Obama’s own past against him and his preventing other Republicans from doing so. McCain’s response to a local Republican ad which had the bad taste to denounce Jeremiah Wright was “There’s no place for that kind of campaigning, the American people don’t want it, period” (p189).
And there's a lot more that's quite complimentary. Read the whole thing. For balance, though, here's the negative section of Henderson's review:
If the book has a weakness it is the author’s tendency to build intellectual castles in the air to explain Obama’s motivation and development. For example, Sailer explains Obama’s obsession with the multicultural creed by attributing this to his parents: “The terrible irony of Barack Obama’s life is that he was taught the new multiculturalist ideology by his parents, who were so representative of the egotistical Save the World Sixties People who now preside over our Education-Media Industrial Complex. There was never a truer believer in this propaganda than young Barack. Yet, what he truly wanted deep down, even though he could never quite admit it to himself, was for his parents to stop saving the world, come home, and just be his mom and dad” (p96).
I find this implausible. The father could have had little effect simply because he was absent, while the mother, as Sailer notes, apart from being absent for long periods, was held in no little contempt by Obama.
Obama’s account of his mother is of a Margaret Mead-type anthropological naif who constantly fed him with anti- American and pro-black propaganda. Even if true, and we have already seen that Obama’s veracity is uncertain, it is difficult to see why someone Obama did not respect at best and was angry with for deserting him at worst should have such a profound and lasting effect on him. A much more likely response would be rejection of the mother’s views. Add the testimony of his schoolmates already given that he was not the sullen, unhappy, rebellious boy depicted in DFMF and it is a reasonable guess that Obama’s resentment was something which developed in late adolescence or early adulthood, not during the four years in Indonesia which Sailer views as seminal.
As for why it developed, I suspect that the banal truth is that it simply seemed a more exciting way of living to the young Obama than following a middle class career path.
But this is a small quibble. This is a book which is essential reading for those wanting to understand Obama. It does not really matter why Obama is what he is but what he is – and that is what the book indubitably tells you, probably better than anything else available.
ROBERT HENDERSON is a freelance writer based in London.
I think it's safe to say that my second chapter, on Obama's mother, is either the best or the worst chapter in the book. I present an unexpected theory of how his mother's resentment of the growing influence that her nice guy Indonesian second husband was having on his stepson led her to raise little Barack to be a black race man like his biological father as a passive-aggressive attack on the unsatisfactory Asian husband whom she soon dumped. I believe that's the most reasonable interpretation of Obama's own account of his relationship with his mother, but, clearly, we're in some psychological deep waters here.
You can buy the book here ($30), download it on Amazon's Kindle ($9.99), or download the PDF here ($10).