August 3, 2010

Obama: African-Americans a "mongrel people"

From The Hill:
President Obama waded into the national race debate in an unlikely setting and with an unusual choice of words: telling daytime talk show hosts that African-Americans are “sort of a mongrel people.”

The president appeared on ABC’s morning talk show “The View” Thursday, where he talked about the forced resignation of Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod, his experience with race and his roots.
When asked about his background, which includes a black father and white mother, Obama said of African-Americans: "We are sort of a mongrel people."

"I mean we're all kinds of mixed up," Obama said. "That's actually true of white people as well, but we just know more about it." The president's remarks were directed at the roots of all Americans. The definition of mongrel as an adjective is defined as "of mixed breed, nature, or origin," according to dictionary.com.

Obama did not appear to be making an inflammatory remark with his statement and the audience appeared to receive it in the light-hearted manner that often accompanies interviews on morning talk shows. 

This continues a theme that is central to Obama's self-conception, one emphasized as the Final Lesson in Dreams from My Father when Obama takes it to the point of absurdity by arguing that Africans in Africa aren't really 100% authentically African, so why can't he, who was brought up sequestered out in the Pacific Oceans thousands of miles from any black community, become a successful African-American leader through sheer desire to be a successful African-American leader? From my reader's guide to the President's memoir:
The Epilogue to Dreams from My Father begins after that graveside soliloquy with a less soggy but equally obtuse summing up that a novelist would have blue-penciled out of his first draft. The Epilogue features a scene where, just before he leaves Kenya, Obama visits a wise old woman historian named Rukia Odera, who had known his father. Here is the Other Big Lesson of Obama’s Kenyan sojourn: 
I asked her why she thought black Americans were prone to disappointment when they visited Africa. … “Because they come here looking for the authentic,” she said. “That is bound to disappoint a person. Look at this meal we are eating. Many people will tell you that the Luo are a fish-eating people. But that was not true for all Luo. Only those who lived by the lake. And even for those Luo, it was not always true. Before they settled around the lake, they were pastoralists, like the Masai. … Kenyans are very boastful about the quality of their tea, you notice. But of course we got this habit from the English. … Then there’s the spices we used to cook this fish. They originally came from India, or Indonesia. So even in this simple meal, you will find it very difficult to be authentic—although the meal is certainly African.” ... I licked my fingers and washed my hands.

“But isn’t there anything left that is truly African?” “Ah, that’s the thing, isn’t it?” Rukia said. “There does seem to be something different about this place. I don’t know what it is. … Or maybe it is that we have known more suffering than most. Maybe it’s just the land. I don’t know. ...My daughter, ... her first language is not Luo. Not even Swahili. It is English. When I listen to her talk with her friends, it sounds like gibberish to me. They take bits and pieces of everything—English, Swahili, German, Luo. Sometimes, I get fed up with this. Learn to speak one language properly, I tell them.” Rukia laughed to herself. “But I am beginning to resign myself—there’s nothing really to do. They live in a mixed-up world. It’s just as well, I suppose. In the end, I‘m less interested in a daughter who’s authentically African than one who is authentically herself.” [pp. 433-434]

Obviously, the main reason “black Americans were prone to disappointment when they visited Africa” is not because Africa isn’t “authentic.” That’s just laughable. Granted, it’s too much to expect Obama to admit that the main reason African American tourists like him are prone to disappointment with Africa is because it is disappointing. They go hoping to see what the black man has accomplished without the white man holding him down, and, well ... (For an honest discussion, see the 1998 book Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa by Keith B. Richburg, who was the Washington Post’s Nairobi-based chief African correspondent from 1991-1994.)

Yet, why did Obama feel compelled to bring this question up and feature Rukia’s nonsensical answer so prominently as the Climactic Insight of His Life? Because her answer, ridiculous as it is, at least validates the central concern of Obama’s existence: to prove he’s black enough. If even Africans in Africa aren't authentic, as this learned African scholar says, then his being half-white and brought up in a wholly non-black environment doesn’t disqualify him from being a black leader.

He’s finally exorcizing the Black Muslim challenge he’s fretted over ever since reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X: that he lacks sufficient black-enoughness. So, take that, black nationalists! According to this African scholar, even Africans aren’t authentically African; therefore, Obama can be a leader of African-Americans!

With Obama, it’s always about Obama.

28 comments:

bjdouble said...

Steve put up some Amazon links . . . Use all of that marketing experience and make a few dollars.

Anonymous said...

"Obviously, the main reason “black Americans were prone to disappointment when they visited Africa” is not because Africa isn’t “authentic.” That’s just laughable. "

No, it's largely true. Ethnic nationalists in the US "go back to the motherland" to experience the authenticity of their ethnic obsession. For black people, the motherland is somewhere in Africa.

Most African-Americans who go to Kenya are besotted with Jomo Kenyatta and the Masai, and more or less expect a more or less racist fantasy existence of, er, throwing spears at lions and absorbing deep African wisdom.

It's the same reason that the Boy Scouts use/fabricate "ancient Native American wisdom" and Gaian dipshits use/fabricate "ancient Egyptian/Eastern wisdom"--the projection onto older, exotic cultures of your own dissatisfaction with whitebread middleclass life.

Mike said...

Black americans are part of western civilization though many of them reject it. Maya Angelou has written of her feeling of estrangement when she lived in West Africa. Many African americans like Oprah identify with heavily westernised African countries like South Africa.

C. Van Carter said...

See also this 1995 interview.

asdasdadsf said...

What's interesting is the choice of words, 'mongrel', one that happens to be fraught with negative connotations. It's like saying US is a nation of mutts. Why not a 'rainbow' nation or mixed-race nation or even interracial nation. Mongrel nation?

And it just so happens US is less of a mongrel nation than Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, etc, and I think that has been a good thing, mostly.

At any rate, it seems like Obama's main point is HE HIMSELF is the quintessential and archetypal American and leader since he's a mongrel(and not just any kind of mongrel but one that holds both the most kind of fascination--especially to black males and white females into 'jungle fever' and to all the other people who admire black males as alpha males and white females as top females,, which is good,--and the most kind of revulsion--among angry white males and angry black females, which is bad and must be stamped out as the last vestige of 'racism'. Breaking down the sexual barriers of 'racism' is the last battle before the white race is truly defeated and surrenders to the NWO and PC. And it's happening at rapid pace. Obama couldn't have won without the jungle fever vote among whites, especially among women and youngsters raised on hiphop and Will Smith movies.)

So, he's essentially saying US should be more of a mongrel nation, especially with black males taking white females, and he himself is the finest and most wonderful example and model of this. He's supposed to be soooo pretty, so cool, so charismatic, so intelligent, so self-assured, so magnetic, etc, etc.

So, I agree that it's all about him. ME, ME, ME, that's what Oba-me is all about though he always pretends he's talking about the rest of us.

As it happens, many blacks are still very much black and many whits are very much white. But Obama, black males out for white women, and the liberal MSM and academia dominated by a hostile minority are out to radically change America. Obama was indeed promoted mainly as a new sexual-racial ideal by the likes of Axelrod, Emanuel, and others of that tribe.

headache said...

...so why can't he, [...], become a successful African-American politician through sheer exercise of will?

kinda like that nonsense about Clinton being the first "black prez". What is it about Dems that they need to be so pathetic and schmaltzy?

pd in sf said...

Having lived in Ghana for several years, I've often spoken with African Americans who go there.

The aren't "disappointed" with Ghana. Ghana is an acomplished country with a rich history.

My impression is that African-Americans struggle with the conservatism and drive in Ghanaian culture.

Also, Ghanaians put up with at lot and are extremely resourceful in a way that Americans, of any color, are no longer.


-pd in sf

headache said...

Anon sez:No, it's largely true. Ethnic nationalists in the US "go back to the motherland" to experience the authenticity of their ethnic obsession. For black people, the motherland is somewhere in Africa.

Many African Americans came to South Africa after Mandela was shoved into power by the US, and left soon thereafter. Opra loves South Africa form a distance. There is a reason for this. They could not get along with the local blacks who are steeped in their traditions, which are mostly driven by witchcraft, superstition and chaotic sexual mores. I don't know to what extent people like Obama even notice the technical deficiencies of Africa. It seems he does not care much about infrastructure or technology. In fact most blacks only care about the status aspects of westerns tech., like driving a BMW to mark your superiority but not having a clue about its engine or braking system. Generally they don’t seem much interested in science or engineering per se. Which explains why Obama is shutting down NASA whilst the EU and China are heading for Mars.
His disappointment with Africa probably stems from the fact that blacks treat their own worse than the colonialists or white Americans ever treated them. African society is traditionally violent and low-trust. The continuous killing in South Africa, the Congo, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Kenya etc. is not some sort of anomaly, but rather the chatter of long-standing tribal feuds. Maybe it was this realization which confirmed his deepest fears about himself and why there is a reason why blacks are at the bottom of the heap in the US, which made Obama sad. It’s not the racism of whitey but the dysfunctionality of African society which is the root problem. Even the ANC in South Africa know this, but they would rather murder 100000 whites and destroy the country before they admit it. Mugabe ist the template.

JOseph Dart said...

If even Africans in Africa aren't authentic, as this learned African scholar says, then his being half-white and brought up in a wholly non-black environment doesn’t disqualify him from being a black leader.

The funny thing is, poor Africans in Africa are very authentic, it's just the globalist-wannabe elites there such as the Obama family, like globalist elites everywhere (such as B.H. Obama himself), don't want their kids to grow up speaking the peasants' languages and absorbing the peasants' values, so they talk to them in English.

Coincidentally there's been newspaper articles in the past few days on this exact phenomenon in Indonesia and in Hong Kong.

Anonymous said...

i appreciate this conversation. there are many reasons why some blacks may be disappointed after their experiences in african communities. There is the expectation that for whatever reason, we might feel more at home in our mother country, this is not true a lot of the time. you're left with a sense of homelessness or "in-between-ness." For first-timers, its often very daunting to be a a part of a majority race while being one of the only people around who doesn't truly know their family history and pedigree beyond the last generation of american slaves (if you're even that lucky). You kind of fit in, but then again, you don't and you are suddenly aware of how "western" you are. Much of what is described as western culture, for some black people, still means "white culture" and having to face the realization that we cannot retrieve our "original selves" is a serious identity issue. it is just as Du Bois described it, we can feel it, though it is much too deep for articulation. It is not an ethnic obsession, but rather a longing to really complete the story of who we, as black people, are without having to begin the story with the slave trade. it is about beginning the story of us - with us - and not with white people's plans for us and explanations of who we are and what we are struggling with.

Anonymous said...

It is not an ethnic obsession, but rather a longing to really complete the story of who we, as black people, are without having to begin the story with the slave trade.

Knowing what I know about norms of behavior on the Dark Continent, I'd caution you to be careful what you wish for.

You might someday come to discover that life was a heckuva lot more fun back when you were still blissfully naive.

Steve Sailer said...

My vague impression is that Michelle Obama -- who has, in many ways, pretty representative American black reactions -- was not impressed by the Back-to-Africa trip Barack took her on in the early 1990s.

Truth said...

"o why can't he, who was brought up sequestered out in the Pacific Oceans thousands of miles from any black community, become a successful African-American leader through sheer desire to be a successful African-American leader?"

Because that wasn't his desire, his desire was to be YOUR leader; and through sheer desire, he has accomplished this.

adsfasdfasdf said...

It's funny. Black Africans profited by selling fellow Africans to whites. So, you'd thik black AFricans are rich and doing well while those black Americans whose ancestors had been sold and shipped to the New World as slaves would be doing worse. Yet, when black Americans go back to Africa, they realize that even poor black Americans are 1000x richer than most black Africans. And they realize that black-run society and black African leaders and officials are 1000x worse and more corrupt and oppressive than white ones.
Of course, some famous black Americans are feted and flattered by the AFrican elits and shown only potemkin villages, and they come back thinking they saw the Edenic Africa.

But even most blacks who see the real Africa will not face the reality nor the truth. Blacks, due to their biochemistry and hormones, tend to be more self-centered, egomaniacal, more aggressive, less reflective and self-critical, so they are much more likely to childishly fix all the blame on African problems on OTHERS--whites, Jews, Arabs, and now Chinese and Asian-indians too.

So, it's not surprising that idiot Felicia Middlebrook, the black journalist, went to Africa to report on what had happened to Rwanda since the genocide, and all she could do was pull out the same old cliches: everything had been hunky-dory and harmonious in Edenic Africa before the white man came and ruined it all.

And since whites tend to be more empathetic, compassionate, self-critical, and self-deprecating, they've eagerly been teaching blacks to hate greedy evil whitey.

Many whites naturally want to spoil, apologize to, and massage the black ego. And many blacks naturally want to be spoiled, apologized to, and massaged all over. A terrible relationship.

AllanF said...

I like this part of the article: "The president's remarks were directed at the roots of all Americans. The definition of mongrel as an adjective is defined as "of mixed breed, nature, or origin," according to dictionary.com." Gee, thanks for clearing that up for me, the reader. I'd have never known otherwise.

Which reminds me, when that one guy, was it a principal?, used the word "niggardly" a few years back I don't remember the media falling over themselves to preemptively clear up any misunderstandings among the less literate. Not I am, or anyone else would, ever accuse the media of using a double standard towards His Highness.

Mr. Anon said...

"Truth said...

Because that wasn't his desire, his desire was to be YOUR leader; and through sheer desire, he has accomplished this."

You really ought not to be an American "Truth", if this is the extent of your knowledge of civics. The President is not "our leader" - he is not supposed to be, anyway. He is our employee. Free men neither have, nor want, "leaders". You are confusing this nation with a backward and dysfunctional african kleptocracy, peopled by superstitious power-worshipers. Perhaps you would feel more at home in such a place.

lise said...

Anonymous wrote: There is the expectation that for whatever reason, we might feel more at home in our mother country, this is not true a lot of the time.

Yeah, I agree. I felt the same way when I went to Ireland and Realized that I could never really be considered Irish or be a part of the Irish community or culture.

I think modern American culture leaves people without a sense of community and connection to their heritage that all people need to be happy. Even first generation Latinos admit that when they go to Mexico, they don't feel really Mexican.

Anonymous said...

Last year I got a pure bred dog, not a mongrel. He's incredibly cute. Even cuter than other King Charles Spaniels. He is also doomed. He has mitral valve disease as do all pure bred King Charles'.

I met a woman on the hiking trail last week who had a pure bred Egytian Greyhound - a spectacularly beautiful dog. Alas it walked on three legs - another genetic defect known to pure breds.

I think Obama should have said "hybrid vigor" instead. That way he would have avoided the negative associations of the term mongrel and planted in the public's mind a vague connection with good gas mileage.

Albertosuarus

asdfasdfaf said...

So, are we all Mongroes now?

sadfasdfasdf said...

Obama certainly is a race-mongrer.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lise and Truth - for your open and non-accusing disposition in this conversation. I understand that some people need to make insulting comments to feel superior, yet mythical assertions about the inferiority of others doesn't seem to be a respectful or intelligent way to have a conversation about a people's origins. It is actually kind of absurd, but that's a different issue than what's being discussed here... I would say that black people's relationship to africa is not based solely on "exotic fabrications" or a distance from whitebread middle class life - especially since we clearly are not apart of that culture if it's really "whitebread."

I would agree, however that black Americans can relate to heavily westernized countries in Africa more than with those which are not. I think "mongrel" was a weird word to use, but let's be honest. No matter who the Pres. of the country is, there will always be plenty of people to assert what words they should or shouldn't be using in their work. It's a matter of opinion and the one which the most power and influence gets to choose which one to validate and which ones to ignore.

All African Americans, like any race, struggles for a myriad of reasons. But, there really are far fewer of us walking around trying to figure out how black Obama is and needs to be than is being argued here. That would be like me doing a "study" or asserting a theory about how white people were not sure Ronald Reagan or JFK was really "white enough" for their tastes.

Again, the disappointment is far deeper than material things such as "riches, vast cities, etc." But maybe that is something that can be guessed about over and over again but still can never be understood in its fullness until lived...And it's important to know that not all black people are disappointed, even some of those who see disparity and disease. (Afterall, its not like we don't have plenty of that here to chew on). We certainly don't need to go far to get a glimpse of that.

So I would have to say that it doesn't matter what one thinks they know about norms of behavior. You don't know the norms of every

Truth said...

"Free men neither have, nor want, "leaders".

Then why does the media constantly refer to Jackson, Sharpton, etc. as "black leaders?"

"You are confusing this nation with a backward and dysfunctional african kleptocracy, peopled by superstitious power-worshipers."

Are you feeling OK today, Anon? I simply said that the POTUS is (ostensibly) the most powerful man in the US, kind of like a CEO of a major corp. I said nothing about African kleptocracies, or whatever.

kudzu bob said...

"Free men neither have, nor want, "leaders".

Then why does the media constantly refer to Jackson, Sharpton, etc. as "black leaders?"


Because that is exactly what Jackson and Sharpton are. Aristotle teaches us that only some men are fit for freedom, Twoof.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

"Free men neither have, nor want, "leaders".

Then why does the media constantly refer to Jackson, Sharpton, etc. as "black leaders?"


Well, that kind of answers itself.

Truth said...

"Aristotle teaches us that only some men are fit for freedom, Twoof."

Don't worry Bob, I have faith in you...you'll find your niche.

kudzu bob said...

As a magnanimous white man, I will let you have the water-powered car niche all to yourself, Twoof.

Truth said...

Are we STILL talking about water-powered cars?

Anonymous said...

"African Americans" are not a "mongrel" people. If they were, they would look like Hispanics (a true "mongrel" people). Obama is an adopted member of the mulatto elite which, since the 19th century, has gained political influence by presenting themselves as the "superior members of the inferior race," so to speak. Since they resigned themselves to a PUBLIC embrace of the "Negro" name, they engaged in a futile effort to remake the image of the despised caste as mulatto rather than black.

As Steve has pointed out in a past article, American blacks don't have nearly as much "white blood" as they like to claim. That's why the few people who believe they have to identify with blacks even when they don't look black are seen as freaks. That's why Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has spent his career trying to create glory for the "black race" by claiming the achievements of tarbrushed whites (Google "Anatole Broyard" and Gates' name).

Obama's adopted "mulatto elite" class has always been worried sick that they are losing too much precious European DNA. That's why they spend so much time falsely proclaiming that everyone with "one drop" of "black blood" has to be "black" because "society" or whites want it that way. They are full of BS, of course (Mariah Carey was on the George Lopez talk show claiming that it was the "law of the land" that people like her had to be "black" whether they like it or not). Of course she was too dumb to ask why no one tries to force Hispanics and Arabs to be "black," despite their partial African ancestry.