March 19, 2007

David Ehrenstein on Obama

In the LA Times, a pundit expands on a point I made in "Obama's Identity Crisis" about the Presidential candidate as the new Sidney Poitier.

Obama the 'Magic Negro'
By David Ehrenstein

But it's clear that Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the "Magic Negro."

The Magic Negro is a figure of postmodern folk culture, coined by snarky 20th century sociologists, to explain a cultural figure who emerged in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education. "He has no past, he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist," reads the description on Wikipedia .

He's there to assuage white "guilt" (i.e., the minimal discomfort they feel) over the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history, while replacing stereotypes of a dangerous, highly sexualized black man with a benign figure for whom interracial sexual congress holds no interest. …

[Sidney] Poitier really poured on the "magic" in "Lilies of the Field" (for which he won a best actor Oscar) and "To Sir, With Love" (which, along with "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," made him a No. 1 box-office attraction). In these films, Poitier triumphs through yeoman service to his white benefactors. "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" is particularly striking in this regard, as it posits miscegenation without evoking sex. (Talk about magic!)

And what does the white man get out of the bargain? That's a question asked by John Guare in "Six Degrees of Separation," his brilliant retelling of the true saga of David Hampton — a young, personable gay con man who in the 1980s passed himself off as the son of none other than the real Sidney Poitier. Though he started small, using the ruse to get into Studio 54, Hampton discovered that countless gullible, well-heeled New Yorkers, vulnerable to the Magic Negro myth, were only too eager to believe in his baroque fantasy. …

That's where Obama comes in: as Poitier's "real" fake son. …

Obama's fame right now has little to do with his political record or what he's written in his two (count 'em) books [that's for sure!], or even what he's actually said in those stem-winders. It's the way he's said it that counts the most. It's his manner, which, as presidential hopeful Sen. Joe Biden ham-fistedly reminded us, is "articulate." His tone is always genial, his voice warm and unthreatening, and he hasn't called his opponents names (despite being baited by the media).

Like a comic-book superhero, Obama is there to help, out of the sheer goodness of a heart we need not know or understand. For as with all Magic Negroes, the less real he seems, the more desirable he becomes. If he were real, white America couldn't project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on him.

Ehrenstein, who says he's black, obviously hasn't read Obama's 1995 autobiography, which depicts his passionate ethnocentrism at vast length. But, Ehrenstein's point about how whites think about Obama is valid. It explains a lot of the mindless rage directed at me for pointing out that Obama's autobiography doesn't say what they hope it says.

Ehrenstein is just not cynical enough about white motivations. First, I don't know any whites under 55 who personally feel guilty for the status of blacks. Instead of white guilt, there is white vs. white status competition, in which publicly-expressed attitudes toward blacks can function as a trump card.

Second, as I wrote:

My late mom was also a big fan of Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier back in the 1960s. To her, they embodied an admirable combination of black masculine charm and white gentlemanliness. (In contrast, she thought Muhammad Ali, who is now the more popular representative of 1960s black manhood, an uncultured blowhard.)

It sorely disappointed her when blacks burned down Watts in 1965. They were not following the fine example for their race set by Harry and Sidney. She would have liked Barack Obama, too, and for the same reasons.

Nobody uses the term “example for his race” anymore. Today, we say “role model.” Even so, what many whites hope, deep down, to accomplish by electing the well-mannered Obama as president is to make him the supreme role model for all African Americans, eclipsing such deplorable bad examples as Al Sharpton, Snoop Dogg, and 50 Cent. Stuart Taylor Jr., a white critic of affirmative action, exulted in The Atlantic: “The ascent of Obama is the best hope for focusing the attention of black Americans on the opportunities that await them instead of on the oppression of their ancestors.”

The message much of white America hopes to send to black America by electing Obama is: Don’t Be So Black. Act More Barack.

Perhaps this explains why blacks haven’t been all that enthusiastic.

In assessing what an Obama Administration might be like, it's important to note that, not surprisingly, blacks who become beloved by whites tend to espouse more politically radical, ethnocentric views in order to compensate, to prove to other blacks that they are keepin' it real. (Harry Belafonte in a classic case.)

For example, at the 1972 Republican convention, two black celebrities appeared on stage with Richard Nixon: Sammy Davis Jr. and Wilt Chamberlain. Poor little Sammy, a favorite of whites since the 1940s, was psychologically tortured by all the hate mail and death threats he received from blacks in response, and for the rest of his life regretted endorsing Nixon. In contrast, Wilt, the epitome of the big scary black man, never seemed to give a damn. He went on being politically independent from the black mainstream.

Which one is more like Obama?

This tendency of blacks popular with whites to try to act super-black in private was parodied in Dave Chappelle's famous Wayne Brady skit. (Here's the video. NSFW.) First, Chappelle made fun of the brilliant nice guy mimic who may be more popular with whites than blacks, having a character say, "White people love Wayne Brady, because he makes Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X." (Bryant Gumbel, of course, is another example of this psychological dynamic: he's notoriously anti-white man, although he didn't have a problem trading in his black first wife of 26 years for a blonde trophy wife.)

In a later episode, Brady shows up and Chappelle apologizes, so they go out for a drive, in which Brady turns out to be a psychopathic pimp, killing a cop, shooting rival drug dealers, and roughing up his streetwalkers, declaring "Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?"

So, whites who think that Obama, the preppie from Honolulu who always strove with all his might to be accepted as black by other blacks, will upbraid African-Americans and persuade them to act more like him just might turn out disappointed.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

Author David Ehrenstein seems to be a New York born gay, mulatto with a Jewish father/blackmother.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Anonymous said...

'So, whites who think that Obama, the preppie from Honolulu who always strove with all his might to be accepted as black by other blacks, will upbraid African-Americans and persuade them to act more like him just might turn out disappointed.'

That is hard to tell. He seems to not whine though. When asked if he looses will it be because of race he says no.

You seldom know what you will get when you elect someone. Look at those economic conservatives who supported Bush and Nixon. Who I think should be judged as 2 of the least economically conservative administrations ever.

Anonymous said...

Back in 2003 I used to read Kevin Drum's blog where David Ehrenstein used to comment, he strikes me as a particularly unpleasant and unintelligent man and I am astounded that a mainstream publication like the LA Times would touch him with a bargepole.

Anonymous said...

You guys are missing the bigger picture here.

WHY is thuggery "acting black" instead of say, studying hard or various entrepreneurial activities like donut shops, etc? Stereotypes applied to Jews, Asians, etc?


IMHO because blacks fear assimilation. Gumbel has a white wife, how "black" culturally and racially will his kids be? How about Ice-T's kids? IMHO they'll turn out about as "white" culturally and racially as say, Hulk Hogan's kids.

And African Americans collectively have understood this, thus the social enforcements (threats to Sammy Davis Jr.) and "acting white" derogatory comments etc.

HOWEVER, while Sailer is IMHO correct in that racial guilt is not a factor for most people, since they have nothing to do with Segregation anyway, neither IMHO is status.

Status and the white-on-white struggle for status is only a big factor among the upwardly mobile Yuppie class. Those who buy Volvos, listen to NPR, work in web economy, etc. The top income earners for whom relative position in status is important. David Geffen and those who work for him, in other words.

While this class has lots of money, and dominates the media, it's relatively small. NASCAR or Pro Football fans are likely not too obsessed with status, largely because it won't advance them much. Plumbers and carpenters and cubicle dwellers nationwide all know they won't be moving up to the executive suite if they display the right kind of status.

So the appeal of status by voting Obama does nothing for them. Far stronger IMHO is the traditionalist ties of place, community, sports teams, the Flag, patriotism etc. where Obama and his black-separatism and disdain for America will hurt him.

Also movies like Bagger Vance and the other films that display the magical black character who exists as a fantasy to help the white protagonist don't do very well box office wise. While films that show heroes kicking bad guy ass do quite well.

Obama is likely to get the Dem nomination because the Volvo drivers dominate the Dem Primary in money and influence. However against almost all of the likely Rep nominees, particularly Rudy or Thompson he'll lose because folks who decide on Patriotism and other value-oriented criteria (loyalty to country, President as tough guy, etc) will pull the lever for the Rep. Because Obama is too easy to define out of his books as "the guy who hates/blames America" he'll lose in a general election.

Which is a good thing. Obama lacks the toughness to address the North-South, wealth-poverty, Western-Muslim divide pitting wealthy and capitalist societies against failed third world tribal lunatics. His black separatism is likely to have him address the failed policies of South Central Blacks (voting Mayor Tony in and hamstringing the LAPD) on a national scale.

African-Americans in South Central clung to fantasies (like the Sunnis post Saddam) that with "enough" violence they could keep Latino gangs out and so voted Mayor Tony and pushed him to neutralize the LAPD after a shooting of a young (13) black gangster by an LAPD officer the kid was trying to run over. Result? The unlimited manpower of Latino gangs is ethnically cleansing Blacks out of their neighborhoods by gang killings aimed at innocent and defenseless non-gang people (little girls and old women).

Obama would likely replicate this stupidity (fighting the last enemy instead of the current one of African-Americans) by gutting the military and intelligence and law enforcement capacities, leaving us unable to withstand deniable terrorist attacks, prevent them, or do much of anything else (including close the borders).

It has long puzzled me why African-Americans don't vote some Republicans in to magnify their swing voting power and ability to extract concessions; or oppose illegal immigration as a threat to black wages, but there you have it. Perhaps the community merely clings to an outmoded way of keeping their identity and fear assimilation more than illegal immigration induced poverty.

Anonymous said...

"Without out a doubt, Whites have been way too tolerant of blacks."

Then what do we do? Everyone talks about the problem, but no one gives us solutions. Segregation/enslavement is a solution.

I am waiting for your solution. I tend to respect your opinion more than others on this site since you actually see the truth.

Anonymous said...

I believe James Brown also endorsed Nixon in 1972, although as far as I know he did not actually attend the convention. It was Brown who once introduced Strom Thurmond and Al Sharpton to each other, recently described by Sharpton as a traumatic experience, but I remember an interview Brown gave a few years ago in which he was full of praise for Thurmond. Unfortunately, of course, neither Chamberlain nor Brown was much of a role model in non-political matters.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve,

Based on 1488's comments, you may want to start moderating things around here.

Loved your Obama article for "American Conservative" and your recent review of Carter's book. Both show you are at the top of your analytical game.

- Jeff Singer

Anonymous said...

Slavery is a crime against humanity.

Brutal wage slave is a crime aganst humanity.

Both should be punishable by death.

Post-1965 immigration policy, will have the effect of reducing Euro-Americans to wage slaves.

Euro-Americans should not have blacks forced on them.

Abolish affirmative action.

Abolish court ordered school busing.

This would be a start.

In the mean time, bring all asian,muslim,hispanic and african immigration down to 0.

Repatriate Carribeans and African legal immigrants.

Both Carribean and African legal immigrants are waging demographic warfare against Euro-Americans. There should be 0 tolerance for this.

No doubt, at some point in time, there will a violent backlash from non-whites.

But the consequences of not implementing the above policies will result in the racial annihilation of Euro-Americans.

When Euro-Americans run out of places to flee to, they will use any means neccessary to shut asian,muslim,african and hispanic down to 0.

When WE loose California,Arizona,New Mexico,South Florida,parts of New York,Nebraska and NJ...completly, America is going to feel a hell of a lot more crowded than it is now.

Young White couples looking to start a family will not accept a trailer park existence while asians,muslims and Russian Jews live in nice middle-class homes.

Violent racial conflict is inevitable.I'm not looking forward to this. But it will happen. When it does, the black problem will very likely be solved

Events will very likely unfold the way Tom Chittum has predicted.

We have reached the point of no return.


Anonymous said...

Steve, I agree with the Jeff Singer.

If you ever need help with moderation, I will be there.

I am sad and upset to read complete lies about blacks and about Jews.

Maybe some rules would be useful, something similar to the rules at gnxp.

Anonymous said...

"Violent racial conflict is inevitable.I'm not looking forward to this. But it will happen. When it does, the black problem will very likely be solved

Events will very likely unfold the way Tom Chittum has predicted.

We have reached the point of no return."

Yes,Jupiter, you are right. We passed the point of no return a long time ago.

My thing is how much worse do things have to get before whites begin sticking up for themselves?

It seems like it will never happen. I mean, even stopping illegal and legal immigration seems unlikely at this point.

Anonymous said...

Just a suggestion to the anonymous poster or posters: choose a handle. It gets confusing reading comments by various commenters called "Anonymous" and there's something slightly off-putting about it. People want to attach a name and an identity to what they're reading, no matter how tenuous.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, super geek, for revealing the derivation of 1488's handle. I was scratching my head wondering, "What happeneed in 1488? Was that the year Dias discovered the Cape of the Good Hope? Is that somehow supposed to be a metaphor for white dominance over Africans?"

I respect Steve's desire to have his blog be an area for complete free speech in view of the dominance of political correctness at so many other places on and off the web, but he's not an arm of the government, and therefore I don't think he needs to feel any moral qualms about banning a) open advocacy of genocide and/or reducing peoples to enslavement and b) extreme profanity (including strong racial epithets like nigger and coon).

Anonymous said...

James Kabbala

SuperGeek used the expression"crawling back under you appalachian" rock.

This was intetnded as a slur against all Euro-Americans of Applachia(thousands of whom died fighting against the nazis)

This expression is just a less overtly profane way of slurring the Euro-Americans of Appalachia.

You apparently don't have any problem with slurring the Euro-American people of Appalachia as long as it is done in a "nice and respectable way"

I can't read Barack Obama's mind. But I don't thnk it would be unreasonable to conclude that Barack Obama has the folowing thoughts:

1)post 1965 immigration policy if allowed to continue indefintely will significantly reduce the size of the Euro-American population.

2)I Barack Obama, would like to see this soon as possible.

It would not be unreasonable to conclude that Barack Obama has genocidal intentions towards the majority Euro-American population.

Now this is real profanity.

By the way,, what are views on post 1965 immigration policy? Do you like the fact that post 1965 immigration is radically changing the racial composition of America?

Do you have a point a view?


Anonymous said...

I have to admit I overlooked Super Geek's anti-Appalachian comment the first time. Now that it's been pointed out to me, I do find it offensive, albeit less offensive than posting under a pro-Hitler pseudonym, so my thanks to Super Geek for pointing that out remain.

Tex Swiss said...

As an aside, I would also like to add that 'Kabala' is a Jewish form of mysticism.

I am only saying this to see if I can fan the flames of hatred and racism that I find to be so prevalent on this here blog.

Anonymous said...

"That scum-bags show up here does not mean Steve Sailer is a scumbag. You should try using these things called "logical arguments" to oppose Sailer's positions."

If you read (or comprehended) Sailer's article, it is IDENTICAL to the drivel posted on here by Jupiter, 1488, etc. Sailer just knows how to write. And yes, by welcoming scumbags on his site, Sailer is a scumbag. You are the company you keep.

You losers must be missing the Yahoo! boards...

Anonymous said...

The disgusting hindu and chinese supremacists are very determined to replace Euro- Americans street by street, block by block,town by town,city by city and state by state.




Anonymous said...

And what about NJs wildlife?

NJs black bear population is an assault from NJs growing human population.

100 percent of NJ current population growth is caused by asian,muslim and hispanic immigrants.

There are several major stories evey year in the NYT and NJ papers about the loss of black bear habitat.

NATIVE BORN WHITE NJERSIANS are fleeing to the rural part of the state. They are fleeing the fucking legal immigrant asian and muslim predators.

Several years ago, there was a debate between a NJ environmentalist and the head of the NJ chapter of the Sierra Club.

The head of the NJ chapter of the Sierra chapter is a Jew.

The debate is floating around the internet.

I'll summarize:

THE JEW:let all the asians,muslim and hispanic legal immigrants into NJ. White Americans should stop breeding to accomodate the influx of legal immigrant asians and hispanics.

What a fucking fraud

What a fucking traitor

What a fucking rootless cosmoploitan JEW.


Anonymous said...

All those nuts commenting on this article, rant, blogg...don't know what to call it...should buy Billie Holiday's greatest hits. Perhaps it might change their tiny and predictable minds. Now if Obama would only pick something by the great Lady Day as a theme song he might get this guiltless white vote. Incidentally I enjoyed GW'sCTD because of Tracy and Hepburn. One thing we know is that we don't want anyone for Pres. who digs Fleetwood Mac.

Anonymous said...

People like all of you make me ashamed to be white. I refuse to be identified as such, because a DNA relation to you nut jobs is not enough to make me loyal to your perverse way of thinking.

WHEN Barack Obama wins the Presidency, I want a picture of each of your kind crying to put over my desk while I work - so I can be reminded why race isnt a reason to lump people together.

Anonymous said...

I guess this story is getting more traffic because of the Rush Limbaugh thing

Anonymous said...

This is to say that the concept of grace within a masculine context, gentlemanliness, a calm and composed attitude, articulation and a controlled demeanor are "White" attributes. That these actions are designated for one group of the humanoids with the least amount of melanin!! This is absurd. Africans were communicating in written languages they composed while caucasoids were still in caves. It is preposterous to say that they are the sole expression gentlemanliness. In fact, it is biologically impossible. The only reason such undirected energy exists among folks of the Diaspora is because of a little something called dehumanization. Every action from the inception of this country was seeped in dehumanizing activity. So, like a seed, we have sprouted into our respective roles of maintenance; Greed and, and obdurate submission. This is not the norm. Speaking from foundations of compassion and altruism. As it stands, Oprah was right, we are still engaged in acts which halt our evolutionary process. That is the only reason we are here; to evolve...gracefully, if possible.

Anonymous said...

I am suprised by these comment I see Obama as a race neutral character and I like him. I dont understand American race politics.
I am British (parent from India),
I teach at an international school.
One African American child is also accusing me of racism against blacks. I though my brown skin would make me immune to such accusations. I like Obama he is black (mixed race) but does not have an inferiority complex. He ideas on the enviroment (global warming are good). You Americans are fools for getting involved in a war like situation with the moslem world. They can fight for ever, this shia sunni thing has ben going on for 1000 years. Obama realises the futility of getting involved in the affairs of the muslim word.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to start by saying that I have an utter non-understanding for the name calling and insults. I think its obvious that if anyone here were truly sub-human... they wouldn't be here. Last time I checked, we've taught monkeys sign language, but they haven't mastered the intricacies of English prose.

I was raised in a low income white household, but was raised to be tolerant. To blame your social/economic plight on any single demographic is ignorance. This, in my opinion, stems from a progressively more abundant lack of personal responsibility, on the part of both whites and blacks. The whites blame their poverty on inclusion of blacks into 'their' society. Blacks blame their poverty on slavery which ended 140+ years ago, and state sanctioned segregation which was stopped in the 1960's.

Take some responsibility for your own fate in life. The opportunities exist in the US for any legal (and some illegal) citizens.

Speaking of illegal immigrants, something needs to be done. This country was founded on the principle of immigration. One of our prime strengths has always been diversity... diversity of all sorts. Racial, ethnic, religious and political just to name a few. That being said, the influx of illegal 'aliens' is usurping the economic stability of ALL Americans. Black, white or other. Immigration should be encouraged, but strictly controlled/supervised.

What we need, in my opinion, is less racial/ethnic hatred, and more racial/ethnic pride. I'm proud to be 'white' (German-Irish to be exact). I don't blame blacks for being proud of their heritage either. Pride is not a bad thing. What is utterly reprehensible, is to hide behind the guise of racial pride to facilitate discrimination of another racial/ethnic/religious group. That includes white against black, black against white, Muslim against Jew, etc etc.

If we all (as American citizens) had more pride in ourselves, individually, it is my opinion that our country would be a much better place. It is a lack of pride that encourages young black men to view so-called 'thuggery' as an enviable lifestyle, just as its a lack of pride that encourages young white men to emulate black culture.

This problem is not one of race, but of culture... of learned behaviors. All human infants are born with roughly the same potential. What we learn from our environment is what defines us.

Unfortunately for the upright, well-spoken, law-abiding black American, the 'gangsta' sub-culture has given them a very bad name. For example, there were 18 murders recorded in my home city last year, 17 of which were committed by black males age 17-29. This is not to say that all black men are murderers, nor does this indicate that white men do not commit crime. What it does say, at least to me, is that there is a SERIOUS problem with black culture.

Please don't misinterpret what I'm saying, there's an equally serious problem with white culture as well. 87% of the non-violent crime (burglaries etc.) in my home city were committed by white males, age 16-24. This is believed to be (as stated by local law enforcement) to be a direct result of the growing methamphetamine plight.

There will always be criminals, thats just human nature. But, in a culture(s) which idealizes a life of crime, any hope for stemming the tide is bleak at best.

I don't have the answers, and unfortunately, I don't think any of this year's candidates do either.

I think Obama's pseudo-Christian disdain for white Americans will be his downfall.

I think Hillary's anti-sanity policy on most issues will be hers (at least I hope)

John McCain's heart is in the right place, in my opinion, but he's way off the mark on some issues (gun control being one). I was really holding out for Fred... oh well.

This year's decision is going to be a 'lesser of two evils' lever-pull.

Be it a democrat or republican, hopefully the next Commander in Chief will approach our delicate social issues with sanity and common sense... but I'm not holding my breath.

-Confused Southerner

Anonymous said...

Jesus Christ! I've read a few of your articles and I think the only potential tonic to remove the bad taste from my mouth is to join al qaeda!

Actually, scratch that. Why don't you move to Saudi Arabia, I know its full of "brown" people but intellectually I'm sure you'll fit right in!

How much of its GDP does the US spend on eduacation? Hmm

Anonymous said...

I disagree I glad i found this blog and while i was surfing for obama hatred I ran into this 2