29 August 2013

ASSESSMENT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPEECH: A RE-POSTING OF DR.PENIEL E. JOSEPH'S ARTICLE IN 'THE ROOT'

President Barack Obama
I've read several assessments of President Obama's speech yesterday to commemorate the 50th Anniversary Of The March On Washington.  The one written by Dr. Peniel Joseph, a respected scholar and author of Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama ;struck me as the most profound and essentially poses a question that I've certainly wondered about for at least the past 3 years.  He begins the article by citing: 'Nice Speech, Obama, but What About Policy'? Dr. Joseph detailed his concerns and provides the facts to substantiate his perspective and that of many who've acknowledged the President's brilliant oratory, yet, are disappointed that his speech wasn't solution focused.  Some would argued that the occasion doesn't call for this, however, we've been waiting for some time on this President to make policy(ies) that would show some resolve.  *There was also in my  opinion that canned and recurring theme of scolding and admonishing the lack of personal responsibility, yet, failing to concede that systemic racism/classism must factor into the problem-solving model(s) and what the latter could do towards a resolution of these timeworn problems.



Dr. Peniel Joseph
I've provided a link to the article and hyperlinked Dr. Joseph's biography and review of the above book.  It will provide the reader background on this professor and the research and critical thinking he's provided to the academy and the public on the present administration.  He's objective in how he presents his views and one doesn't get the impression that this is driven by personal animus like we've observed in others, e.g., right-wingers, who've been very critical of President Obama.  

There is one passage in the article that has revealed an interesting paradox that many of us find exasperating and a never ending dilemma whenever significant symbolic progress is made.  It reads:

'The Obamas' move into the White House offers a compelling portrait of racial progress and change, but underneath this surface is the harsh reality that racial oppression continues -- in fact, flourishes -- in many parts of American society.' 
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Collateral:  A link to Ta-Nehisi Coates' assessment of the speech was added and what I find so intriguing about his assessment is that he recalls a speech written by W.E.B. DuBois in 1897 that this great thinker, later, had misgivings about.  In this speech, the onus for change was placed squarely on the backs of newly freed slaves and people of color in this country.  *He compares that mindset with the President's completely exhausted remarks about (black) personal responsibility.  It is truly a must read as well. 


Link(s):
Nice Speech, Obama, But What About Policy?
 ' On the Death of Dreams' by Ta-Nehisi Coates {Analysis of  the President's 50th Anniversary Speech}

4 comments:

Deb said...

Hey Sis Carolyn! How are you? Chile, my life has ben in total, psychological and emotional upheaval since we last spoke! If I were a lesser woman trust me, I would've given up the ghost by now!

Thanks for directing me to some vey important links! Think I'll update my post on the 50th Anniversary "Nan-a-thon" with both of them.

Young Brother Coates was both bold and very truthful in hitting the nail on its proverbial head (younguns like him give me hope!). Dr. Joseph was too with his...

"Moreover, presidents don't have to dream -- they can act with the full authority of the executive branch of government. It's time for Obama not just to praise the dreamer but to heed his words by enacting bold policy measures and executive orders that will finally, as King proclaimed 50 years ago, "make real the promise of democracy."

...but I think he was wa-a-a-y more forgiving. I have no personal animus against Black Jesus, but I refuse to be complicit in this Bizarro World worshiping at his feet, which makes us look stupid and uninformed about what we need. As I said to you somewhere before, I'd rather not have a "first Black president" at all, if HE is what we get -- just my 2 cents.

Peace, my Sister...

Carolyn Moon said...

Greetings Sis Deb,

I understand totally the "psychological and emotional upheaval" of which you speak. I trust and hope that things have calmed down for you. I play that Kina song 'Have A Cry' you shared with me and somehow it can be empowering. Music therapy..^◡^

The Black Commentator and BAR websites have some interesting comments about that speech as well as strong views about Syria. I'm not for bombing Syria, however, when you have war hawks as your advisers what can we expect from the President.

My perspectives rotation on the sidebar features this elder scholar John H. Bracey who makes some interesting points about the President. One is titled "The Perfect President for White People".

Take care and stay well....

Deb said...

Hey Sis Carolyn"I trust and hope that things have calmed down for you."

On the contrary, seems to be going the other way -- quick, fast and in a hurry. Trust me, I've been listening to Kina a lot lately!

Yeah, I read BAR every Wednesday for some Black sanity and they're dead-on about the Changeling as well as Syria.

"I'm not for bombing Syria, however, when you have war hawks as your advisers what can we expect from the President"

To have a mind of his d*mned own, Sis. Carolyn -- except he doesn't. Servants of white supremacy rarely do. Just like the other warmongers before him, he gets no pass whatsoever from me.

I'd not heard of Brother Bracey, but I plan to look up more of his stuff because he, like BAR, is definitely on-point! Thanks for turning me on to him.

Nite, Sis...

Carolyn Moon said...

Hi Sis Deb,

Re: "I'm not for bombing Syria, however, when you have war hawks as your advisers what can we expect from the President"
******
Deb states:
"To have a mind of his d*mned own, Sis. Carolyn -- except he doesn't. Servants of white supremacy rarely do. Just like the other warmongers before him, he gets no pass whatsoever from me."

My point is that he has a mind of his own and that's why he surrounded himself with key decision makers (Hawks & Right wing conservatives & rogue capitalists)whom he could garner a consensus with.
I never totally bought into his assertion when he began choosing his cabinet during the first term that he was opting to follow Lincoln's concept of a team of rivals. Over the years, I've come to the conclusion that these are the folks he's most comfortable with and are in line with many of his camouflaged political ideologies.

However, as Bro. Bracey stated, he would not have been elected had he'd been truly progressive and he had to be someone that many whites in America could identify with and that is a middle of the road with an occasional right turn leader!

Peace and serenity to you.I'm still trying to find the latter. ^◡^

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