Solidarity and politics

Race is back on America’s political agenda in particular with the ongoing Jena 6 case and campaign. However, Barack Obama’s guarded response has led to more rather than less political problems with it claimed that Jesse Jackson described him as “not black enough”. Obama may genuinely believe that:

“There is not a black America and a white America and latino America and asian America – there’s the United States of America.”

But will it always be a case for those trying to get out of a communal straightjacket that:

“Just when I thought that I was out they pull me back in.”

  • Obscure Reference

    How dare Barack Obama try and be a leader for all Americans rather than a grievance candidate focused on the interests of one section of the community. Who does he think he is?

    America’s justice system is a racist, corrupt travesty though. The scandalous disparity in sentencing between one community and another is quantifiable and provable and the decades in jail people were prepared to give a schoolkid under the age of 18, for a fight at school, are timely proof of this.

  • Gum

    I find the ‘not black enough’ comment to be deeply offensive and very ugly. It is racist in itself.

    I do believe that the Jena case just shows us what Katrina made so abundantly clear – there are huge differences between black an white in the USA. Probably also between north and south.

  • Dawkins

    Obscure Reference and Gum,

    I agree. The US likes to kid itself that it’s a nation “at ease with itself”. Nothing could be more false.

    Only wealthy black America has risen above the racism: you don’t mess with Jacko or O.J. But if you’re a poor black kid in the South, the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s might never have happened.

  • latcheeco

    And, oddly enough, if you already have 4 previous battery(gbh)charges on your sheet and everybody was warned to knock it on the head, and you and your five mates subsequently kick the crap out of some clown(even after he’s unconcious)they throw the book at you. Who’d have suspected the depths these crackers would go to? Its just not fair is it? But sure it was just a wee fight…. Damn stupid issue to take a civil rights stand over!

  • Harry Flashman

    Ah yes that desperately racist justice system which almost saw three white athletes at Duke University going to jail on the most trumped up preposterous charges of raping a black woman and whose fellow students and members of faculty had already decided they were guilty the day after the charges were made.

    Contrast this with the insanity of alleging that a gang who beat a young man senseless are the victims of the greatest travesty of justice since, oh I don’t know, how about the vicious murderer of two white people, Nichole Simpson and Ron Goldman got off scot free. Would we all feel the same if the victim had been black and the attackers god ol’white boys?

    If this is what black civil righters are reduced to complaining about then I think we can rest happy that things have improved markedly in the US South since the days of MLK.

    By the way help me out with Katrina, was it a racist hurricane or something? Did the Ku Klux Klan breach the levys or something?

    You see as far as I understood it the almost total collapse of civic responsibility in New Orleans stemmed from the uterly incompetent and corrupt behaviour of the local mayor, city authorities, police department and citizens themselves, the vast majority of whom were black. The people in surrounding municipalities not subject to the same incompetence of New Orleans but subject to similar devastation seemed to cope ok without descending to Thunderdome barbarity.

  • Kevin

    Many people like to say that non-Americans know more about the USA than Americans know about other countries.

    The comments on this thread put the lie to that.

  • Pounder

    Can you be a little more specific Kevin? How do you account for that fact that in all the time America has existed this is the first time that a rich, white middle aged man isn’t guaranteed to be the next President? Land of the Free? I guess that freedom differs depending on how much money you have.

  • Harry Flashman

    Was Abraham Lincoln rich Pounder?

    I think you’ll find that Barak Obama isn’t exactly short of a few bob and he’s damn near middle aged, oh and he’s half white.

    How many non-whites or women have ever been president of France or Russia, or is it only the US where these standards should apply Pounder?

  • Pounder

    Neither France nor Russia makes claims to be the home of the free and sanctuary of the opressed. America does. It’s pretty sad that you have to go as far back as Lincoln to find a US President who wasn’t a rich white guy.

    Bring me your tired, your hungry, your sick and your poor, but don’t you dare try and get any political power.

  • Wilde Rover

    One must commend the fortitude of the American people, and their ability to compartmentalize.

    Their currency is edging towards hyperinflation, they are hemorrhaging industry while accumulating personal and governmental debt that can never be paid, the Age of Shoddy that plagued Lincoln now finds itself spread globally, they have based their entire infrastructure on oil at a certain price with no accounting for a jump to Eur200 a barrel…

    And yet they manage to rise above these prosaic matters to get stuck into the wedge issues.

    And still they have time for the all important flashback to the Summer of OJ, and the relative degrees of fatness of Britney.

    One can only hope that the Irish people will show the same cool under fire if the Celtic Tiger ever reveals itself to be a dodo in tiger’s clothing.

  • latcheeco

    Whereas, wilde rover, yall have your shit together.

  • páid

    If Jesse Jackson can say he’s not black enough, is one allowed to say he’s not white enough?

  • Pounder

    Bill Clinton wasn’t rich before he got into politics. Neither was Harry Truman. Neither was Richard Nixon.

    Apart from that, you really know what you’re talking about.

    Catholics represent a very large percentage of the US population. Yet, just one President in all these years. Guess what? Noone cares.

    Quick, who were the women or blacks who should have been President, or who should have been taken very seriously for that office? You made the point, I’m sure you could give me six or seven worthies.

    I don’t like the fact our Presidential choices are so often: people who have done nothing in their lives but be professional politicians ( Bill Clinton ), those who are related to former presidents ) ( Evita Clinton, GW Bush ), or who are from political “dynasties” ( Al Gore ).

  • Wilde Rover


    “Whereas, wilde rover, yall have your shit together.”

    Yes, the dodo/Celtic Tiger does keep all of its faeces in one place, much like its eggs.

  • Harry Flashman

    Er, Pounder, at various stages in history both France AND Russia claimed to be the worldwide bastions of equality, I’m fairly certain France still does (liberte, egalite, fraternite and all that). Can you name a single European country which has a black stateswoman of such pre-eminence as Dr Condoleeza Rice?

    America bashing Pounder is so 1980’s man, move on.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Pounder: “Neither France nor Russia makes claims to be the home of the free and sanctuary of the opressed. America does. It’s pretty sad that you have to go as far back as Lincoln to find a US President who wasn’t a rich white guy.”

    And how many paupers have been Prime Minister, Pounder. Likewise, just how did you confuse “sanctuary of the oppressed” with an offer of allowing just anybody to take the reins of government.

    Now, the qualifications for being definitionally electable are wide open — over 35 and a natural born citizen. However, the citizens aren’t going to elect Rube the town drunk or Mabel the librarian to be the next President of the United States. They’re going to want someone of some stature as a general rule — someone who has been an elected official elsewhere, as a general rule.

    The larger problem, and this counts beyond the United States of America, is that politics have gone from being a duty — something an individual does for a time — into a profession.