What Kind Of People Are `People Like Obama`?
The real Hero of the Week to emerge
from the Democratic Convention last month was the fabled
Barack Obama, the Democrats` keynote speaker and
candidate for the Senate from Illinois, where he
currently serves as a state senator.
It was not just that Mr. Obama, a
half-black and half-white
icon of multiracialism, was the star of the
convention in the press in the following days.
He has been a
star ever since and is likely to remain one.
By pure coincidence, I`m sure, he
was also the star of a full-length article in the
Atlantic Monthly that appeared at virtually the same
time as his speech to the convention, [
The Natural, September 2004, by Ryan Lizza] and
not long afterwards, Illinois Republicans helped
catapult their opponent to even greater heights by
recruiting yet another black,
Alan Keyes from Maryland, to import himself into
Illinois simply to run against Mr. Obama.
That really is all that needs to be
said about this repeatedly failed professional candidate
until his cronies drag him out once again to run for
some other office in the future.
As for Mr. Obama, his greatest
virtue appears to be not what the party spokesman
suggested were his "moderate views" (in fact,
they are predictably
left-wing) but his race or purported lack thereof.
The keenest insight into him has so
far been written by Newhouse News Service reporter
Jonathan Tilove, whose July 28 piece on Mr. Obama
offers an interesting observation.
Mr. Obama, as the world knows,
splashed into fame and fortune on the same evening that
the Rev. Al Sharpton addressed the Democrats. But while
few people paid much attention to the oafish racial
demagogue, the world curled up at the feet of Mr. Obama.
Why is that?
The reason, Mr. Tilove suggests, is
that black political style in this country is changing.
Mr. Sharpton`s overt and in-your-face attack style is
vanishing and Mr. Obama`s smooth moves are
"I think this is really the end
of an era of race and politics," history professor
Angela Dillard told Mr. Tilove. [“Boston
Events May Be Changing of the Guard in Black Politics.”]
"Something`s shifting and changing and people like
Sharpton can`t change with it, and something new and
different is being created and it is about people like
What kind of people are "people
like Obama" exactly?
One reason for Mr. Obama`s
smoothness and fashionableness is his
Harvard degree (Mr. Keyes
has one too), but more to the point is his racial
ambiguity, a trait that as Mr. Tilove notes cuts both
Mr. Obama, you see, had a father
who was a black native of Kenya and a white American
mother. "People like Obama" are
His racial identity or supposed
lack of it enables him to be both black and non-racial,
white and multiracial, at the same time.
When he wants to be black, he can
be and is. He calls himself black and the media
routinely identify him as a "black" or
But he can also be white or not
racial at all, which is useful when he`s presenting
himself as "above" race and appealing to the
white voters he`ll need if he`s going to be elected or
when he`s denouncing his critics and opponents for
playing race cards as he himself of course would never
Moreover, while openly racial
Mr. Sharpton or
Jesse Jackson helped instigate white racial
consciousness—if they can be black, why can`t whites be
white?—Mr. Obama works against it: If he`s neither white
nor black, why should you be white?
Mr. Obama in other words is both a
living testament to the power of black racial
consciousness and identity and at the very same time a
living renunciation of white racial identity.
As Mr. Tilove notes, Mr. Obama
"can argue for policies virtually indistinguishable from
Sharpton`s in cooler, non-racial terms, while still
affirming a message of racial identity and uplift
implicit in his very being."
"I think he is talking about
race when he`s not," Professor Dillard says.
"Something about the way he pitches things is perfect
for this moment."
And what is "this moment"
exactly? It`s the moment when America ceases to be a
nation defined and characterized by the white racial
identity of its
historic population and is transformed into the
non-white multiracial empire symbolized and led by
"people like Obama."
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Sam Francis [email
him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection
of his columns,
America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The
Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available
Americans For Immigration Control.
for Sam Francis` website. Click
here to order his monograph,
Ethnopolitics: Immigration, Race, and the American