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White Guilt, Obamania, And The Reality Of Race
Race is so important in American politics that it has even propelled a Chicago politician less than two years removed from the corruption-plagued Illinois state senate into the limelight of the upcoming Presidential race.
Yet we still aren't supposed to engage in honest public discussion about it.
VDARE.COM is not in the business of endorsing candidates. So let me note that Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) strikes me as no less (and no more) credible a candidate for President than the rest of the usual suspects.
Still, VDARE.COM can play a useful educational role by mentioning some of the unmentionable reasons behind Obamania.
Obama is constantly compared to Tiger Woods. But he differs in two ways. First, his list of accomplishments in his chosen profession is a lot shorter than the golfer's. And, second, Woods rejected Nike's suggestion that he identify himself as solely black to maximize his marketability in America because he did not want to reject his mother and more distant non-black ancestors. Woods declared himself "Caublinasian," his childhood term for his Caucasian, black, American Indian, and Asian ancestry.
In contrast, like Oscar-winner Halle Berry, Obama identifies as black although that requires symbolically disowning his white mother and maternal grandparents—despite the fact that they did far more for him than the Kenyan father who abandoned him when he was two.
Obama writes: "I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites."
That sounds quite self-sacrificial…but, oddly enough, it sure hasn't hurt his popularity with whites.
The brutal truth: Obama is a "wigger". He's a remarkably exotic variety of the faux African-American, but a wigger nonetheless. He has no ancestors who were slaves in the U.S. Moreover, his upbringing by his white mother and Indonesian stepfather in Indonesia and by his white grandparents in Hawaii, where mixed-race children are close to the norm, was almost wholly divorced from African-American life … except for what he could see and aspire to on TV.
Even genetically, Obama, whose East African descent is apparent in his unusual features, has only a distant relationship to the West Africans who are the ancestors of almost all African-Americans. (Here are photos of Obama with Jesse Jackson and with the rapper Ludacris, both of whom have conventional West African features.)
But details like these just seem to make this nominal African-American that much more attractive to whites.
So why are so many whites, especially in the media, excited about promoting Obama for President in 2008?
The Barack Attack phenomenon is similar to the Colin Craze of 1995. Of course, General Powell had better qualifications. He'd been intimately involved in managing a successful national enterprise, the Gulf War of 1991. And he had articulated a thoughtful, cautious policy for when and how to conduct military operations, the Powell Doctrine, the wisdom of which subsequent events have only underlined.
Supporting Obama for President, like supporting Powell a decade ago, is seen by many whites as the ultimate in White Guilt Repellent.
In comparison, I don't recall ever meeting any white person who personally felt guilty for the troubles of African-Americans. But I've known many whites who want to loudly blame other whites for black difficulties.
Some whites at least heap guilt upon their own ancestors, but many who publicly proclaim the reality of White Guilt aren't averse to noting that their own forefathers arrived at Ellis Island long after slavery was over.
In other words, White Guilt is just another ploy in the Great American White Status Struggle. Minorities are merely props for asserting moral superiority over other whites.
Finding and punishing Guilty Whites has become a national obsession. One notorious current example: the framing of the Duke lacrosse players by Durham district attorney Mike Nifong (with the enthusiastic assistance of the New York Times) in the endless hunt for what Tom Wolfe called "the Great White Defendant."
So, many whites want to be able to say, "I'm not one of them, those bad whites, like that guy on Seinfeld. Hey, I voted for a black guy for President!"
Plus, I suspect there's an even more hidden reason many whites wish Obama is elected President: They hope that when a black finally moves into the White House, it will prove to African-Americans, once and for all, that white animus isn't the cause of their troubles. All blacks have to do is to act like President Obama—and their problems will be over!
It's a seductive vision. And it plays right into our national dream that race is just skin deep, that it's all in our heads, that the solution for all racial conflict is simply thinking right thoughts, etc. etc.
Of course, electing Obama President won't actually have that effect on black behavior—any more than electing Tom Bradley mayor of Los Angeles for five terms in a row from 1973-1993 prevented black rioters from burning down much of the city's commercial districts in 1992.
The unfortunate reality: there is no panacea for race. The roots of racial differences in America stretch far back into the history and prehistory of other continents. Symbolic gestures won't make them go away.