Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Of Michelle Obama's Patriotism and Sarah Palin's Ignorance of History

A note for the Sarah Palin Tea bagger GOP cadre members--a white man wrote the following editorial so you know it must be true.

I am and have been transparent in my disdain towards Sarah Palin. She took stupid all the way to the bank; is a succubus of, and lightning rod for, the worst sort of Right-wing populist know-nothing nonsense; and is an expert performer of a particularly noxious type of rural blackface. Apparently, Palin follows through on the New Right's due diligence in her new "book" and includes an obligatory attack on Michelle Obama's patriotism and the then soon to be First Lady of the United States' honest comment that, "for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback"

Michelle Obama was pilloried by the Right for daring to suggest that America had long erred in its treatment of non-whites, and that as an American of color she could now be fully proud because the country seemed to finally be living up to its radically inclusive and democratic potential.

As has been repeatedly demonstrated, the myopia of whiteness knows few limits. The myopic whiteness of Conservativism knows even fewer. As the 2008 presidential campaign reinforced, the White Conservative Soul is wedded to the idea that there is just one American story, one American experience, and one approved nostalgia laden narrative. The realities of white supremacy as foundational to a country where supposedly democratic citizenship was bounded by race (and gender, as well as class) is simply too much to bear.

In short, conservatives need the good lie. It is a tale of a perfect America allows them to sleep easily at night. Unfortunately, not many Americans are afforded that luxury.


"Attack on Michelle Obama Shows Sarah Palin's Ignorance of History"

By Richard Cohen

When I was 11, my father thought it was time to show my sister and me the nation's capital. I have only vague memories of that trip - the heat, the expanse of the White House's grounds, the Jefferson Memorial. I do remember we took Route 1 through Baltimore (no I-95 yet) and it was there that I saw my first sign with the word "colored" on it - a rooming house, I think. This was 1952, and the United States was an apartheid nation.

It is Sarah Palin who brings back these memories. In her new book, she reportedly takes Michelle Obama to task for her supposedly infamous remark from the 2008 campaign: "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback." Instantly, Republicans pounced. Among the first to do so was Cindy McCain, who said, "I have and always will be proud of my country." It was a cheap shot, but her husband's selection of Palin for the ticket and plenty of cheap shots from Palin ("death panels," etc.) were yet to come.

Michelle Obama quickly explained herself. She was proud of the turnout in the primaries - so many young people, etc. Evan Thomas, writing perceptively in Newsweek, thought - as I did - that she was saying something else. He dug into her senior thesis at Princeton - "Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community" - to find a young woman who felt, or was made to feel, "more aware of my 'blackness' than ever before." This was not a statement of racism. This was a statement of fact.

It's appalling that Palin and too many others fail to understand that fact - indeed so many facts of American history. They don't offer the slightest hint that they can appreciate the history of the Obama family and that in Michelle's case, her ancestors were slaves - Jim Robinson of South Carolina, her paternal great-great grandfather, being one. Even after they were freed they were consigned to peonage, second-class citizens, forbidden to vote in much of the South, dissuaded from doing so in some of the North, relegated to separate schools, restaurants, churches, hotels, waiting rooms of train stations, the back of the bus, the other side of the tracks, the mortuary, the cemetery and, if whites could manage it, heaven itself.

It was the government that oppressed blacks, enforcing the laws that imprisoned them and hanged them for crimes grave and trivial, whipped them if they bolted for freedom and, in the Civil War, massacred them if they were captured fighting for the North. And yet if African Americans hesitate in embracing the mythical wonderfulness of America, they are accused of racism - of having the gall to know more about their own experience and history than Palin and others think they should.

Why do politicians such as Palin and commentators such as Glenn Beck insist that African Americans go blank on their own history - as blank as apparently Palin and Beck are themselves? Why must they insist that blacks join them in embracing a repellent history that once caused America to go to war with itself? Besides Princeton, Michelle Obama is a graduate of Harvard Law School. It's hardly possible that she is not knowledgeable about the history of African Americans - no Ellis Island for them, immigrants in their colorful native dress waving at the camera. Should she forget it all simply because she went to Ivy League schools - be thankful for what she had gotten and the hell with the rest? Why should she be more grateful than Cindy McCain?

Sarah Palin teases that she might run for president. But she is unqualified - not just in the (let me count the) usual ways, but because she does not know the country. She could not be the president of black America nor of Hispanic America. She knows more about grizzlies than she does about African Americans - and she clearly has more interest in the former than the latter. Did she once just pick up the phone and ask Michelle Obama what she meant by her remark? Did she ask about her background? What it was like at Princeton? What it was like for her parents or her grandparents? I can offer a hint. If they were driving to Washington, they slowed down and stopped where the sign said "colored" - and the irritated Palins of the time angrily hit the horn and went on their way.


Plane Ideas said...

Richard Cohen finally gets it right he has often penned some ignorant shit when it comes to race related issues...

I often find it interesting when whites like Cohen finally get the light and give testimony like this...He reminds me of Babara Walters who during an interview with Richard Pryor asked him about the word nigger in a funky tone..Richard retorted Babara you said nigger like you say it alot..Of course she shut up then..

Palin from my vantage point reflects the voice of the silent majority I am never surprised by the depth, scope, legacy of the dna and culture of white racism/ in our nation it has a long shelf life...

Invisible Man said...

It's truly hard to analyze any sane person next to a bad joke like Palin, just like it's hard for "respectable negroes to have a substantive heart to heart about Obama's obligation to Black America, because they're too busy circling the cadillacs,BMW's and church buses around the first family. And truth be told, like Kanye Pest West said about George Bush ( before he retracted), respectable Negroes also don't like Black poor people either!

So in the name of Pecola Breedlove, I, Spook, will be the minority voice, the thorn in the Gucci shoe of all those Resectable Negroes who- two years ago -right after the election, instead of immediately forming a coalition to push Obama towards a progressive Black agenda, immediately began a campaign to canonize the first family, alive.

So like your drunk uncle Gus, I'm gonna
disturb this church ceremony with the other side of Michelle Obama who served Chicago Mayor Richard "Darth" Daley so well as his aid wile he ethnically cleansed Chicago. Then she
continued this mission. As Vice President of Community Affairs for The University of Chicago,she was tasked with blocking access to all those pesky poor negroes who surround the elite mostly white University of Chicago community. Who better to keep poor negroes at bay than a Black women?

Do I remind you of this to "dirty"
Michelle Obama, like a character in Toni Morrison's Beloved?

Noooooooo! I do this in the vanishing hope that all yall respectable church negroes will wake up and realize that the Obama's were created by the Chicago Democratic Machine and will only respond to the agendas of the powerful, or those who organize and make demands on them. Yea I'm talking Frederick Douglass!

Constructive Feedback said...

My friend Chauncey:

I did not read your post here.
I did not read Cohen's article.

Instead I registered another tick mark in my count of "Progressives who are Democrats who are Black" blogs that are generating content about SARAH PALIN.

You see, Chauncey when the great Malcolm X warned us about "The Political Football Game between White Conservative and White Progressive" he was warning conscious Black people about the perils of taking up the cause NOT OF YOUR OWN but which is solely within the domain of AMERICAN POLITICS.

You see Chauncey the one thing that I have a skill for is "pattern matching". Instead of remaining at the TRANSACTIONAL level, eating up the "self-chum" that is propagated by certain Progressive-Fundamentalists to keep me "Ideologically Unified" and within a "racial siege mentality" I instead make note of a pattern.

At a time when the Black community's key institutions are controlled by "Respectable Favorable Negroes" and "White Progressive Snarling Foxes" that meet the popular approval - there is more content on the "Progressives that are Black" blogs that focus upon ideological adversaries like Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, Steele and Clarence Thomas than there is transparent and critical appraisal about the people who are actually in the seats of power over these key institutions.

Malcolm X in his wisdom realize the POWER that the obfuscation that is so readily apparent has, to the negation of the interests of the Black community.

Sarah Palin IS NOT A THREAT TO "THE BLACK COMMUNITY". She is ONLY a threat to Democrats and Progressive policies. It is ONLY the fact that the Black community has fused these two methodologies as "Certified Black" that Palin is problematic.

Tell me Chauncey - in response to the report about Black male academic performance - what did you write?

You posted Moynehan's words and a reference to 72% of OOWB. The Sarah Palin post showed more passion from you than did the peril surrounding our young brothers.

It all comes down to two things brother Chauncey:


Failing to implement BOTH in equal measure as you show yourself to be a SCIENTIST in support of mitigating the problems in our community - Sarah Palin from Alaska gets promoted as a grand threat to you and others.

The BIGGEST threat to Black people per my view is the BENIGN NEGLECT that takes place as otherwise good brothers like you get distracted with other non-priority issues.

Pull up brother. We have bigger fish to fry.

chaunceydevega said...

@Thrasher, I think you know of my opinions regarding the masses are assess lumpen "real Americans." Tangentially related: Barbara Walters could get down, who was the black Senator (governor?) she was doing the okey doke with?

@Spook. Preach. You know I can't stand the jack and jill type negroes. I have praise for Obama and lots of concern--he is getting punked by forces that made it clear they wouldn't compromise and be reasonable on anything. He had a mandate to lead and instead reached out to a bunch of rabid dogs that bit his hand damn near off. He should have knuckled up. Instead he laid down.

Oh Crap said...

We used to think there couldn't be any conservative dumber than Dan Quayle. Then along came Shrubya.

And if there's anything more odious than a conservative bigot, it's a lazy conservative bigot. The crap that's being highlighted in Sarah's new ghostwritten tripe isn't even new. First, rehashing this old non-issue of Michelle Obama's non patriotism, then trotting out Dan Quayle's old public handwringing about a fictional TV character Murphy Brown.

Dumb, ignorant conservatives for whom active stupidity is a virtue...what are they good for?

Don said...

I never saw anything remotely wrong concerning Michelle Obama's remarks towards America. If anything, I applaud the woman for having the gusto to reiterate such truthful words at a point in time where, usually, statements that rub people the wrong way aren't being made.

Sarah Palin doesn't mean any harm. She is simply repeating words and sentiments that she herself heard and never quite understood the rhyme nor reason.

White America can and will brainwash a mind that simply cannot think for itself. Palin is living proof.

Enjoyed the read.

fred c said...

I was seven when my family started driving through the south every year to visit my grandparents in Florida. I remember my sense of wonder at the signs for "White Only" and "Colored" on everything from water fountains to beaches. My father, not perhaps the most enlightened man but well up the scale, made an education of it. He'd pull off the main road and take us through the towns. One time, in a Black neighborhood of some little Georgia backwater, he explained to me why the Black families had nice cars but the houses, not so nice. "The car guys will lend them money, but no bank will give them a mortgage." It was the beginning of my long education in these matters. Much later, married but far from rich, and subject to bad times, my wife and I would sometimes console each other by saying, "it could be worse, we could be Black." We knew that being Black made everything much, much harder. Good for Michelle, speaking truth to power.

CNu said...

Palin exemplifies the new and improved mass-induction of normotic illness.

This pattern of behavior has considerable contemporary relevance, given that market capitalism, in globalizing, has undertaken “forced-draft de-culturization”, a strategy extremely well designed to psychologically vanquish, to take away meaningful connection to the past, to remove inner and outer patterns of life considered by the dominant economy to be obstructions to trade. The holocausts thus caused, as we have so recently seen, are not likely to be perpetrated by peoples of the dominant economy who formulated “forced-draft de-culturization”, but by those who have been psychologically vanquished by said deculturization. But there is another factor in the current globalization equation suggesting that the biggest holocaust of all will eventually be perpetrated by peoples of the dominant economy. The Cartesian-Newtonian institutionalization and supra-nationalizing, multi-nationalizing political economy -- promulgated in a strategy of “forced-draft de-culturization” -- is being globalized by what? Come on, my dear dear international correspondent! Its right there at the tip of your tongue. Why, why, technologies, of course! Technologies created on basis of principles of a quantum mechanics antithetical to fundamentals of the Cartesian-Newtonian institutionalization which is being so aggressively globalized one could easily see how globalization could be regarded, not only as deculturizing, but as a process of politicoeconomic and military aggression. Eventually (soon, perhaps), the quantal subversion of Cartesian-Newtonian institutionalization will lead to peoples of the dominant economy being psychologically vanquished. When this vanquishment matures, those who cause the holocaust will at the same time be those who perpetrate it.

Constructive Feedback said...

My Friend Chauncey:

I have since read Richard Cohen's article and your piece and the other posts on this platform for public intelectual discourse.

Having watched a documentary on former DC mayor Marion Berry last night I now have an even greater perception of where you, Cohen and Tim Wise reside with respect to the clear and present circumstances of the American Negro.

You see for Cohen the "Whites Only" sign that he saw in Washington DC as a child is a more powerful indictment which explains the "INFERIOR" standing of the American Black today - economically, academically, and tactically than is the evidence that "colored men" in the seats of power today offer as evidence that things have changed.

Big picture-wise Chauncey - when I see those black and white 8mm video tapes of the signs and the brutal White cops from back in the day instead of using that as my world reference for today I choose to look at the present images that are show in color, high definition having been transmitted from the reporters remote camera via microwave, too often from the crime scene in the 8th Ward. This section represented by Berry is a mere 8 miles from the White House.

With a favorable police chief that was appointed by the 6th (or so) Black mayor in control of the city - we can safely say that the SEATS OF POWER who ENFORCED the laws and the WORLD VIEW that the "Whites Only Signs" signified - are now BLACK AMERICANS!!!!

You, like Cohen need to ask yourself Chauncey - WHY are these images of the PAST so POWERFUL to you to-damned-day that they cause your conscious mind to gloss over that which the PRESENT people in power erect upon your people, channeling them down a certain course to continued incompetence and inferiority per the lack of material proof that their PROGRESS is nigh?

If this is a key reference in time that Sarah Palin wants to TAKE US BACK TO if she ever gets seated in the house 2 miles from 8th Ward ........why isn't there more inspection by you of those operatives who support and DEFEND the present power establishment over these communities who TAUNT THE NEGRO with black and white images to engender FEAR of what their disposal from power my bring forth yet have FAILED to leverage their power to build up organic competencies within these communities that now have the "Whites Only" signs removed from them?

Plane Ideas said...


Why can't both themes be played out?? We recall the evil legacy of racism in our nation and we construct themes to address the current inhumanity in the post industrial Obama era..

Why are your narratives so myopic??

Constructive Feedback said...

My good friend Thrasher:

I study Black Community Political Dynamics as a hobby. Gone are my illusions that if given TWO EQUAL TASKS (one pointing forward requiring MANAGEMENT & DEVELOPMENT, the other facing toward the past which afford the opportunity for people to achieve the consciousness in their answer to the question "WHO DID THIS TO US?") that the present Black Progressive Establishment will ever choose to service both tracks equally.

Here is the point of understanding that I have come to Thrasher.

We need to understand our challenge to be the construction of an accurate MODEL of the real world and all of the forces that bear down upon us.

Think about an aviation engineer. In order to design a more efficient propulsion system he must document all of the FORCES that bear down upon the plane. If he is biased in his model the plane will only ever achieve two outcomes:

1) It won't fly in the first place
2) It will be destroyed in a fiery crash - killing all occupants

The forces are:

EXTERNAL OPPRESSION = Gravity, Wind Sheer, Updrafts

LATERAL FORCES (from friends) = Crosswinds, Tail Winds, Headwinds

INTERNAL THREATS = Embedded pilot operatives who willfully crash the plane

Thrasher - it is not a matter of doing BOTH. It is a matter of designing the proper MODEL and also to have a system of SAFEGUARDS so that no operative is able to cause too much destruction.

Also if you focus upon building the most powerful engines in the world to fight RACISM but you fail to design the necessary CONTROL SURFACES to guide the plane - you simply will GO FASTER as you arrive at your fatal wreckage, having overcompensated for gravity.

Now let's talk about the skills of AERONAUTICS that the leadership that you appear to have so much confidence in have in their possession.

CNu said...

I study Black Community Political Dynamics as a hobby.



have you formulated any specific solutions proposals yet, or are you still just flapping your big DSL's in the digital aether in search of an audience?

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]have you formulated any specific solutions proposals yet, or are you still just flapping your big DSL's in the digital aether in search of an audience?[/quote]



Funny how if Rush Limbaugh referred to Obama using the very same word YOU would be standing by Al Sharpton in seeking to yank his microphone away. You have a fetish for using the same words that White racists used just prior to lynching a Black man. A real conscious brother you are.

"Formulated Any Specific SOLUTIONS"?

KCNulan: SINCE WHEN did you require ACTUAL SOLUTIONS as a pretext for your support?

Just look at your loopy response above. First Chauncey launches yet another Palin distraction post - rounding out more coverage on Palin and the Republicans in the month of November than any consistent dialogue about the issues WITHIN THE BLACK COMMUNITY.

Then you pick up on his tune and analyze Sarah Palin in the context of "normotic illness".

KCNulan - how many times in your teen years did you get your azz whipped in the school yard as you told a dude who stepped to you that he suffered from "normotic illness" and that if he became a "anarcho capitalist " he would be cured of his ailment?

CNu said...

Funny how if Rush Limbaugh




think of gary anthony williams whitening his teeth savoring the supreme irony of your purely unselfconscious buck dancing "hobby".

after 4 years and half a dozen blogs ronald, you still don't have a single solution proposal to make to even just one of the many and sundry problems you obsessively and compulsively document online.

Plane Ideas said...


Again your response is lacking in reality full of irrevelant chatter....

I expect more not the same dogma from you..Please step up when I engaged you..I demand better

Constructive Feedback said...

My good friend Thrasher:

I am begging for your assistance.
You can tell from my writing that I indeed have some challenges - as compared to you, KCNulan and of course - Mr DeVega.

1) Could you SPECIFICALLY itemize the points where my response is "lacking in reality" and "full of irrelevant chatter"?

2) I argued about the importance of a MODEL of the real world as a basis for further study. I saw that the "Army Corps Of Engineers" uses this as they seek to protect Kansas City and New Orleans from a devistating flood. (I Thrasher ____ Agree/ ____ Disagree per the "X" that I have placed on the line)

3) I argued this model MUST capture all of the forces bearing down upon the subject under study. AND that the PROPORTIONS of the forces must be adequately measured - without bias - least the model be flawed.

I Thrasher _____Agree / _____ Disagree

4) I expressed curiosity about Mr Cohen/Mr Chauncey's attention fetish with Sarah Palin as compared to what they DON'T talk about with respect to Blacks in the case of Mr Cohen and with regard to the noted problems within our community that Mr Chauncey knows about.

____This Is Reasonable/ ____ You are sounding more like an Anarcho-Capitalist every day Constructive Feedback

5) I subsequently watched the HBO special "The 9 Lives Of Marian Barry" over the weekend. He and other "favorable mayors" now control the police forces that used to ENFORCE the "Whites Only" policies that Mr Cohen speaks about. I thus question the "shelf life" of this indictment of the past by Cohen versus the point when the Black community will "true UP" with the PRESENT favorable operatives who now occupy the seats of power within our key community institutions.

_____ You got me CS. I can't go against you and retain my intellectual credibility. _____ I, Thrasher, hate how you think CS more than I care to accept that your views are an attempt to establish a bit of transparency within our community.

Oh Crap said...

CF, what in blazes are you yammering on about.

Are you yammering on about ANYTHING?

Dumb, worthless conservatives...

Oh Crap said...

@CNu "
think of gary anthony williams whitening his teeth savoring the supreme irony of your purely unselfconscious buck dancing "hobby"."

Yep, it's a conservative...

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]Dumb, worthless conservatives...[/quote]

It might be just me Oh Crap but I get the funny feeling that is we were having this same debate about 40 years ago YOU would have replaced "Conservatives" with the word "N's".

But again it might just be me.

Invisible Man said...

Well I hopes yall white folk learned one thing about respectable negroes. No body gets to insult our royalty or our ministers no matter how disconnected they are from the masses. Then again respectable negroes, don't really like the masses because they aint "all the right negroes" !

CNu said...

It might be just me Oh Crap but I get the funny feeling that is we were having this same debate about 40 years ago YOU would have replaced "Conservatives" with the word "N's".


For damn sure I would have gone out of my way to keep my teeth shiny and white in specific reference to you jiggaboo...,

Oh Crap said...


It might be just me Oh Crap but

Yes, you are right. It is just you. Must say, though, I am enjoying you conservative's latest trend of appropriating leftist language you've derided as PC marxism for the past 20 years.

Equal Rights now means rich people get government bennies like unearned tax cuts, voting rights is now seen as discrimination against God's Favorites, and conservatives now point and cry hate speech when they're not treated with reverence; they're now quick to accuse others of "sexism" when we make fun of new, real "feminist" Sarah Palin's hairstyle; and Black cons are stumbling all over themselves to accuse Democrats of being a "racist" "plantation" from which only the few 20 Smart Blacks have emancipated themselves.

There's no end to the fun, watching conservative PC in action.

So, no wonder you're confused.