We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Mongrel”: Historically, and from Obama’s Mouth

by Glen Ford from Black Agenda Report

The author takes issue with Obama's way of describing himself, and rightfully so. As I see it, this incident says a lot about racism in America. 

If one has any African physical features at all, one is classified as Black or African-American. Obama had very little exposure, if any, to Black Africans. He was raised mostly by a successful, white, banker grandmother in Hawaii, an exceptional multi-racial place where racism is not a strong issue. So it is not surprising that he used a term based on a perspective that is widely held by Euro-Americans. Although he is publicly identified as African-American, there is very little of the latter sub-culture and perspectives in him. 

This phenomenon was exploited by the ruling class when they chose him to run for President. They took advantage of this racial identity to fool the public into thinking that, first of all, this was an "equal opportunity" country that had overcome racism, and secondly, that Obama represented a truly different perspective on things which informed his campaign theme about "change".