Meghan Markle is the biracial hero I’ve always wanted

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2022-05-12 20:58Z by Steven

Meghan Markle is the biracial hero I’ve always wanted


David Kaufman, Global Lifestyle Editor

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 15: Meghan Markle at the USA Network 2013 Upfront event at Pier 36 on May 16, 2013 in New York.

Barack Obama may have been a hero to “black America,” but for biracial Americans like myself, the former president never quite felt like the champion we’d waited so long for.

Early on, he seemed like he might be: As the son of a white mother and Kenyan father, Obama vocally touted his unique—and uniquely multi-cultural—background throughout his education, writing and early career. Finally, it seemed, folks like me had found a role model.

Yet when it came time for Obama to shift into “candidate” mode, he clearly calculated that positioning himself as black, rather than biracial, was the wisest way to secure the presidency. Little changed once he entered to Oval Office.

Indeed, despite having as much white heritage as black, Obama formally marked himself African-American on his 2010 Census form. The timing was important: That year, for one of the first times ever, the Census Bureau included a multi-racial category. I was thrilled to check the box—and had naively hoped the President would too.

Nearly a decade later, we now have Meghan Markle, the biracial future bride of Britain’s Prince Harry. Born in California to a Caucasian father and African-American mother, Markle is vocal about her biracial parentage. “I’m half black/half white,” she wrote in a piece for British Elle last year—six simple words that honor her background in a way the former president avoided…

Read the entire article here.

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Being Biracial Shouldn’t Be An Excuse To Be Racially Neutral

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2022-04-20 21:14Z by Steven

Being Biracial Shouldn’t Be An Excuse To Be Racially Neutral


Dwayne Wong (Omowale)

Whenever Meghan Markle comes up in the news, my mind immediately always comes back to this quote from her:

On the heels of the racial unrest in Ferguson and Baltimore, the tensions that have long been percolating under the surface in the US have boiled over in the most deeply saddening way. And as a biracial woman, I watch in horror as both sides of a culture I define as my own become victims of spin in the media, perpetuating stereotypes and reminding us that the States has perhaps only placed bandages over the problems that have never healed at the root.

I, on the other hand, have healed from the base. While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that. To say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman.

The reason for this is that Markle’s fame is largely based on her racial identity. Not only has she received a great deal of attention for her marriage to Prince Harry, but this attention comes largely from the fact that she is not white. As Funmi Olutoye wrote: “We’ve made it. I say ‘we’ because even though she’s mixed race, the world still looks at her as black.” The notion that the elevation of a single black individual represents black progress is misguided. This is a topic that I addressed when I wrote The Black African Crisis in the Age of a Black President to help dispel the idea that Barack Obama’s presidency in of itself represented collective advancement for black people. But beyond that, Olutoye invokes the one-drop rule to claim Markle for black people, despite the fact that Markle’s remarks demonstrate that Markle clearly regards herself as a biracial woman who stands on the fence between black and white. Markle does not profess to be a black woman…

Read the entire article here.

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The Obama Portraits

Posted in Arts, Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, United States on 2022-03-25 21:01Z by Steven

The Obama Portraits

Princeton University Press
152 pages
7 x 9 in.
76 color illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 9780691203287

Edited by:

Taína Caragol, Curator of Painting and Sculpture and Latino Art and History
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Dorothy Moss, Curator of Painting and Sculpture
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Kim Sajet, Director
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

From the moment of their unveiling at the National Portrait Gallery in early 2018, the portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama have become two of the most beloved artworks of our time. Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of President Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of the former first lady have inspired unprecedented responses from the public, and attendance at the museum has more than doubled as visitors travel from near and far to view these larger-than-life paintings. After witnessing a woman drop to her knees in prayer before the portrait of Barack Obama, one guard said, “No other painting gets the same kind of reactions. Ever.” The Obama Portraits is the first book about the making, meaning, and significance of these remarkable artworks.

Richly illustrated with images of the portraits, exclusive pictures of the Obamas with the artists during their sittings, and photos of the historic unveiling ceremony by former White House photographer Pete Souza, this book offers insight into what these paintings can tell us about the history of portraiture and American culture. The volume also features a transcript of the unveiling ceremony, which includes moving remarks by the Obamas and the artists. A reversible dust jacket allows readers to choose which portrait to display on the front cover.

An inspiring history of the creation and impact of the Obama portraits, this fascinating book speaks to the power of art—especially portraiture—to bring people together and promote cultural change.

Published in association with the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC

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Barack Obama: Conservative, Pragmatist, Progressive

Posted in Barack Obama, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2022-03-15 13:18Z by Steven

Barack Obama: Conservative, Pragmatist, Progressive

Cornell University Press
392 pages
Hardcover ISBN13: 9781501761973

Burton I. Kaufman, Dean Emeritus, School of Interdisciplinary Studies; Professor Emeritus, Department of History
Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

In this insightful biography, Burton I. Kaufman explores how the political career of Barack Obama was marked by conservative tendencies that frustrated his progressive supporters and gave the lie to socialist fearmongering on the right. Obama’s was a landmark presidency that paradoxically, Kaufman shows, resulted in few, if any, radical shifts in policy.

Following his election, President Obama’s supporters and detractors anticipated radical reform. As the first African American to serve as president, he reached the White House on a campaign promise of change. But Kaufman finds in Obama clear patterns of classical conservativism of an ideological sort and basic policy-making pragmatism. His commitment to usher in a multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural society was fundamentally connected to opening up, but not radically altering, the existing free enterprise system.

The Affordable Care Act, arguably President Obama’s greatest policy achievement, was a distillation of his complex motivations for policy. More conservative than radical, the ACA fitted the expansion of health insurance into the existing system. Similarly, in foreign policy, Obama eschewed the use of force to affect regime change. Yet he kept boots on the ground in the Middle East and supported ballot-box revolts geared toward achieving in foreign countries the same principles of liberalism, free enterprise, and competition that existed in the United States.

In estimating the course and impact of Obama’s full political life, Kaufman makes clear that both the desire for and fear of change in the American polity affected the popular perception but not the course of action of the forty-fourth US president.

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Fading Out Black and White: Racial Ambiguity in American Culture

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Census/Demographics, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2022-02-21 22:36Z by Steven

Fading Out Black and White: Racial Ambiguity in American Culture

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
August 2018
224 pages
Trim: 6 x 9
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78660-254-1
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78660-255-8
eBook ISBN: 978-1-78660-256-5

Lisa Simone Kingstone, Visiting Scholar, New School for Social Research, New York, New York; Associate Professor at Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey.

What happens to a country that was built on race when the boundaries of black and white have started to fade? Not only is the literal face of America changing where white will no longer be the majority, but the belief in the firmness of these categories and the boundaries that have been drawn is also disintegrating.

In a nuanced reading of culture in a post Obama America, this book asks what will become of the racial categories of black and white in an increasingly multi-ethnic, racially ambiguous, and culturally fluid country. Through readings of sites of cultural friction such as the media frenzy around ‘transracial’ Rachel Dolezal, the new popularity of racially ambiguous dolls, and the confusion over Obama’s race, Fading Out Black and White explores the contemporary construction of race.

This insightful, provocative glimpse at identity formation in the US reviews the new frontier of race and looks back at the archaism of the one-drop rule that is unique to America.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • List of Illustrations
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Overview of the book
  • Terminology
  • Chapter 1: Tracing Race: A tour of the Racial Binary
  • Chapter 2: The Trial of Rachel Dolezal: The First Transracial
  • Chapter 3: Obama as Racial Rorschach: The First Blank President
  • Chapter 4: Casting Color: Black Barbie and the Black Doll as Racial Barometer
  • Chapter 5: Really Black: Black-ish and the Black Sitcom as Racial Barometer
  • Chapter 6: Talking about Race: Black, White and Mixed Focus Groups
  • Coda
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography
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Thinking in Colour: A BBC Radio Collection of Documentaries on Race, Society and Black History

Posted in Audio, Barack Obama, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Social Justice, United Kingdom, United States on 2021-12-16 17:53Z by Steven

Thinking in Colour: A BBC Radio Collection of Documentaries on Race, Society and Black History

BBC Digital Audio
ISBN: 9781529143560

Gary Younge, Professor of Sociology
University of Manchester

Gary Younge Gary Younge (Read by) Robin Miles (Read by) Amaka Okafor (Read by) Full Cast (Read by) Ricky Fearon (Read by)

Gary Younge explores race, society and Black history in these five fascinating documentaries

Author, broadcaster and sociology professor Gary Younge has won several awards for his books and journalism covering topics such as the civil rights movement, inequality and immigration. In this documentary collection, the former Guardian US correspondent turns his attention to current American political and social issues, including populist conservatism, and African-American identity.

In Thinking in Colour, he examines racial ‘passing’: light-skinned African-Americans who decided to live their lives as white people. Looking at the topic through the prism of Nella Larsen’s 1929 novella Passing, Gary hears three astonishing personal stories, and probes the distinction between race and colour.

Recorded shortly after the historic 2008 election, The Documentary: Opposing Obama follows Gary as he travels through Arkansas and Kentucky, talking to people who see Barack Obama’s presidency as nothing but bad news, and hearing their hopes and fears for the future.

In The Wales Window of Alabama, Gary recounts how the people of Wales helped rebuild an Alabama church, where bombers killed four girls in 1963. Hearing of the atrocity, sculptor John Petts rallied his local community to raise money, and subsequently created a new stained glass window that has become a focus for worship and a symbol of hope.

In Ebony: Black on White on Black, we hear the history of Ebony, the magazine that has charted and redefined African-American life since its launch in 1945. But what is its place in the world today, and does it still speak to contemporary African-Americans?

And in Analysis: Tea Party Politics, Gary assesses the Tea Party movement, a US right-wing protest group that objects to big government and high taxes. He finds out what sparked this grass-roots insurgency, who its supporters are, and analyses its impact.

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Morning Joe finally admits GOP ‘radicalization’ is ongoing racist backlash to Barack Obama

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2021-12-07 18:55Z by Steven

Morning Joe finally admits GOP ‘radicalization’ is ongoing racist backlash to Barack Obama

Raw Story

Travis Gettys

US President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama’s comments on each other have not always been complimentary (AFP Photo/JIM WATSON)

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough has finally come around to admitting that Republicans’ radicalization was a racist backlash against the election of Barack Obama.

The “Morning Joe” host, a former Republican himself, said he had long been skeptical of that notion, but he said the evidence had become too obvious to deny.”I have been a skeptic for quite some time that the election of Barack Obama was such a shock to so many white Americans that they just never got over it,” Scarborough said.

“I was always a skeptic of that. I saw his election, even though they didn’t agree with him ideologically on a lot of things. I saw that as a moment that all Americans — Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals — could stop and go, ‘Wow, okay, the United States of America is the first majority white country that elected a Black man as their leader,’ something to celebrate.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Yes, There Are Women of Color in the DAR

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2021-08-21 03:16Z by Steven

Yes, There Are Women of Color in the DAR


Rosa Cartagena

Reisha Raney at the headquarters of the DAR’s Maryland chapter. Photograph by Lauren Bulbin

A Maryland researcher—and relative of Thomas Jefferson—is exploring their stories.

Reisha Raney had never listened to a podcast when she decided to start one last year. A mathematician who runs a systems-engineering company in Fort Washington, Raney has, as a side project, spent years researching women of color who have joined the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was drawn to this topic for one obvious reason: Raney herself is a Black member of the DAR.

To Raney, the backgrounds of people like her—which often involve disturbing relationships between enslavers and the enslaved—represent an important aspect of our past. So after a two-week crash course in podcasting, she launched Daughter Dialogues, which features her interviews with current DAR members. “I had no expectation to ever run into any of these other Black women” in the society, she says. “We were so scarce that I expected to be the only one in the room all the time.” In fact, that hasn’t been the case; she has so far found and interviewed 22 women of color. Still, that’s a tiny fraction of the DAR’s 180,000-plus membership. (The group doesn’t keep track of racial demographics.)…

Read the entire article here.

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How the Myth of Barack Obama Overtook the Man (and the Politician)

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2021-08-18 23:27Z by Steven

How the Myth of Barack Obama Overtook the Man (and the Politician)


Justine Smith
Montreal, Quebec

From Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union (2021), dir. Peter Kunhardt (image courtesy HBO)

A new HBO film introduces a level of nuance to its depiction of the president that’s been sorely lacking in most portrayals.

What is “home” in the American imagination? Politicians often cite this ideal. Will our “doors” be open or closed? What do our “neighbors” look like? In the introduction to The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Shoshana Zuboff describes the home as “where we know and where we are known, where we love and are loved. Home is mastery, voice, relationship, and sanctuary: part freedom, part flourishing … part refuge, part prospect.” Barack Obama promised this image of home, preaching that the United States could pursue unity and love for all. His very presence as a Black man on the world stage signaled a cultural shift that made it seem, if only briefly, that a tide was turning and the US was ready to grapple with its racism. For many, he was a symbol of progress. To others, he was a conniving invader, a covert socialist/communist/terrorist, or even the antichrist. Both images leave his actual humanity behind. What happens when a person becomes a symbol?

The new HBO film Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union looks at his life and work with a level of nuance that’s rare for a mainstream documentary. Still, like most Obama movies, the focus remains firmly on his social and cultural impact rather than his policy. “People underestimate the value of symbols,” Ta-Nehisi Coates argues at one point. Undeniably, Obama himself catered to and was well aware of his symbolic importance. And most films about him, made by a sympathetic media — By the People, The Final Year, The Way I See It, etc. — cater to his image as a historic groundbreaker. Even the Michelle Obama biography Becoming portrays the former first family as beacons of hope in a dark time…

Read the entire article here.

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Obamas Respond To Daunte Wright Shooting With A Plea For Police Reform

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2021-04-19 17:00Z by Steven

Obamas Respond To Daunte Wright Shooting With A Plea For Police Reform

The Huffington Post

Ryan Grenoble, National Reporter

“Our hearts are heavy over yet another shooting of a Black man, Daunte Wright, at the hands of police,” the former president and first lady wrote.

Former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday responded to the killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright with a call to “reimagine policing” in America, noting with some incredulity that Wright’s needless death came as jurors heard arguments in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd barely 10 miles away.

“Our hearts are heavy over yet another shooting of a Black man, Daunte Wright, at the hands of police,” the two said in a written statement.

“The fact that this could happen even as the city of Minneapolis is going through the trial of Derek Chauvin and reliving the heart-wrenching murder of George Floyd indicates not just how important it is to conduct a full and transparent investigation, but also just how badly we need to reimagine policing and public safety in this country.”…

Read the entire article here.

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