The Complicated History of Nikki Haley

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-01-18 00:22Z by Steven

The Complicated History of Nikki Haley

The New Yorker

Jelani Cobb, Staff Writer; Professor of History
University of Connecticut

Like President Obama, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley—who delivered last night’s Republican response to the State of the Union—has harnessed the rhetoric and symbolism of racial progress.
Credit Photograph Courtesy C-SPAN

Set aside the feuding policy particulars and last night’s pairing of Barack Obama and Nikki Haley, in the State of the Union address and Republican response, becomes a far more compelling exercise. There was a particular symmetry to the speakers: two people of color with multiracial families, both of whom have deployed the rhetoric and symbolism of racial progress at key moments in their careers.

Last summer, Haley, the two-term governor of South Carolina, gained national attention for her decision to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the State Capitol, in Columbia, South Carolina. Coming days after the massacre of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, the move marked an audacious if symbolic reckoning with the racial ugliness of the past.

The decision did not obviously fit into Haley’s broader vision for South Carolina, which preceded the events at Emanuel A.M.E. by several years. To a greater extent than any of her gubernatorial peers, Haley has promulgated and benefitted from the idea of a “New South,” which has shaken the grip of dead tradition and can serve as a model for the rest of the country. (It’s worth noting that even the concept of a New South is dated. When the Atlanta newspaper publisher Henry Grady used the term in the post-Reconstruction era, he, too, was hoping to cast off a moribund past and self-defeating tradition. The novelty of the South is that there is now a history of its efforts to move beyond its history.)…

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#MemeOfTheWeek: The Racial Politics Of Nikki Haley

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-01-17 02:35Z by Steven

#MemeOfTheWeek: The Racial Politics Of Nikki Haley

National Public Radio

Sam Sanders, Reporter, Washington Desk

Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C. at Charleston, S.C., Republican presidential debate Thursday.
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Depending on whom you ask, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s State of the Union response this week was either going to save the modern Republican Party or kill conservatism.

This week, those differing responses evoked two different hashtags. Both, in some ways, were about Haley’s heritage, and they bring to light the tricky way she’ll have to navigate race should she take on a more prominent role in the 2016 election.


After Haley gave the Republican response to President Obama’s seventh and final State of the Union address this week, some conservatives were not impressed. Haley said in her speech that fixing immigration “means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion. Just like we have for centuries.” She offered a tacit rebuke of Donald Trump when she said, “During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation.”

(She confirmed on NBC’s Today show the next day that she was, in fact, referring to Trump.).

The response to those lines, and other conciliatory notes in Haley’s speech, was swift. And some of it was brutal. Conservative firebrand Ann Coulter probably went the farthest, writing, “Donald Trump should deport Nikki Haley.”….

….In some ways, Haley seems to face the same conundrum former Louisiana Gov. and failed Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal did — not seeming “brown enough” for some voters of color, while being “too brown” for others. (We won’t bore you with the details, or subject you to some of the graphic tweets, but just take a look at the #JindalSoWhite hashtag to see what we’re talking about.)

Of course, Twitter is not exactly or entirely representative of the real world, and even thousands of tweets for or against Nikki Haley might not accurately depict actual support or disapproval of her…

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