“Self Declared Spokesman For Blacks”: Why Did Bernie Sanders Put An Obama-Hater On The Democratic Platform Committee?
The liberal case against Hillary Clinton rests in large part upon her associations — people she surrounds herself with and whose judgment she relies upon. She has caught an enormous amount of flak, some of it fair, for her ties to figures in the finance industry or advisers with morally questionable worldviews. By the same token, what should we make of Bernie Sanders’s decision to appoint Cornel West as one of his advisers to the Democratic Party’s platform committee?
West, of course, has socialist views largely in line with Sanders’s own. But West also has a particular critique of the sitting Democratic president that goes well beyond Sanders’s expressions of disappointment. West’s position is not merely that Obama has not gone far enough, but that he has made life worse for African-Americans:
On the empirical or lived level of Black experience, Black people have suffered more in this age than in the recent past. Empirical indices of infant mortality rates, mass incarceration rates, mass unemployment and dramatic declines in household wealth reveal this sad reality. How do we account for this irony? It goes far beyond the individual figure of President Obama himself, though he is complicit; he is a symptom, not a primary cause. Although he is a symbol for some of either a postracial condition or incredible Black progress, his presidency conceals the escalating levels of social misery in poor and Black America.
This is actually not empirical. African-American infant mortality has declined, not increased, during Obama’s presidency:
The African-American unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 2008. The African-American uninsured rate has fallen by more than half, and the administration has undertaken a wide range of liberalizing reforms to the criminal-justice system. The notion that Obama has made life worse for African-Americans rests entirely on affixing the blame for the 2008 economic collapse on him, without giving him any credit for the wide-ranging measures to alleviate it, or the recovery that has ensued. This is, in other words, the Republican Party’s method of measuring Obama’s record, and it’s the sort of grossly unfair cherry-picking that no good faith critic would use.
West does not merely lament the alleged worsening of conditions for African-Americans that he claims Obama has caused. He has a theory for it:
“I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West says. “It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation. When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening. And that’s true for a white brother. When you get a white brother who meets a free, independent black man, they got to be mature to really embrace fully what the brother is saying to them. It’s a tension, given the history. It can be overcome. Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive. He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.
“He feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want.”
West’s theory is essentially the mirror image of the notion, peddled by Dinesh D’Souza and Newt Gingrich, that Obama absorbed a racial ideology from one of his parents. For Obama’s unhinged right-wing critics, that parent is his father. For West, it is his mother. The racial biases he inherited allegedly define his worldview and turn him into a tool of racial bias — for black people, in the right-wing version, and against them, in West’s. Then you have West’s dismay at Obama’s excessive comfort with wealthy Jews, which he portrays as the result more than the cause of Obama’s lack of interest in helping African-Americans.
The Sanders revolution means that, rather than a full-throated celebration of Obama’s record akin to the treatment Ronald Reagan received at the 1988 Republican convention, the party’s message will include the perspective of one of the president’s avowed haters. Of course, Sanders himself has not said these things, and perhaps he is rewarding West for his campaign service. But if you are celebrating the changes Sanders is bringing about to the Democratic Party, you are celebrating the replacement of one cohort of advisers and activists with another. Sanders’s revolution means giving West’s views more legitimacy and influence in Democratic politics.
By: Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, May 24, 2016
May 30, 2016 - Posted by raemd95 | African Americans, Bernie Sanders, Financial Crisis | Black Infant Mortality Rate, Black Uninsured Rate, Cornel West, Criminal Justice Reform, Democratic National Convention, Democratic Platform Committee, Dinesh D'Souza, Newt Gingrich, Socialists
No comments yet.
Share This Blog
- “The Unrelenting Hostility Of Washington’s Courtier Press”: The Media’s Crusade Of Scandals Against Hillary Clinton July 28, 2016
- “Endorsing This Philistine”: The Christian Right Has Surrendered To Trump July 24, 2016
- “Cop Killers Serve No Cause”: It’s Getting To The Point Where No Lives Matter July 24, 2016
- "Most Extreme Example Of Racial Gerrymandering": Federal Court Blocks Discriminatory Texas Redistricting Plan
- "Deregulation And Worker's Bargaining Power": New Insight Into The Decline Of The Middle Class
- "The Emergency Exits Are Always Open": Wal-Mart’s Strategy Of Deniability For Workers’ Safety
- "Remember The Naysayers": Senate Passes Expanded Violence Against Women Act
- "John Kasich - Only Moderately Extreme": Remember The Last Time We Had A "Compassionately Conservative" President?
- "A Dysfunctional Circus": Trump Picks An Odd Time To Sue A Former Staffer
Affordable Care Act African Americans Bain Capital Citizens United Congress Conservatives Contraception Corporations Debt Ceiling Democracy Democrats Donald Trump Economic inequality Economy Foreign Policy Fox News George W. Bush GOP GOP Presidential Candidates Government Shutdown Gun Control Gun Violence Health Exchanges Health Insurance Hillary Clinton House Republicans Immigration Immigration Reform Iraq War ISIS Jeb Bush Jobs John Boehner John McCain Koch Brothers Lindsey Graham Marco Rubio media Medicaid Medicare Middle Class Middle East Minorities Mitch McConnell Mitt Romney National Security Newt Gingrich NRA ObamaCare Paul Ryan Politics Poor and Low Income Poverty Progressives Racism Rand Paul Republicans Rick Santorum Right Wing Ronald Reagan Rush Limbaugh Scott Walker SCOTUS Senate Spending Cuts Tax cuts Taxes Tea-party Teaparty Ted Cruz Terrorism uninsured Voter Suppression Wall Street Wealthy
- Sleazy buzzard! twitter.com/NBCPolitics/st…----------- 23 hours ago
- RT @IPProfEvans: In response to the disrepectful comments to @AprilDRyan & @MaxineWaters, #blackwomenatwork is trending. A Master Class in…----------- 23 hours ago
- RT @annasale: If you follow the money long enough, it leads to a brownstone in Brooklyn. wnyc.org/story/paul-man… Great work by @ilyamarritz…----------- 1 day ago
- And he'll figure out a way to use it as a tax deduction. twitter.com/Evan_McMullin/…----------- 2 days ago
- Corrupt little twit! twitter.com/nytimes/status…----------- 2 days ago
- 257,348 hits
Blog at WordPress.com.