The irony of Barack Obama is this: he has become the most successful black politician in American history by avoiding the radioactive racial issues of yesteryear, by being “clean” (as Joe Biden once labeled him)—and yet his indelible blackness irradiates everything he touches. Ta-Nehesi Coates
The name Ta-Nehesi Coates, unusual and intriguing, has been floating to the top of those lists of must-read writers and bloggers. A senior editor at Atlantic Monthly, he has now written a compelling piece about the difficulty of Barack Obama’s blackness. Coates sees it as a restricting bind, with the first Black President muted on most racial issues…and slammed when he does make any reference to race.
The article also goes into some depth on the Shirley Sherrod episode–a sad and unfortunate “mis-firing” caused by the extreme right.
While I’m not sure that I agree with all here, it’s got some good historical depth and should be a part of our conversations about race in America in 2012.
Funnily enough, I saw a poll today that said “0,” zero per cent of Blacks intend to vote for the Republican candidate…suggesting a recognition of the bind we’re all in. You have our sympathies, Mr. President.
Here’s the piece: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/09/fear-of-a-black-president/309064/
And here’s an MSNBC /Up with Chris Hayes panel with author: