Saturday, March 17, 2007

Archie Bunker, version 2.0

For an example of personal obsession dressed up as political analysis, you really can't beat this Steve Sailer article on Barack Obama.

Despite Obama’s relentless efforts to mold himself into an African-American, his overwhelmingly white upbringing is apparent in his coolly analytical depiction of his mother, a portrait that most black men would find disrespectful. To Obama, his mother is a Kumbaya-era liberal. I suspect he feels that she messed up her life due to na├»ve faith in Third World countries and Third World men; but if she had been wiser, where would he be?

Leaving aside the hilarity of Steve Sailer presuming to speak for "most black men," I thought it was the Irish who loved their mothers? Happy St. Patrick's Day!

This is the topper:
My late mom was also a big fan of Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier back in the 1960s. To her, they embodied an admirable combination of black masculine charm and white gentlemanliness. (In contrast, she thought Muhammad Ali, who is now the more popular representative of 1960s black manhood, an uncultured blowhard.) It sorely disappointed her when blacks burned down Watts in 1965. They were not following the fine example for their race set by Harry and Sidney. She would have liked Barack Obama, too, and for the same reasons.

Nobody uses the term “example for his race” anymore. Today, we say “role model.” Even so, what many whites hope, deep down, to accomplish by electing the well-mannered Obama as president is to make him the supreme role model for all African Americans, eclipsing such deplorable bad examples as Al Sharpton, Snoop Dogg, and 50 Cent. Stuart Taylor Jr., a white critic of affirmative action, exulted in The Atlantic: “The ascent of Obama is the best hope for focusing the attention of black Americans on the opportunities that await them instead of on the oppression of their ancestors.”

The message much of white America hopes to send to black America by electing Obama is: Don’t Be So Black. Act More Barack. Perhaps this explains why blacks haven’t been all that enthusiastic.

One could spend a lot of time unpacking the veritable Christmas morning of racist assumptions contained within those paragraphs, but, really, what's the point? Let's remember that this is a guy who blames "political correctness" for getting us into the Iraq war. As is usual with these types, pointing out that this sort of racial and cultural essentialism was outmoded decades ago would only serve to reinforce Sailer's perception of himself as a brave iconoclast, willing to grapple with "uncomfortable truths."