Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hopey changey Barack

It's rare that I disagree with Katharine Birbalsingh—she's a friend and an inspiring, passionate person—but I have to say that this article doesn't float my boat.

Katharine's main point seems to be that black children the country over might at least know who Obama is, and that he's not white. Hmmm.

However, one wonders whether holding up a man who is becoming best known for ordering the extra-judicial killings of suspectseven if they are complete bastards—should really be a role-model for black kids...

UPDATE: I don't know what "poor, inner-city black kids" really want: I simply don't know enough of them. I just don't like identity politics—I believe in the individual.

And, were I to look up to anyone it wouldn't be because they were a white person—it would be because they were a good person.

And yes, I know that "good" is a somewhat nebulous term—but I am pretty sure that it does not apply to murderers.


Adam Bell said...

Unfortunately, identity politics exist whether you like it or not. Refusal to engage with identity politics doesn't stop it from existing, it merely negates your voice in this particular sphere.

Rob said...


Nonsense. Who wants influence in the "identity politics sphere"?

More important to point out that there are more important things than skin colour when it comes to inspiration.

Besides, Obama is a white liberal academic (see James Delingpole). Not someone young black kids can identify with. They would be better of with the local business man from thier school, black or white - the trouble is many teachers believe that to encourage people into business is wrong - they encourage people into "public service" (like Barack) without realising that not everyone can do that.

Katharine Birbalsingh said...

I think Obama is a good man. That's where you and I differ. Clearly if I thought he was a bad man, then I wouldn't want kids looking up to him!

Old BE said...

I think he's a vacuous man.

PJH said...

"...and that he's not white"

He's not exactly `black' either, is he?

Pogo said...

I've always considered him to be nothing more than a black Tony Blair.

Anonymous said...

Despite the fascination of many on the right with the United States, the fact remains the country is not and never has been a bastion of civil liberties.

It is "libertarian" only in the sense that it has a hands-off approach to health care. It certainly doesn't have a libertarian economy (unless libertarians believe that corporate subsidies are a good thing), it doesn't have a libertarian approach to government (unless libertarians believe that an elected monarch with the unfettered power to wage war is libertarian), it doesn't have a libertarian approach to justice (unless you believe that sending people to brutal prisons for decades at a time for possessing small amounts of narcotics is libertarian) and it doesn't have a libertarian political system (unless you believe that a two-party system made up of a very corporatist party and very, very corporatist party is libertarian).

If anyone believed that Barack Obama would be substantively different from George W. Bush, they're a fool. The only difference is in presentation - Obama is a lot more slick at presenting his policies than Bush ever was; he's better at convincing people he's a nice guy than Bush ever was; and his skin colour, sad to say, feeds into all kinds of narratives that American voters want to hear, whereas Bush, for all his faux-Texas accent, was just yet another scion of yet another impossibly rich New England family.

What we don't have is any meaningful difference between Obama and Bush or between Obama and McCain or, indeed, between Republicans and Democrats. The variation between them will always be around the edges and never about the meat of policy.

And, for the record, I think it's good that my fellow libertarians are now outraged about the extra-judicial killing of Osama bin Laden. Strangely, I don't recall hearing much about the extra-judicial kidnapping of Jose Padilla under the Bush administration.

Simply put, until libertarians drop their tribal affiliation with the Republicans (a corporatist, pro-subsidy, anti-civil liberties, jingoistic pro-war party), it will not be possible to take them seriously when they complain about the Democrats being corporatist, anti-civil liberties, pro-war, pro-subsidy jingoists.

Anonymous said...

"i think Obama is a good man"

Is that cognitive dissonance ?

Michael Fowke said...

Exactly. I like Miles Davis because he was great on the trumpet. His colour has nothing to do with anything.

Anonymous said...

Apologies to all those who voted for Obama in 2008...

If you supported Obama in 2008 because he made you feel good, then you really need to find another candidate to support in 2012 in order not to feel stupid.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:42

The US has never claimed to be libertarian. It is just that it used to be free, and had lots of money during the 50 years Britain spent recovering from WW2.

Trooper Thompson said...

@ Anon 11.42,

I'm not sure who you're preaching to, but there is a level of debate above the one you set out. I refer you to the work of Ron Paul.

PPS said...

"I don't know what "poor, inner-city black kids" really want: I simply don't know enough of them. I just don't like identity politics—I believe in the individual.

They want to succeed in life. Success is money to nearly all poor people. One of the hurdles that they have to get over is that, in my experience, many are taught to distrust "white people". By the time that some realise that there is more to life than black and white, they may have made many unhelpful decisions.

If you want to meet some contact me.

Anonymous said...

Ms Birbalsingh should be encouraging her pupils to look up to Thomas Sowell.


Anonymous said...

I'm very surprised that Katherine admires Obama. If I could have been suspiscious of him from the start then I'm sure those more intelligent than me could have sussed out this guy too during his election campaign.
He appeared practically out of nowhere, with a past littered with dodgy associates. The smooth, professional style, the adulation of his flock, and especially the vacuous message, "hope and change" all rang warning bells to me. Tony Blair Mk2 seemed more than likely.

After election my worst fears were realised. All we got was more war, more support for the Wall St. crooks, more big government, and a ludicrous single minded concentration on medicare reform as his country was sinking into bankrupcy.
Add to the above his obvious dislike of the UK, his attempted abandonment of Israel, and his public support for the unbelievable "Arab Spring", and we seem to have a leader who is even more damaging to his country than Gordon Brown was to ours.
I don't believe in the anti-christ, but if I was forced to name a likely candidate then Obama fits the bill.

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