Monday, November 17, 2008

Race and the race

Some years back, I remember reading a book by A. Drury, I believe, called Advise and Consent. Memory being the shaky thing that it is, I may have gotten both the author and the title wrong, but it's the thought that counts. Anyway -- one scene in this book was set at a reception for an African diplomat, who showed up in full traditional tribal regalia (This was the 60's, when things like that were cool). Anyway, one of the socialites at the reception remarked to a friend that the African was dignified and clearly intelligent, "Not," she opined, "Like ours."
Shazaam! What an insight. In the imagination of the intelligentsia, the exotic is always preferred to the homegrown. It's somehow, well, somehow, well.....better, don'cha know.
I have remarked before that Barack Obama is an African-American in the truest sense of the word. His father was African, his mother American. His genealogy does not include sons and daughters of slaves. He is outside the herd. He is exotic for this reason.
I'm convinced that this is one of the things that makes him so acceptable to the elites of this country, who are as racist (in a convoluted way) as any Klansman.
I think that this is unfortunate for two reasons:
First, we have many home-grown African-Americans who would make wonderful presidents (my vote goes to Morgan Freeman). Think of the panoply of leaders that the African-American community has generated in the last century, almost any of which would represent the country well (I'll make an exception for Adam Clayton Powell).
Second, it turns out that Barack Obama is really nothing more than a run-of-the-mill politician after all. His record is undistinguished, and he seems to have been a party lap dog for most of his tenure.
Still, he's the president, and more than one party-liner (Truman) has come on strong as president. Here's hoping that Obama does it too.

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