Barack X…. Our Intv w/ Jelani Cobb about Obama, Race & Black Image

Professor Jelani Cobb

Earlier this week, long time activist and historian Jelani Cobb put out an article in the New Yorker that talks about President Barack Obama and his image.. He goes in on what the image of a Black man in the White House has meant for the community at large, what its meant for folks all over the world and what type of backlash it has resulted in among white supremacists.

In his article Jelani says the following…

In black America—where people have been voting for Presidential candidates who didn’t share their racial background since even before the Fifteenth Amendment—the 2008 election wasn’t seen as the star-spangled “Kumbaya” it was billed as elsewhere. White rejoicing at Obama’s racial landmark seemed tone deaf, unduly self-congratulatory. White voters had simply done something black voters had been doing for at least the previous hundred and thirty-four years. For this reason and others like it, there was a tendency among blacks to see Obama as an extension of black achievement—but not necessarily a barometer of changing white attitudes. The hyperbolic talk of a post-racial society suggested that white voters, or at least a highly visible segment of them, tended to see the election in precisely the opposite terms.

The other night, we got Jelani to skype into our Black Images class at SF State and share his thoughts on Black image, his article and the complexities around how many see Barack Obama.. We spoke at length about what it means when a Black man is the head of an empire and is the face of foreign policy that is seen as unpopular and out right oppressive in some parts of the world..  Click the link to hear Jelani’s remarks which we aired the other day on Hard Knock Radio..

Comments

  1. I am more interested in these facts, that around the well selling MCs around 1989 has now Kids, and they could only send speeches, instead of narratives, about the bling crap. There I can become phillistic and all that shit about ongoing academics about equal wraiths on all that social fields is in deficit _Ism another question to be critical. The presidency, as a dream of so many persons of color, has it limits. The media coverage is different and the goals will be the ballots of the streets again.

    Salaam.

  2. Okay,..how the German path_o_logi_Calee narrathieves deploiis the left through the right issue this week ender on ‘Trans beAph FM’,..my suggestion as time window of blessings the sperm crust!

    http://de.indymedia.org/2012/10/336182.shtml

    A wish_fulliest artee party ‘x’ for ya’ all black and whiteners on Davey D’s political legal wall!

    Salaam

  3. I’m curious why this articles title tries to attach Barack Obama to the Nation of Islam (A black prison cult) with the title “Barack X”. It’s kind of ….tasteless

  4. It’s a disgrace to the Nation Of Islam to attach an X to Obamas name. Get it right, this man is NOT in the vain of MLK, Huey Newton, Tupac Shakur, Angela Davis and Malcolm X. He should not even be included in the same sentence. Wake up people. Y’all so damn brainwashed today. Most of you came up in the era of the Afrocentric rappers of the 90’s as did I and I still aint forgotten the ideology. What would Dr Khalid Muhammad, Allah bless his soul, think of a African American President? He’d think that it was the ultimate betrayal. Never forget Dr Khalid Abdul Muhammad RIP…

  5. “It’s a disgrace to the Nation Of Islam to attach an X to Obamas name”.

    I think you have it backwards. The nation of Islam is a cult that worships a white man named Fard. It has also integrated with the Church Of Scientology. Louis Farrakhan is a sociopath and cult leader who makes up stories to exploit marginalized ghetto black people susceptible to his indoctrination speeches of aliens, conspiracy theories, religious insanity and a splathering of other completely useless garble to create the illusion of someone with a “plan” “who knows something the average person doesn’t” when in reality has no plan, never did, and he doesn’t know anything that isn’t available on the internet parsed from any rhetorical bullshit that lunatic will go out of his way to intertwine it with. So in short, why would anyone put all that nonsense on a “higher” mark in the social hierarchy than a relatively normal black man that became president ?

  6. I use this article to question your beloved President and to express my opinion. s cant be serious. Many great African Americans have been a product of the Nation or intertwined with their philosophy at one time or another. There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. I have never seen the Nation exploit AA youth, on the contrary. From what I remember the Nation’s goal was to uplift a people out of darkness of 400+ years of oppression. To give them self pride,to respect themselves and to defend themselves if necessary against a system which put them at a disadvantage. I speak of the Nation in glowing terms because it produced some of, in my opinion, greatest AA minds the world has ever known. If you were an avid listener of hip hop circa 1987-1995 you would know this. The way I look at Obama is this, and this cannot be denied. He is the face of the one of the most oppressive civilizations that ever existed. In 2012 a once powerful hip hop generation walks blindfolded.

    • The article written by jeani cobb is about what Obama has come to symbolized.. and the types of attachments accurately or erroneously placed on him.. In the interview we talk directly about what it means when the face of empire is a Black one..and in this case Barack Obama.. Jelani didnt shy away from that question.. he answered it square on… in short Obama is a friendly face to oppression for many

  7. C’mon Davey. Man I know you’s old skool and have your feet deep in the Bay. I respect that. I’m not out to disrespect you or this site just think that more scrutiny should be placed upon the leader of this evil empire. Why is he a friendly face to oppression? He is boss of the whole operation. The fact that he is AA does not change this. I know you peeps probably don’t want to see Romney as President but I would rather that than a ”brother” who smiles in our face but simply follows an agenda. If you felt that I have come across as rude or obnoxious in previous texts I apologize. I am a guest to this site and am only providing an alternate view. The films of Spike Lee, PE’s Fear Of A Black Planet and the teachings of AA revolutionary figures from the 60’s and 70’s to name a few is what influenced me. Just callin it how I see it.

    • Chris what are u talking about? Do u actually know what I stand for? ur remarks about which way I lean reflects an ignorance about me and whole lot of assumptions..A quick look at my work or writings should be quite clear..

  8. The assumption that the U.S. is an omnipresent monolithic “evil empire” and that the president is in charge of this “evil empire” is nonsense. The world is large, confusing, complicated and any management position entails the role of mediating it. Politicians are simply managers who work in parallel with others of large organisational bodies. Those bodies might be called “nations” but in a global society it is not that simple. And everyone – in the world – has individual agendas… regardless of what role any of us are in.

  9. Why for years have African American leaders spoken out against abuses committed by it? Racial profiling is still going on today, ask the family of Trayvon Martin. Was there ever justice for Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell and Latasha Harlins? Will our brother Obama please reopen those cases and nail somebody’s ass to the wall and give the families the justice they deserve? I don’t think so. Hey, I forgot, everything great in U.S.A under Obama so don’t even bother answering that question.

  10. It shouldn’t be too hard Davey. I have been quite clear on what I think. Ok, what do you stand for? Which way do you lean? How am I being ignorant, and what are the assumptions I have made? Instead of keeping me mystified and asking me these questions, you could make it plain and simple and tell me…