Obama promises to heal our racial divisions in his latest speech. But, as evidenced by his long association with Jeremiah Wright, he is willing to tolerate gross expressions of race hatred from black associates. This strange tolerance for race hatred from blacks suggests that his promise of healing may be a chimera. But in his own mind, I think he can reconcile these contradictions: Americans must become more like Obama himself. Obama is mixed race, a mulatto. His description of the racial issues America faces are prefigured in his own identity and behavior. In the way of a solution, Obama has thoroughly subordinated his white identity in favor of the black.
For Obama, his white relations are always secondary, subordinate, cruel, and objects of occasional shame, while the black half of his life is superior, justified, vibrant, loyal, at worst mistaken, and always a victim.
He wrote his first book, Dreams of My Father, not about his kooky but loving hippy white mom, but rather his absentee black African dad. It is notable that in his speech, Obama specifically criticized his grandmother for her fear of black criminals, but never criticized his dad, who exemplifies the epidemic of black fathers who abandon their children. It’s hard to imagine him publicly criticizing a black person in the same way. For Obama, at worst, Wright’s words are “divisive,” but his grandmother’s fear of a black panhandlers made him “cringe.”
Obama has essentially suppressed his whiteness. He chose one community over the other. Moreover, he’s got the zeal of a convert. This was a conscious choice for him; after all, his entire youth was spent around Indonesians and white people in Hawaii. Whites probably are not aware how frequently he is praised by blacks, particularly black women, for choosing a “dark skinned” woman to be his wife. Is there any doubt this was one of many self conscious choices he made, along with his church, to identify himself as fully black? Obama understands both communities, but he’s firmly planted himself in one of them. He condemns whites, including his own white family members, whose past and present racism he believes is the primary cause of black problems and black social pathologies. In his speech, he is asking the rest of us to do so as well, first by embracing his candidacy, but also by supporting government programs aimed at minorities, not letting “anger” compel us to criticize affirmative action, and tolerating black race hatred and paranoia. As he says, “the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people . . .”
This is the “synthesis” that is Obama’s life. Of course, it’s no synthesis at all. It’s the subordination of one group (in his individual case, his white ancestry) to the other in the name of meaning, authenticity, healing, and justice. This is the same program that he wants our country to embrace on a national scale.