Archive for the 'Books' Category


Bargainers and challengers

Time magazine has included an excerpt from Shelby Steele’s book ‘A Bound Man’. 

Steele explains the politics of bargaining and challenging:

[Barack Obama] is a man bound by forces outside himself and by a practice that is central to the minority experience in America: masking. As the word itself makes clear, the mask is not an authentic representation of one’s true self; rather it is a presentation of the self that angles for advantage. Today we blacks have two great masks that we wear for advantage in the American mainstream: bargaining and challenging.

Bargainers make a deal with white Americans that gives whites the benefit of the doubt: I will not rub America’s history of racism in your face, if you will not hold my race against me. Especially in our era of political correctness, whites are inevitably grateful for this bargain that spares them the shame of America’s racist past. They respond to bargainers with gratitude, warmth, and even affection. This “gratitude factor” can bring the black bargainer great popularity. Oprah Winfrey is the most visible bargainer in America today.

Continued over the fold.

Continue reading ‘Bargainers and challengers’


Barack Obama: the Audacity of Hope

I know this post is late, but what I’ve been reading has relevance to our own political situation.  

I’m currently reading Barack Obama’s ‘the Audacity of Hope’ – a book credited as lifting his Presidential nomination chances for the sole reason that it projects hope for a reformed Centrist position in America.

Here’s one excerpt:

I think to myself, those ordinary citizens who have grown up in the midst of all the political and cultural battles, but who have found a way – in their own lives, at least – to make peace with their neighbours, and themselves.  I imagine the white Southernor who growing up heard his dad talk about niggers this and niggers that but who has struck up a friendship with the black guys at the office and is trying to teach his son different, who thinks discrimination is wrong but doesn’t see why the son of a black doctor should get admitted into law school ahead of his own son.  Or the former Black Panther who decided to go into real estate, bought a few buildings in the neighbourhood, and is just as tired of the drug dealers in front of those buildings as he is of the bankers who won’t give him a loan to expand his business.  There’s the middle aged feminist who still mourns her abortion, and the Christian woman who paid for her teenager’s abortion, and the millions of waitresses and temp secretaries and nurse’s assistants and Wall-Mart associates who hold their breath every single month in the hope that they’ll have enough money to support the children that they did bring into the world. 

Continue reading ‘Barack Obama: the Audacity of Hope’

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