Monday, April 30, 2007

Now Who's Authentic?

From the NYT's profile of Barack Obama's relationship with his pastor, a somewhat controversial figure who proudly advocates Black liberation from the pulpit:
In the 16 years since Mr. Obama returned to Chicago from Harvard, Mr. Wright has presided over his wedding ceremony, baptized his two daughters and dedicated his house, while Mr. Obama has often spoken at Trinity’s panels and debates. Though the Obamas drop in on other congregations, they treat Trinity as their spiritual home, attending services frequently. The church’s Afrocentric focus makes Mr. Obama a figure of particular authenticity there, because he has the African connections so many members have searched for.

Isn't that ironic? The knock on Obama was that he was not sufficiently "authentic" as a Black man, because his ancestry did not stem from the Atlantic Slave Trade. But now it turns out that he's extra-authentic, because he's comparatively closer to his African roots than most of his Black peers.

I think this entire issue of authenticity is a rather silly question, and one primarily concocted by the media to boot. Obama, like all candidates, has the obligation to prove to the Black community that he understands their concerns and has the commitment and the chops to advance their interests as President. Insofar as the Black community is not just flocking to Obama like sheep, that's the reason: They're not sheep, they're savvy voters, and they'll make Obama earn their vote just like any other politician.

1 comment:

PG said...

I think the more intelligent members of the VRWC are going to drop the foolishness about Obama's SCARY ISLAMIC PAST, and instead will focus on everything about him today that is not in the middle of the white mainstream. Oddly enough for a Democratic candidate, Obama is likely to be getting attacked based on his church. Unsurprisingly, he'll also get attacked for being an "unreconstructed liberal," i.e. a believer in government regulation of corporate activity and in a strong federal government (his support for "Say on Pay" is getting attacked on both of these counts, b/c substantive corporate law is mostly governed by the states with the SEC generally only able to mandate disclosure); support for legal "partial birth" abortion; etc.