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January 10, 2009


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Yeah, Rush was smoking some new stuff with that statement.

While I know how sad it is that few people of color make it to the Senate, I think Burris' appointment was a smokescreen. Never thought I see the day a white person pull that card for their own sake.


I don't like to nitpick, really I don't, but I think it's important enough in this case: all THREE of Obama's names should be considered African (if Barack makes the grade, so should Hussein, right?).

Levi Stahl

I haven't seen any polling data, so this entirely anecdotal evidence, but the sense I get here in Chicago is that no one is buying the racism angle. Everybody gets what's going on, top to bottom, even those African Americans who think it's worth standing behind Rush and Burris for pragmatic political reasons.

That makes the coverage of the story particularly frustrating: it's like the media is watching one show, while those of us who are closest to the situation are watching another.

jelani c.

Not nitpicking. But Barack is Swahili, which is a lingua franca with Arabic and indigenous roots, but is specific to East Africa. Hussein is an Arabic name and Obama, as I understand it, is an ethnic (Luo) name. So that was the basis for me saying Obama has two, not three, African names.


Good read and this definitely is the perfect storm. The Black ministers and leaders rallied around Burris like you didn't see for Obama a year ago. Any word on street money for that?


I take your reasoning, but I still, politely, disagree. I guess that my dog in this fight is that by your reckoning, all Arabic names on the Indian subcontinent should be considered non-Indian. (This is a little fight in my family, and maybe I shouldn't be letting it bleed over here; the two cases--Islamic presences in India and Africa--are similar, but not the same, I know.)

As a rule, I'd prefer either specificity (pointing out the linguistic origins of each name) or inclusiveness (allowing that Arabic names are African). But, it's your blog, not mine, and a minor side point to your overall post, that I don't mean to get all distracted on.

I'll stop now.

Mike Cronin

Good reading Jelani, thanks. Does being called racist and white mean you've arrived in the post racial era? :P

CJ, I think Obama is the enemy of these types of politicos. That's why they never rallied around him the way you are seeing Rush and Co. rally around Burris now. Comparing this beef with Blago to lynching is a gratuitous use of racism as a weapon at best and its good to hear Levi report that folks in Chicago aren't falling for it.

The so called Post-Racial Era isn't nearly as real as the MSM wants us to believe but there are clearly very positive things to build on.

The Bobby Rush, Jesse Sr, Lynn Westmorland, Rush type racists are just getting around to the 1st stage of mourning.



Read your article in the WaPo, thats definitely a good look.

Thanks for the article it was definitely spot on and hopefully people will realize that there is more to our community than Bobby Rush's rhetoric.

jelani c.

CJ: I didn't hear about the ministers (I accidentally just typed "ministrels" which I guess could be a neologism describing a member of the clergy with backward racial politics.)

In any case, I didn't hear about them supporting Burris. It reminds me of the pastor that Obama talks about who condescended to him and sent him on his way when he was a young organizer. The pastor, of course, was in bed with the Washington administration and didn't want anyone highlighting the city's little imperfections (like housing projects with no heat, unemployment and failing schools.)

Buster: No distraction at all. I was an English major once upon a time and know the value of parsing language for specifics of intent and meaning.


i thank you for this accurate, coherent and cathartically humourous account of simple truths unfolding. the recalibration of age-old dominant, racially-exploitative ideologies (on all sides of the spectrum) will be..interesting to observe; particularly among those who find difficulty in navigating that (daunting)ethical line between private ambition and collective ascendancy. when i first submitted this thought via FB earlier this afternoon, the ticker unfolding on cnn read 'Burris appointment valid. Blagojevich impeached'. it is a correct result, but how sadly unintuitive of Burris to have compromised the standing of his legacy in the name of...overzealous political haste? alas, we shall see. thanks again


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