Shelby Steele discusses Barack Obama and the Politics of Race.
Shelby Steele is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution whose research examines the role of race in American society and the consequences of contemporary social programs on race relations. Steele has written extensively for major publications including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He is also the author of several books including, most recently, A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win.
In conversation with Peter Robinson, Shelby Steele explores Barack Obama's candidacy - and his character-in light of the two strategies that African Americans have traditionally used for dealing with life in the white American mainstream: bargaining and challenging. In so doing, Steele not only reveals the paradox and weakness at the heart of Obama's campaign but also delves into challenges America faces as it seeks to go beyond the exhausted racial politics that now prevail- Hoover Institution
Peter M. Robinson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he writes about business and politics, edits the Hoover Institution's quarterly journal, the Hoover Digest, and hosts Hoover's television program, "Uncommon Knowledge."
Robinson is also the author of three books: How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life; It's My Party: A Republican's Messy Love Affair with the GOP; and the best-selling business book Snapshots from Hell: The Making of an MBA.
Shelby Steele is the Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He specializes in the study of race relations, multiculturalism, and affirmative action. He was appointed a Hoover fellow in 1994.
Steele has written widely on race in American society and the consequences of contemporary social programs on race relations.
In 2006, Steele received the Bradley Prize for his contributions to the study of race in America. In 2004, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal. Steele is the author of White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era and most recently A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win.
The phenomenon of American Blackness is a product of early and overwhelming rejection by American Whiteness. The Black American culture was conceived apart and yet inside, tentatively born with the essential tasks of salvage and survival. Untold and, as yet, partially investigated psychic distress is a part of the legacy.
Maybe I'm a bit too sensitive but one of the unasked questions I glean from conversations like this is "Why hasn't blackness yet expired in America?", and it bothers me. As if in a future better America future better Blacks will necessarily be Blackless. Recovering from the deliberately limiting effects of imposed 'otherness' while that otherness remains imbedded in your identity and continues to offer you value as well as confusion requires psychic calisthenics poorly understood by those who neither share the experience nor the effort.
This is one of the most intelligent and thought provoking discussions I have heard on the race issue in a long, long while.
Dr. Steele is brilliant (and unfortunately, a Republican). His personal culture is Midwest and West Coast. He speaks to the "media" as the media wish to be spoken to. Is this his mask...? Certain inflections in his voice and manner remind me of one of my own heroes, Bill Cosby. Dr. Steele's characterization of "bargainers" and "challengers" is certainly appropriate, but I think incomplete.
Where his characterization fails is in its underestimation of the "third way", the "personal responsibility" way. Of course, in speaking to media, personal responsibility is a hard sell and hardly motivating: personal responsibility does not make for good ratings. But personal responsibility is that "still small voice" that each of us hears and ultimately, yes ultimately obeys. (Ahhh... The moral force of personal responsibility, wouldn't that be subject for future debate.)
We are now seven months on (from the Fora.tv interview) and Obama is the presumptive nominee. He (and his advisors) are reinventing the candidate's political persona to co-opt the conservative agenda on key issues. This is politics as it is played and will be played.
If Dr. Steele is proud of what Obama has done for brothers and sisters throughout the land, as a WASP refugee of the New Orleans battlefront (and New Orleans has produced its share of great Americans, many of whom live today and should be recognized for their contribution to youth education, civil rights and the arts), I am proud of what Obama has done and is doing for America in the eyes of the world.
Sign me "Hopeful in France".
Originally Posted by FreedomFry
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION = RACIST
Racism connotes privilege and power. Affirmative Action is an attempt to reverse hundreds of years of instituted racism, leveling the playing field so to speak. Whether it is an effective policy or not can be debated, but racist it is not.
Peter Robinson did a decent job in this interview... but what was missing was a basic question he should/could have posed to Shelby Steele... Did/Have you read Obama's first book "Dreams From My Father"?
Or perhaps Peter should have read this book himself before doing this interview.
I see where Shelby is coming from and he does make some valid points vis-a-vis "The Bargainer"....
I hope he's sincere though when he says he's proud of Barack. I really hope he's sincere.
After watching Barack campaign for the past year..... I can't say I know him either.... But this is what I know for sure. He is a DECENT and a man of CHARACTER.
one day we must all realize the democRATs to be true RACISTS
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION = RACIST
preference based on RACE instead of MERIT is a RACIST philosophy
OBAMA success is on race - if he were not black he would not e running for president - even clinton supporters think so, see geraldine ferrarro - democRAT AFFIRMITVE ACTION once again
sorry but its true!