I've lauded Adolph Reed here before; he's a black American professor of political philosophy, and despite his avowed marxism he sees clearly, thinks coherently, writes trenchantly - and extremely well. (He's self-evidently a nice chap, too.) In this Current Affairs interview, he opines on the Obama phenomenon and - his customary thesis - the baleful effect of the present-day US politics of race on what he reckons should be the class-oriented struggle for the betterment of people. A couple of extracts:
and then Barack popped up. Nobody knew anything about him, nobody in the activist world had ever heard of him, had no connection to him, and it was just fascinating watching the liberal and foundational world get kind of wet-pantied over him. And it actually split the left ... in the summer of ’08 after he had all but officially sewn up the nomination, he made an immediate sharp-right turn over the span of four, five days ... Obama seemed to burnish, if not to establish, his bona fides with the black political elite by giving the “tough love” speech, that “we” have to tell our broke people to do better ... why did so many people who should have known better get swept up in the hype? ... what’s happened to the left that even led serious, longtime veteran activists to delude themselves, and to delude themselves as militants. It’s not just that they liked Obama, and supported Obama, but they were sort of like, the Gestapo for Obama during the campaign.
... this is another marker of the decline of the left, ultimately… that a society can be just if 1 percent of the population controls more than 90 percent of the good stuff, provided that 1 percent is like 12 percent black, 14 percent hispanic, half women, and whatever the appropriate percentage is gay ... Is it a model of a just society that most of us want to sign up for? Probably not.Closer to home: I've been in the Netherlands on business recently, with a Dutch colleague who is of Turkish heritage, and visibly so (whilst having a Dutch name and accent). When we walked into a meeting with another company, one of the folk we were meeting for the first time cheerily greeted him with: well you're not a native - where are you from? Nobody froze, or tutted - everyone was getting along just fine. As we broke up at the end of the day, someone said he was dashing off to the toyshop to prepare for his forthcoming duties as Santa - in Dutch, Sinterklaas - to which one of his colleagues of Indonesian heritage said: "I'll be Black Pete"; and another, of Chinese antecedents, offered: "I'll be Yellow Pete!"
Nobody in the room took amiss at any of this. But here's the Graun giving a platform for hyper-ventilation on the subject.
As they say: travel and reading broaden the mind. Until it all gets proscribed, that is.