Former President Barack Obama candidly talks about racism, love, and marriage in his new memoir scheduled for release on Nov. 17, 2020. CNN obtained a copy of Obama’s book titled “A Promised Land,” and provide insight into what readers can expect.
According to CNN, Obama gives raw accounts of how racism plagued him during his two terms. In 2008, Obama won the popular vote with over 69 million Americans favoring him, and he achieved 365 electoral college votes. Two hundred seventy electoral college votes are needed to win the presidency. Obama sealed his second term with a narrower margin, with over 65 million popular votes and 332 electoral college votes. Despite the vast majority of Americans voting for Obama to lead the country, he could not override the fear many secretly and some overtly shared — a Black man in charge and being the face of America.
The ugly scar of slavery, families torn apart, Black men lynched, separate and unequal laws, white men overpowering Black people, the idea that Blacks are inferior, and Black people’s images characterized as monkeys — all still played in the minds of millions of Americans.
The 37th President Lyndon B. Johnson’s perpetuation of the early 1900 assertion that the lowest white man in the world is still better than the best Black man — is the pillar of white dominance that many did not want to relinquish.
All of a sudden, America was compelled to act like Jim Crow Laws, white only drinking fountains, white privilege, Black people water hosed and attacked by dogs — images not so easily forgotten — did not exist. These images were not only shared by Americans but also by other nations and world leaders. Many were not prepared (even Blacks) to be led by a Black man. A sight rarely witnessed in corporate America or even at the local grocery store would now become the picture seen worldwide —Black power.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted only 44 years before Obama was elected as the first Black President of the United States. America had not yet dispelled the animalistic lies told about Black people or healed from racism. The history books did not fully and accurately tell the stories of the contributions Blacks made in America.
It was only 1996 when journalist, Gary Webb, exposed an alleged nefarious plot by the government to inundate Black communities with crack cocaine. Positive images of Black people, especially Black men, are still pale compared to white people in television shows, movies, and commercials.
The Cosby Show, a television sitcom in the ’80s, was controversial because it portrayed a professional married couple; a male black doctor and a female black lawyer. In 56 years since the Civil Rights Act was passed, something as harmless as the different textures of Black people’s hair is still misunderstood.
In January 2020, it was reported that a black teenage senior in Texas would have to serve an in-school suspension and not be allowed to walk across the stage during graduation with his peers because of the length of his dreadlocks. The incident garnered national attention and a supportive tweet from civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, Bernice King.
Unsurprisingly, Obama was not able to get as much done as he would have liked in Congress. His political acumen and charisma were not enough to overshadow a Black man’s historically negative perceived notion. A feeling of betrayal, the fall of white dominance and privilege was at stake.
It is no wonder Donald Trump successfully ran and won off the slogan Make America Great Again. It was a dog whistle to white men that felt they were losing prominence in a world led by a Black man.
Donald Trump, in 2016, then real estate mogul, led one of the first public racist attacks against Obama by questioning his citizenship. He eventually failed at his attempt to delegitimize America’s first black President with his unsubstantiated birther claims. He tirelessly set out to prove that Obama was not born in the United States and therefore was unable to hold the seat of President. Trump’s drive to knowingly and aggressively push a false narrative is telling.
Love and Marriage
In his 768 page memoir, CNN states that Obama shares his feelings about the toll being married during his presidential terms took on him and his family. Apparently, Obama candidly discussed his fear of losing the light-hearted relationship he loved sharing with his wife, Michelle, before the presidency.
In addition to Obama pleasing his wife, the world (especially Black people) was looking for him to love, honor, and respect her without any scandals or allegations of infidelity. The Obamas quickly became the epitome of what Black on Black love should look like in America.
However, over the years, Michelle displayed as much charisma as Obama, and America grew to love her just as much. She released “Becoming,” her own memoir in 2018, that has sold over 11 million copies. Obama already released two memoirs, “Dream from My Father” (1995) and “The Audacity of Hope” (2006). Collectively, Penguin Random House advanced the Obamas $65 million for their memoirs.
Opinion News by Sheree Bynum
CNN: Obama memoir confronts role his presidency played in Republican obstructionism and Trump’s rise; by Dan Merica, Kevin Liptak, Jeff Zeleny, David Wright, and Rebecca Buck
The Washington Post: Gary Webb was no journalism hero, despite what ‘Kill the Messenger’ says; Jeff Leen
Culture: The Cosby Show’s hidden power; Joanne Griffith
ABC News: Texas teen in school dreadlock controversy gets $20,000 scholarship, high-profile support; Samara Lynn
The Undefeated: A Question of Racism What’s behind the vitriol in the opposition to Obama?; Michael A. Fletcher
HuffPost: Bill Clinton Says ‘Make America Great Again’ Is Just A Racist Dog Whistle
ABC News: How Donald Trump Perpetuated the ‘Birther’ Movement for Years; Alana Abramson
The New York Times Magazine: The Obamas’ Marriage; Jodi Kantor
AP: Michelle Obama signs ‘Becoming’ copies on book’s anniversary;l Darlene Superville
270towin: 2008 Presidential Election
270towin: 2012 Presidential Election
Featured and Top Image by Bill Ingalls Courtesy of NASA’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image Courtesy of beru8ra’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image Courtesy of Jim Ellwanger’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
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