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Any More Ethnic Hidden Agendas out there?
Old 03-26-2008, 04:16 PM   #1
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Any More Ethnic Hidden Agendas out there?

I recently read a little book entitled A Bound Man by Shelby Steele. It is an interesting read about Barack Obama mostly, but also is about black culture in the USA. Here is a couple of notes that I took:

At one point in the book the author talks about blacks in the USA being separated into two different categories~ Bargainers and Challenges.

"When bargainers in any walk of life seek success in the American mainstream, they make a very specific deal with whites: I will not use America’s horrible history of white raceism against you, if you will promise not to use my race against me. Bargainers grant whites the innocence and moral authority they need in return for their goodwill and generosity." (Example: Bill Cosby (Cliff Huxstable), Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama)


"When challengers reach for success and power in the American mainstream, they never give whites the benefit of the doubt. Quite the opposite, they use their moral authority as blacks to stigmatize whites as born racists. Challengers presume whites to be guilty of racism in the same way that bargainers presume them to be innocent- as a strategic manipulation. Challengers put all whites in the position of having to chase after their racial innocence. The challenger’s code: whites are incorrigibly racist until they do something to prove otherwise." (Example: Al Sharpton, Huey Newton, Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This got me to thinking and asking myself if there are any more hidden categories within other ethnic communities. Any Italian secret codes? Any secret Irish pledges? How about the Cajuns? They gotta have some kind of code working for them.

Has anyone else read this book? Your impressions of it?
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Old 03-26-2008, 04:21 PM   #2
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Old 03-26-2008, 04:34 PM   #3
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Old 03-26-2008, 04:54 PM   #4
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Hey it's time to give Mr. Obama a break.

As for the hidden agenda what do you think it is? All the man wants to do is run for President.

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Old 03-26-2008, 05:13 PM   #5
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Well, I'm Irish as in Boston born Irish Catholic, so very connected to my ethnic origins and I'm not aware of any secret Irish pledges. We tend to be pretty free with our opinions--not exactly a secretive bunch.

I did experience a great deal of trouble fitting in to WASP California culture when we moved there when I was a kid. Lived there for many years, but either didn't fit in, or felt like I was only "passing" as one of them. In the end, I was very happy to move away.

I'm trying to think of any way in which I may have been a bargainer, or challenger. I think perhaps if anything it may have been that my bargain was to try to attempt to act like the WASPs in exchange for acceptance. I toned down my expressive way of speaking and tried to lose the Boston accent. But, that was done at great expense to the real me, so in the end I decided to just be myself and if I someone didn't like the real me, then that was OK. Of course, that's also just part of growing up.

In any case, it's an interesting question that you've asked.
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:37 PM   #6
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i haven't read it but this is what wiki has:


Steele has written a short book which contains Steele's analysis of Barack Obama's character as a child born to a mixed couple who then has to grow as a black man.[5] Steele then concludes that Barack Obama is a "bound man" to his "black identity." Steele gives this description of his conclusion:
"There is a price to be paid even for fellow-traveling with a racial identity as politicized and demanding as today’s black identity. This identity wants to take over a greater proportion of the self than other racial identities do. It wants to have its collective truth-its defining ideas of grievance and protest-become personal truth.... These are the identity pressures that Barack Obama lives within. He is vulnerable to them because he has hungered for a transparent black identity much of his life. He needs to 'be black.' And this hunger—no matter how understandable it may be—means that he is not in a position to reject the political liberalism inherent in his racial identity. For Obama liberalism is blackness."
Don Wycliff, editor of the Chicago Tribune, reviewed Steele's book[6] and disagreed with his analysis of Obama noting that:
"[as] I read his essay, I found myself thinking that Steele was trapped in a time warp, that his knowledge of the currents of thought and attitude among black people stopped sometime around 1990. Less charitably, I found myself thinking that the egregious Al Sharpton is not the only one with an investment in a static view of American race relations....It apparently never occurs to Steele that for a man a generation younger than himself the terms of blackness might be different, that the “totalitarian” demands he [Steele] encountered in the ’60s might no longer prevail, that Barack Obama’s mixed-race experience might actually be different than Shelby Steele’s."[6]
I think the dichotomy from your quote is a commonly held view by many people - but was something that Barack was very much trying to move beyond - recall the torture the media and public put poor Tiger Woods through (and Woods bravely refused to give in and deny his mother's ethnicity or play into that game - which was denounced by a lot of black folks). Seems like Steele is trying to force Barack into a mold.

The vision Barack set out from the beginning - that captured everyone's hearts and minds - was about what it means to be an American - to embrace all of our experiences and set out a vision for dealing with the challenges the nation faces.

I think a lot of older generation opinion leaders, conservatives and liberals alike are trying to play catch up.

I've seen a lot of articles from the left saying why not to support obama - those who believe that we shouldn't participate in mainstream politics - that there is nothing to be gained and that like Steele - Obama is a classic bargainer.

But I believe he has proved himself otherwise. Whether people want to believe it or not!

As an asian american i have to say it can often be frustrating because politicians white and black often talk of the country in a black and white point of view (they now sometimes mention latinos or brown (ha!))... Barack is the first in a presidential race to include everyone - to challenge people to think beyond old ideas and to challenge things like the immigration debate.
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mickeyd View Post
This got me to thinking and asking myself if there are any more hidden categories within other ethnic communities. Any Italian secret codes? Any secret Irish pledges? How about the Cajuns? They gotta have some kind of code working for them.
Of course. I learned as a military recruiter in NJ - there is a "pecking" order within the Latino/Hispanic communities - with the Puerto Ricans being regarded at the top of that proverbial food chain....(they are born US citizens)...I had NO idea until this was discussed several times with different ethnic groups - who all had the similar list nailed (Domican Rep, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, PR, Cuba, Colombia, et al.) Was fascinating, as a typical white chick from the west coast to observe and listen! I admit there are some ethic communities I have lower expectations of! (here we go back to lessons learned from recruiting - not to mention that stereotypes exist for a reason mentality!) Fortunately, we don't all fit neatly into these, but to pretend there are no such things is a disservice to our conscience.
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:17 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bright eyed View Post
As an asian american i have to say it can often be frustrating because politicians white and black often talk of the country in a black and white point of view (they now sometimes mention latinos or brown (ha!))... Barack is the first in a presidential race to include everyone - to challenge people to think beyond old ideas and to challenge things like the immigration debate.
I noticed this a lot more when I lived on the east coast. Everything seemed to be "Black and White!"

In CA we have a couple of additional shades and I suspect that we also have a little more mixing both socially and genetically.

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Old 03-26-2008, 10:20 PM   #9
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Any Italian secret codes?
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:22 PM   #10
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Is being cheap an ethnicity?
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