November 6, 2008

"The ascent of an African-American to the presidency — a victory by a 47-year-old man who was born when segregation was still the law of the land..."

"... across much of this nation — is a moment so powerful and so obvious that its symbolism needs no commentary."

Oh lord, the drivel we must now read. Come on. Segregation wasn't the "law of the land" in 1961. Segregation by law was declared unconstitutional in 1954. And Obama hasn't "ascended" to the presidency. He won an election. You ascend to a throne. Let's keep our wits about us.

64 comments:

Crimso said...

"Let's keep our wits about us."

You might as well try holding back the tides. Speaking of which, have the oceans started to recede yet, or do we have to wait for the actual inauguration for that particular feature of the Obama Ascendancy?

rcocean said...

And Obama grew up in Hawaii & Indonesia. By the time entered college affirmative action was in place and being black actually helped him.

Joan said...

Any post which uses both the word "drivel" and the phrase "keep our wits about us" is OK by me.

Good morning!

junyo said...

The best take I've seen:

However, I must respectfully disagree. President-elect Obama shares absolutely none of the heritage of racial repression that has darkened this country's history. A man who has formative ties to Kansas, Hawaii, Kenya, and Indonesia does not know what it is like to have a father who can remember being fire-hosed and attacked with dogs while marching for civil rights. A man who attended Harvard does not know what it is like to work a job while attending night classes to become the first college graduate in his family.

The day we elect a person who grew up in a small town in Mississippi (or Alabama, or Louisiana, or Georgia), who attended a small state college, and who can trace their lineage back to a sharecropper and, before that, a slave, THAT will be a historic day for America.

This one? Not so much.

http://noangst.blogspot.com/2008/11/race-thing.html

BJK said...

...and Cue the Buyer's remorse.

Obama coverage has been full of hyperbole and adoration since 2004. Why would you expect it to change now?

Expat(ish) said...

Junyo - I read that. I'd predicted a few days before the the race industry reacted to the actual conditions on the ground.

The fact is that there are no actual black political figures of the right age to fulfill that requirement.

My ancestors died on both sides of the recent unpleasantness but I'm pretty sure I and my children will continue paying for it ad infinitum.

-XC

Original Mike said...

Let's keep our wits about us.

Your asking too much of dimwitted journalists. To keep one's wits, one must have wits to begin with.

mcg said...

Can we say "Fuck Whitey" if the President is black?

quote: How long before the Obama honeymoon wears off and some brothers start to grumble, “Yeah, sure, they’d elect a light-skinned brother president, but they’d never go for a dark-skinned president”?

Uh, I'd say, you just started it, "brother".

(h/t NRO's Media Blog)

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger J. said...

for those of you too young to remember "camelot" and the fawning media attention foisted on JFK, you will be getting a reprise. This will give you a window into the 1000 days of JFK. Cue Santayana here.

Henry said...

"Let's keep our wits about us."

Good luck with that.

* * *

Junyo, the kind of literalism you quote misses the point.

Racism is not about whether or not a man or woman grew up in Hawaii or Georgia. Racism is all about skin color. In a different era, it would not have mattered if Obama grew up in Hawaii or Montauk, he would never have had an opportunity to run, let alone a chance to win. And only because of his race.

Tony said...

Ann,
You're being a little disingenuous. Yes, Brown v. Board outlawed segregation in 1954. But, the holding was limited to public schools AND we all know that compliance with this order was anything but immediate.

It wasn't until the Heart of Atlanta case in 1964, that the Supremes outlawed discrimination/segregation in public places including public accommodations.

I think it is entirely fair to say that there was legal segregation in 1961.

Triangle Man said...


I think it is entirely fair to say that there was legal segregation in 1961.


and segregation continued to be the unwritten rule for some time after 1964.

ricpic said...

I grew up in Brooklyn where six and a half foot tall black males pushed little old Italian ladies dressed all in black and little old Jewish ladies in babushkas off the sidewalks.
Gives you a different perspective on the disadvantaged.

paul a'barge said...

What? You voted for this guy. You knew the swirl of mania about him.

Cut the faux outrage, ok?

Tim Windsor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim Windsor said...

(Sorry, stupid typo previously)

I think the symbolic importance of this election is undeniable, and you'll be hearing about it at least until Jen 21.

But more interesting to me is that Obama is the first post-Boomer president. Some would class him as Gen X, some put him on the cusp, but there's no question that he is not a Boomer.

And for that, a grateful nation thanks him and says "no more Boomers, please."

(Transparency: I got into the tail-end of the Boom in 1960 when I came kicking and screaming into this world.)

Jim Hu said...

Althouse: IANAL, and would appreciate further explanation of your post.

Doesn't the accuracy of the drivel depend on what one means by "law of the land"? I assume by 1954 you are referring to Brown. But can't one argue that "the law of the land" includes the absence of laws covering nongovernmental segregation at the time? The 1964 Civil Rights Act bans some forms of segregation, right? And Heart of Atlanta was after 1961. Meredith and the Univ. of Mississippi were in 1962.

Via preview: I see others make similar points upthread while I was looking up dates.

rhhardin said...

It's a TV show that lasts four years even if you're tired of it already.

Blue Moon said...

Yes, segregation became illegal in 1954 yet for some reason my black parents couldn't go to the U of Kentucky or U of Alabama in 1962. Oh I'm sure there was a good, non racial explaination for two valevictorians not to be able to go though.

Andrew said...

C'mon Ann, let's keep your wits about you. Segregation in public schools was prohibited in 1954. But because of the narrow reasoning by the majority (i.e. that segregated schools were inferior) the decision did not have the effect of outlawing all segregation in governmental services. If it had, there would have been no need for the Montgomery bus boycotts in 1955. Segregated buses were not declared unconstitutional until December 1956.

And of course, segregation by private entities who provide public accommodations (hotels, etc.) was perfectly legal until the 1960's. So I think you should be more careful in your own rhetoric.

And as for the use of the word "ascendency" -- it is not something new with Obama. A quick Google search will turn up plenty of articles that used the word "ascendency" to describe George W. Bush's rise to the White House. For example, here http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/he-was-bushs-fox-now-hes-murdochs/2008/02/05/1202090404193.html, and here http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/bush-prepares-for-power-623261.html.

Host with the Most said...

Obama Worship:

I picked up a fresh copy of the New York Times this morning to read with my fresh cup of Starbucks, but I couldn't read anymore than the front because all the pages were stuck together.

Methadras said...

rcocean said...

And Obama grew up in Hawaii & Indonesia. By the time entered college affirmative action was in place and being black actually helped him.


Oh, you mean that he basically reaped the benefits of being black even though he's not 100% black by using the advantage for his own purposes even though the struggles of those before him were much more perilous and deadly? Shocking.

Methadras said...

Oh, let's also not forget that his birth place is still in question and if it ever comes out that he is not a natural born citizen with substantive proof of it, then expect a Constitutional Crisis on our hands. At least I would think so.

rcocean said...

First, large parts of this country never had segregation. AND -Outside of the South - in 75 percent of the country, government sponsored segregation was was gone by 1961.

As for "unofficial" voluntary segregation - we have that today (in college campuses for example) and we always will.

Obama grew in a country that was integrated and he's benefited from his 1/2 black skin. He's our first affirmative action president.

mcg said...

Gotta love Berlusconi.

David said...

Underlying assumption here is that all of us have have wits. How can you expect wits from the witless? Example: Al Franken still may become a U.S. Senator from Minnesota. In a full witted world, a half witted wit like Franken would not stand a chance.

former law student said...

First, large parts of this country never had segregation.

Ha ha ha ha ha.

Or do you mean large parts of the country never had black people?

As the example I'm most familiar with, school districts in Chicago were carefully gerrymandered to separate the races well into the sixties. Some black kids literally could not go to the school across their street. Public housing, now demolished, for black people was sited only in the traditional South and West Side ghettoes. And so on.

Not to pile on our hostess, but the Supreme Court famously has no army to help enforce its decisions. And Simon and I discussed Ollie's Barbecue (McClung) just the other day.

By the time entered college affirmative action was in place and being black actually helped him.

But a short stint in Chicago is sufficient to teach even the lightest, most well-spoken and educated black what it means to be a nigger.

Zeb Quinn said...

Of course there was segregation still going on in the south in the 1960s, and it didn't stop with Heart of Atlanta either. It continued in some form or fashion probably up to sometime in the 1970s. But, that said, not ever in Hawaii, at least not during Barry's lifetime.

Shanna said...

The day we elect a person who grew up in a small town in Mississippi (or Alabama, or Louisiana, or Georgia), who attended a small state college, and who can trace their lineage back to a sharecropper and, before that, a slave, THAT will be a historic day for America.

Aww. I totally would love to vote for that person, white or black (if they were a good candidate), but after this year I am cringing at the type of attacks they might suffer from the insuffereable jerks in the DC/NY media. But I think it would be good for the country to get somebody like that again.

former law student said...

let's also not forget that his birth place is still in question

According to official state records, Obama was born in the City of Honolulu, County of Honolulu, Island of Oahu, State of Hawaii, August 4, 1961, at 7:24 PM. The birth report was filed August 8 of that year.

What's the question?

The Drill SGT said...

As the example I'm most familiar with, school districts in Chicago were carefully gerrymandered to separate the races well into the sixties. Some black kids literally could not go to the school across their street. Public housing, now demolished, for black people was sited only in the traditional South and West Side ghettoes. And so on.

I would note that Chicago is where all those liberal Democratic racists live.

The California schools that I attended in the mid-50's and beyond were fully integrated. I don't know if there was ever any segregation of schools in California.

Smith said...

Oh let him ascend, levitate or fly on his little fairy wings to the presidency. Upon his arrival he should be greeted with all the courtesy and respect the was given to President Bush.
This election wasn't lost on Tuesday. It was lost sometime during the eight years we sat back and allowed our party and our president to be slandered and vilified by the "loyal" opposition.

TitusLoves Dogs said...

I have to admit reading about Rahm turns me on.

He is intense, jewish, hot, has a nice bod.

I would definitely do him.

TitusLoves Dogs said...

I wish the article would of spoken about how Rahm is in bed.

I bed his is good.

If he is intense I bet he pounds the shit out of his sexual partner.

I like that thought quite a bit.

Rahm is making me very horny.

holdfast said...

Don't blame me - I voted for Kodos.

TitusLoves Dogs said...

I wish the article spoke about Rahm's cut jewish hog.

Also, I would of been interested to know if Rahm and Ari fooled around when they were younger. that would be been really hot.

TitusLoves Dogs said...

The Chicago element is very hot too.

Very gangsta. I like that.

I am getting horny just thinking about it.

Methadras said...

former law student said...

According to official state records,


An actual birth certificate or a certificate of live birth? You do understand that they are not the same don't you?

Obama was born in the City of Honolulu, County of Honolulu, Island of Oahu, State of Hawaii, August 4, 1961, at 7:24 PM. The birth report was filed August 8 of that year.

What's the question?


Where and with whom was it filed? Is it something I can see?

former law student said...

You do understand that they are not the same don't you?

They're the same in Illinois. I remember the photostated original my parents had said "Certificate of Live Birth" as does my recent computerized printout in the same format as Hawaii. There are no underground sanctuaries filled with file cabinets of paper birth certificates any more.

jimspice said...

You ascend to a throne.

Or into heaven, seated at the right hand of his father.

Not my opinion, but that's what I think when I hear those words.

TosaGuy said...

The man was elected because much of the electorate made an emotional choice and saw what they wanted to see. Also, much of the electorate places an inordinate amount of power on the President with regard to their everyday lives. As a result, it is only natural that you get this over-the-top pap. If he had lost, it would be a corresponding level of anger and indignation.

locomotivebreath1901 said...

It's gonna be a looong four years.

Jim Hu said...

First, large parts of this country never had segregation ...
OK, this isn't quite segregation at the level practiced elsewhere, but... I recall a friend of mine passing on a skit involving how newcomers are welcomed in my home town, Palo Alto, CA:

Official: I see you aren't driving a BMW or a Volvo. You must be new here.

Newcomer: Why yes, we just moved here...

Official: Well, I'm going to have to give you a test in order for you to take up residence in Palo Alto.

...a bunch of questions and answers I don't recall, about things like the correct way to order sushi and what wine to serve...

Official: Last question: Where is East Palo Alto?

Newcomer: I don't know.

Official: That's correct! Welcome to Palo Alto.

Alex said...

Ah, I can see the ongoing cult of personality intensifies. This is very interesting. Even Evan Thomas of Newsweek admits it. Where was the MSM before Nov 4th to tell us about this "Creepy cult of personality"??????

Dust Bunny Queen said...

LOL Jim Hu

Having grown in the Bay Area. I get the joke.

tjl said...

"Even Evan Thomas of Newsweek admits it."

Are the acolytes at Newsweek now admitting their genuflections may have gone too far? Can we hope that a more agnostic approach sets in before the inauguration becomes a deification?

Methadras said...

former law student said...

They're the same in Illinois. I remember the photostated original my parents had said "Certificate of Live Birth" as does my recent computerized printout in the same format as Hawaii. There are no underground sanctuaries filled with file cabinets of paper birth certificates any more.


Is there something mentally deficient with you? We aren't talking about Illionois, we are talking about Hawaii and since Mr. Barely was born in the 60's, which was a pre-computer scanning era, then there should be either a scan of the actual birth certificate or a photocopy of the actual birth certificate. A certificate of live birth is not a legal document. I think you better understand the differences.

Also, where are points of reference that you would find on a regular birth certificate? Not to mention the allegations of tampering even with the Certificate of Live Birth. Mr. Barely has already legally admitted to a number of things based on Phillip Bergs case against him and yet Mr. Barely has also ignored at least 2 FoIA requests for him to produce a real birth certificate. What is the resistance? Mr. Barely would have all of these issues evaporate if he simply produced a real birth certificate.

Methadras said...

Jim Hu said...

First, large parts of this country never had segregation ...
OK, this isn't quite segregation at the level practiced elsewhere, but... I recall a friend of mine passing on a skit involving how newcomers are welcomed in my home town, Palo Alto, CA:

Official: I see you aren't driving a BMW or a Volvo. You must be new here.

Newcomer: Why yes, we just moved here...

Official: Well, I'm going to have to give you a test in order for you to take up residence in Palo Alto.

...a bunch of questions and answers I don't recall, about things like the correct way to order sushi and what wine to serve...

Official: Last question: Where is East Palo Alto?

Newcomer: I don't know.

Official: That's correct! Welcome to Palo Alto.


Haha! If you don't pass the test then they send you to Newark.

blake said...

Methadras,

Obama's mother was American; I think that makes him American, regardless.

And I think it's a bad road to travel to suggest that a technicality could override that.

Korla said...

So now that O is safely the next POTUS, you are finally noticing the creepy cult of personality and fascist iconography that was the very driving force behind his entire campaign?

There may be a lot of nasty things O voters were willing to ignore or convince themselves weren't really there before pulling that lever.

They are in for a lot of unpleasant surprises about the thing they foolishly elected.

Side note: How long before Rezko and Mumia (and who knows what favors are owed to the money men with friends in prison) get pardons?

Habeascounsel said...

Ann,

I'm amazed a law professor would take issue over the existence of legalized segregation in 1961. Why was the 1964 Civil Rights Act necessary? You know the answer: because of widespread state statutes that mandated segregation in public accomodations, including white and "colored" drinking fountains and swimming pools. In 1966, the Virginia Supreme Court unanimously upheld a state statute that made it felony for blacks and whites to marry each other. It wasn't until 1967, in Loving v. Virginia, that the Supreme Court invalidated miscegenation statutes. If you don't recognize the historic nature of this election, you really have no place teaching or writing about, law

former law student said...

We aren't talking about Illionois, we are talking about Hawaii

They appear to have the same policies as to storage and reproduction of birth records.

and since Mr. Barely was born in the 60's, which was a pre-computer scanning era, then there should be either a scan of the actual birth certificate or a photocopy of the actual birth certificate.

Why? .pdf files take up a lot more file space. And who saves paper copies of any documents any more? Have you visited a patent office lately?

A certificate of live birth is not a legal document.

That's what they call it. If you don't like it there are no alternatives.

I did wonder why mine said "live birth" as a kid, until my mother explained stillbirths.

Arturius said...

Let's keep our wits about us.

I'm afraid those were lost when the Democrats chose an untested Chicago machine politician with barely 2 years into the Senate to be their candidate for President.

Actually what I am surprised is that this kind of statement is raising your eyebrows as it has been pretty much ubiquitous in the media for, oh since he announced he was running for high office.

Jennifer said...

My daughter was born in Hawaii and was never issued anything but a Certificate of Live Birth. But, if there were some magically more legal Birth Certificate issued by the State of Hawaii at some point in the past, is it really so implausible that a person could have lost or damaged theirs at some point in the 47 years that have passed since it was issued?

As I've said here a thousand times, my daughter's looks exactly like his. Down to every little "obviously tampered with" detail.

Why the hell are people still waxing on about this!? Why the hell am I still responding? I guess I'll stop.

That quoted sentence is Razzie worthy. The turn around in civil rights in such a short time is so momentous, there is no need to crazy it all up like this.

Ann Althouse said...

Habeascounsel said..."I'm amazed a law professor would take issue over the existence of legalized segregation in 1961. Why was the 1964 Civil Rights Act necessary?"

Because private businesses were practicing race discrimination. It wasn't segregation by law however. It was a private, nongovernmental choice that had not yet been made illegal by statute. Segregation was not the law of the land. Look at the quote and understand the distinction.

"You know the answer: because of widespread state statutes that mandated segregation in public accomodations, including white and "colored" drinking fountains and swimming pools. In 1966, the Virginia Supreme Court unanimously upheld a state statute that made it felony for blacks and whites to marry each other. It wasn't until 1967, in Loving v. Virginia, that the Supreme Court invalidated miscegenation statutes. If you don't recognize the historic nature of this election, you really have no place teaching or writing about, law"

The ban on interracial marriage was discriminatory and ultimately declared a violation of Equal Protection, but it was not "segregation." As for the segregation that was by law, it was all invalid after Brown, and Obama was born in 1961. That is my point here. Again look at the quote and take words seriously. You are being very sloppy as you insult me.

If you graduated from law school, you don't show good reading comprehension and legal knowledge, so rein it in. You're being a jackass, and you are wrong on the law and the facts.

Ann Althouse said...

"If you don't recognize the historic nature of this election..."

You are a fool! I am objecting to a particular quote that shows inane fuzzy thinking. That's not the same as failing to recognize the historic nature of the election.

Hoosier Daddy said...

You're being a jackass, and you are wrong on the law and the facts.

Congratulations on pissing off the host. Not that you shouldn't have done it but I've only seen a chosen few who could get Althouse to chew them a new asshole.

Oh and you can forget about ever getting your own tag now.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Professor, just as an observation about what you refer to as drivel, is for the most part, par for the course it seems with most punditry.

Here is an example

I'm hopeful Obama will turn out to be as successful as Ronald Reagan in this regard. Reagan was no genius in the classic sense, but he had a thoughtful, humanistic vision that guided his path.

Now that is drivel.

Reagan's economic policies are polar opposites of Obama's. The only comparison between the two is there charasmatic star power and similar landslide victory in the face of hard economic times. The similarities end there.

But don't expect that this kind of hero worship is going to end anytime soon.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Obviously I mean to say their. Some typos just scream for correction.

T J Sawyer said...

Summer of 1963. I happened to be in Birmingham. My cousins took me to a movie. A preview for PT109 came on and the theater erupted in booing. Well, from the main floor, anyway. That was the "White" section. The balcony was the "Colored" section and they were cheering.

I don't remember the movie, but I'll always remember the theater!

And at the local supermarket - two drinking fountains, one labeled "White" and one "Colored"

Methadras said...

blake said...

Methadras,

Obama's mother was American; I think that makes him American, regardless.

And I think it's a bad road to travel to suggest that a technicality could override that.


The Constitution is clear. You have to be a naturally born citizen as of Section 1 of Article II of the Constitution contains the clause:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

There is no birth certificate to certify his natural born state. His mother was an American citizen, but there is no substantiation or corroboration that she was in the country at the time of his birth. Why do you think pregnant illegal Mexican women run into this country to give birth? Because if their children are born on American soil they become automatic citizens. Go do your homework please.

blake said...

Why do you think pregnant illegal Mexican women run into this country to give birth? Because if their children are born on American soil they become automatic citizens. Go do your homework please.

I did. Did you? Birth on American soil is not the only way to be a "natural-born" citizen.

Walrus_King said...

to the guy who posted this:
However, I must respectfully disagree. President-elect Obama shares absolutely none of the heritage of racial repression that has darkened this country's history. A man who has formative ties to Kansas, Hawaii, Kenya, and Indonesia does not know what it is like to have a father who can remember being fire-hosed and attacked with dogs while marching for civil rights. A man who attended Harvard does not know what it is like to work a job while attending night classes to become the first college graduate in his family.

The day we elect a person who grew up in a small town in Mississippi (or Alabama, or Louisiana, or Georgia), who attended a small state college, and who can trace their lineage back to a sharecropper and, before that, a slave, THAT will be a historic day for America.


you're wrong. it was a historic day for america, not because someone who worked hard their entire life became president, but because our country was able to overcome its racism and elect a president who, not even a century ago, would have been a slave. the election of barack obama was a huge step for this country towards accepting people's differences. if a country so young can overcome a force powerful enough to torture and murder millions of jews, enslave hundreds of thousands of africans, and cause gang wars resulting in the death of young people, imagine what we can do in another 300 years. obama's election was not a step for african americans. it was a step for america.