The Corner

The Content of Barack Obama’s Character

Like Barack Obama, Shelby Steele had a black father and a white mother.  Today on Uncommon Knowledge, the author of A Bound Man contrasts his own upbringing with that of the president-elect.

I grew up in a segregated world.  In the morning a black could say to me, “You’re not really black.”  In the afternoon he could say to me, “You’re a so-and-so, just like the rest of us.”  That breeds an insecurity.

Now, have I resolved it?  No.  You never resolve it.  What made the difference for me is that at a certain point I just said basically, “Screw you.”  I am proud to be black, but I’ll decide what that means.  I had that moment early on.  One of the scary things for me is that I don’t think…[Barack Obama] ever has.

Shelby Steele on identity politics and the president-elect.  Click here.


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