The End of Black Politics

Monday, August 18, 2008

Does Obama’s candidacy mean the end of traditional black politics? Matt Bai is author of the recent New York Times Magazine article, "Post Race."

Weigh in: What do you think Obama's candidacy means for the future of black politics? Leave a comment below, or call us at 212-433-9692.


Matt Bai

Comments [16]

John R. from New York

It seems unlikely that Obama will end the constant whining about "racism" that to me seems to characterize black politics (with "racism" defined as "pretty much anything that black folks don't like at a given moment"). More, he has signaled that the racial gravy train is open: he has been a strong supporter of affirmative action throughout his career. The quota-loving NAACP has given him a rating of 100% for his support for institutionalized racism against whites.

Aug. 19 2008 06:27 PM
Petra from NYC

Women ar not an oppressed political class?? On what planet?? If I did not hear with my own ears MAtt Bai say it I would not have believed any NY Times journalist -- no less one they let write a magazine cover story on politics -- could be so ridiculously out of touch with reality. No thanks, I will not read his article. And I will cancel my Sunday Times sub. Enough.

Aug. 18 2008 02:20 PM
Mike from Inwood

Michela Griffo: [12] I understood him to mean that there were few women under 50 as opposed to women over 50.

Aug. 18 2008 02:14 PM
Mike from Inwood

I agree with you Tony [11]. Also, can "Black" politics ever progress beyond what it's already achieved as long as it goal is to oppose "White" politics, as Jeanna [1] comments.

Aug. 18 2008 02:10 PM
Michela Griffo from New York, NY

I cannot believe that Matt Bai made the statement that he "does not think of women as a oppressed political class" and THEN as if that was not bad enough, to wonder at the end of the interview "why there were so few women politicians under the age of 50 something for him to interview. He is obviously unaware that not only are women a politically oppressed class but the object of scorn and backlash not seen by other politically oppressed classes. As Hillary's run showed us, it is still OK to make fun of women but not PC to do do to others.

Aug. 18 2008 02:06 PM
Tony from Brooklyn

Even if Barack Obama was raised "blackly" in an inner city ghetto, with an absent father, surrounded by crime(cue Good Times theme), etc., he'd still be thought of as "less black" by less modern blacks. His Harvard, Univ. Chicago, best selling author, post racial icon pedigree makes him alien to many blacks. That's the essence of Mr. Bai's question.
Are we as black people willing to allow our collective identity evolve? Will blacks themselves support a qualified gay black candidate? ...will they support a black atheist candidate? Or more importantly will America get beyond identity politics entirely? Will Hillary's dead enders get a clear understanding of the importance of this election in a post Lily Ledbetter era? Will the white underclass understand that rah rah tough guy patriotic rhetoric from a man with nine homes and a private jet won't bring about the populist results they project upon him? These are the questions that will determine the relative success of democracy in this country. I'm not especially fond of our chances.

Aug. 18 2008 02:05 PM
Mike from Inwood

diana: [8] just curious... Maybe you find John McCain easier to fathom. Would you prefer to see him as president? Or do you plan to sit this one out? Not voting is voting...

Aug. 18 2008 02:05 PM

"I don't think of women as an oppressed political class." -- Matt Bai

Yup. That's what he just said. On the air. Listen to the podcast when they post it. Yeeesh. And this white guy thinks he can spout insight into American politics?? DORK!

Aug. 18 2008 01:59 PM
diana rolls from manhattan

I hate Obama, & I know you will never say this on the air. I would /did vote for Jesse Jackson CAUSE I KNEW WNAT HE STOOD FOR. I do not know what O stands for (until just recently he has said anything of content)
I don't trust him he's all about arrogance

Aug. 18 2008 01:58 PM
NG from South Florida

I completely agreed with the last caller. America should see Obama as an American with great qualities. We need to stop all this black/white separation. If/when we get pass the point of black/white/mix we'll take huge steps toward successes

Aug. 18 2008 01:58 PM
Mike from Inwood

If the "end of White politics" isn't just government programs designed around the desires and needs of all citizens instead of just White people, if instead it's simply people getting into office regardless of race, would an example of this be the mayoral race in Minneapolis, the largest majority White city in the US with a Black mayor?

Aug. 18 2008 01:57 PM
Marc Grobman from Fanwood, NJ

I wonder if Matt Bai agrees that one of his points was recently proven by the election in Memphis, where a majority black population voted against a challenger who ran mostly on the points that she was black, and her opponent was white & Jewish. That said a lot to me about the wonderful progressive evolution of black politics.

Marc from Fanwood, NJ

Aug. 18 2008 01:53 PM
Mike from Inwood

What is the "end of White politics"? Would that mean that the goals of political activity would include the concerns of people who are not White in addition to the concerns of White people? In other words, would the end of White politics means that government programs would benefit all people instead of primarily White people? I'm just asking for clarification of what Jeanna meant in comment [1].

Aug. 18 2008 01:53 PM

Matt has ungraciously called Jeanna "dim" for posing the better question: "have we come to the end of white politics?"

Perhaps you are a bit dim yourself, Matt.

Aug. 18 2008 01:53 PM
Ryan from Brooklyn

I don't think Obama is the end of black politics. If anything he is indeed the a representative for the new generation - one that I'm happy to be a part of.

And to the previous commenter - I personally like your question. Of course this is not an end of white politics, but I think (or at least hope) that its a step to a more well rounded stage of politics. I'm a teen about to enter the stage of American politics (in terms of being more aware to the issues) so whatever happens now will more than likely rebound upon me in the next few years, white politics or not.

Aug. 18 2008 01:44 PM
Jeanna from upper Manhattan

Matt Bai's question is totally the wrong question. White people tend to forget, or are in denial, that white politics -- specifically, the politics of white supremacy -- is the context within which so-called black politics arose as a necessary defense against the injustices and obstacles visited upon African Americans thoughout U.S. history.

So the question is: With candidacy of Barack Obama, have we come to the end of white politics?

Personally, I suspect not.

Aug. 18 2008 01:29 PM

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