Gwen Ifill on the Age of Obama

Monday, January 26, 2009

Veteran journalist Gwen Ifill talks about the future of American democracy and the Black political structure in the age of Obama. Her new book is The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.


Gwen Ifill

Comments [20]


gwenn ifill always has only white quest on her show Washington weekly we i mean that's crazy, but why doesn't she know any black people or does she think she white or maybe she thinks only white people know politics

Feb. 14 2010 06:14 PM
Jeffrey Slott from East Elmhurst

To Richard Johnston from Upper West Side:
Exactly what should I be thinking about concerning "black" people? Am I supposed to be thinking about "their" politics? "Their" status? "Their" past? "Their" future?
Is there such a thing as a "black" people? Does that include everyone from Gwen Ifill and Oprah Winfrey to the mailman I see everyday in my apartment building?
Do me a favor: don't think about me in terms of my skin color. Don't think about me, period, unless you actually care about me.
I got my own problems. I have to deal with them.
You got your own problems. Deal with that.

Jan. 28 2009 09:21 AM
Ray Normandeau from

Altho "It's about time" that someone with a non white skin be elected President it should almost be considered an embarrassment that it took so long.

But the "One drop rule still prevails", very few describe him as bi-racial.

Jan. 27 2009 02:04 PM
Chris from Wall St via R.I.

I think we all notice racially-mixed and same gender couples for that matter, at least I notice. That isn't the question, I think the question is how does it make you feel? It makes me feel good when i see any happy couple but when I see a couple that is racially-mixed or of the same gender i am particularly happy. For them and also because I live in New York City, where we allow people to live and let love.

Barack is a symbol of progress, not for black Americans or white Americans, but for all Americans. “For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.”

Jan. 26 2009 03:15 PM
Michael M Thomas from Brooklyn

Came in late on this conversation with Ifill so don't know if you touched on a consideration that seems to me to be very important. Based on what in my case seems overwhelming anecdotal evidence, it's this: apart from pockets of the old Confederacy, I am convinced that people in this country under the age of 40, say, are color-blind. I'm 72, from a different era, and when I see a racially-mixed couple, I notice; I don't disapprove - quite the contrary - but I notice. My youngest son, who's 22, doesn't. To him they're simply a couple. Skin color or eye-shape just don't enter his consciousness. My sister drove from San Francisco to New Mexico toward the end of he campaign to work for Obama. She found herself confronted with a person about 30 who was opposed to Obama because he's Comminust, Marxist etc etc. "You're sure your position isn't because Obama's black?" Joan asked him. The young man looked at her, astonished. "He's black?' he exclaimed. Loved Philip's book!

Jan. 26 2009 01:25 PM
Joel Hubbard from long island

I had the privilege to see the documentary "Street Fight" it focused on Newark mayoral election between Cory Booker and Sharpe James on t.v. while visiting Istanbul, Turkeye a few years ago, the pride it imbued in this struggling imperfect democracy America, gave me hope and pride as an American that we show ourselves to the world warts and all and still our better angels come to the fore in time.

Jan. 26 2009 12:51 PM
Freddy Jenkins

Gwen is one of my favorite people in the world! A very illuminating interview! Thanks Leonard!

Jan. 26 2009 12:51 PM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

Whether or NOT this country recognizes it or calls it by any other name The President is of Black and white heritage.

Jan. 26 2009 12:48 PM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

Yes he is Black but he is white also.

Jan. 26 2009 12:47 PM
Rick from New York

Gwen is the smartest person on TV! Thanks for having her on. I barely stay on to listen during the 12-2PM segment but I was hooked today. This is the best guest I've heard you have for like - ever.

Jan. 26 2009 12:39 PM
Richard Johnston from Upper West Side

Gwen does a better job than any other guest avoiding being led and distracted by Len's smug omniscience.

I have said for years that black people spend too much time thinking about white people and white people spend too little time thinking about black people. The recent political turn of events will help redress that imbalance.

Jan. 26 2009 12:38 PM
Robbie from Brooklyn

America in general and white America in particular avoid talking about race with each other and certainly do not do this in public. No reason. Why would this change given the backwards nature of how the world and the people in it are taught and understood from an "American" perspective. Black people understand race and racism. White people have begun to and need to figure it out for themselves. We long for that day, as Rev Lowery put it, "when white will embrace what it right."

Jan. 26 2009 12:36 PM
barry from Manhattan

Yea but he isnt black?

Jan. 26 2009 12:32 PM
barry from Manhattan

Lets talk about race for sure. How about discussing the fact that the guy is not black he is 1/2 white, and was raised by a white family.
Where is the open honest discussion of nature vs nurture?
Where is the open discussion of reality?
He has been seized upon by the left because of his skin color not because he is black.
Big difference
Glen is skipping the salient points about race and seizing on the points that further her agenda, which is fine of course but I, at least see through it and see it for what it is.

Jan. 26 2009 12:28 PM
Jennie Livingston from Brooklyn

Just wondering how Gwen's own experience as a breakthrough media figure -- much beloved of women and people of color who appreciate her presence and clarity as part of the mainstream media -- affected and drove (and informed) her writing this book. What has her own experience been? Did she have to "seize" the position she's in as a prominent media figure, much as Black politicians - including President Obama -- have had to do to make the impressive breakthroughs they've made?

Jan. 26 2009 12:24 PM
Joseph from Murray Hill

Can you ask her how she feels about the media painting Obama as a "liberal," meanwhile his voting record and campaign platform were staunchly conservative Democrat in respect to say Dennis Kuccinch.

It seems to me Obama is now being criticized daily because he is not living up to that liberal image? Is it not racist to assume Obama can't be conservative?

Jan. 26 2009 12:20 PM
antonio from park slope

Was Robert Johnson's statement before Iowa that Bill Clinton was blacker then Obama not racist?

Jan. 26 2009 12:18 PM
A Listener in Chicago

Chicago is plagued with black politicians who still boast that they "marched with Martin" while their consituents today live in the worst conditions in urban America. The problem with this older generation of politicians is that they are backward looking - in terms of nostalgia for their glory days and in terms of solutions to problems. We have a black state legislator (who is also a preacher) whose central issue is school funding. Last summer he annoyed, erm, lobbied pedestrians in downtown Chicago when he should have been lobbying his peers in Springfield.

Lastly, regardless of race, after enough time in office, politicians become more interested in preserving power than in solving problems.

To the older generation of politicians, I say thank you for your service, now take a seat.

Jan. 26 2009 12:17 PM
Betty Ann from UES

Leonard could you please tell Gwen that I sincerely appreciate her work. She is one of the few true journalists working today. I am so proud of her and how far she has come. What an asset she is to America.

Jan. 26 2009 12:15 PM
Randy Levin from Long Island

I love Obama....with that said, don't you think being a light skinned black had something to do with his success? Plus, he never showed himself "fiery" (White people tend to respond to African Americans who are passive (Rosa Parks "had to be" thought of as just a tired woman and not a Black Nationalist)
During his speech when he didn't mention MLK, he also flashed pictures of his WHITE grandmother many times.

Jan. 26 2009 12:14 PM

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