Monday, July 14, 2008
Mulatos, multiculturalism & morals
Finished both of (soon-be-President) Obama's books over the weekend and I'm more confident than ever that he is the man for the job. I was particularly impressed with Obama’s express understanding of multiple cultures alongside an implicit rejection of multiculturalism. Barack can feign a decent inner-city brogue, as well as a passable Kenyan accent, but he makes it clear that despite (or perhaps because of) his experience with various cultures, he himself affirms distinct moral preferences (e.g. monogamous fatherhood) which may well run counter to those accepted in other cultures.
In the course of both books, you get the sense that Barack Obama has carved out for himself a individual identity in which widely and dearly held ideas of race and culture are subordinated to quintessentially American values which he is willing to defend and expound openly - even at the risk of castration from the Old Guard. It may be that only one with direct blood ties to black and white families can so audaciously hope to transcend race and culture successfully on the national stage.
That is not to say that such ideas are novel. This week, I'm delving even further into difficult questions of race and culture with Thomas Sowell's Black Rednecks and White Liberals. From what I've seen thus far, it is going to be an absolute romp compared to his (far drier) books on beginner/intermediate economic theory. Certainly it does not lack insight or originality. The idea that inner-city "ghetto" culture was transplanted from Southern "redneck" culture, which in turn was transplanted from the northern hill country of Britain certainly resonates and no doubt touches nerves on both sides.