M114 paper - Thesis President Obama subscribes to the Black...

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Thesis President Obama subscribes to the Black Nationalist position that race in America is founded upon an inherent power struggle, rather than the radical egalitarian view of racial cooperation. However his multiethnic identity creates an inner conflict that forces him to reject the permanent nature of racism in American society accepted by black nationalist ideology. Obama’s initial expierences as a child and as a young adult in Hawaii exhibit numerous fundamental characteristics of Black Nationalism. Define Black Nationalism through Dawson and class texts. Obama’s struggle with racism and the conclusions he establishes in Hawaii share the same beliefs outlined by Black Nationalists in Dawson. Like Black Nationalist idealogy Lolo believes that the relationship between races is a practical power struggle. Lolo shrugged and rolled his pant leg back down. “That’s usually enough . Men take advantage of weakness in other men. They’re just like countries in that way. The strong man takes the weak man’s land. He makes the weak man work in his fields . If the weak man’s woman is pretty, the strong man will take her.” He paused to take another sip of water, then asked, “Which would you rather be?” I didn’t answer, and Lolo squinted up at the sky. “Better to be strong,” he said finally, rising to his feet. “If you can’t be strong, be clever and make peace with someone who’s strong. But always better to be strong yourself. Always.” Obama learns that social and political power structures cannot be changed. It is better to either live with the system or create your own. Power. The word fixed in my mother’s mind like a curse. In America, it had generally remained hidden from view until you dug beneath the surface of things; until you visited an Indian reservation or spoke to a black person whose trust you had earned. But here power was undisguised, indiscriminate, naked, always fresh in the memory. Power had taken Lolo and yanked him back into line just when he thought he’d escaped, making him feel its weight, letting him know that his life wasn’t his own. That’s how things were; you couldn’t change it, you could just live by the rules, so
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simple once you learned them. And so Lolo had made his peace with power, learned the wisdom of forgetting; just as his brother-in-law had done, making millions as a high official in the national oil company; just as another brother had tried to do, only he had miscalculated and was now reduced to stealing pieces of silverware whenever he came for a visit, selling them later for loose cigarettes. Racism is a hidden enemy you can not beat. I could correctly identify common greed or cruelty in others, and sometimes even in myself. But that one photograph had told me something else: that there was a hidden enemy out there, one that could reach me without anyone’s knowledge, not even my own. When I got home that night from the embassy library, I went into the bathroom
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M114 paper - Thesis President Obama subscribes to the Black...

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