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Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: The Return of the Nigger Breakers Hardcover – May 3, 2010
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Not for the faint-hearted, but recommended.
Using as metaphor the slave practice engendered by the "Willie Lynch" syndrome of "slave breaking," better known as n-word breaking, Reed makes good milage out of it by comparing what the media did to Barack during the democratic primary, with what Phillip Covey tried to do to Frederick Douglass as a slave. Readers may recall that Douglas was sent to Covey by his master to be "broken." But Douglass turned the tables and kicked Covey's arse. Afterwards Covey was so embarrassed that the reverse beating remained their private held secret. But Covey never tried to break Douglass afterwards, nor did he ever attempt to whip Douglass again.
And although Reed showed a great deal of "up front" sympathy towards Obama for the way the media and their surrogate "The Tea Party" treated him during the Presidential primary run, Reed's sympathy seemed forced and to be done mostly out of undeserved Black solidarity. Those who know his passion, know that here he was not fully committed to this project. Apparently because he could see the hand writing on the wall: That Obama was playing all the racist angles -- dodging making any promises to blacks, using and strategically dropping racially coded words, phrases and vignettes in order to pander to the racist vote. As a result, Reed here has taken a very "stand-offish" approach to this feigned defense of Obama.
And while it is true that the conservative controlled media have further lowered their already very low standards to paint Obama into a "socialist birther outsider" corner, Obama himself has played into their hands by turning himself into a color-blind cypher, a virtual fake ideological unknowable, acting as if he is a man existing in a racial vacuum instead of in a racist society -- but one who has no known reaction to racism, and along with it, without any political principles. Reed is acutely aware of the duplicity of Obama's fake non-racial stance, as he takes him to task for both the Rev. Wright incident as well for Obama's embarrassing pandering to the far right conservative vote as he made the outlandish racist claim to the Atlanta NAACP that black men (i.e. members of his own tribe) were effectively responsible for the social meltdown of the black community?
While this is not one of Reed's better books, even this luke warm defense of Obama does reflect a mature sensitivity for the racist onslaught that the first black President is experiencing. However, in my own view, Obama deserves everything he is receiving: He is increasingly being seen as a limp-wristed cypher, trying to slide through the eye of the racist needle instead of standing up on his hind legs and roaring back at those who would see America fall rather than see him succeed. Three stars.