Wednesday, January 11, 2017

To Kill a Mockingbird, White Saviors, and the Paradox of Obama and Race | radical eyes for equity

To Kill a Mockingbird, White Saviors, and the Paradox of Obama and Race | radical eyes for equity:

To Kill a Mockingbird, White Saviors, and the Paradox of Obama and Race

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White progressives, academics, and book lovers were all atwitter on social media because in his farewell address, Barack Obama quoted from literature:
obama-af-tkam
Similar to my concern about Michelle Obama’s recent comments on education and teachers, my response to this excitement was tempered:
Obama quoting Finch/TKAM (white savior "race" novel) proves he remains anchored to appeals to white privilege, not dismantling it

During the praise tour for the Obamas, I have taken this stance on social media:
Praise for Michelle and Barack Obama has begun as Obama’s presidency comes to an end. That praise poses a few problems:
Praise is warranted, must be supported against the inherent racism that demands perfection from minorities and not from white males.
However Michelle and Barack have allowed, supported policies that contradict the often wonderful rhetoric, notably about education.
Michelle’s recent praise of teachers and the power of education is hard to let lie since Obama’s 8 years have been horrible for education.
The policies and rhetoric from the DOE/SOE have been horrible for black, brown, poor students since they have fed deficit ideology.
Let us be careful to honor but not idealize, not gloss over the failure of policy beneath the veneer of rhetoric.


Here, I want to deal directly with the paradox of race surrounding Obama’s presidency as that is reflected in Obama’s choice to quote Atticus Finch and not, for example, the essays of James Baldwin or the literature and public To Kill a Mockingbird, White Saviors, and the Paradox of Obama and Race | radical eyes for equity:

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