Madison, like the biblical Ishmael, is an outsider, an outcast. Can his fate be different from his biblical likeness? What can he gain by asking inclusion into the house of those who have cast him out? Would the descendants of the ancient Ishmael have claimed Isaac as their founding father? How then can Madison—slave or free—stand among the patriarchal icons who represent a homogenous vision of a white America?
With this, Madison is presumably transformed from slave and outcast.
Black awakening in Obama's America
With his emergence onto the national political scene, Barack Obama set the tone for what would become a staple in his rhetorical arsenal. He proclaims that. He invokes the longstanding story of the Pilgrim settlers who have come to represent the stock image of Americanness, and maintaining the first person plural voice he then collapses the lineage and experience of all Americans into this master narrative:. For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
Morrison writes. From David Walker to President Obama we find a legacy of black writers who challenge racism but fail to dismantle or challenge its core.
Our First Jadak President: David Maraniss' Barack Obama - The Millions
Walker openly identifies Jefferson and American democracy as hypocritical and absent of morals, but he does not challenge the epistemological hegemony that rests at the core. While he understands that whites point to black illiteracy as evidence of black inferiority, Walker does not consider that white presumptions about literacy do not amount to a universal truth.
Illiteracy may indicate an absence of formal learning or academic achievement, but it does not signal an absence of intelligence nor does it mark the absence of civilization. He severely chides the founding fathers, but he grants authority to their racial and ethnocentric ideologies. In a nexus to David Walker, many celebrated black writers and activists commit a dual shortfall: in their attempt to imagine racial equality and an inclusive America they appropriate both the compromised ideologies of the founding fathers and the fathers themselves. Into the twenty-first century this rhetorical legacy promises to continue as we see the most revered and recognized black mind of our era follow suit.
He still, however, engages in soft and slightly veiled language. Though he will not name the architects of this racial injustice, he does recount the lingering historical implication, that is, that. As candidate and now as president, Barack Obama must with great scrutiny consider and anticipate the anxieties and suspicions of his predominate audience—white Americans. In this respect he is no less burdened than his black literary predecessors. Even Walker, who made clear that he was addressing blacks, knew well that whites would read his Appeal as well. In contrast to Walker, Frederick Douglass targeted his early writings to an anticipated white readership.
Today, Barack Obama writes with similar audience expectation. Like Douglass, Obama knows that he taps into a black readership and audience, but he is both politician and writer. His politics are rooted in the promise of consensus building. He wants to build a multiracial coalition, and he is aware that this requires a special appeasement of white voters as he needs their numbers.
follow link Success in this regard is unlikely if he should offend this voting block or if he should leave them feeling othered or isolated. The fallout of this comprise is felt most severely by blacks who are required to accept icons and discourses that embody their outcast and denigrated status at the birth of this nation. We can continue to relish the superior elocution of men like Douglass and Obama, but it would serve us to explore the deep-seated implications of their words on our presumptions about race and national identity.
Language is not free of culture, history, or perspective and, as poet Natasha Trethewey reminds us in her narrative reflection on Hurricane Katrina,. Alabi, Adetayo. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, Brown, William Wells. Three Classic African-American Novels. William Andrews. New York: Signet, Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Houston A. Baker, Jr. New York: Penguin Books, The Heroic Slave. Equiano, Olaudah. In The Classic Slave Narratives. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Franklin, Benjamin.
Early Americas Digital Archives.
Jefferson, Thomas. Notes on the State of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson Writings. Merrill D. New York: Library of America, Morrison, Toni.
Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. New York: Vintage, Obama, Barack. Paine, Thomas. Paul Lauter. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Prince, Mary. The Classic Slave Narratives. Walker, David. New York: Arno Press, West received her Ph. She focuses on gender, race and class, with particular interest in how these issues inform representations of the spiritual in early American and African American literary works.
She is currently working on a co-edited collection of critical works on African spirituality in the black Atlantic. Suggested Citation West, Elizabeth J.. DOI He argues that generations after Caliban, blacks find triumph in the language that ensnared their literary ancestor: About a century after the publication of The Tempest. He is emerging into manhood, into a superior or advanced manhood, and he advises that this maturation is the consequence of his contact with British culture: I could now speak English tolerably well, and perfectly understood every thing that was said.
Emerging into the knowledge that literacy would make him unfit to be a slave, that his master in fact fears the possibility, Douglass possesses the knowledge that moves him out of darkness: It was a new and special revelation, explaining dark and mysterious things. That is the oath he took when he enlisted that if he was called to duty he would go without question whether he liked or disliked the current commander and chief. People like him disgrace the other service men who have fought for their country in all of our conflicts.
He should not be allowed to wear his uniform and kicked out of the army if he is not willing to do his duty. The U. Army filed three charges on Wednesday against an officer who refused to fight in Iraq due to objections over the legality of the war. First Lt. Ehren Watada, who supporters say is the first commissioned U. Watada called the war and U.
In a statement, the Army said it had charged Watada, 28, with missing movement, contempt toward officials and conduct unbecoming an officer. Acts contrary to this standard may be tried by court-martial," said the Army statement. If found guilty of all charges, Watada could face several years in confinement, dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of pay, according to the Army. The missing movement charge carries the heaviest punishment of confinement of up to two years.
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Watada's lawyer said he expected the missing movement charge, but was somewhat surprised by the decision to charge the officer with contempt toward officials and conduct unbecoming an officer, because it raises free speech issues. Not only does he have a right to make those statements, he has an obligation to make those statements," said Eric Seitz, Watada's Honolulu-based attorney. Watada's objection to the war sparked rallies in support and protest near Fort Lewis, Seattle and in other U.
Watada, who had said he did not apply for conscientious objector status because he isn't against war in general, now faces a pre-trial investigation and will continue to work at the base, Army officials said. He first attempted to resign in protest over the war in January, but the Army refused to accept his resignation, according to his supporters.
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Watada has said he would be willing to serve in Afghanistan, but not Iraq. He is so high and mighty that he sees Afghanistan as just and Iraq as a war crime? I think he better refocus on that one for only Dubya is so wise as to be such a decider. I would like to ask the major, did he ask to see any of his chain of commands birth certificate? Did he ask to see his state representatives birth certificates?
Until he questions everyone who has any type of authority or those he help get elected to office, until he does this he has no right to question the President of the United States. And it is people like him who wishes to keep this country divided. Also as a soldier he should know that "United we stand and divided we fall".
It is so sad that everyone who did not vote for President Obama wishes that as a nation we fail. It speaks volume about this nation as a whole. The nation is not only failing due to previous presidents, our great nation is failing because of selfishness and hatred. Hatred will eat its young and old. We will be known not as the United States we will know as the "Bitter States" which also stands for "BS" when we do not agree with certain things that we have no control over.
God Bless America I say let us pray for all our representatives and their families. Because they have to make hard decisions, rather right, wrong or indiffent. Major, I want to ask how hard was your decision?