Barack Obama, Sr. Ejected From America Due to Racism?

Hello from Port au Prince! DOn’t usually post when on travel – but I got a few free minutes and a good Internet connection!was-barack-obama-sr-eased-out-harvard-and-america-dating-white-women

Was Barack Obama Sr. eased out of Harvard, and America, for dating white women?

This morning, the Arizona Independent,a weekly paper, published the file kept by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (as the agency was then called) on a Kenyan student by the name of Barack Hussein Obama Sr. So far, the file, obtained via F.O.I.A., has mostly gotten attention for further substantiating the obvious: that Obama Sr. fathered a son who was born in Hawaii.

But as someone who has spent a lot of time studying post-colonial Africa—and particularly the fascinating and emblematic story of our president’s tangled lineage—I was most interested in how the file did shed some light on a real mystery, the one that inspired Barack Obama Jr. to write a book about his absent father, one of his earliest steps into public life. Why did the president’s father leave his son, and eventually America, returning to Hawaii for just a single childhood visit?

I think the file proves, fairly conclusively, that racism drove the president’s father from the United States. I went back and forth a bit with Ben Smith (whose blog post brought this file to my attention) over whether “racism” is really the right word for the bureaucratic attitudes and actions these documents contain. There’s no use of slurs or harsh language, certainly. What I think the documents reveal, though, is a subtle, institutionalized conspiracy that in a way seems more insidious than overt cross-burning racism, because almost surely none of its participants thought of their actions as discriminatory at all. In that sense, the file is an instructive artifact, not just of our president’s biography, but of our nation’s history of conflicted attitudes about race, foreign cultures, intermarriage and sex.

Hard as it may be to believe today, it seems clear from a close reading of the the file that the president’s father was driven from this country because of his messy personal life. And reading between the lines, it’s not hard to see a subtext of miscegenation.

First, a little historical background: the elder Barack Hussein Obama arrived in the United States in 1959, via an exchange program known colloquially in Kenya as the “Tom Mboya airlift,” after the politician who sponsored it, a Luo tribesman of his. (These sorts of ethnic connections matter in Africa.)

During his first year of studies at the University of Hawaii, Obama took a Russian-language class where he met Stanley Ann Dunham, the president’s mother. The earliest non-routine memo in Obama’s file is a 1961 memo in which the I.N.S. is warned by a foreign student adviser at the University of Hawaii (a “Mrs. McCabe”), who informed the authorities that Obama had married Dunham. Further, the informant noted that he had been “running around with several girls” and had been “warned about his playboy ways.” He had been confronted by school officials about another wife he had back in Kenya, from whom he claimed to be customarily divorced.

I have no intention of arguing that the elder Obama conducted himself honorably in his relations with women. However, having lived in East Africa, his explanation rings familiar to me. Even today, it is common for a well-traveled young person like him to have a first wife back in his home village. We call this “polygamy;” they see it as moving on with life.

First marriages fizzle out in Africa, as they do everywhere else. The difference is that culturally, legal divorce is very frowned upon: It’s viewed as shirking financial and familial responsibilities. Epidemiologists, who have studied this cultural pattern because of its impact on the spread of H.I.V., often say that Africans tend to have “concurrent” relationships, while Americans have “consecutive” ones. That’s a wild generalization, but the point is that Obama Sr. would not have viewed his first marriage back in Kenya as something disreputable. It clearly became worthy of investigation to school and immigration officials, though, after he started fooling around with white women.

After the 1961 report about Obama’s marriage to Dunham, the I.N.S. resolved to keep eye on him. Polygamy is not a charge meriting deportation, the memo notes, adding that “If the subject were convicted of bigamy we might get a deportation charge but not before.” But it recommends that Obama be “closely questioned before another [visa] extension is granted—and denial be considered.” This sets the tone of the rest of the file, throughout which the issue of his American wife back in Hawaii keeps popping up.

The birth of Obama’s mixed-race son—the one who would go on to be president—is duly noted, and then things go quiet for a couple of years. During this time, the president’s parents separated and Obama Sr. went to Harvard to study for a graduate degree. The relationship went on as a long-distance proposition for a little while, though it was over by Jan. 1964, when Dunham filed for a divorce that Obama did not contest.

The same month as the divorce, another note appears in Obama’s file. There seems to have been some kind of affair with a Kenyan exchange student (the file indicates a high school student, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a minor—African children often started school quite late in the 1950s and ’60s). The Unitarian Universalist Service, which had sponsored the woman’s scholarship, is up in arms about the relationship and an unpermitted overseas trip. “The suspicion exists,” says a memo, “that she may have gone to London for [redacted].”

We don’t know what the couple was suspected to have done, but since this was a decade prior to Roe v. Wade, we can guess. A related memo reports that an informant considers Obama to be a “very slippery character.”

Maybe he was. But again, what the I.N.S. really wants to know about is the elder Obama’s situation with his wife back in Hawaii. The authorities get in touch with Harvard and ask officials there to press him on his marital status. Obama tells the school that he is separated from Ann Dunham, who is reported to be now living in the Philippines. (Though that’s what the report says, it’s inaccurate: Dunham was still residing in Hawaii in 1964, where she met her second husband, who did eventually take the family to Indonesia.) (More)

Et Tu Faux News? Faux Shoots Down Birther Whack Jobs

A day after CNN blew canyon size holes in Trump for his idiotic ramblings on Obama’s Birth Certificate – Faux News’ Shep Smith crushes Franklin Graham…

Apparently the idiot son of the late Evangelist Billy Graham…

Sometimes I believe what Democrats ought to do when Rethugs want “Voter IDs” is to tack on a retirement that the potential voter be smart enough to be a citizen of the United States. Anyone stupid enough to believe this “Birther” crap ought to be deported as an “illiterate alien”.

Bad News for Black Conservatives…

Bad news for the “blame black folks” set…

Poor white pupils lag behind black peers

White schoolchildren in Britain’s poorest communities lag behind peers who are black or of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin, a Financial Times analysis of more than 3m sets of exam results reveals.

Poor white children even achieve worse average results than deprived pupils for whom English is a second language.

The average black pupil from among the poorest fifth of children, identified by postcode analysis, gains the equivalent of one more GCSE pass at A*, the highest grade, than the average white child from a similar background.

Follow the link to read the rest.

Black Lawmakers Battle New “Jimenez Crow” Anti-Immigrant Laws

Only a few decades since the passage of he Civil Rights Act eliminated legal cover for Jim Crow in America – Tea Party Republicans seem determined to bring it back…

This time, at least initially focused against “illegal” immigrants.

This battle is nothing more than the opening salvo in the re-segregation of America by the Tea Bagged.

Black Legislators on Frontline Against AZ-Style Immigration Bills

As immigrant advocates battle hardline immigration bills in state capitols across the country, they’re receiving crucial support from caucuses of black legislators.

Black Teens Face the Water Cannons in 1950's Montgomery, Alabama

Black politicians have come out in defense of immigrants, questioning the morality and wisdom of tough immigration legislation in states from Nebraska to Georgia, where “copycat bills” are being modeled on Arizona’s immigration enforcement legislation, SB 1070. That bill ignited a national debate last year on whether states should take immigration matters into their own hands. The fact that federal courts have blocked many parts of Arizona’s law from being implemented has not deterred the copycats.

Nineteen state legislatures have considered Arizona-style proposals this year, according to Suman Raghunathan, Immigration Project Coordinator at Progressive States Network, a New York City-based nonprofit. Ten of these proposals have been defeated, but they remain alive in several states, including South Carolina, Florida, Alabama and Oklahoma.

Black legislators have been vocal in warning that, if approved, these bills could have unintended consequences, including damage to local economies, racial profiling, and diluting the federal government’s constitutionally-granted authority over immigration matters.

In the face of an ongoing backlash against immigrants, this deepening alliance between pro-immigrant lobbyists and black lawmakers has begun to transform state-level politics around immigration.

In Mississippi, the black legislative caucus was instrumental in sinking a get-tough immigration measure that had seemingly unstoppable momentum and bipartisan support. The bill would have required Mississippi law enforcement agencies to check the immigration status of people detained in any “stop, arrest, or detention” and created a state offense for failure to carry “an alien registration document.” Continue reading

Africa – The Mother of All Languages

Africa – the mother of all peoples on earth, was also where the first spoken languages were developed.

LANGUAGES

The Mother of All Languages

The world’s 6,000 or so modern languages may have all descended from a single ancestral tongue spoken by early African humans between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago, a new study suggests.

The finding, published Thursday in the journal Science, could help explain how the first spoken language emerged, spread and contributed to the evolutionary success of the human species.

Quentin Atkinson, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and author of the study, found that the first migrating populations leaving Africa laid the groundwork for all the world’s cultures by taking their single language with them—the mother of all mother tongues.

“It was the catalyst that spurred the human expansion that we all are a product of,” Dr. Atkinson said.

About 50,000 years ago—the exact timeline is debated—there was a sudden and marked shift in how modern humans behaved. They began to create cave art and bone artifacts and developed far more sophisticated hunting tools. Many experts argue that this unusual spurt in creative activity was likely caused by a key innovation: complex language, which enabled abstract thought. The work done by Dr. Atkinson supports this notion.

His research is based on phonemes, distinct units of sound such as vowels, consonants and tones, and an idea borrowed from population genetics known as “the founder effect.” That principle holds that when a very small number of individuals break off from a larger population, there is a gradual loss of genetic variation and complexity in the breakaway group.

Dr. Atkinson figured that if a similar founder effect could be discerned in phonemes, it would support the idea that modern verbal communication originated on that continent and only then expanded elsewhere.

In an analysis of 504 world languages, Dr. Atkinson found that, on average, dialects with the most phonemes are spoken in Africa, while those with the fewest phonemes are spoken in South America and on tropical islands in the Pacific.

The study also found that the pattern of phoneme usage globally mirrors the pattern of human genetic diversity, which also declined as modern humans set up colonies elsewhere. Today, areas such as sub-Saharan Africa that have hosted human life for millennia still use far more phonemes in their languages than more recently colonized regions do.

(more)

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson Calls Neal Cavuto’s Browbeating… Ignorant

Little Congresslady gets it right as Faux News Commentaro Neal Cavuto tries to talk over her and browbeat her into submission.  She was far more polite in identifying him as simply “ignorant” than the situation justified.

Cavuto is a complete ass.

Site Visit – Haiti

Been out of country for a few days working on several projects. One of my stops was to Haiti, where I attended a conference by the new President elect, Mickey Martelli on his administrations plans to move forward…

Haiti's President-Elect - "Sweet Mickey" Martelli

BTX3 made all 3 of the local channel’s news shows, and apparently CNN according to the locals.

Good thing I brought along a suit and tie!

Hope is running really high here for the new Government. Here’s hoping that the new government can finally get things moving in the right direction.

Back in the US (maybe) tomorrow.

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