Wednesday, November 19, 2008

While I'm Glad We Have A President That Reads - I Wish Barack Obama Would Read Something That Did Not Have Black Folks As Slaves Or 2nd Class Citizens

I love the fact that Barack Obama is a book nerd. I hope he inspires many Americans, particularly Black Americans to read. With that said, I am beginning to get irritated at the public pronouncements of the books Obama has been reading in preparation for his first administration.

As an academic I understand reading books from past Presidents, but I sure wish Obama was reading about a Presidency where black folks were something more than abused slaves, President Lincoln's era and disenfranchised second-class citizens, President FDR's era.

I hope he has read or plans to read something from President Kennedy's and President Carter's administrations and learns something about disappointed and disgruntled African Americans that provided a lot of votes to a Democratic President, who delivered little in terms of diversity, equality, and opportunity for people of color.

And if Obama really wants to change the nation, let's hope he makes clear there is something to learn folks like Marcus Garvey, Marian Wright Edelman, W.E.B. DuBois, Barbara Jordan, Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez, Dorothy Height, Martin Luther King, Jr., Shirley Chisholm and many other Americans who worked for years as outsiders or lone voices for people who were under-represented or unheard for many, many, years.

Any other suggestions for President Obama's reading list?


oregonsistah November 19, 2008 at 3:59 AM  

Keep the Faith Baby by Adam Clayton Powell. He forced integration in the I believe Congress, Senate and military. I absolutely love him, he had no fear of white people and their inept policies and prejudices. I have read his book and seen his HBO movie by the same name.

Anonymous,  November 19, 2008 at 6:44 AM  

the old cliche of not knowing one's history and being doomed to repeat it comes to mind as a reason why he is reading these books. sometimes i read stuff that i really have no great interest in or support for, just so i can understand the thought process of someone else.

you know the MSM is only going to focus on certain things. for all we know he is reading those other books, but they don't bring the same type of controversy. know what i mean?

Shurl November 19, 2008 at 8:38 AM  

It's refreshing to have a president who wants to learn the lessons of history! ( I want to read the FDR book, too).

I agree with all your book suggestions. His speech on race in America was so good. I think he "gets it." But, I hope he does fit in some black scholars in his reading list.

PS: Did you hear that Bin Ladin's #2 called Obama a "house negro"?!? What a hater!! The good will of the world as well as a president named Barack Hussein Obama is going to be bad for business (I hope)!

Miriam November 19, 2008 at 9:14 AM  

Do blogs count? heh heh

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T November 19, 2008 at 11:09 AM  

i disagree - re4ad everything
"wanna hide something from a nigga put it in a book is what i was taught"

Professor Tracey November 19, 2008 at 11:13 AM  

Folks -

I didn't say don't read anything, I just find it disturbing that he's only seems to be reading stuff where black folks were not citizens. I would love to seem him read something where we are kicking ass and taking names, that would make the other folks sit up and think for a minute or two.

Claudia November 19, 2008 at 11:30 AM  

I see your point, Prof. Tracey, but I have to agree with TalentedTenth that the MSM is only going to focus on certain titles. It's my understanding that Obama counts Morrison's Song of Solomon as one of his favorite books. I've also heard him make references to DuBois.

Now, in terms of my suggestions for what book I'd like for him to be holding as he walks off the plane in his next photo op? James Baldwin's collection of non-fiction essays, The Price of the Ticket or Alice Walker's essays, In Search of Our Mother's Gardens. Two classic texts about Black folks and their love/hate relationship with this country.

Faith November 19, 2008 at 2:53 PM  

You know he's probably read a Zane book with Michelle but he's not gonna mention that!

cinco November 19, 2008 at 6:14 PM  

Nothing wrong with Zane. Perhaps more he could inspire more men to learn from a book what they haven't learned from experience.

LorMarie November 19, 2008 at 8:01 PM  

PS: Did you hear that Bin Ladin's #2 called Obama a "house negro"?!? What a hater!! --Shurl

How on earth do they even know what a house negro is, LOL.

I hope Obama reads Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Maybe The Caged Virgin. Not American I know, but good informative reading.

D.J. November 19, 2008 at 9:50 PM  

He reads more than that. He also reads Spider Man and Conan comics. he also reads books of poetry, much to the glee and delight of my poetry writing partner.

D.Son November 20, 2008 at 10:40 AM  

Race Matters by Cornel West perhaps.....

Kim November 21, 2008 at 8:43 PM  

Why does he have to read certian things for you to beleive he has black folks interest at heart, AND just because he's not photographed
with a book does not mean he has read it.

Professor Tracey November 21, 2008 at 9:33 PM  


The question is not really what Obama has read or not read. The question is related to the fact that Obama has repeatedly stated referring to certain books for information, advice, guidance, history to lead as President.

I am disturbed that those books that he has repeatedly mentioned Team of Rivals, FDR, not address the lives of African Americans in a positive fashion. We were slaves in one era and 2nd class citizens in another, how does that help him to know how to help folks of color?

I have to wonder if folks would react so positively if he said openly he was reading something on diversity, feminism, affirmative action, homosexuality, or Shirley Chisholm's or Barbara Jordon's bios. It's nice to reassure white America that he's doing his homework, but how about inspiring white America to learn something about people of color and their view of the world?

Things Obama does in public now will have a great deal to do with shaping how folks view his future leadership.

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