up from fear, smiling, waving, defying despair, defying history, defying gravity. But Obama, despite his adherence to black cultural mores, was, with his roots in Kansas and Hawaii, his Ivy League pedigree, and his ties to the University of Chicago, still an exotic out-of-towner. Millions of young people now know their only president to have been an African American. In addition to Oscar Stanton De Priest, the first African American elected to Congress in the 20th century, the South Side produced the citys first black mayor, Harold Washington; Jesse Jackson, who twice ran for president; and Carol Moseley Braun, the first African American woman. Krosnick, and Trevor Tompson found that in 2012, 32 percent of Democrats held antiblack views, while 79 percent of Republicans did. The large numbers of black men in jail, for instance, are not just the result of poor policy, but of not seeing those men as human. Photos were circulated of him in Somali garb. I had been raised amid a people who wanted badly to believe in the possibility of a Barack Obama, even as their very lives argued against that possibility.
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At a rally in Orlando on October 28, he greeted a student who would be introducing him by dancing toward her and then noting that the song playing over the loudspeakersthe Gap Bands Outstandingwas older than she was. Douglass finds the courage to face the slave-breaker Edward Covey after being given an allegedly enchanted root by a genuine African possessing powers from the eastern nations. Sessions had once been accused of calling a black lawyer boy, claiming that a white lawyer who represented black clients was a disgrace to his race, and joking that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was okay until I found out they smoked pot. The brisker queue was dubbed the good-hair line by one guest, and there was laughter at the prospect of the Secret Service subjecting us all to a brown-paper-bag test. The next day, President-Elect Trump offered Lieutenant General Michael Flynn the post of national-security adviser and picked Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama as his nominee for attorney general. For most African Americans, white people exist either as a direct or an indirect force for bad in their lives. He reminds people, Yeah, we can talk about this. But I found it interesting that that optimism does not extend to the possibility of the publics accepting wisdomssuch as the moral logic of reparationsthat the president, by his own account, has accepted for himself and is willing to teach his children. When President Obama and I had this conversation, the target he was aiming to reach seemed to me to be many generations away, and nowas President-Elect Trump prepares for officeseems even many more generations off. Video: The Making of a Black President. I feel pretty good about our odds in that situation.
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