Bomani on Barack

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

"Too Black." "Not Black Enough." "Black Enough." "Post-Racial." "The Black Candidate."

Sen. Barack Obama's race and "blackness" have been a part of the dialogue surrounding his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination from the outset, sometimes despite his best efforts to keep the focus on other issues. Today, we're going to approach the conversation from a different angle: Obama's "white side." Poet, satirist and educator Bomani Armah joins us in our weekly op-ed segment to discuss why it's necessary to "start pushing the idea of how white [Obama] is." The reason? It has something to do with what Armah refers to as "the 'Aw Hell No!' voting bloc." He joins us in our first hour to elaborate and field your questions. The op-ed ran in the Washington Post over the weekend, and is titled, "Okay, Barack. Now Show 'Em Your White Side." It can be found here. Read it, listen in, and tell us your opinion.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Clearly the attempts of Talk of the Nation at "dumb objectivity" have become comedic. Its getting boring writing posts about the racism, subjectivity and hypocrisy of your guests. Because a bigoted view comes from a minority, it doesn't make it acceptable, even if its humorous. Maybe if it was being used in an absurdist way it might be okay, but this editorial was not - it is very literal humor.

Perhaps I have too much faith in Neal Conan or your staffs philosophical intelligence. Perhaps you are just a radio show.

Sent by Scott Millar | 2:24 PM | 3-24-2008

P.S. Having Bomani Armah as a guest doesn't balance the egregious comments made months ago by your guest Debra Dickerson - that Obama was not black enough.

Sent by Scott Millar | 2:33 PM | 3-24-2008

I whole-heartedly agree with Mr. Armah that Obama should exude his whiteness more in his demeanor and public relations. It would surely make some fearful Americans a little more comfortable with him. I'll take a black president anyway I can get him. Even if he's half and half. Besides, J.A. Rodgers's claim of five U.S. Presidents being partly black haven't resonated with most of us.

Sent by Ismail A. Hakim | 3:29 PM | 3-24-2008

I found Bomani's editorial and interview to be refreshingly honest. I am sure many people will say that the parts about Awe hell no or AWNs is being anti-white but I see it as reflecting reality. Bomani is not saying that every white is in the AWN club but how can anyone say that there aren't plenty of AWNs, including those who start their comments with "I'm not racist, but..." We've all heard that before.
I think people need to distinguish between being "anti-white" and being "anti-racist system"

Sent by Peter Dopp | 4:18 PM | 3-24-2008

I appreciated this article as well as your interview today. I am a 50-year old white male and it frustrates me every time Obama is labeled as being Black. He is of mixed race. I love to tell people I am voting for Obama because he is White. A statement that is just as true as someone saying they are voting for Obama because he is Black. I think the media has missed an opportunity to highlight mixed race in our society. Most often people of mixed race are labeled as the minority race leaving out a part of their heritage. Maybe it is just too hard to say and print of mixed race or biracial. When I say that Obama is not Black to my daughter we argue about it with my saying he is of mixed race and her saying yeah but you can???t say he is not Black. Then I wonder am I just making big deal about nothing and I tell myself no your not. It is incorrect to see Obama as either just Black or just White. He is of mixed race, very American in every way, and besides all that he is the best choice for the next President of the United States of America where most of us are mixed.

Sent by Ted E Jindrich | 8:13 PM | 3-24-2008

I admit I haven't read Bomani's op-ed, but I did listen to his interview and found what he was saying on Talk of the Nation to be refreshingly sensible.

I think Obama laid out his position wrt his former pastor's comments, and it's not for others to judge whether or not he should maintain a personal relationship with his pastor because he said disagreable things. I've heard a whole lot of hypocrisy on this issue. We all know friends who have said or done things we disagree with, and I wouldn't appreciate people who don't know me telling me how I should treat those close to me, whether I'm a public figure or not.

Sent by Aaron | 11:34 PM | 3-25-2008