Obama’s Brother & “Success,” American Style

George had been living a quiet life, studying to become a car mechanic, until earlier this week when Vanity Fair magazine tracked him down to Huruma, which stands on the outskirts Nairobi. He said he was furious at reports he had been abandoned by the Obama family and that he was filled with shame about living in a slum.
The Irish Times, August 22, 2008

Ain't this some shit?

What I like about this article is how it totally unpacks — with just a few quotes from George Obama — the real problem with the Vanity Fair piece: its totally American assumptions about what constitutes "success" and "comfort."

The details of George Obama's life are the same in both stories, but it is so clear from The Irish Times piece that George Obama's view of his life differs greatly from Vanity Fair's perception. 

Sure poverty sucks (to be crass).  But there is a difference between a simple life and a life of abject poverty.  Also, just because one lives in poverty (by American standards), doesn't mean they don't find pleasures in their life or even that their vision of "making it", of "success" is anything like ours.  Poor people can be, and often are, dignified.

This is the kind of shit that irritates me more than anything. 

I expect media to pick on Obama because he's black and because he's the frontrunner.  I don't pretend that this will change.  But it enrages me to no end that they behave this way, that they condescend to a man they don't even know, trivialize his experiences, his life, even his chosen profession, and pretend to care about his well-being (and by proxy the poor darkies in Kenya) in order to paint Obama as a bad person.

Behold the face of (to quote bell hooks), white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.  Learn it well folks.  If Obama wins, we are looking at 8 years of it.

About tlewisisdope

I write. I live in DC.
This entry was posted in Culture, Current Affairs, Obama, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Obama’s Brother & “Success,” American Style

  1. Thanks for posting this…you know, they had this on the front page one day last week here in CHicago and I missed the story. Interesting stuff, huh!

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