Monday, July 26, 2010

What Class Did Obama Come From? And what Race?

Steve Sailer has a very dandy and funny analysis:
- Barack Obama Jr.'s mother was on welfare for awhile.
+ His mother was working on her Ph.D.

- His mother got pregnant out of wedlock at 17.
+ His mother was accepted by the University of Chicago when she was 15.

- His father abandoned him when he was 2. 
+ His father abandoned him when he was 2 to obtain an advanced degree in economics from Harvard.

- He lived in a poor Third World country in a fairly poor neighborhood.
+ His Indonesian geologist stepfather was an oil company executive from a wealthy family and they quickly moved to an exclusive neighborhood in Jakarta.

- He came from a multiply broken family, abandoned by his father as an infant and twice by his mother, and had to live with his grandparents.
+ He lived with his grandparents on the tenth floor of highrise in a nice part of Honolulu with a fabulous view.

- He smoked a lot of dope in high school.
+ He smoked a lot of dope on the beach in Hawaii with his fellow students at the most prestigious prep school in the state.

- In college he hung out with Third Worlders.
+ They were rich Third Worlders, such as a son of a future prime minister of Pakistan.

- His maternal grandfather was a fairly unsuccessful salesman.
+ His maternal grandmother was a quite successful bank executive.

- His maternal grandfather was from a family with a shady reputation.
+ His maternal grandmother's family was quite respectable and academic-oriented. One of his great aunts became a statistics professor and great-uncle became the #2 man at the U. of Chicago library.

- His mother had to do lowly clerical work in Indonesia. 
+ She did it at the powerful U.S. embassy in Jakarta, where she got to know diplomats and CIA men.

- His paternal grandfather had been a servant.
+ His paternal grandfather was a large landowner.

- His father was a drunk.
+ His father's Master's degree made him a legacy at Harvard.

- His father got fired a lot.
+ His father was, when sober, an oil company executive and government official.

- His father was politically and ethnically persecuted. 
+ His father was, when sober, the protege of the CIA's main man to become President of Kenya, Tom Mboya.

- His father was the prime witness of his mentor's assassination by President Kenyatta's allies in 1969, and was hounded by the dominant Kikuyus after that.
- Well, that is a bummer.

I could go on and on. I know a lot about Obama, and I have no idea how to definitively categorize him as a young man by any usual ranking of class from low to high. (I might say he came from the Vaguely Academic Class, but I just made up that term.)

So, does class not exist?
 In the same article he makes an amusing observation about Obama's race:
I've certainly pointed out abuses myself. For example, Henry Louis Gates and Lani Guinier have complained for years that an ever increasing number of black affirmative action slots at Harvard are going to people who aren't descended from American slaves: people who have a white parent, and/or are descended from African or Caribbean elites. 

Of course, Barack Obama (Harvard Law, '91) is the classic example of this. His racial identity was so ambiguous that he had to write a 150,000 [ed. word] autobiography talking himself into believing he was black enough to be a black politician.


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