Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Disappeared fact about Obama’s White House visit

by Larry Geller

Now, he and his family will move into a stately white mansion that was built in part with the labor of black slaves and where several Southern-born presidents brought their plantation slaves as servants during the pre-Civil War era. [China Daily, Obama makes historic White House visit, 11/11/2008]

Reuters noted this, and so it’s all over the foreign press. I checked a few domestic papers and didn’t find this.

The New York Times did a fashion piece, elaborating on how Bush and Obama were dressed, even on how they shook hands:

When the president and Mrs. Bush greeted the Obamas at the driveway on the South Lawn, the women hugged and their husbands shook hands, with Mr. Obama using the two-handed greeting common among senators, with his left hand on Mr. Bush’s right arm during the handshake. The two men were dressed almost identically in dark blue suits, white shirts and blue ties. Ms. Bush wore a brown suit, and Ms. Obama a burnt-orange dress. [New York Times, As Transfer of Power Begins, Obamas Visit White House, 11/11/2008]

This and most other domestic coverage that I reviewed looked long on fluff and short on news. There wasn’t much to report on, given that no statement was released, yet Australian and other newspapers did report on Bush/Obama talks related to the auto industry, for example.

Probably since Reuters reported on the slave connection, variations of it appeared in overseas news coverage. Maybe Americans would rather forget this part of their history. So the fact has been disappeared for us, if not for everyone else.

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Since most mainline media outlets are falling all over themselves proclaiming the end of racism in America, the article by the star bulletin a couple of days ago regarding people going up to Blacks on O'ahu "congratulating them" should point to the opposite -- racism has become more self-evident and more readily denied and rationalized. Instead of "I couldn't possibly be racist, I have Black friends." Maintaining friendships is no longer needed for non-Blacks, "I couldn't possibly be racist, I voted for Obama." That is the disappeared news on the proclamations of racism's death in America. I liked the NYTimes article on Muslims in Europe using Obama's election for community empowerment purposes. They don't see a Black man elected, they see a man with a African-Muslim name elected.

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