Monday, February 2, 2009

How our cultural icons may have aided the Obama victory

While the economy and the state of the world throws us immediately  into the policy implications for the Obama election, we still must wonder about the broad social and cultural meaning inside the Obama victory.  Jabari Asim, in his new book What Obama Means: ...for Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Future argues that Obama's victory is the culmination of decades of black political struggle, social advancement and cultural achievement. He shows how performers and athletes, such as Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan, laid the groundwork for Obama every bit as much, if not more so, than leaders such as Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. DuBois, and Martin Luther King Jr. He examines the impact of Sidney Poitier (whose Guess Who's Coming to Dinner could have been the story of the president's parents) and how the actor's navigation of Hollywood was a forerunner for Obama's own path in wooing America's white voters.

My conversation with Jibari Asim: