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Reply #32: Hi. I'm replying here because this is a really good letter to Sully I wanted to post in this thread. [View All]

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Pirate Smile Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-17-11 06:54 PM
Response to Reply #1
32. Hi. I'm replying here because this is a really good letter to Sully I wanted to post in this thread.
Edited on Tue May-17-11 07:02 PM by Pirate Smile
Obama As A "Third Culture Kid"

A reader writes:

You are indeed right regarding Cornel West. He is a an articulate, well-read, pseudo-intellectual who plays the part of the black Yoda well, but is ironically very provincial. His world is literally black and white which limits his analytic powers and makes him ineffective as a true intellectual and impotent as a true force for change. Contrast this with Barack Hussein Obama.

Obama, is what we call, a TCKA Third Culture Kid. TCKs grow up as the children of missionaries, or as military brats, or as the children of businessmen. It means that you grew up during your early developmental years in a culture outside of your parents home culture.

In our family we are quite familiar with this term since both my wife and I are second generation TCKs and we are now raising one (Costa Rican/American born and raised in Europe and China). Between us weve been to 70 countries and lived on 4 continents.

TCKs are usually unable to view the world in a simplistic dualistic way. On the contrary, they are usually over-achievers, get advanced degrees, and are infinitely curious about the world. They can accentuate different facets of their personality and experiences based on who they are talking toand its not fake. This is the reason Obama really could connect and appreciate rural farmers in Illinois, fit in with the Harvard crowd, and work as an effective community organizer in Chicagos South Side. Obama is the classic TCK. This is why he represents the new America so wellhe is post-racial, globalized, and a great example of Americas own Third Cultural nature. It also helps to explain why he is so loathed by provincial Middle America.

Yet, you notice that Obama seems to deeply understand them better than they seem to understand themselves. He can be Kansan, Chicagoan, Bostonian, and fittingly really enjoys Hawaii. His key speeches including the Philadelphia race speech, his famous 2004 Democratic Convention speech, and his Cairo speech show that propensity to truly get all sides. This also helps to explain why hes not a closet Muslim terrorist. He is the anti-thesis of Osama Bin Laden with his provincial, dualistic, desire to homogenize the world by creating a Muslim Caliphate. This is the exact opposite of who Obama is at his core. Osama looked for his father figure in the provincial world of 7th Century and 20th Century Arabia. Obama looked to go beyond his fathers provincial, nave aspirations and became a little bit of everything.

The liberal label doesnt fit Obama either. As you have pointed out, like Reagan or Thatcher, at his heart he is a pragmatist. Like a true TCK, he doesnt romanticize any one culture or ideology. He understands that there is good or bad in everything. Yet another reason why he can also be called the anti-Bush who along with Cheney is trapped in a juvenile Manichaeism.

Look closely at Sarah Palin and George W. Bush. They are not just anti-intellectual but they are deeply provincial people that made sure not to expose themselves to much outside of their comfort zone. Sarah bounced from college to college unable to really fit in anywhere but Wasilla. Not even the Governors mansion felt like home to her so she left that too. Bush grew up in the upper crust East Coast and found his identity as a simple, aw shucks Texan who just knows what to do in his gut. He can be detached from the real world when necessary. TCKs have no choice. They must engage the world.

This is one reason why I do not believe Sarah Palin will ever really run for President: She is deathly afraid of the world. Shes fine with fame and money (and pretending to be relevant assures the cash flow)but she will always need to hide in the tundra from this complicated world. No surprise that on her recent trip to India, she mainly stayed in the hotel and the mall and got out of there as soon as possible.

I wish people would realize that we have a President that was born in the USA, raised in Asia and multi-cultural Hawaii, and who lived in Harlem, and went to uppity Harvard and then spent a lot of time in African-American hoods. Oh, and hes driven up and down the rural highways of Illinois hundreds of times. Furthermore, much of his life was spent in obscurity, so he had to live amongst us normal people paying back student loans. Even as a Senator he lived in a run-down apartment in D.C. This is why I never worried about Obamas lack of experience. All hes had is experience. Even Bill Clinton, who entered into the political upper-class networks by the time he was at Georgetown, looks provincial and cut-off from real America compared to this. Have we ever had a President who has lived in this many American worlds and cultures and succeeded in all of them?

Cornel West and Sarah Palin have a lot in common. They speak the language of a time gone by and really get very little of what is going on.

I'm going to post it as its own thread too. (edit to add - here it is )

I've read quite a few posts/letters about TCK and how it fits President Obama so well but it isn't something widely understood.
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  -Melissa Harris-Perry on Cornel West:"self-aggrandizing, victimology sermon deceptively wrapped in.." Pirate Smile  May-17-11 02:39 PM   #0 
  - Huge k and r.  Kdillard   May-17-11 02:42 PM   #1 
  - Hi. I'm replying here because this is a really good letter to Sully I wanted to post in this thread.  Pirate Smile   May-17-11 06:54 PM   #32 
     - Thank you. Great read that hit the nail on the head.  Kdillard   May-17-11 08:38 PM   #47 
     - Ooo, excellent post, along with the OP...glad you're posting it as a stand-alone.  BlancheSplanchnik   May-18-11 08:49 AM   #91 
     - This whole TCK thing  nonperson   May-18-11 01:47 PM   #148 
        - Well, that's not the argument West is making.  Kind of Blue   May-18-11 05:45 PM   #167 
  - Two increasingly irrelevant assholes who no longer speak for my community.  Tarheel_Dem   May-17-11 02:44 PM   #2 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-17-11 02:54 PM   #3 
  - Deal in hyperbole much? Where did I say "only Obama". Reading  Tarheel_Dem   May-17-11 03:20 PM   #11 
  - nope, but Obama is more popular among most black people than  JI7   May-17-11 04:05 PM   #19 
  - Agreed  EC   May-17-11 03:00 PM   #6 
  - Yeap, few if ANY listen to Tavis because of his tantrum...he can't even point to anything else being  uponit7771   May-17-11 03:02 PM   #8 
  - Amen !  jaysunb   May-17-11 06:26 PM   #30 
  - This whole Cornell vs. Obama BS has been illuminating  Number23   May-17-11 07:26 PM   #35 
     - "he has lost his damn mind".  Tarheel_Dem   May-17-11 09:45 PM   #52 
     - Melissa Harris-Perry called him a birther because of that (on Ed's Show). She said he is essentially  Pirate Smile   May-17-11 10:09 PM   #54 
     - I'll have to TIVO the replay, unless someone posts a video here.  Tarheel_Dem   May-17-11 10:43 PM   #65 
     - It's strange to me, too, because Cornel is friends with Michael Lerner.  Liberal_Stalwart71   May-17-11 10:24 PM   #59 
     - Ditto! Whenever I hear Tavis' voice these days, I can't reach the tuner  Tarheel_Dem   May-17-11 10:39 PM   #64 
        - Next time you can stomach to hear him, count the number of times he says "right quick"  Liberal_Stalwart71   May-18-11 09:32 PM   #173 
     - "Has he always sounded so anti-semitic?"  Number23   May-17-11 11:00 PM   #66 
     - BRILLIANT!! You are speaking for me, here, too! This is exactly how I feel...  Liberal_Stalwart71   May-17-11 10:22 PM   #58 
     - His self importance go the best of him. Too bad for West, he is the loser in this broohaha.  Pisces   May-18-11 11:35 AM   #137 
     - Man, you hit the nail on head no doubt. I'm thrown back, it's like it's a movie or something. The...  uponit7771   May-18-11 12:12 PM   #140 
  - K & R!  young but wise   May-17-11 02:55 PM   #4 
  - Well done.  jaxx   May-17-11 02:56 PM   #5 
  - "....Furthermore, Wests sense of betrayal is clearly more personal than ideological..."  uponit7771   May-17-11 03:00 PM   #7 
  - Oh, SNAP!  frazzled   May-17-11 03:08 PM   #9 
  - What's odd is that they threw their support behind Hillary Clinton after that  Liberal_Stalwart71   May-17-11 10:26 PM   #60 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-17-11 03:18 PM   #10 
  - Prof West can be entertaining, but Melissa's argument is solid and trustworthy.  AtomicKitten   May-17-11 03:23 PM   #12 
  - I said it in that other thread and will repeat.  OKNancy   May-17-11 03:41 PM   #13 
  - The comparison of him to Gingrich as "intellectuals" is particularly cutting.  Pirate Smile   May-17-11 04:22 PM   #22 
  - "He is just as bad as Dinesh D'Souza."  liberation   May-18-11 10:29 AM   #112 
  - Good lord that was satisfying.  Sheepshank   May-17-11 03:43 PM   #14 
  - LOL Indeed!  Solomon   May-18-11 09:50 AM   #98 
  - K&R...  These Eyes   May-17-11 03:44 PM   #15 
  - agreed.. don't understand why people put him on a pedestal.. he really is just vindictive, not  BREMPRO   May-18-11 10:49 AM   #120 
  - Absolutely Correct!  Kind of Blue   May-17-11 03:47 PM   #16 
  - K&R! THANK YOU, Melissa Harris-Perry! n/t  jenmito   May-17-11 03:48 PM   #17 
  - ha! sounds like a huge arsehole.  Whisp   May-17-11 03:53 PM   #18 
  - "and do it East as well".  Tarheel_Dem   May-17-11 04:22 PM   #23 
  - Methinks Cornel West is threatened by a charismatic man of action  CakeGrrl   May-17-11 04:05 PM   #20 
  - Obama makes him and Smiley irrelevant relics of the past.  Solomon   May-18-11 09:53 AM   #100 
  - and she's his colleague  tishaLA   May-17-11 04:09 PM   #21 
  - For those who are thoughtful.....they already understood what Melissa Harris-Perry is writing about  FrenchieCat   May-17-11 04:34 PM   #24 
  - Thanks, Frenchie.  elleng   May-17-11 04:53 PM   #26 
  - Well said !  jaysunb   May-17-11 06:29 PM   #31 
  - LOVE HER!  elleng   May-17-11 04:51 PM   #25 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-17-11 05:07 PM   #27 
  - Outside places like DU, West is a jealous joke. And Perry's article is spot on.  Tarheel_Dem   May-17-11 05:43 PM   #28 
     - EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!! n/t  Liberal_Stalwart71   May-17-11 10:28 PM   #61 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-17-11 05:57 PM   #29 
  - *bust out laughing*  Hutzpa   May-17-11 07:09 PM   #33 
  - Between Tavis and Cornel.. who needs enemies..  Peacetrain   May-17-11 07:21 PM   #34 
  - Corny's mortifying, self-pitying BS got over 300 recs here  Number23   May-17-11 07:29 PM   #36 
  - Funny dat....there are more Black Duers responding to this thread (and we are few here)  FrenchieCat   May-17-11 07:51 PM   #38 
  - Folks here have always preferred to talk "at" us  Number23   May-17-11 08:02 PM   #42 
  - Hear! Hear!  Karenina   May-18-11 01:07 PM   #145 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-18-11 06:26 PM   #168 
  - Every third post I make on this topic is being deleted  Number23   May-19-11 06:51 PM   #177 
  - Exactly, and at FDL recently too. Everyone wants to tell African Americans how they should feel  stevenleser   May-21-11 02:51 PM   #180 
  - I don't believe that it's merely a coincidence, either. Sadly!!! n/t  Liberal_Stalwart71   May-17-11 10:29 PM   #62 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-17-11 11:55 PM   #70 
  - Wow, Cornel hit a nerve.  woo me with science   May-17-11 07:47 PM   #37 
  - Nerve called.....  FrenchieCat   May-17-11 07:52 PM   #39 
  - ...  woo me with science   May-17-11 07:54 PM   #41 
  - DAMN you hit the nail on the head. It is exactly that -- a 1970 victim mentality  Number23   May-17-11 08:09 PM   #44 
     - The irony is that West is doing the exact thing that he claims Obama is doing.  Liberal_Stalwart71   May-17-11 10:31 PM   #63 
        - Yep. Perry cuts him to the nitty when she calls him out on being pissed that  Number23   May-17-11 11:08 PM   #67 
  - It wasn't Cornel that struck a nerve, it's the people here who  Solomon   May-18-11 09:58 AM   #101 
     - "because he's black." Really?  woo me with science   May-18-11 10:12 AM   #106 
  - More good reads  ProSense   May-17-11 07:54 PM   #40 
  - Thanks for posting they are  FrenchieCat   May-17-11 08:02 PM   #43 
  - Thanks!  Pirate Smile   May-17-11 08:18 PM   #46 
  - This made me cry as I thought about the hell my nieces & nephews went through....  Tarheel_Dem   May-17-11 10:11 PM   #56 
  - Sometimes I think it's what the president is mixed with -  Kind of Blue   May-18-11 12:32 AM   #72 
  - and not just if you're "mixed"  CitizenLeft   May-18-11 01:42 PM   #147 
     - Fantastic post.  Number23   May-18-11 06:35 PM   #169 
        - thank you, #23  CitizenLeft   May-18-11 09:17 PM   #172 
  - THANK you, my sister!!!  EffieBlack   May-17-11 08:15 PM   #45 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-17-11 08:57 PM   #48 
  - Obviously,  ProSense   May-17-11 09:29 PM   #49 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-18-11 08:06 AM   #84 
     - Hmmm?  ProSense   May-18-11 08:17 AM   #85 
        - Deleted message  Name removed   May-18-11 08:38 AM   #90 
           - Really?  ProSense   May-18-11 09:02 AM   #93 
  - someone sounds a smidge upset!  dionysus   May-17-11 09:40 PM   #50 
  - Make room, I want to dogpile on too!  here_is_to_hope   May-18-11 11:01 AM   #126 
  - the "messiah" shit is all played out. i'll give you a retro point for "nattering", but overall it's  dionysus   May-17-11 09:43 PM   #51 
  - Anyone who uses the term "Obama Messiah Meme"  CakeGrrl   May-17-11 11:42 PM   #69 
  - Are you shitting me?! Did you read West's quote on "fear of the free Black man"  vaberella   May-18-11 02:46 AM   #76 
  - The reason why people are tearing into "West's semi-racialized views" is to marginalize  leveymg   May-18-11 08:22 AM   #86 
     - Are you kidding me?  vaberella   May-18-11 08:36 AM   #88 
     - He's using the term DNA as a metaphor for black identity, which is traditionally that of  leveymg   May-18-11 08:52 AM   #92 
        - lol  NatBurner   May-18-11 09:24 AM   #94 
        - I don't presume to fully understand West. Perhaps, you can explain his statement better?  leveymg   May-18-11 10:40 AM   #117 
        - I think Melissa Harris-Perry touched on it very well---it's unhinged nonsense. n/t  vaberella   May-18-11 11:10 AM   #129 
        - right. u had me at messiah, btw  NatBurner   May-18-11 12:10 PM   #139 
           - i love you, man  Number23   May-18-11 06:39 PM   #170 
              - good to see u back  NatBurner   May-19-11 06:58 AM   #174 
        - Exactly...n/t  vaberella   May-18-11 11:10 AM   #128 
        - Keyboard please....  Tarheel_Dem   May-21-11 01:08 PM   #179 
        - FYI---I'm Black....and no.  vaberella   May-18-11 11:18 AM   #130 
           - West is saying that Obama, the politician, has betrayed  leveymg   May-18-11 12:58 PM   #143 
           - Stop digging,already.  Swede   May-18-11 02:23 PM   #150 
              - Fine.  leveymg   May-18-11 02:50 PM   #153 
           - you're both black enough and white enough for me Vab! great post!  dionysus   May-19-11 07:57 PM   #178 
     - Oh  ProSense   May-18-11 08:38 AM   #89 
     - "the spell of Obama worship" wow is that line so bitter and stale by now....  dionysus   May-19-11 01:43 PM   #176 
  - Are you really one to lecture about political discourse?  MadBadger   May-18-11 07:23 AM   #83 
  - An academic who needs to bump up with reality a bit more nt  flamingdem   May-17-11 09:52 PM   #53 
  - Does my "dear brother West" explain why Obama married a BLACK woman? n/t  jenmito   May-17-11 10:10 PM   #55 
  - Mainly it's seen as a way for Obama to prove himself as one of the Black community.  vaberella   May-18-11 03:06 AM   #80 
  - She's absolutely amazing!! She made West look like a fucking fool.  Liberal_Stalwart71   May-17-11 10:17 PM   #57 
  - Exactly.  disndat   May-18-11 09:52 AM   #99 
  - I never thought I would have to unrec an article from the brilliant Melissa Harris-Perry  Cali_Democrat   May-17-11 11:14 PM   #68 
  - You see this as a vile attack...  BklnDem75   May-18-11 12:07 AM   #71 
  - I thought West's criticism of Obama was a bit over the top  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 02:37 AM   #75 
     - "fear of the free Black man" was just a "bit over the top" fo r you.  vaberella   May-18-11 02:56 AM   #77 
     - Are you serious?  BklnDem75   May-18-11 07:22 AM   #82 
        - That's how some roll.  vaberella   May-18-11 08:33 AM   #87 
        - I am serious  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 10:23 AM   #108 
           - Uh huh...and nothing good came from Cornell West's statement, but you defended that one. n/t  vaberella   May-18-11 11:19 AM   #131 
           - I thought some of West's criticism of Obama was over the top  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 11:50 AM   #138 
              - What ever good point should have been lost when he suggested Obama's DNA affected his policies.  vaberella   May-18-11 03:11 PM   #156 
                 - Perhaps I should have been more specific  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 03:30 PM   #158 
                    - I think I should be more clear.  vaberella   May-18-11 03:48 PM   #161 
                       - " Any other point he may have made within that context or argument...was negated"  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 04:03 PM   #163 
           - That's a bit selective  BklnDem75   May-18-11 02:37 PM   #151 
              - I view West as a brilliant man  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 03:36 PM   #159 
                 - So he's above being taken to task? Why?  BklnDem75   May-18-11 03:43 PM   #160 
                    - Nobody is above being taken to task  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 04:00 PM   #162 
                       - But, apparently, not his  BklnDem75   May-18-11 04:06 PM   #164 
                          - Parts of Cornel's analysis definitely had some vitriol  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 04:09 PM   #165 
  - I don't understand how you could see this as a vile attack. n/t  quiller4   May-18-11 01:42 AM   #74 
  - That's how some people roll. n/t  vaberella   May-18-11 03:02 AM   #79 
     - Especially that one. Obama could walk on water...  Solomon   May-18-11 10:03 AM   #103 
  - Yes, thank you. Same here.  Myrina   May-18-11 10:40 AM   #116 
  - I adore Melissa Harris-Perry  Mojorabbit   May-18-11 12:52 AM   #73 
  - Harris-Perry hit this out of the park. He talks about "fear of free Black man"  vaberella   May-18-11 03:02 AM   #78 
  - West does nothing but shovel shit that's covered with a flowery verbal coating  VeryConfused   May-18-11 07:11 AM   #81 
  - It is sad to see smart generally liberal intellectuals  blackspade   May-18-11 09:24 AM   #95 
  - "Fawning praise."  namahage   May-18-11 12:38 PM   #141 
  - Please point out her 'fawning praise'  BklnDem75   May-18-11 02:44 PM   #152 
  - Melissa Harris -Perry  latinaliberal   May-18-11 09:25 AM   #96 
  - Unrec  fascisthunter   May-18-11 09:33 AM   #97 
  - DITTO  Jim_Shorts   May-18-11 10:06 AM   #104 
  - Hmmm?  ProSense   May-18-11 10:07 AM   #105 
  - "Until dems can come to grips with critics like West this party is doomed"  Cali_Democrat   May-18-11 10:20 AM   #107 
  - "They are dooming the party and Obama's reelection chances and they don't even realize it."  ProSense   May-18-11 10:24 AM   #109 
  - So your stance on the matter is that it was a simple critique?  BklnDem75   May-18-11 02:54 PM   #154 
     - no, but at this point I could care less if any of it was personal  fascisthunter   May-18-11 04:34 PM   #166 
        - He should've stuck with the critique  BklnDem75   May-18-11 09:08 PM   #171 
           - West's own fault. Indeed.  Karenina   May-19-11 11:41 AM   #175 
  - Cornel West is certainly entitled to his own opinion but....  FarLeftFist   May-18-11 09:59 AM   #102 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-18-11 10:27 AM   #110 
  - Yes, because  ProSense   May-18-11 10:32 AM   #113 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   May-18-11 10:47 AM   #119 
     - Wait  ProSense   May-18-11 10:55 AM   #123 
        - Yes- when it comes to final action, the Kochs get the tax breaks and the wars keep getting funded...  Dr Fate   May-18-11 10:59 AM   #125 
           - OK, but  ProSense   May-18-11 11:05 AM   #127 
              - You want a list of DEMS who voted to give the Koch Brothers tax breaks over the years?  Dr Fate   May-18-11 11:20 AM   #132 
                 - No,  ProSense   May-18-11 11:27 AM   #136 
                    - Oh- you want me to tell you what centrists are *saying* they agree with this time.  Dr Fate   May-18-11 12:55 PM   #142 
  - In fact,  ProSense   May-18-11 10:41 AM   #118 
     - AWESOME.We ARE meeting all those goals in post #110 then. Liberals are fools to say otherwise. n/t  Dr Fate   May-18-11 10:50 AM   #121 
        - It's pretty obvious  ProSense   May-18-11 10:57 AM   #124 
  - Dear Brother West  otohara   May-18-11 10:28 AM   #111 
  - Deleted sub-thread  Name removed   May-18-11 10:34 AM   #114 
  - I've read racist tripe before. West's rant qualifies.  LiberalAndProud   May-18-11 10:35 AM   #115 
  - Yup, yup. n/t  vaberella   May-18-11 11:22 AM   #135 
  - Melissa Harris-Perry is simply auditioning for the role  rjwin   May-18-11 10:51 AM   #122 
  - Right...that's why so many people on this thread and board support the argument.  vaberella   May-18-11 11:21 AM   #133 
  - "her only concern the collection plate" -- What horseshit!  AtomicKitten   May-18-11 11:22 AM   #134 
  - LOL! Is that all you have?  BklnDem75   May-18-11 03:16 PM   #157 
  - delete  polichick   May-18-11 12:58 PM   #144 
  - "Deracination," "white man with black skin,"  Bette Noir   May-18-11 01:27 PM   #146 
  - Don't forget..."fear of the free Black man" Because Obama is not a Black Man or Free. n/t  vaberella   May-18-11 03:02 PM   #155 
  - Ugh.  abelenkpe   May-18-11 02:13 PM   #149 

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