Find your next favorite audiobook

Become a member today and listen free for 30 days
A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win

A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win

Written by Shelby Steele

Narrated by Richard Allen


A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win

Written by Shelby Steele

Narrated by Richard Allen

ratings:
4.5/5 (2 ratings)
Length:
3 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 22, 2008
ISBN:
9781400176038
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

From the New York Times bestselling and controversial author Shelby Steele comes an illuminating examination of the complex racial issues that confront presidential candidate Barack Obama in his race for the White House, a quest that will be one of those galvanizing occasions that forces a national dialogue on the current state of race relations in America.



Steele argues that Senator Obama is caught between two classic postures that blacks have always used to make their way in the white American mainstream: bargaining and challenging. Bargainers strike a "bargain" with white America in which they say, "I will not rub America's ugly history of racism in your face if you will not hold my race against me." Bill Cosby's sitcom in the 1980s was the classic example of bargaining. Obama also sends "bargaining" signals to white America, and whites respond with considerable gratitude-which explains the special aura of excitement that surrounds him.



But in order to garner the black vote-which is absolutely necessary for victory in the primaries and the general election-Obama must also posture as a challenger. Challengers are the opposite of bargainers. They charge whites with inherent racism and then demand that they prove themselves innocent by supporting black-friendly policies, such as affirmative action. If whites go along with this-thereby proving their innocence-they are granted absolution by the black challenger.



The current black American identity is grounded in challenging. Obama must therefore posture as a challenger to win the black vote. However, challenging threatens Obama's white support. But bargaining threatens his black support. Thus, he is bound. He walks in an impossible political territory where any expression of what he truly feels puts him in jeopardy with one much-needed constituency or another. Only a kind of two-sided political mask, or an "above politics" posture, keeps the wolves at bay.
Publisher:
Released:
Jan 22, 2008
ISBN:
9781400176038
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Shelby Steele is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and Stanford University, and is a contributing editor at Harper's magazine. His many prizes and honors include the National Book Critics Circle Award, an Emmy Award, a Writers Guild Award, and the National Humanities Medal.


Related to A Bound Man

Related Audiobooks
Related Articles

Reviews

What people think about A Bound Man

4.5
2 ratings / 1 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    So often we hear people discount an opinion because those offering it aren't a woman, are not the same race, or have not shared the same experience as those they are discussing. Well, as Shelby Steele opines about then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, no one can discredit his theories based upon not understanding his background on a personal level. Mr Steele goes to length to share in Obama's background, as a biracial son.This book is offers a window into the mindset of Barack Obama as man who cannot win pleasing both black and white Americans due to his genealogy. Political leaning does come into play, but it is not a main thrust behind Mr Steele's idea as to why potential President Obama is stuck between races.Delving into his past, not by any speculation but by the words he wrote to convey his past in Dreams from My Father, Shelby Steele deconstructs Barack Obama's dilemma and struggle to appeal to all voters without alienating himself from any contingent. The second part of the book is spent discussing the two styles of blacks; the Bargainers or Iconic Negro and the Challengers. Both "types" are represented in familiar faces and Mr Steele does a thorough job of explaining his rationale behind modern day race relations.I would say this book is only somewhat dated (as I read it near the end of President Obama's first term), it is interesting to read the anticipation of Barack Obama's run for the Oval Office, but also to reflect back on his campaign and see his effort in retrospect.