Blacker Than Thou--or American Like You

Fellow TV One blogger La Shawn Barber cites a new book by Shelby Steele about Barack Obama. She mentions that she read in a book review that Obama, who grew up somewhat privileged, must exaggerate black America's oppression so he can appeal to black voters.

Obama definitely has been walking a fine line--appealing to Americans in general, but also trying to keep it real with black Americans. And keeping it real with black Americans has meant trying to keep the black talk show hosts, activists, academics, and preachers from attacking him. The best way to do this is to become "blacker-than-thou." That is, he'll become more radical than any other black person in the room so that there will be no question about his race loyalty and identity.

Politicians are infamous for appealing to the audience they are with at that particular moment. But in Iowa those two worlds are about to come together in one forum--in the heartland of Iowa, which is 95 percent white, at a forum hosted by TV One, a black-focused network.

I'm sure some will say that you can be both Blacker-Than-Thou and an American. Anyway, let's see if Obama will do both in Iowa.