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How Barack Obama’s ‘Minstrel Imperialism’ Gave Cover to US Foreign Policy - Journalist

© Pete Souza / The White HousePresident Obama
President Obama - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.03.2024
As countries throughout the Global South work to overthrow the legacy of colonialism and imperialist subjugation, the US empire still searches for a token minority to launder its image as eloquently and effectively as Barack Obama.
Algeria vowed to secure full membership status for Palestine at the United Nations Monday.
“Algeria will soon return to address the Security Council, once again, to ensure that Palestine is in its rightful place as a full member of the United Nations,” said Algerian UN representative Amar Ben Jamai. The move comes as the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the besieged Gaza Strip, where Israel’s military operation has killed nearly 33,000. Palestine currently holds observer status in the international body.
The precipitous decline of Israel’s international standing has brought renewed attention to the colonial roots of the crisis in Palestine, which was colonized by the British before Zionists declared a self-proclaimed Jewish state in 1948. Author and journalist Jon Jeter joined Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program Friday to discuss how the United States perpetuates Palestinians’ subjugation and how former President Barack Obama put a black face on US imperialism.
“The 60s called, they want their media back,” said the former Washington Post bureau chief and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist as Western media is flooded with bigoted characterizations of Haitians and Palestinians.
Recently, false rumors about cannibalism in Haiti have flooded social media, while Israel continues to spread debunked atrocity propaganda about mass rapes alleged to have taken place on October 7. False accusations of sexual violence have historically been a prominent tactic used against non-white people to uphold racial supremacy.
Yazan Kafarneh on his hospital bed in Rafah, southern Gaza, on Sunday. By Monday, he was dead. - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.03.2024
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“We continue to trot out the same answers, the same responses, the same orientalism – if I may quote the late, great Edward Said – the same orientalist narratives which qualify imperialism and colonialism,” said Jeter.
“And that's why we can't work our way out, or at least not yet because we've got these same narratives that govern us in a sense and we haven't quite figured out – as Malcolm [X] said, if you're not careful, the media will have you hating the people who are oppressed and love the people who are doing the oppressing.”
“And there's another element to this, Jon, that I think is very important,” added host Wilmer Leon. “Barack Obama. The image of Barack Obama and his selling us imperialism. That leads us to [US United Nations ambassador] Linda Thomas-Greenfield, it leads us to [House minority leader] Hakeem Jeffries, it leads us to [Representative] Gregory Meeks. It leads us to Kamala – all of these Black faces: as I have dubbed it, ‘minstrel imperialism.’”
The tradition of minstrel shows, in which racist depictions of African Americans were used to perpetuate bigoted stereotypes, is understood in the United States as implying that someone is upholding white supremacist power and narratives, even if they themselves are Black.
Leon’s accusation, shared by many, is that Obama strengthened the purchase of Western imperialism and its racist, colonial underpinnings by serving as a Black mascot for US policy. Massive racial disparities continue to exist within the United States while US foreign policy subjugates non-white peoples around the world, with one study by Brown University estimating that at least 3.6 million Arab and Muslim people have died as a result of the United States’ so-called “War on Terror.”
U.S. Soldiers assigned to the East Africa Response Force (EARF), deployed in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, prepare to depart for Libreville, Gabon, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Jan. 2, 2019 - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.12.2023
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“I think this moment has unmasked the United States. I think Barack Obama is part of that,” agreed Jeter. “I have always loathed him. I've loathed him from the first moment I heard his name.”
“He's proven to be even worse than I thought he was, but.. this is the thing about Barack Obama, though, he was the empire's last gasp,” he added. “He was brilliant, right, to put that genie back in the bottle, to keeping the bottle a little bit longer, but the genie is out now, and they don't have anyone to replace him… I think his intelligence was overstated. But they don't have anyone nearly as clever, as charismatic as him in their bullpen. And that's their problem now.”
Jeter noted that Obama was a staunch opponent of the Palestinian cause during his time in office, lavishing Israel with its largest US aid package in history even as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly attempted to undermine his political position.
“What the Algerians are now arguing for, are pleading for, are demanding, maybe, is what Barack Obama denied the Palestinians when he was in office, which is full membership in the United Nations,” Jeter noted. “He actively and aggressively opposed it because he understood it would be the end of apartheid Israel.”
“We started this conversation talking about settler colonialism and it just is not something you can get away from,” he added. “Settler colonialism, it is genocidal. It's a genocidal attempt to profit from other people who are unwilling to engage in that enterprise and at that point you do it with violence.”
As countries like Algeria throughout the Global South work to overthrow the legacy of colonialism and imperialist subjugation, the US empire still searches for a token minority to launder its image as eloquently and effectively as Barack Obama.
People search for flood victims in Derna, Libya, Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. Search teams are combing streets, wrecked buildings, and even the sea to look for bodies in Derna, where the collapse of two dams unleashed a massive flash flood that killed thousands of people. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.09.2023
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