The Price of the Ticket: Barack Obama and the Rise and Decline of Black Politics

By Fredrick C. Harris | Go to book overview

4
Respectability as Public
Philosophy

ON FEBRUARY 28, 2008, during a speech delivered a few days before the Texas primary, Barack Obama chastised a predominantly black audience in Beaumont for being negligent parents: “I’ve got to talk about us a little,” the candidate told the wildly cheering crowd. “We can’t keep feeding our children junk all day long, giving them no exercise. They are overweight by the time they are five or four years old, and then we are surprised when they get sick.” Launching into a lecture on how bad food choices lead to childhood obesity, Obama proclaimed: “I know how hard it is to get kids to eat properly but I also know that if folks [are] letting our children drink eight sodas a day, which some parents do, or, you know, eat a bag of potato chips for lunch or Popeye’s [fried chicken] for breakfast,” they are not holding up to their responsibility as parents. Switching to a southern—black—dialect, Obama asks the crowd: “Y’all have Popeye’s out in Beaumont? I know some of y’all you got that cold Popeye’s out for breakfast. I know. That’s why y’all laughing… You can’t do that. Children have to have proper nutrition. That affects also how they study, how they learn in school.”1

-100-

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The Price of the Ticket: Barack Obama and the Rise and Decline of Black Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Transgressing Boundaries ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • 1- Clash of Ideas 3
  • 2- Chicago- The Political Capital of Black America 35
  • 3- Entering the Land of Milk and Honey 70
  • 4- Respectability as Public Philosophy 100
  • 5- Wink, Nod, Vote 137
  • 6- The Price of the Ticket 170
  • Notes 193
  • Index 205
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