Connect with us

Commentary

COMMENTARY: On the Queen’s Passing, and the Obama’s Portraits of Democracy

Granted, the Queen had no real “political” power; but as “head of state,” she still had enormous influence in Great Britain and the dozen or so countries in the Commonwealth. It made her a bit of a contradiction. A hood ornament but not the engine of the old British Empire. She was a living museum piece, a reminder of a repulsive imperial past. A colonizer’s deodorizer.

Published

on

Granted, the Queen had no real “political” power; but as “head of state,” she still had enormous influence in Great Britain and the dozen or so countries in the Commonwealth.

By Emil Guillermo

The same week Queen Elizabeth died at age 96, back in the news for the unveiling of their White House portraits were Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.

BOMO are reminders: Don’t go overboard on the Queen.

In other words, if I say Queen and you say Latifah, or even Beyonce, you’re keeping it real.

Have compassion for Queen Elizabeth II as a human being, sure. But remain repulsed by all that the monarchy stands for.

Tradition? You mean like the hundreds of thousands of Kenyan Kikuyu people imprisoned in the 1950s in what Harvard professor Caroline called the “British Gulag.”

It was so bad that finally in 2013, survivors of the Gulag sued and forced the British to quietly settle with 5,228 survivors. Reparations payments of 3,800 pounds each were for “torture and ill-treatment at the hands of the colonial administration,” according to a Parliament spokesman.

It all happened during the Queen’s watch.

Kenya was just a fraction of the British Empire’s violent past. All of it together, from the Middle East, to Asia, to Africa, subjugated at one time more than 700 million people. It makes the Queen the nostalgic mascot of white supremacy, in a tradition where “I’m royal and you’re not,” means much.

Granted, the Queen had no real “political” power; but as “head of state,” she still had enormous influence in Great Britain and the dozen or so countries in the Commonwealth. It made her a bit of a contradiction. A hood ornament but not the engine of the old British Empire. She was a living museum piece, a reminder of a repulsive imperial past. A colonizer’s deodorizer.

In 1983, I recall covering the Queen when she visited San Francisco. I was not her loyal subject, neither were the 700 Irish protestors outside the St. Francis Hotel. Then as now, I am gratefully reminded how America has no monarchy.

But it can have a president and first lady like Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.

The day the Obamas were back in the White House a Washington Post investigation exposed how a former disgraced president, the one after Obama, had documents containing the top-secret nuclear capabilities of a foreign government, at his Mar-a-Lago civilian home.

On a day like that, we all realized how much we missed “No Drama Obama.”

Barack Obama kept things light so we could remember happier times.

“Thanks for letting us invite a few friends to the White House,” Barack Obama said to Biden at the start. “We will try not to tear up the place.” A burst of laughter put people at ease. But maybe because we all know he couldn’t tear up the place any worse than President 45.

We all know what Obama meant through just a few of his associated acronyms. Health care through ACA (The Affordable Care Act). A life in America for the young, innocent, and undocumented through DACA (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals). A home no longer “underwater” due to the bad loans banks made during the recession thanks to HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program).

But this was a time for art, not policy. Barack Obama’s portrait, a masterful bit of photorealism by Robert McCurdy, captured the first biracial African American from Hawaii ever to be president, as a standout amid a background of white space.

And there was Michelle Obama, in a Sharon Sprung portrait, full of life and color, a first lady like never before.

Both Obamas individually portrayed, artfully, and more truthfully than any literal photo, leaving viewers with plenty of room for imagination, appreciation, and inspiration.

A braided Michelle Obama was humbled to see her canvas. “This big, beautiful painting staring back at me,” she said. “I never could have imagined that any of this would-be part of my story.”

But this is the story of America.

“Too often in this country, people feel like they have to look a certain way or act a certain way to fit in,” Michelle Obama said. “That they have to make a lot of money or come from a certain group, or class or faith in order to matter. But what we’re looking at today, a portrait of a biracial kid with an unusual name, and the daughter of a water pump operator and a stay-at-home mom, what we are seeing is a reminder that there’s a place for everyone in this country.”

That’s the takeaway.

The British can have their impotent figureheads, their kings and queens bloodied by history.

In America, we have the power of democracy.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. See him on www.amok.com

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Commentary

Commentary: May Is Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month

AANHPI is not a social term; it’s purely political, a Frankenstein acronym that reeks of inclusion, and yet there’s so much more of us we don’t see in the name. In fact, the top three groups are Chinese, Indian and Filipino. We’re “Chindipinos.” It makes AANHPI more like a prompt to make sure we don’t forget the incredible potential of our large, diverse community.

Published

on

iStock Photo
iStock Photo

By Emil Guillermo

AANHPI is not a social term; it’s purely political, a Frankenstein acronym that reeks of inclusion, and yet there’s so much more of us we don’t see in the name. In fact, the top three groups are Chinese, Indian and Filipino. We’re “Chindipinos.”

It makes AANHPI more like a prompt to make sure we don’t forget the incredible potential of our large, diverse community.

Across the United States, we’re more than 25 million strong. As I like to point out, it really should include West Asians, like Arab Americans, at around 5 million people. That would boost the group to around 30 million- plus.

How can U.S. policy makers ignore a coalition of 30 million people that have all of Asia as their common ground? They can’t.

Unless we don’t vote.

THE AANHPI POWER YEAR

Around 15 million Asian Americans are projected to be eligible to vote in 2024. This is an increase of 15% from 2020, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s a larger projected increase than for Hispanics (12%) and Blacks (7%).

A lot of talk this year has centered so far on Black and Hispanic voters defecting from the Democrats in 2024. There’s hardly any talk about the Asian American vote. But any change there could be significant.

Seventy-two percent of English-speaking, single race, non-Hispanic Asian voters went for Joe Biden in 2020 vs. 28% who voted for Donald Trump, according to Pew.

Will we see Asian Americans continue to show up for Biden at the 72%level, or will that number erode?

Hopefully, Biden’s Asian American numbers may go higher if the Republican voters in our broad community (around 30%) understand what’s at stake and abandon Trump.

The list of Biden White House initiatives to help Asian Americans is long.

On the other hand, think about how Donald Trump treated his lone Asian American cabinet member, Elaine Chao, and see if that isn’t reason alone for MAGA-AANHPIs to dump Trump, the indicted one.

Here are some other key things about Asian American eligible voters that are worth noting.

We’re 6% of the electorate, which means as a bloc, it has the potential to be a real swing vote.

When you see poll numbers at a dead heat with the margin of error at 3-5%, imagine Asian Americans making up the difference to provide a margin of victory.

That’s how critical our vote is.

Gender-wise, the demographic breakdown is also significant: 53% women and 47% men. Which party has women’s best interests at heart?

By age, 22% of us are 18-29 years old. The biggest demo is 30-49 at 36%. Add ages 50-64 at 23%, and the core 30-64 working age demo is almost 60% of our community.

The majority of us are also naturalized citizens, 56%, vs. U.S born at 44%.

For me this is always where I see some of the biggest fissures within our community. Who was pushing for affirmative action and who was against? Naturalized citizens, immigrants generally led the fight against affirmative action. It remains a flash point. Might it also define a new dividing line between Asian American red and blue?

So, this month, AANHPI Heritage Month, take the time to notice and get to know us better.

About the Author

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator, and was the first Filipino to host a national news program while at NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Contact him at www.amok.com.

Continue Reading

Activism

Oakland Post: Week of May 15 – 21, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of May May 15 – 21, 2024

Published

on

To enlarge your view of this issue, use the slider, magnifying glass icon or full page icon in the lower right corner of the browser window.

Continue Reading

Activism

Oakland Post: Week of May 8 – 14, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of May May 8 – 14, 2024

Published

on

To enlarge your view of this issue, use the slider, magnifying glass icon or full page icon in the lower right corner of the browser window.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

“Menthol cigarettes have had a devastating and disproportionate impact on the health of Black Americans,” said Yolanda Lawson, President of the NMA. “Smoking related diseases are the number one cause of death in the Black community.”
Business1 day ago

Banning Menthol Cigarettes: California-Based Advocacy Group Joins Suit Against Federal Govt.

Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price’s future will be determined on the November General Election ballot instead of a special recall election. On the left, DA Pamela Price. On the right, principal officer of the recall campaign Save Alameda For Everyone (SAFE). Collage by Magaly Muñoz
Alameda County1 day ago

District Attorney Pamela Price Will Face Recall Election on November General Election Ballot

Cathy Leonard, President Coalition for Police Accountability. Courtesy photo. Coalition for Police Accountability logo.
Bay Area1 day ago

Radical Proposal to Limit the Power of Oakland’s Police Commission

The Port of Oakland unanimously voted to rename Metropolitan Oakland International Airport to San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport after weeks of controversy and legal pushback from surrounding Bay Area cities. Photo by Takako Phillips, iStock.
Bay Area1 day ago

Oakland International Airport Will Now Be Called ‘San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport’

The Oakland Parks, Recreation & Youth Development (OPRYD) honored Martha Humphrey "Ms. Martha" (seated in royal blue suit) as Oakland’s 2024 Mother of the Year at the 71st Oakland Mother of the Year Award Ceremony held at Morcom Rose Garden. Photo By Carla Thomas.
Bay Area1 day ago

‘Ms. Martha’ Humphrey is Oakland’s 2024 Mother of the Year

Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. On stage: KTVU Fox 2 Broadcasters Roberta Gonzales and Dave ClarkDance-A-Vision Founder, Carla Service, Vice Mayor Kimberly Mayfield-Lynch, California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta and Lend A Hand Foundation Executive Director Dee Johnson with the Dance-A-Vision Dancers. Photo By Carla Thomas
Activism1 day ago

Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Chef Cleaz, owner of Pierre Pierre Restaurant, and rapper and author Mistah F.A.B. announce special event "You Still Have Son" Mother's Day dinner. Photo Courtesy KTVU Channel 2.
Activism1 day ago

Chef Cleaz and Mistah F.A.B. Host “You Still Have A Son” Mother’s Day Dinner

Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price held a press conference Wednesday morning at Everett & Jones to discuss the recall election and her path forward now that a date is scheduled for November. Photo by Magaly Muñoz.
Alameda County2 days ago

Alameda DA Pamela Price is Ready to ‘Protect the Win’ in Upcoming Recall Election

The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria. Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.
Arts and Culture2 days ago

Third Annual Town Up Tuesday Lifts Oakland’s Community, Culture and Joy

Shutterstock
California Black Media2 days ago

Expect to See a New Flat Rate Fee of $24 on Your Electricity Bill

Courtesy of Society of Science
Community2 days ago

Dasia Taylor: A Girl’s Powerful Success Story Is Inspiring the Next Wave of STEAM Leaders

Rhonda Smith, Executive Director, California Black Health Network
California Black Media2 days ago

Commentary: Support Early Detection Technology to Save the Lives of Black Cancer Patients

iStock Photo
Commentary2 days ago

Commentary: May Is Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Bay Area2 days ago

California Makes Strides in Fight Against Fentanyl

California Supreme Court (iStock Photo)
Business2 days ago

Cal. Supreme Court Could Strip Gov and Legislature of Power to Raise Taxes

Attorney General Bonta and his team are working to review the decision and consider all options that will protect SB 9 as a state law. Bonta said the law has helped provide affordable housing for residents in California.
City Government2 weeks ago

Court Throws Out Law That Allowed Californians to Build Duplexes, Triplexes and RDUs on Their Properties

Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood). Photo Courtesy of L.A. Sentinel
Community1 month ago

Financial Assistance Bill for Descendants of Enslaved Persons to Help Them Purchase, Own, or Maintain a Home

Activism3 weeks ago

Oakland Post: Week of April 24 – 30, 2024

Activism1 month ago

Oakland Post: Week of April 3 – 6, 2024

Photo Courtesy of Alexis Gray Lawson.
Community4 weeks ago

Oakland WNBA Player to be Inducted Into Hall of Fame

On her daylong trip, Harris was joined by Horford, SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman, Interim Under Secretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Eric Morrissette, and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev).
Business1 month ago

V.P. Kamala Harris: Americans With Criminal Records Will Soon Be Eligible for SBA Loans

Activism1 month ago

Oakland Post: Week of April 10 – 16, 2024

Teachers and students protest the closing of schools in Oakland. Photo courtesy of PBS.
Community1 month ago

AG Bonta Says Oakland School Leaders Should Comply with State Laws to Avoid ‘Disparate Harm’ When Closing or Merging Schools

Volunteers at the Men and Women of Valor center in Richmond. Photo by Magaly Muñoz
Community4 weeks ago

Richmond Nonprofit Helps Ex-Felons Get Back on Their Feet

Oak Days shelter, once a Days Hotel, resides in the Hegenberger corridor of Oakland. It is used as a temporary home to 60 residents who have experienced chronic homelessness or are medically vulnerable. Photo by Magaly Muñoz.
Alameda County2 weeks ago

An Oakland Homeless Shelter Is Showing How a Housing and Healthcare First Approach Can Work: Part 1

Arthur Lee Johnson was a member of the Richmond Police Department for 25 years. Courtesy photo.
Community4 weeks ago

RPAL to Rename Technology Center for Retired Police Captain Arthur Lee Johnson

Toks Omishakin, Secretary of the California State Transportation Agency (CALSTA), answers questions from concerned entrepreneurs frustrated with a lack of follow-up from the state. January 24, 2024 at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel, Lost Angeles, Calif. Photo by Solomon O. Smith
Business4 weeks ago

Black Business Summit Focuses on Equity, Access and Data

It was strange for Iowans to caucus on MLK day. It had a self-cancelling effect. The day that honored America’s civil rights and anti-discrimination hero was negated by evening. That’s when one of the least diverse states in the nation let the world know that white Americans absolutely love Donald Trump. No ifs, ands or buts.
Commentary1 month ago

Commentary: Republican Votes Are Threatening American Democracy

Rev. Amos C. Brown, president of the San Francisco NAACP and pastor of Third Baptist Church. Photo courtesy Third Baptist Church.
Activism2 weeks ago

S.F. Black Leaders Rally to Protest, Discuss ‘Epidemic’ of Racial Slurs Against Black Students in SF Public School System

File Photo: Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher (R-Yuba City)
Business1 month ago

G.O.P. Lawmakers: Repeal AB 5 and Resist Nationalization of “Disastrous” Contractor Law

Trending

Copyright ©2021 Post News Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.