Ishmael Reed: “All the Demons Of American Racism Are Rising From the Sewer”

Ishmael Reed at Litquake Barbary Coast Award t...

By Sagar Jethani

Ishmael Reed is a prolific poet, novelist, playwright, songwriter, cartoonist, and cultural critic. His work spans nearly 50 years and has been recognized with numerous distinctions and awards. Reed argues that Americans misinterpret the election of Barack Obama as evidence that the nation has finally moved beyond racism. PolicyMic’s Sagar Jethani spoke with Ishmael Reed to discuss the role that race continues to play in the national discourse.

Before Barack Obama began his first term in 2009, you said that a lot of people were going to be disillusioned because of his centrist and conservative views. Five years later, how does your prediction stand up?

I think it stands up pretty well. Obama comes from the Democratic Leadership Council, which was organized to stop Jesse Jackson and to distance the party from African-American issues. That’s his background.

Is it possible to assess Barack Obama’s presidency in purely political terms, or is race always a factor?

It’s always a factor. The president is like that Catholic priest in The Exorcist: as a result of his presidency, all the demons of American racism are rising from the sewer. I was born in the South. My grandfather was stabbed to death by a white restaurant owner in 1934, and the doctor treating my grandfather said: “Let that nigger die.” When I hear people like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell talk, I think of night riders, nooses, and bloodhounds. They will never cooperate with a black man in that office. If you look at blogs where people can make comments about the president anonymously, you can see the sickness in the American soul. White racism may one day prove to be the country’s downfall.

Read More  Ishmael Reed: “All the Demons Of American Racism Are Rising From the Sewer”.

About The Soul Brother

An observer to the world. I have a unique view of the world and want to share it. It's all in love from the people of the "blues". Love, Knowledge, and Sharing amongst all is the first steps towards solving all the problems amongst humanity.
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1 Response to Ishmael Reed: “All the Demons Of American Racism Are Rising From the Sewer”

  1. I have to agree with Ishmeel 100%. I believe the current President had to try to make a difference but I don’t think he knew just how much racism he would face. He has made a few hopefull changes in government but not enough to make look any different from the Bush era government. The foreign policy is just an expanded Bush version. The President doesn’t have enough good people on his side to allow him to properly delegate and not be hands-on over the100 items on his desk. He isn’t even been given correct information or any information on the politics of the day and he’s still expected to handle these problems. He cannot use the word African American or poor people in any of his gret speeches. Unfortunately he is becomming a puppet of the real rulers of this country; the 1%(not all).

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