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Obama: Damned If You Do....

It's not a new point to say that Obama probably felt both political and social pressure not to distance himself from Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church and the credibility within Chicago's black community it brought him, but this flashback from a Chicago Reader story from this very day in 2000 illustrates the point:

Obama's detractors rap him because he didn't grow up on the south side. He points out that he's spent most of his adult life there, his wife is from South Shore, and he's raising his daughter as a south-sider. His enemies also say he's too white and too bright. Part of it--although they won't say it publicly--is that he grew up with a white mother. Part of it is his demeanor. His lanky, Lincoln-esque body is usually stiff and upright, and he speaks in a stentorian baritone that sounds like a TV newscaster's (Lester Holt's, to be specific). But the main reason is that he's associated himself with Harvard and the University of Chicago, two strongholds of white power.

"Barack is viewed in part to be the white man in blackface in our community," says Donne Trotter, who detests Obama. "You just have to look at his supporters. Who pushed him to get where he is so fast? It's these individuals in Hyde Park, who don't always have the best interests of the community in mind."...

There are whispers that Obama is being funded by a "Hyde Park mafia," a cabal of University of Chicago types, and that there's an "Obama Project" masterminded by whites who want to push him up the political ladder. His campaign disclosure forms show that he's getting money from some of Chicago's most prominent white liberals[.]

--Michael Crowley