POLITICO has a big article on the question of whether Cory Booker is authentically black enough to be President. His privileged background makes him the class equivalent of Brett Kavanagh in (ahem!) blackface, but he spent years living in the Newark Projects out of a combination of racial solidarity and political ambition. (Community Organizer Obama was in an area guarded by University of Chicago Police during the period when he was trying to be authentically black.) Rich, high-IQ blacks call this "keeping it real".
How an ambitious future presidential contender who grew up in a white suburb moved to the projects—and won over critics who thought he was a phony. Can he do it again?
By MICHAEL GRUNWALD
February 01, 2019
NEWARK, N.J. — Senator Cory Booker was educated at Stanford, Oxford and Yale, but he likes to say he got his real education at Brick Towers, the dilapidated and dangerous housing project in inner-city Newark where he spent eight years as a tenant—not by necessity, but by choice. Living in a 16th-floor apartment that often lacked heat, hot water and elevator service, among poor neighbors trapped on the slum side of the American Dream, this celebrated black prodigy from a comfortable white suburb took an extended tutorial in urban adversity. He got a firsthand introduction to the policy issues that drove his agenda as a city councilor, mayor and New Jersey senator, and will now drive his newly announced presidential campaign.
Brick Towers is gone now, but on a chilly gray morning in January, Booker was back at the intersection it loomed over for decades, riffing on the difference between thinking about policy and experiencing it up close. He noted that his former neighbor from the towers, Shahad Smith, was gunned down at this very intersection last spring: “You hear debates about guns, but he was killed right here with an assault rifle.”[More]
Newark is 25% white, has a black government and police force, savagely restrictive gun laws ruthlessly enforced against non-criminals, and no death penalty. Changes to federal gun laws won't help, but that's the kind of anti-crime measure you get from an "authentlcally" black politician. (Obama was the same way.)
In 2007-8, Steve Sailer spent a lot of time examining the question of whether Obama was black enough for be the black electorate, and pointed out the obvious double standard. An article in Newsweek [Across the Divide, by Richard Wolffe and Daren Briscoe, July 16, 2007] had pointed out how Obama had convinced various black luminaries that he was sincerely black (something he had to convince Michelle Obama of before he could marry her!) and Steve wrote
It's a commonplace in history for somebody of a mixed or marginal ethnic background to try to be more ethnocentric than thou, whether out of compensation or genuine enthusiasm: Napoleon, Eamon de Valera, and Stalin (from 1941 onward) are obvious examples. Similarly, Obama wrote a 442 page book about how his not being all that African-American by heredity and upbringing made him self-obsessed with being black.
To the Man from Mars, this article would make sense if Obama was running to succeed Jesse Jackson as the Uncrowned King of Black America. But, last I checked, he's running to be President of the United States. To the average American voter, the news that Obama has relentlessly managed to prove to black activists such as Dr. West, the Rev. Wright, and Mrs. Obama that he's black enough via his staunch political commitment to their cause might not be as reassuring as the article assumes.
But you won't see that in Newsweek.
So my question is, even if Booker is authentic, why should white votes (still the majority) care?