Author to discuss Obama’s importance


Jabari Asim a scholar-in-residence at the university will be at Krannert Center on Tuesday evening discussing his book “What Obama Means … For Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Future.”

By Jarron Farmby

Jabari Asim, scholar-in-residence at the University in journalism and African-American Studies will give a free talk on Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Stage 5, discussing his most recent book, “What Obama Means … For Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Future.”

His book discusses the effects of the Obama presidency on Americans of all backgrounds.

“Obama stands as a true inspiration to a wide group of people in the U.S. and across the world, certainly for African-American children,” said Sundiata Cha-Jua, director of African-American studies and professor of history and African-American studies.

Asim said he delivers interpretations from contemporary to historical, explaining how individuals such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., W.E.B. DuBois and Frederick Douglass paved the way for Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan, who in turn paved the way for an Obama presidency.

“A large part of Obama’s appeal is his embodiment of a new multiracial generation and a long history of black ‘cool’, the hipness that has given us Miles Davis, Sidney Poitier and Jay-Z,” Asim argues.

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    Within the book, Asim places Obama into the history of black rhetorical traditions. With his campaign strategy, Obama caught the attention of average citizens before most of their leaders.

    He discusses how Obama was able to use the civil rights model of action and African-American leadership to discover the progress of American inspiration and strength.

    Cha-Jua also said Obama is having an effect on what younger children wanting to know about their government.

    He said his five-year-old cousin would ask his mother throughout the summer, “How’s Obama?”

    “His presence, regardless of policy, would serve as an inspiration to a generation of black kids,” Cha-Jua said.

    A registered African-American member of the Republican Party, Brittany Gaskin, sophomore in LAS, said Obama is a “hot topic” among American youth.

    “Despite my differences in political beliefs and how I feel the country should be ran, I admire Obama’s eagerness to lead this country, the most powerful nation in the world,” Gaskin said.

    Much of Asim’s talk will address the relevance of Obama’s presidency.

    “Obama is relevant. He represents a visual change that does influence people across the board,” Gaskin said. “Now the American Dream is not only a theory, but a realization.”

    Asim, who is also a playwright and editor-in-chief of the NAACP’s “The Crisis,” magazine, will be signing copies of his book after the event.