GUEST COLUMN
The Orientalism of Barack Obama

November 2012By Terry Scambray

Terry Scambray lives and writes in Fresno, California.

Of course the new documentary movie 2016: Oba­ma’s America was timed by conservative intellectual and bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza to discredit President Barack Obama. Nonetheless, there can’t be much doubt that the President’s vision of America is driven by his attitude toward the perceived sins of European colonialism and his fear that America has now assumed that mantle. The film offers evidence that this is Obama’s vision while suggesting what America would look like by the year 2016 should he be re-elected.

To support this portrayal of Obama, the film begins by showing that he returned a bust of Winston Churchill that was given to President George W. Bush by the British after 9/11. According to President Obama, his Kenyan grandfather was tortured and imprisoned by the British, though David Maraniss, a sympathetic Obama biographer, discounts that story. Nonetheless, Churchill was Britain’s prime minister during a later uprising that led to Kenyan independence. D’Souza argues that this bad blood has caused Obama to hate colonialism, especially the British version. This hatred was passed on to the President by his father, Barack Obama Sr.

But Obama’s father deserted him and later only saw him once more during a month-long visit when the future President was ten years old. Besides that, psychological explanations based on long-ago events are always tricky, permitting observers to come to opposite conclusions based upon exactly the same evidence.

A simpler and more direct explanation is that Oba­ma’s attitude toward colonialism was influenced by his professors and the intelligentsia, that herd of independent thinkers who passionately share the same view and around whom Obama has spent his adult life.


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Back to November 2012 Issue

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To persons with patriotic sentiment like myself who comes from non-West nation, I do resent many of the damaging - and in various cases, dehumanizing - effects of colonialism. But objectivity and candor also stares at us that cannot dismiss the benefits afforded by those 'foreigners' who found themselves in that historical situation, and did the best they can to exercise genuine charity dictated by the Gospel. The Fallen Nature of Man is intricately complex and not easily understood. Whole scale condemnation or praise is just not possible. Ultimately, it is God Who will judge. Posted by: nestor
November 19, 2012 04:02 PM EST
So, is the author for or against colonialism? Posted by: Jack Quirk
November 19, 2012 08:21 PM EST
" ...the West did nothing wrong because the various tribal societies saw slavery, as well as the exploitation of others and the environment, as normal."

Pretty scary thought being pushed forward... Two wrongs now make a right. Well done!
Posted by: Dan m
December 05, 2012 12:24 PM EST
I have followed President Obama's political rise since I heard his speech at the Democratic National Convention that launched his run for president in 2008. I've read his books and biographies about him. Nowhere in his writings or his biographies by creditable writers, have I found any evidence of his communist or socialist leaning or the corrording influence of colonialism that De Souza claims has influenced our President. I think he is a fine human being and a good president who has the good of regular Americans at heart. Posted by: Donald
December 05, 2012 04:12 PM EST
It amazes me that after so many years of so many "thinkers" believing so many lies that TRUTH is slowly leaking out into the collective consciousness. Even our brethren living in Muslim lands are little by slowly beginning to see that what they believed is the best form of government for their well being is not what the Islamists claim it to be and they are pushing back against the 1400 year old franchise that has so successfully gained power for those striving to be elites by dominating and suppressing their people. This despite the fact that not even God tries to control or dictate to free willed human beings. May that God speed TRUTH into the minds of His children. Posted by: Friscosan
December 06, 2012 05:09 PM EST
The comment about Obama returning the bust of Churchill is false Check it out. I won't do the work of lazy journalist. Posted by: Bill Guentner
January 22, 2013 01:50 PM EST
The comment about Obama returning the bust of Churchill is false Check it out. I won't do the work of lazy journalist. Posted by: Bill Guentner
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