Apr 26, 2011

Janny Scott's Racist Obsession

In her upcoming book, A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother, New York Times' Janny Scott recounts the life of Stanley Ann Dunham and her life as an expatriate in Indonesia.

In the New York Times' article promoting the book, Janny Scott weaves together a  vast collection of  unlikely anecdotes and interviews that oftentimes overshadows Dunham herself and instead attempts to give us a glimpse into the young life of Barry Soetoro and the experiences that helped to shape his life.

Scott's attempt to understand Dunham and the idiosyncrasies associated with the life of an expatriate in Indonesia seem to be labored, and as a result she resorts to simply linking together a collection of anecdotes and stories related to her by others.  And so, instead of dealing with subjects such as expatriatism and an attempt to understand Dunham's mindset as such,  Scott predictably drifts towards the one subject that she is passionate about and that is racism.

As member of the team awarded the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for "How Race Is Lived In America," Janny Scott knows her stuff when it comes to racism in America and she frequently writes about the subject  for the New York Times.  Judging from how often Ms. Scott writes about racism, one might even think she is obsessed with the subject.

Unfortunately Janny Scott knows little if anything about racism in Indonesia or she would have realized that unlike the United States, where racism is based primarily on skin color, racism in Indonesia  has historically manifested itself through discrimination based on ethnicity and religion.  It is the ethnic Chinese and the non-muslims who are the victims of racism in Indonesia.

Take a close look at the photo above.  Is the color of  Barry Soetoro's skin closer to that of his mother or that of his father Lolo Soetoro? 

In her yet-to-be released book the author claims to shed light on the racial abuse that a young Barry Soetoro  supposedly endured as a child.  In one incident, the author writes:

"...After lunch, the group took a walk, with Barry running ahead. A flock of Indonesian children began lobbing rocks in his direction. They ducked behind a wall and shouted racial epithets. He seemed unfazed, dancing around as though playing dodge ball "with unseen players," [fellow American and friend Elizabeth] Bryant said. Ann did not react. Assuming she must not have understood the words, Bryant offered to intervene. "No, he’s O.K.," Ann said. "He's used to it.""

Used to what and what racial epithets?  Neither Bryant or the author say.  I can't even imagine in  the Indonesian language what racial epithets a young child would use.

I will go so far to say that the recalled incident never took place and is a complete fabrication of Janny Scott.

The author later writes, quoting the the same source,  Elizabeth Bryant as stating:

"We were floored that she’d bring a half-black child to Indonesia, knowing the disrespect they have for blacks."

How can you have a disrespect for someone or some race that you have had no exposure to?

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