Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

The President's Speech.

I don't have much to say about the president's address at last night's memorial service other than the obvious: It was excellent, and you should watch it. Even as someone skeptical of these events, I was moved by Obama 's optimism, hope, and appeal to our national community. Like James Fallows , I think this will stand -- along with Obama's 2004 convention speech and his March 2008 speech on race -- as some of his best work. For a more insightful take on the speech, I really recommend reading Jonathan Bernstein (though, of course, you should be reading him anyway): Obama or any president represents us -- makes us present even though we are not present -- because we have contended with him, because he's had to make so many promises to us about what he will do, how he will act, who he will be. Barack Obama is, as we all know, a talented speaker. The Barack Obama who gave the speech in Tucson, however, is one who has built himself through his interactions with the electorate, who has...

A Healthy Dose of False Equivalence.

David Von Drehle 's Time magazine piece on the Tucson shooting overflows with false equivalences. For instance: Markos Moulitsas , activist and proprietor of Daily Kos, is exactly the same as Sarah Palin; David Brock , founder of a media watchdog website, is the same as Glenn Beck , who reaches tens of millions of Americans through Fox News and his radio show. After Oklahoma City and a decade of abortion-clinic bombings culminating in the murder of George Tiller , progressives are justifiably worried about right-wing violence. They may have gotten ahead of themselves with the shooter in Tucson, but it is not unreasonable to be concerned about the paranoid (and sometimes violent) rhetoric emanating from the right. But, in fitting with his commitment to false equivalence, Drehle compares wary progressives to birthers and Tea Partiers who attack the legitimacy of the president: "They babble about bizarre alternate realities in which right-wing fanatics terrorize the land or a socialist...

The Wealthy as an Object of Disdain.

Mark Yzaguirre allows for the existence of undeserving rich: [I]n a global economy, there are very wealthy economic players who didn’t gain their wealth by risking their personal capital or other voluntary business transactions. Trillions of dollars of investment worldwide, including in the US stock markets and other investment vehicles that middle-class Americans rely on for their well-being, is provided by sources that didn’t become wealthy via libertarian means. Jihadist oil barons from the Middle East, post-Soviet oligarchs and executives from Chinese Communist Party-backed companies are just as welcome as investors and guests at posh resorts as Warren Buffett and Steve Jobs. They have a big place at the table in the global economy. This doesn’t justify general suspicion or envy of the wealthy . In fact, it’s fair to say that these players didn’t attain wealth through free enterprise means, so their sins don’t say much about the free enterprise system. [Emphasis mine] The bolded...

Mourner-in-Chief.

Speaking as someone who doesn't actually need the president to assuage my fears, rub my back, and tell me that it will "be OK," I'm a little disturbed by Beltway anticipation for President Obama 's address at the University of Arizona this evening, as typified by this headline at The Hill , "Nation turns its eyes to Obama as mourner in chief in Arizona:" Obama will be walking in the footsteps of former Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, who in moments of tragedy were able to use the bully pulpit of the presidency to unify a nation with words. The nation remembers Bush standing on the rubble at Ground Zero, a key turning point for a president who came into office after losing the popular vote. Bush’s approval ratings in the aftermath of 9/ 11 skyrocketed to 90 percent in late September of that year, turning what looked like a lame-duck presidency into his second term. [...] Moments like Wednesday’s provide a natural advantage to the incumbent in the White House. No other office in...

Walking Back From Brown.

A quick point about school resegregation, to follow up on the last post. Since the mid-1990s, African American and Latino students have been dramatically more likely to attend schools where they are a significant majority. At present, about one-sixth of African American students and one-ninth of Latino students attend schools that are at least 99 percent minority. What’s more, these schools tend to be very high poverty, and as I noted in the last post, educational outcomes suffer hugely in schools where the majority of students come from high-poverty backgrounds. Demographic, economic, and educational trends have fed into the shift; minorities -- particularly blacks and Latinos -- are still concentrated in a small number of geographic regions and are still most likely to live among each other. When combined with persistently high unemployment, this creates a situation where large numbers are living in segregated areas of concentrated poverty. And because most school districts are...

Pages