In fact, on the contrary, we’re only ready for a president, who happens to be black.
Well, let me first put a few things out here just so you know where I’m coming from. I personally believe that there NEEDS to be a Congressional resolution that formerly apologizes for slavery and Jim Crow laws to the descendants of slavery. Personally, I’m only three generations removed from slavery; that means my great-great grandparents were born slaves in Mississippi and Louisiana respectively–and I can trace my heritage ONLY that far.
Sorry, I don’t have the privilege of going all the way back to “the old country.”
As I was frying chicken on Monday, it was the first time that I heard about a real apology from Congress regarding slavery and Jim Crow laws in the South. And of course I was expecting to hear the name U.S. Rep. John Conyers somewhere in the story segment. I just heard it once. But this particular resolution was being sponsored by some white U.S. Rep. in Memphis named Steven Cohen–who took over a predominantly black district after Former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford lost his U.S. Senate bid to the very conservative Bob Corker (I was in Tennessee in 2006, that guy Corker was really a piece of work!). So I don’t know if history will record Steven Cohen or John Conyers as the true author of this resolution–what do you think?
So, now the story hot off the AP wire is that “Obama opposes slavery reparations, apology” from this morning, buy by 11:45, the morning of August 2nd, the AP has retracted that story line and changed it to “Obama opposes reparations for slavery.”
There’s something amidst here if you ask me.
“I have said in the past — and I’ll repeat again — that the best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed,” the Illinois Democrat said recently.
Okay, well so far so good. I’m not in favor of handing out one big check for amortized wages from 1619-1865 for my entire family and dividing it up according to living family members. I’ve kind of always said that I’d just be happy with an apology–which in some weird way, I think this was about the most piss-poor apology ever given in the history of established governments in the world–but as I’ve gotten older, I think there also needs to be some action behind the words. An apology would be nice, and I guess, as to not offend whitey’s sensibilities, don’t call it reparations, and then do what Obama suggests.
The article goes on to read:
“Let’s not be naive.is running for president of the United States, and so he is in a constant battle to save his political life,” said Kibibi Tyehimba, co-chair of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. “In light of the demographics of this country, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect him to do anything other than what he’s done.”
But this is not a position Obama adopted just for the presidential campaign. He voiced the same concerns about reparations during his successful run for the Senate in 2004.
There’s enough flexibility in the term “reparations” that Obama can oppose them and still have plenty of common ground with supporters.
Well, still so far so good. I’ve been saying from jump what Tyehimba was quoted as saying. There is NOTHING in Obama’s past that would necessarily dictate that when he gets elected that he will begin to look out for “black issues.”
Then, this is where me and Brother Obama depart ways:
Obama says an apology would be appropriate but not particularly helpful in improving the lives of black Americans. Reparations could also be a distraction, he said.
In a 2004 questionnaire, he told the NAACP, “I fear that reparations would be an excuse for some to say, ‘We’ve paid our debt,’ and to avoid the much harder work.”
While I agree that his assessment of reparations is enlightening and a new perspective, and one I actually agree with, I firmly believe that the apology (perhaps an even better one) would be a great first step in the forgiveness process. Whether whites want to say it’s wrong, or “they just need to get over it” (which is the height of insensitivity–why don’t you tell the Jews to get over the Holocaust while you’re at it? But I’m sure you wouldn’t tell a white person ‘Get over it’) the fact and reality of the situation is that blacks cannot get over it. It’s part of our culture, and it’s a part of this country’s identity. So until whites come to grips with this part of fact and reality that blacks aren’t going to any time soon get over the hurt and anger attached with their skin color, the conservative right can expect this issue to keep on coming up and continue to surface until it is fairly dealt with.
The last part of this article is the reason why I entitled this blog as such. I think it’s true and tell-tailing of this “post-racial” society we live in.
“If we have a program, for example, of universal health care, that will disproportionately affect people of color, because they’re disproportionately uninsured,” Obama said. “If we’ve got an agenda that says every child in America should get — should be able to go to college, regardless of income, that will disproportionately affect people of color, because it’s oftentimes our children who can’t afford to go to college.”
One reparations advocate, University of Dayton, bluntly responded: “I think he’s dead wrong.”, a law professor at the
She said aid to the poor in general won’t close the gaps — poor blacks would still trail poor whites, and middle-class blacks would still lag behind middle-class whites. Instead, assistance must be aimed directly at the people facing the after-effects of slavery and, she said.
“People say he can’t run and get elected if he says those kinds of things,” Randall said. “I’m like, well does that mean we’re really not ready for a black president?”
Well, I think Professor Randall is perfect in her analysis. We’re not ready for a black president, only a president who happens to be black. I think it even goes to address Obama’s quip about not looking like the other presidents on the dollar bills–well, hell, it’s true! Even Roland Martin was equating that comment to a gaffe. I’m not persuaded, I think it was perfect coded-language to blacks who have often times made that statement about who’s on the picture of the money is the one who controls the money and how they certainly haven’t been kissed by nature’s sun.
At this point in the game, since I seem to be a conflicted minority who’s dissenting against Obama, I’m curious as to just how much Black America is willing to give up to put Obama in office. We’ve pushed out the NAACP, to some level, and labeled them as archaic without raising up another organization, not even the National Urban League. In my own opinion, I think the NAACP does have some issues that need addressing, but I think the overall black community is to willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater to get a black man in office. We’ve also given up, it seems, the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton just because they’re doing the same stuff we’re doing individually behind closed doors, but for some weird reason, we think that they shouldn’t be allowed to. Essentially, we’ve castigated major voices and outlets of intellect in hope for a future that is named Obama.
I mean, I’m all for moving forward, don’t get me wrong. I’m quite clear that I’ll be happy to attend the funeral services of Andrew Young and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, but I think the black community is making a crucial mistake by discounting many of the old guard just because Obama is now on the scene. I mean, if we really think that just because we have a black president, who has the same skin color as mine, named Obama that suddenly our problems will begin to be addressed, then we’ve really been sipping the Kool-Aid (prolly red flavored, you know how the darkies like bright red ish).
Frankly, as far as Obama is concerned, I’m no longer that damn impressed.
Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL
Don’t forget to nominate me for the 2008 Black Weblog Awards! I’d love for you to go ahead and vote for me.