….hopefully Lady Michelle Obama and her husband will have made history by being the first black woman to legally and morally sleep in the same bed as the President of the United States of America.
That being said, I think Black America’s honeymoon will be over.
Frankly, this blog is a response to the number of blog posts that I’ve read over the past few weeks since November 4th that include hate blogs against Tavis Smiley, Michael Eric Dyson and Roland Burris. In a racial climate still equally as potent as prior to the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act of the ’60s (the last substantive set of laws Congress passed in my opinion) where a young man can be shot in the back while lying of the floor of an Oakland, California transit station or where police officers can open a can of whoop-ass on black teens in Phildelphia and we never hear about it again, this inauguration has far reaching ramifications. It has even been aptly opined that what will come from all of us-folk, black and white, crowding the Mall for probably a ceremony an hour or so and asking a more than appropriate question as to wouldn’t our presence be more appreciated if we stayed in our communities and actually did something. Such is the case here in Atlanta where the Hosea Williams Feed the Hungry on King Day is asking for volunteers because the usuals are driving to Washington next week.
This time next week...
…Obama will be forced to put his money where his mouth his because, it will still only be one president, except that this time it’s him.
First let me address my fellow black Americans who voted for him:
Let’s be honest with ourselves. None of us who are registered Democrats were going to vote for John McCain, and he lost whatever chance that would have been when he picked Sarah “Plain and Tall” Palin as his running mate. Fact of the matter was we voted for him because he was a Democratic candidate–much like we would have if Hillary Clinton had won the nomination. But, I think we really did give him a pass because of his skin color, or maybe his wife’s skin color. We played identity politics to the hilt with Obama. We didn’t question why he left Trinity, we didn’t question those damn “personal responsibility” speeches he gave last year, we most certainly didn’t question why he didn’t go to the State of the Black Union, but we all know that if Hillary had snubbed it, folks would have been up in arms; we barely questioned about the lack of black folk in his cabinet–so now, that rubber is about to meet the road, I question the black community just how far are we going to concede.
Of course real politics is on the local level. If you want to see change in your day to day lives bring up these same concerns with your local government, however, as me and my friends acknowledged the day after he threw Wright under the bus, one friend simply stated, “Damn, we can’t trust him anymore.”
I raised the same question in my post as to what is Obama willing to stand for. The center is fine, but being in the middle sucks. There will come a time for him to pick sides and frankly I’m a bit concerned as to which side he may choose. There is NOTHING in Obama’s track record that would say that he’s got the interest of black Americans as one of his top priorities. Because of our “minority” status in this country, it is easy for non-blacks to say “Well, he’s not president of just black America, but all of America.”
Alright, go to Idaho or Alaska and ask a Palin or McCain supporter that same question and see what their response is about being in the minority.
I’m a bit shocked at the number of blacks who have bought into the hype of Obama. Sure ,the image he puts forth is nothing but positive, and I’m not challenging that. Nor am I challenging the policies that he has already presented, I’m all for the Green initiative and I am all for his idea of universal healthcare and always have been. What’s at issue for me is that I really think he has been deified by some people. I had made the argument on another blog that he hadn’t been, but perhaps I was wrong. I had my Kwanzaa party over the holidays and one friend privately told me that another friend was an “Uncle Tom [Thomasina]” because she informed the group in the midst of a passionate discussion that had stemmed from a Ujamaa debate that she didn’t like Obama because she didn’t know where he truly stood on some issues, and that the “personal responsibility” tour he took criticizing young black males and absentee father’s was a result of his own “daddy issues.”
Fact of the matter is that she was right because Obama has done this two step that has left much of black America suffering from cognitive dissonance. We see the facts placed in front of us that this man is not guaranteed to do totally right by us, but the color of his skin has pulled at our emotional heartstrings and has in some weird ways blinded us to the truth of the matter that things may not necessarily change.
This time next week…
Hopefully we would have taken Tavis Smiley’s remarks last year to heart about holding our politicians accountable. Seriously y’all, please tell me the error in that logic. Someone said that the accountability is exercised in an election. Nooooooooo….Obama was running for the seat, it was still primary season last February, and I felt both men did what they had to do. Obama felt that campaigning for Super Tuesday was more important than attending a church meeting a convention where 100% of the people were going to vote for him, mostly in a state that was going to go Republican in the General Election. Smiley said that as elected official, we want to hear where you stand on the issues and are you truly best for the African Americans in this country.
Honestly, I can say that minus Hillary Clinton making her snide comments to the white voters of Pennsylvania and West Virginia in the primaries–I would have changed my vote last year in the primaries. Hillary Clinton was the first to take a stance on Hurricane Katrina back in 2005 and Obama rode in on her coattails and didn’t really have much definitive to say. In fact he somewhat took an apologetic stance to FEMA and by extension Bush’s administration.
There’s been much attention in the press about the fact that those who were left behind in New Orleans were disproportionately poor and African American. I’ve said publicly that I do not subscribe to the notion that the painfully slow response of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security was racially-based. The ineptitude was colorblind.
Oh yeah, how quickly we forget these things.
To white Americans who voted for Obama:
Simply stated, much of what you hear and see from blacks is an in-house thing. I don’t think most liberal whites have enough cultural capital in the banks of Black America to fully understand that which it means to be black in the United States. No amount of Ph.Ds in African American studies or MLK studies (this means you Taylor Branch) will fully make you understand the sheer duality of this moment for us. This has nothing to do with white privilege, but rather an understanding that life experiences have led us to cross paths this time, allowing both sides to share in this moment, but that from this moment and on, it’s back to business as usual repairing the historical and contemporary riffs between the races.
I was encouraged to watch two black nonagenarians interviewed on WGN the other night, and both had been raised in the rural South (Mississippi to be exact) and both of them remarked of how far we’ve come as a nation and that hopefully Obama’s presidency will act as a hallmark to move even farther down that continuum.
This time next week…
…Roland Burris will hopefully have been sworn into the U.S. Senate, hopefully by tomorrow, this Thursday as scheduled. Hopefully black America–if I can be blunt because this is my blog–will stop BITCHING AND MOANING about him being, and a quote a “scab” of Blagojevich and that he–and I quote again–“squirm[ed] his way into the historical record by hook and crook” and sit back and take a personal inventory of the plethora of other black elected politicians who have a proven track record of being crooks, most of which resulted in a conviction, something that Burris does not have on his record.*
What I said, and what I’ve been saying for much of the duration of this blog’s life which is to encourage intelligent and meaningful and thought provoking discussion. Usually I try and keep my personal barbs to myself, but when I see mediocrity I get incensed. Since when did it become okay to be average?!?!?! (No offense AverageBro) I have a particular disdain for people like Warren Ballentine simply because he’s average and doesn’t seem to challenge himself nor his callers. Now I’m not saying I have it right all the time, but I’d love a good comment that can tear my argument apart and force me to rethink my opinion. One cannot grow in intelligence if one is constantly succumbing to group think mentality. Therein lies my problem.
This time next week…
…hopefully we will have exited the silly season of politics for good and will have attempted to reclaim our positions at striving for intelligent excellence. I know the numbers are few for those that I personally think do a good job in giving good well thought out opinions–who happen to be black–but nonetheless, I hope that those that I once looked to will regain their standing in my own eyesight. I think what the Warren Ballentine’s of the world forget that there are black versions of Joe the Plumber walking around.
Or if I can drive the point home, that Raekwon’s and Ly’Tshonda’s and Knowshawn’s exist.
Okay, perhaps this is being a bit tasteless, but um, you get my point.
There are people, some of whom are my friends, who operate off of the whimsical feelings of pastors and preachers and radio personalities. I always cringe when I hear public voices say things that are oratorically irresponsible. So for certain black talking heads to mention on blogs, talk radios or cable news networks that Roland Burris is a crook, then everything else begins to fit into place in their minds that he is when in fact that is a wholly unfounded claim against the man. Honestly, I had a friend, 23, who didn’t know the difference between right wing and left wing.
Sooo….to the black talking heads–get your act together.
I’m not asking you to change your opinion, but at least be informed about it.
This time next week…
…I’m asking all who have plodded through this lengthy post to just be mindful that this is a new era in which we live and to be mindful of it. It’s a new day and as citizens of this country and inhabitants of this globe, as The Critical Cleric said to “not be after personal gain, but rather be about the common good.”
*Yes, I might as well say it, but this is not going to be common, but I have distinct aught with Melissa Harris-Lacewell and her comments concerning Roland Burris over at her blog, a blog that I have lifted up many time, The Kitchen Table and I’m quite sure you can figure out which comments they are. I still respect her as person, and am not out to defame her in any way, but I think on this particular one she’s way off the mark.
Do you think that blacks and the uber-left have been wonderfully played to the left by Obama so far? Am I the only one waiting for the cloud of disillusionment to descend upon millions of Democrats who truly bought into this idea of “change” as altruism in politics? What is the disconnect between those drinking the Kool-Aid and those willing to give a critical eye to the politicians? Am I the only one who’s happy that by this time next week George Bush will be beginning his life as a hopeful footnote in politics in the years to come?
Who actually reads these long posts? Lol.
Keep it uppity, and keep it truthfully radical, JLL