Over the last week or so, I kind of got off board with Michael Baisden. I usually find myself driving around metro Atlanta sometime between 12:30 and sometime shortly after 3pm. As a result, that means I get to hear the bastion of mediocrity that is Warren Ballentine.
He has his mother come on his show.
**shakes my head**
And he loves us with the love of Jesus Christ–because that’s what he believes.
Lawwwwd…I’m not even going to go there tonight, I’m going to save all of that another post, but you all already know where I stand on those issues.
But, aside from Al Sharpton having on the ridiculousness that E. Bernard Jordan on, Al’s show is usually a blessing to my day. I never really held Michael Baisden to the same standard as I did Sharpton and Ballentine, but I did begin to question this push that he, and others seemed to start about referring to Obama explicitly as “President Obama.”
I was headed up GA 400 the first time I heard this, and I turned my radio up to make sure I heard the discourse between Baisden and George Wilborn. In the short time frame, I heard callers call in to express their utter disgust for white media anchors and hosts referring to Obama as simply that, and not putting the handle on “President.”
As if, you all don’t know where I stand on this issue, let’s back this train into the station and do a little historical criticism.
It has been standard in the black community to place titles, or “handles” as the old folk say, when referring to adults, or people who have certain traditions. This is particularly true when various members of the black community received their medical degree, it was necessary to refer to them as “Doctor” and most certainly to the men of the cloth as “Reverend.” Adding a “Mr.” or “Miss” or “Mrs.” to the beginning of a name was just a given and didn’t require being taught. Even for the less formal names of people, it was taught in the black community, even by my parents to add an “Aunt” so-and-so to a name for close female friends of my mother, or for older relatives a “cousin” was added for me. Still to this day, I hold to these titles I associated from my childhood.
This is not necessarily true for white folk.
My mother encountered a connundrum, which I hopefully won’t have with my kids–she really didn’t want me attaching the same titles to older white adults, given that they weren’t just older people who had flat out earned it. As a result, everyone I encountered got the title of “Mr.” or “Mrs.” I think it stemmed from my mother not wanting to be referred to by her first name by little white kids. Perhaps it reminded her too much of the old “mammy” days where the white kids weren’t forced to acknowledge the eldership of the maids and other house servants.
Big Man over at Raving Black Lunatic brought this situation to light centering on the letter left by the Bush twins to the two youngest inhabitants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. Sasha and Malia Obama. The twins mentioned the ushers’ names of “Buddy, Ramsey and ‘Smiley'”
Okay, yes, my mind immediately went to “Coons-R-Us” with headquarters not far from Crawford, Texas where you can “Pick a nigger, any nigger you like and if we don’t have it we’ll ship it to you.”
I mean, with the name “Smiley” you wonder if he was specially ordered for the occassion.
Granted blacks have been working in the White House for some time now, and have always been there, I think it’s an interesting juxtaposition between how some blacks have taken offense to “Ramsey” while having trashed Bush in every possible over the last four years. Now, magically we believe in titles again.
Honestly, blacks perpetuate and participate in double standards when it works to our collective advantage. I’ve commented on other blogs and somehow that argument doesn’t seem to get any traction. But the moment the specter of white privilege rears it’s ugly head blacks are willing to jump on the bandwagon. I’m not at all asking for anyone to back down from calling out white privilege when and where it exists, but I do ask one to be fair about the situation. In all fairness, blacks have been referring to the 43rd president, one time selected, next time elected president of the United States by his last name for the last four years without batting an eye. Not to mention finding every possible joke to make about the name.
Here comes Barack–all of a sudden blacks are ready to start email and letter campaigns to FoxNews and CNN to enforce that they call him “President Obama.”
All I have for that argument is a big fat “FALL BACK!”
Seriously, in the midst of all the problems that are facing not just black Americans, but Americans in general, are we seriously giving this mediocre argument attention?!!?! I’d much rather hear black Americans spend time asking the critical issues to Obama such as what is he really going to do with the prisoners from Guantanamo Bay? Or ask just when are we going to begin to see the effects of his green energy plan? Or why in the hell Obama fashioned himself like Abraham Lincoln invoking the memory of “a house divided [over slavery]” as opposed to Franklin D. Roosevelt who in his inaugural address said
Primarily this [Great Depression] is because rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men. True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence….The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.
Okay, I got back on my own campaign against anti-intellectualism soapbox again, but whatever. Are we really having this discussion about names and what to call “the help” or what to call the current president? Honestly people, Obama’s, if I can use colorful language, sh!ttin’ on folks because whether you call him “Obama” or “Mr. Obama” or “President Obama” he’s still the official President of these sometimes United States of America.
I guess you’re wondering that if it wasn’t such a big issue, then why did I write a blog about it? Well, to answer that, I did so because I felt a need to bring it to the attention of my readers that that particular question is moot. Also, the age old soapbox of mine that we have a responsibility to be intelligent and raise questions.
Did you ever put “President” in front of Bush’s name? Have you ever called Obama simply, Barack or Obama? Do you feel I went overboard on this one or do you agree with me on this one? Am I the only one who thinks Al Sharpton is a bit out there with E. Bernard Jordan coming onto the show?
Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL