Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Barack is just another Man with Black Skin

I will not take anything away from Barack Obama and I shall not insult him, but I will say that I do believe Mr. Obama is not prepared to be the next president of these United States of America. Several of you reading are probably wondering how I can come to that conclusion and a few of you may be in agreement. For those of you in agreement, I pray you have come to your belief based on Barack’s political life, his position on various topics/issues, and his voting record in the senate. I, for one, refuse to jump on the band wagon just because he has black skin. You get that? Black skin. Not, African American. To be African American means you have had the opportunity in life to truly identify with being a black American. Barack Obama claims he “identifies” with the less fortunate and most demised people on earth, but I question this. It is my hope he eventually tells the world’s populace how he relates to being a black American man by having a white mother and Kenyan father. However, I don’t expect him to because if he does he may prove to be too black for his white fans.

Along the lines of politics, if you are “too black” in America you will never win the presidency. Being too black means you personally identify with the struggles, the plight, and the suffering of African Americans. It also means you are willing to voice your disdain or frustrations publicly without fear of losing mainstream (white) corporate and private donors. If you are light in skin tone, non-intimidating looking, possess an international viewpoint, shockingly articulate, and unwilling to officially stand up for the wrongs that continue to be perpetrated among black folk in America like Al Sharpton or Louis Farrakhan you are their man! Oh! You can’t have a perm either.

It is interesting to me that Hilary Clinton can voice her frustrations about the government’s neglect of poor black men and women without fear of ridicule or financial abandonment. She has been known to blast the government and fully support the “black cause” on countless occasions. Just like our first black president, William Jefferson Clinton! It is as if she gets a pass from her white followers. Let’s explore this for a minute. Senator Clinton, a white lady from Illinois, can rant about my disadvantages as an African American and Senator Obama can not. Is it that those white financial backers of Barack are okay with him being non-confrontational? Are they okay with him not “stirring trouble”? Do they prefer a non-agitator? Yes, they do. He is their “clean” man that helps them forget about their present and/or past racist beliefs. He makes them feel better and more comfortable. Now, for the black followers of Obama he to some degree brings feelings of pride and accomplishment despite his ancestry and upbringing. The brown skin is sufficient! But, what if he was Asian? Would black people vote for him then? No, they probably would not. The Asian will need to have a little black blood in his blood stream. Ridiculous!

Even if Barack is everything the majority wants and since his blackness is enough for blacks, America is STILL not ready for a president who is not the product of white parents. And we actually believe race relations are getting better in America. We can change minds, but we cannot change hearts and deep-seated beliefs.

America is a compilation of misguided opinions and debilitating insecurity. Regardless of race or gender the United States cannot be saved via the presidency. We are slowly, but surely heading toward a third world condition, and part of the problem is we elect our leaders because of the candidate’s skin color, rock star status, maleness, devotion to Christianity, and if he/she has smoked marijuana or not. Everything but relevant experience and the ability to lead effectively.

Written by Muata. Inspired by those people out there who will cast a presidential vote for Oprah Winfrey just because she is POPULAR. Inspired by the reading of Barack Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope.


Muata said...

Reader Responds:








Muata said...

Reader Responses:

Nice piece.


I thought you were taught to PLEDGE your allegiance.......................................ALL MEN ARE CREATED..............................equal.......................................LIBERTY AND JUSTICE.................................................................for all! \

You should run so your skeletons can be aired on The Today Show.

Azikiwe Chandler said...

Your writing is improving, Brian, but your penchant for coming down unnecessarily hard on positive brothers and sisters still frustrates the hell out of me!

There will be PLENTY of detractors from any brother or sister doing positive things. White folks and adversaries will dig up or invent anything they think can harm someone who might challenge the white male status quo (did you see the Fox story on Obama's attending a Madrassa?!). So my question to you is, if you have a choice to join a bandwagon of supporters for a brother or a bandwagon of detractors, why would you join the bandwagon to tear a brother down? It does NOT make sense to me, Brian!

"...the problem is we elect our leaders because of the candidate’s skin color, rock star status, maleness, devotion to Christianity, and if he/she has smoked marijuana or not. Everything but relevant experience and the ability to lead effectively."

This is what YOUR "hating" is based on! You read his autobiography, and you're telling me that he lacks the ability to lead effectively?! Or that he can't identify with being a Black man in America?! If you have black skin in the USA you are treated as an African American. The cops don't pull a brother over for Driving While Black and say, "Oh, wait a minute, maybe he was raised by white parents. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt." Remember Diallo? That brother wasn’t born here either, but he was filled with bullets just like he was any other brother from the hood without even having the opportunity to say a word.

What about Obama’s grassroots organizing in Chicago? Have you ever gone door to door in the hood in an effort to get people to take political action? If so, you know you gain empathy from experiencing first hand knowledge of people’s burdens.

My problem with editorials like this and the one you did on Nagan is that you're tearing brothers down without giving them props for what they have overcome and accomplished. And if you're tearing down the few brothers and sisters doing positive things without offering alternatives, you are in effect saying, “Vote/support for the white person because they're better.” And the shame of it all is that you hold the white folks to no scrutiny at all!

So maybe the brother has to be cleaner than Hillary to get into the White House, but that doesn't mean that he won't represent us better than Hillary once he gets there. Seriously, how will Hillary (or any of the other front-running candidates) look out for you better than Obama would? Does Hillary know what it's like to be a Black man in the USA?

Do me a favor, Brian. The next time you talk about politics and evaluating politicians on more than their “rock star status”, bring facts to the table. Show me the facts that say any of the other candidates are better suited to run this country than Obama, and I'll try to understand where you're coming from. Until you do that, you will continue to strike me as another brother who has internalized self hatred as a result of too many years experiencing institutionalized racism. That is to say, that your actions and words seem to indicate that you believe all of the propaganda (e.g. textbooks, fox news, movies, rap lyrics, etc.) that offer you shining examples of good white people, while simultaneously telling you (through video and audio bombardment) that black people aint sh1t.

Take a day to count the number of Black faces you come across in the media. Count everything - textbooks, movies, newspapers, songs on the radio, tv shows, etc. What percentage of those images and sounds are positive versus negative? I guarantee you that you will hear and see more criminals, pimps, whores, prostitutes, villains and brothers and sisters who've made mistakes than you will see brothers and sisters who are doing good. SO WHY WOULD YOU BECOME A PART OF A SYSTEM ALREADY WORKING AGAINST US?! You are in effect dissing one of the few positive images of Blackness that exist today!

Now, go to www.youtube.com and search Obama+60 minutes. After you watch that piece let me know SPECIFICALLY how anyone else is going to a better job for us than Obama?


PS - I'm still in Korea. Check the blog for photos.

Muata said...

Muata responds to Blogger Chandler:

Mr. Chandler-

I am not the enemy, my friend. Good commentary accomplishes what is occurring between us. You have an opinion and I have one. However, my objective is to stimulate civil debate. I can actually visualize you reading my commentary. I see a brother getting frustrated with me. I see a brother who is on the defense. I see a brother who is probably wondering if Muata hates his people. I see a brother who is debating if Muata is a turncoat. Mr. Chandler, I am a man who decided to write commentary. Yes, I am HIGHLY critical of black folk. More of us should be. Look at our condition. The condition is a direct result of two things: the white man’s ongoing treatment of us and our lack of personal responsibility.

Now, back to Barack. Am I supposed to agree with and support Barack because he is a man with black skin? The band wagon I am on is one that I created. It is full of Muata’s thoughts, concerns, opinions, and beliefs. And, I have decided to believe Mr. Obama is not ready to be the President of the United States. What is wrong with that belief? How did I come to this belief? I did based on my continued research, his experience, monitoring of his comments/reactions to analyst, and the reading of one of his books. I should not be attacked because of that reasoning.

Where in my writing of this commentary did I tear down Barack? My opening statement reads: “I will not take anything away from Barack Obama and I shall not insult him.” I was successful at this in the commentary. As for tearing down others, I have only given Muata’s truth and understanding. This comes form living and the experience from living. My situation is different from yours. We see and conceptualize things differently. But, I will say that one of our (black folk) problems is we are quick to support black folk who we have no REAL reason to do so. We are like millions of people. We are band wagon jumpers. Just because someone is black does not constitute my support. That is crazy decision making. If I thought like this I should be a follower of Jakes, Love, Dollar, Dyson, Williams, Sharpton, and many more black men. What I have done is taken a road that’s not traveled on a lot. To be a critic opens one up to insults and scrutiny. Also, I am not in the business of giving “solutions” when the solutions are already among us. Booker, Louis, Martin, Douglas, Marcus, and Smiley have given us the solutions, Zik. Black folk have just failed to answer the call collectively. Part of my purpose is shared with the world on my blog under the section “About me”.

Let me continue with your accusation of me “tearing brothers down”. Well, about three weeks ago I wrote a piece entitled, A Moment of Reflection: Honoring the Black Man. In May 2006 I wrote a piece that I believed honored black women. It is entitled, Oprah’s Legend Ball: Mourning the Death of One Black Woman and Appreciating Thousands More. A few weeks back I wrote, LOVE HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE ANSWER. This piece talks about black love and the importance of obtaining that love. I have written numerous sermons that gives not only my understanding of divinity and spirituality, but guidance. Mr. Chandler, I must say that I am well balanced and I have what writers call: Writer Versatility. This is not said to gloat. It is mentioned to prove to you that I have, in fact, BUILT UP black folk.

You insinuated that I do not teardown, and I am not critical of white people. Well, Mr. Chandler I have been on the forefront of tearing down white folk and the government of the United States, which in my mind is made up of egotistical white men, since I was 13 years old. I have done this at the risk of losing my jobs. But yet, you say I do not criticize those folk. Re-read Proud to be an American–Why? Glance over The White Man Carrying the Bible-He needs to Leave us Alone. Re-read the Cost of the War. Re-Read Dafur: What does a Black Life mean to the United States Government? Glance over Declaration of Their Independence. Re-read Lucifer’s Acquisition. Glance over Healing Begins with an Apology. And, final please re-read The Government Wishes Death upon Fidel: Take Note of Their HYPOCRISY. Mr. Chandler, where have you been? If I had it my way I would BLAST the government and white folk each and every day, but guess what? I would be labeled a “mad black man” then and they would not listen to my constructive and factual words.

Zik, you are my boy. I have never taken a shot at you, but you did with me with this single statement: “your actions and words seem to indicate that you believe all of the propaganda (e.g. textbooks, fox news, movies, rap lyrics, etc.) that offer you shining examples of good white people, while simultaneously telling you (through video and audio bombardment) that black people aint sh1t.” I am glad you used the word “seem” because it does somewhat indicate that you are not 100% in agreement with what you wrote (this comment only). Do you really believe I, Mr. Pro Blackness himself, allow the white man’s media influx into my thoughts to change my opinion of black people? Nope, it has not. I am not shallow. I am just one to air the dirty laundry that you and others are afraid to put out there. Call me a Black Republican. Call me a hater. I am not, Zik. I am a man who writes to generate thought which definitely leads to debate. It is funny how you got uptight over this commentary, but failed to applaud the ones where I tore down the status quo, the government, and the white man. Are you hyper-sensitive to criticism of black folk? If you are, ask yourself why. I asked myself this years ago. The only thing that changed for me after I asked the question is my thought process. That process has evolved to this one of many facts: Black folk need to wake-up and listen to their black and white critics. There is some good advice out there that has not been considered because of black folk’s refusal to conduct a self-analysis.

Also, please do not believe each and every word that I write as if “this is what Muata believes”. Again, I write with the idea we will learn something from each other. I learned something from your response: Muata needs to continue to stay off the band wagon. He needs to remind black folk of the importance of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. And, I will do one thing solution oriented: Continue to teach my son that his actions will be the result of his future and that he needs to always under all circumstances adhere to PR (personal responsibility).

By the way, I believe Barack is a fantastic orator. I believe he is compassionate. I believe he will continue to be a productive senator. I also believe the passion he exudes is needed in the political climate of today.


Muata said...

Reader Response:

BPayne, you make me smile. Wish we were sitting in 6W so we could have a down and dirty debate about this. Not that I disagree--I can just hear you preaching about being a BLACK MAN IN AMERICA from the pod.


Muata said...

Reader Response:


Ok, my brother (maternal brother) and brother as in race- I am in support of Obama and Hillary Clinton.

-Your sister

Muata said...

Reader Responds:

There has already been a black president and its not
clinton. President Henson was a black man and he
served during the times of the Articles of
Confederation before he/they wrote the Constitution.
Washington was the first president after the
Constitution was written. Henson also was responsible
for developing the Presidential stamp that is still in
use to this day. Barack is just as ready and more
qualified as the one we have now who is finishing up 2
terms in office. I also disagree with most of what
you say....Barack is second in the polls to that
raciest from NY.....He is getting some white folks
attention. Stop hating....People want someone who is
fresh with new ideas..Have you even heard any of his
ideas on current issues? If you had, you would be on
the "band wagon" just like the rest of us..all you
talk about is his skin color....quote me something you
disagree with about his plans for world peace....or
his plans on health-care reform...or illegal
immigration...can u do that? talk facts..you just
want something to say so you pick the obvious
topic..His Color.


Muata said...

Muata responds to Eee:

And this from someone who has not read one book that he has written or done any research on Barack. You watch the news, and that's it. What you have failed to do is actually develop a valid reason to vote for Barack. I know his views on health care, Iraq, Iran, Israel and other foreign relations issues.

You actually monitor polls? That is hilarious. Polls don't say too much. They are a collection of results that are skewed to the likings of the pollster.

And, you no better to challenge me. I do my homework, my brotha!

Barack's position on:

Health Care - He continues to talk up universal health care. Similar to what Canada has. He supports inexpensive and easy access.

Immigration - He is all for strengthening border security. He leans toward not kicking illegals out of the country. Just like a someone who wants the votes of illegal immigrant sympathizers.

World Peace - He is just like most liberal democrats on this one. He believes that it can be achieved via lengthy diplomacy. Since you asked: I disagree with diplomacy that gives the United States government all the things they want and disregards what Africa, the Middle East, and Asia needs.

Now, let me address your statement, "you just want something to say so you pick the obvious topic... His color." Well, Mr. Eee if you are so caught up on the news you would know that EVERYONE is talking about his color. I can list 8 commentators and 16 newspapers that are talking about his color. This is the reason why I wanted to write my opinion on his color. It is the obvious!

One thing you need to keep in mind when debating with me is that I do not put anything out there that I can not support with fact and stone cold experienced opinion. This is the reason I commentate. What you have done is reacted to a commentators' words and flew off the handle with accusations. This is typical behavior from people who cannot debate with the purpose of exposing one another to meaningful insights.

I just recommend you really think about jumping on the Barack Obama band wagon with the white and black folk. Band wagoners are those folk who followed behind Jesus. This is not to imply Barack is someone not to support/follow. He is an accomplished and compassionate man. He is similar to a Jimmy Carter type. We all know Jimmy was not the best of presidents. He cared too much(Nothing wrong w/ caring, by the way). He was too much of a bleeding heart liberal. He could not make up his mind. He wanted a touch-feely world.

The citizens of the US have spoken on numerous occasions on what type of leader they want. Unfortunately, the next president will not be female or black.

We need to ask Dr. Condoleezza Rice to run. She is the most equipped person in Washington.


Muata said...

Response from HJ:

BP I mean Muta:

I would be more interested in your political oppositions with Obama. Those could be based on fact. Your opinion that he is not down with the black cause because his fore parents were not apart of the 400 year struggle in America is noted and accepted. But is this opinion a product of the mentality that has continued to keep the true African American entrapped in its specific place in society? Isn't this the crab in a barrel syndrome? Is White America wrong for not wanting a leader that may have been taught a 'slave mentality'? I ask that because I once overheard a couple of white collar white guys having this discussion regarding Kofi Anan and his leadership of U.N. So this is what 'They' think us not what 'They' tell us they think. It is very challenging to succeed as a Black man in this country, but some of the obstacles come from with in our race.


Muata said...

HR responds to Muata, Muata responds HR, and HR responds again:


Honestly I think Obama is running too soon. I think he should have established a career in the senate 1st. I think he is the 1st candidate of color that may be able to transcend race and that is what has brought so much attention. Personally I have not educated myself on his platform yet. I am just thrilled that we finally have some one that they will listen to. Will we listen to our own before we as a group judge him. I hear on CNN that he may not be black enough to African Americans and this sickens me. Nobody ever said Bill Clinton wasn't white enough to be president.



I am with ya on this. There is no reason for a black person to say he is not black enough. What they should say is, 'I don't agree or support his views or he is not ready for the presidency in my opinion.'

I am happy that he is bringing some attention back to the problems we have with race relations in this country. It is my hope his skin tone stays in the forefront. Him being of darker skin keeps the discussions going. I am highly upset that they will listen to him and not a black man who stands firm on a Pro Blackness platform. We always have to play by their rules i.e. be gentle with your frustrations. We have a reason to be HIGHLY frustrated and pissed the H off! They need to hear the frustrations over and over again.



A candidate who does not play by their rules will never get anywhere. We are no longer the largest minority. We have to adjust to their rules. If we don't we will continue to be left behind as a people.


Muata said...

Muata responds to the critics:

In writing commentary the idea is to "put something out there" with the hopes you will get something back that helps the commentator think or evolve. At least this is the idea that I have forged. With that, it needs to be understood that my opinion on Obama was not shared with people to continue or incite the crab in the bucket mentality. It is funny that not one person other than myself has shared their reasons of support or opposition for Barack's run for president. In an email response to a friend I listed my understanding of Obama's position on health care, foreign affairs, and immigration. After careful review of what I deem important to be effective as the president of the United States I have concluded that this particular man with black skin, a man who has not clearly stated his plan even after writing two books, & a man who has been riding high on what I call “passion adrenaline” is not ready for the toughest job on the planet. What many of us have done is thrown our support behind someone who looks like us (same skin color). That is foolish, irresponsible, and dangerous. I wonder if these band-wagoners would vote for Al Sharpton. He is black. He has been a presidential candidate before. He is abreast on the plight of black America. He steps out there with courage and says what needs to be said. Get my point? If there is anyone out there who believes I am providing an obstacle (my opposition) they are way off base. I am only doing my part to help us (black folk) think critically. All I am doing is challenging black folk and putting our obvious self-defeating thoughts and decisions out on display. Nothing wrong with that. White folk already know that they got us where they want us.

By the way, the obstacles we need to be concerned about are within our community waiting to be rectified. The solutions to those self inflicted obstacles are among us. All those destructionist of the black race (black folk who can careless about our condition) have to do is adhere to PR: PERSONAL RESPONSIBILTY.

I encourage all of my critics to re-read the commentary. Out of six paragraphs (sections) I am somewhat critical of Barack once, “I will say that I do believe Mr. Obama is not prepared to be the next president of these United States of America.” That’s it. And, upon further review one should notice that out of six paragraphs I was extremely critical of the United States government and white financial supporters:

“America is a compilation of misguided opinions and debilitating insecurity. Regardless of race or gender the United States cannot be saved via the presidency. We are slowly, but surely heading toward a third world condition...”

“Is it that those white financial backers of Barack are okay with him being non-confrontational? Are they okay with him not “stirring trouble”? Do they prefer a non-agitator? Yes, they do. He is their “clean” man that helps them forget about their present and/or past racist beliefs.”


Muata said...

Reader Response:

~ President Bush was/is not ready to be president
~ Not into supporting folk simply because they look like me, but always open for a different perspective.
~ We all know that the rules - spoken and unspoken - that apply to "them" do not apply to "us" hence why Hilary can openly address and express certain things.
that Barack cannot and will not.
~ If he is serious about his campaign, he will and is doing all he can to appeal to the masses. If you have read his first book, you will see a dire contrast between the man you hear now and the man who wrote that book a little over 10 yrs ago. I refuse to believe that they are different people, but simply tamed emotions.
~ Wholeheartedly agree on your last statement .. funny
how we are always labeling and determining the standard when we (American) often fall below what we
have set for others to maintain.


Muata said...

Reader Responds:

Pretty shallow and stupid article. Not worth my reading. Get over the race card issue-sick of hearing it.

I wonder if 50 or so years of billions in entitlements from the gov't to the black race is enough?
Sick of hearing about hearing about the pretended racial disparity!


Muata said...

Muata responds to Dave:


The "race card" as you call it is used because there is a reason to use it: to shied hatred, discrimination, bigotry, and racist ideologies. Race is one of America's toughest issues. It will be with us for a very long time. Why? Because black and brown people in America are not treated fairly. And, because of systematically ingrained racial beliefs that cannot be changed via legislation.

"Shallow and stupid". Is this the best criticism you can give? Now, that's shallow and stupid. Out of six paragraphs of GREAT commentary this is the best response you can give?


Muata said...

Reader response to my final statement:

Just a few thoughts on your follow-up commentary. It's been a while since I've been enthusiastic about any presidential candidate. Obama "sparked" a feeling of enthusiasm even optimism -maybe something I haven't seen since Kennedy. Granted optimism is no where near enough for leadership, but it can give hope to the electorate.

On the issue of inclusion - I personally don't want anybody speaking for my race or my sex. I want them to speak on issues - jobs, educational opportunity, medical care for children and the old and the uninsured, dialogue and engagement across the board with the countries of the world, the environmental crisis, etc.

I don't want Hillary because of the fact that she's a woman and could speak for me as a woman, and I don't want Obama because of the fact that he's a mixed race person and could speak for me as a mixed race person. My experience is unique and it's mine. It points out some of my attributes but does not define me. His (Obama's) experience is unique and brings something to his perspective of life, but I feel it does not define him or allow him to speak for me.

I take his racial make-up as a fact. A commentator can feel that that fact limits him, enhances him, or in some other way should be used for or against him. So be it. He will have to work with that just as all of us mixed race persons have had to work with that. My wish is that he can bring his gifts as a whole person, to bear on the issues I mentioned in para. 1. He will have the fact of his mixed race experience as part of the emerging self he is and will continue to become.

Another time we can speak about the financing of campaigns. I know so little about it and when I do think about it the enormity of the money needed just seems so obscene. You know who has the money - the unions, the corporations, the lobbyists, Hollywood moguls, etc. But - that is the reality and if you want to win (and why else would you subject yourself to the torture of running?) you had better have the finances to go the long haul. Remember how excited many were when Howard Dean raised so much money from the public via the internet? What a breakthrough, and will that happen again for another candidate? I don't know and even so, it's probably not enough. Am I right in thinking that over 100 million dollars is needed for a presidential campaign?

This election cycle appears to be a verrry long haul! Yet I think I read or heard that this time next year, half of the state caucuses will be over, so we're all in for a long haul. Good to talk to you.


Azikiwe Chandler said...

Peace Brian,

No, I don't think in your heart of hearts that you're a sellout. But you have to watch what you say. There is a fine line between airing dirty laundry and becoming another Bill O'Reilly.

The point is that we have plenty of people pointing out and exaggerating our faults. We no longer need them enumerated. We need solutions. And solutions are exactly what Obama brings, which is why, if you truly believe in uplifting Black people, he desrves your support (unless you can show me how another candidate has and/or will do more for Black people than he has and will.)

The piece below is an Excellent piece! The highlights are mine.



------ Original Message ------

Subject: On Barack: An Open Letter and Invitation to Thoughtful Brothers and Sisters In America

As my husband and I sat watching The State of Black America 2007, presented by
Tavis Smiley, we were awe struck, motivated, inspired, filled with pride and
edified by the broad ranging views of the impressive collection of black
intelligencia represented on the stage. Following each of the richly-crafted
commentary from rapper Chuck D to astronaut and engineer Mae Jemison to
Professor Cornel West to poet Sonya Sanchez to one of my innovative classmates
Omar Wasow (just to name a few), I ooohhed and ahhhed out loud as each broke it
down, laid it out and spoke truth to power.

But then it happened . . . my enthusiasm came to a screeching halt! Here we go
again . . . that same gratuitous question mainstream media outlets across
America seem to be commissioning ambitious black folk to answer and justify: Is
our brother, Barack Obama, down enough with the cause to deserve our support?
I just knew this panel of amazing minds and deep souls would once and for all
stop the madness and give a resounding, "we're not falling for another Rove-ian
mindtrick to sidetrack us from the substantive issues at hand to debate your
historical lies and give credibility to your ignorance." I just knew this
conscientious crew would cite to Obama's academic excellence and obvious
intelligence, his outstanding achievements, his proven commitment to our
community through his life's work, his impressive legislative record, his
coalition-building skills and political experience. But instead, Malcolm's
proverbial crabs started grabbing, pulling, pinching and reaching for dear
brother Barack's neck. I was mortified.

Seeming to come to his aid, one of my longtime heroes, Professor Olgetree,
pointed out that Barack, Michelle Obama and others of his students had not only
been impressive students at Harvard, but had dedicated their lives and careers
to public service. But, (damn it), he added, he can't take our vote for

Then, Brother Cornel (whose audio version of Race Matters I listened to so many
times I almost committed chapters to memory) chimed in, not to save Brother
Barack, but to highlight his absence from the State of Black America panel to be
(how dare he) at some other event to boost his Presidential candidacy when he
knew about Tavis' event more than a year ago. While Professor West did mention
that his questions about the depths of one's love for the people were relevant
for all candidates everywhere, they, unfortunately, were explicitly asked only
of Obama.

Finally, our fearless leader and host, Tavis, who, by his own admission, knew
Barack before he was "Barack Obama" sealed the tomb. He assured the audience
that, the night before, he got a call from an apologetic Barack who was unable
to attend, but "really wanted to be here." As if completely cued in by the tone
in Brother Tavis' statement, the audience gave a loud and unambiguously
sarcastic "Aaawwww." Adding salt to the wound, dear friend Tavis responded,
"well, that's what he told me" in that familiar
-brother-anyway delivery.

Now, I don't point out the dynamics of this dialogue to take away from the
amazing legacies of Brothers Ogletree, West or Smiley. They've all made
important and lasting contributions to our community and will likely continue to
do so, but I do question why they, and we as a community, tend to be so
uncharitable toward our own, but inexplicably benevolent to others.

For example, how does a white man who signed the deeply disparate crack-cocaine
bill into law, introduced a devastating crime bill that further entrenched the
prison industrial complex at the expense of black communities and black
political power everywhere, oversaw the murder of more people on death row
during his presidency than any president in the history of our country,
completely dissed and dismissed our sister Lani Guinier, who would have been an
amazing Attorney General for our country and for our community, purely for the
sake of political expediency, get to be donned the "First Black President"?
Is our loyalty so easily spawned because one acts like a "pimp," plays the
saxophone and visits a few pulpits? I am absolutely amazed at the absence of
critical black analysis about Clinton's performance in office while Brother
Barack has to be hyper-analyzed, criticized and have his thumbnails extricated
for DNA samples before we'll believe he's one of "us." There is no other
candidate in this or any other Presidential race (save Shirley Chisholm who, in
her day, was hung out to dry by the Black Caucus) who has had to work so hard
despite an extraordinary track record to show us that he or she is about the
business of making the country better for black people and thereby making the
country better for all people.

Al Sharpton, you are absolutely right that everyone who looks like "us" is not
one of "us" - at least to the extent that you mean not all black people work for
what's in the collective best interest of black people (that is, if such a
collective interest still exists - which is another discussion altogether) - but
when did you become the blackometer? And, why raise a question of loyalty when
you have no substantive evidence of disloyalty? Just to hear yourself talk?
Because he's getting more press than you? I'm not suggesting for a minute that
Obama and every political candidate not be held accountable for their voting
records, their political past, or even their personal judgment, but to question
Obama's blackness simply because he is black is the ultimate irony and a dumb
distraction, for which Republicans and racists everywhere are cheering us on.
And, to question Obama's loyalty simply because he didn't make an appearance at
this week's forum hosted by the black gatekeeper flavor of the month is sheer

I think a more relevant question is what do the black commentators who make the
television and radio appearances to raise and answer the question of Barack's
blackness have to gain? It certainly provides them with more face time before
the American public and cushions their backsides with a blacker-than-thou throne
(even if only in their own minds). I think a more relevant question to our
so-called black leaders and academicians is what (other than a supersized ego or
potential profits) gets in the way of their unequivocal support of the only
person in the race who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to implementing
policies that best serve black people?

To be sure, there may be valid critiques of Obama, but his absence from a forum,
his failure to be stereotypically "black" or the fact that he is black are not
valid or even useful critiques. So, forgive me for being just a bit skeptical
of those black politicians (who reside in key states - e.g., Brother Al and
South Carolina State Senator Robert Ford) whose primary critiques are that
Barack just may not be black enough or, even better, that America's just not
ready for a black President, so they can gain the political spoils and spotlight
press of selling out a brother early and often.

If I had the technological saavy, I would jump off this page with all the
passion, hope, rage and volume of Spike Lee's Dap and tell you, brothers and
sisters everywhere, please please please WAKE UP!!!!!!!!

The best thing Barack can do for us is to win, not show up at yet another black
forum simply to prove he's one of us by placating the egos who believe Barack
should clear his calendar for their "ultimate black" event! There are plenty of
other candidates (and so-called leaders) who warrant our scrutiny and skepticism
- not to mention a host of misogynistic lyricists, child molesting musicians,
and other unaccountable black-community-made millionaires. Barack, however, has
proven with his excellence, his achievements, his commitments, and his life's
work that he warrants our support.

Rather than using his credentials and connections to build his personal wealth,
Obama chose to pursue careers like providing job training for residents of poor
neighborhoods, directing voter registration drives and fighting for civil
rights. Unlike other candidates in the race, Obama has been consistent in
speaking against sending our black babies to murder, and to be murdered by,
brown people in the Mesopotamia for the sake of multinational corporate
interests. He has successfully forged coalitions with people across racial and
political lines to introduce a host of legislation that would, among other
things, get guns off our streets, reduce greenhouse emissions, and limit the
influence of special interest lobbyist on Capital Hill.

As for whether Barack's black enough, let us not forget that race exists in
America not in our biology, genetic code or even our phenotype, but rather by
the institutionalization of the economic and social construct of chattel slavery
and its vicious offshoots. Under that regime, "a dab'll do ya." Whiteness
equates to economic and social privilege and that privilege fades as it
traverses the racial spectrum. Anyone who has any black ancestry living in this
country, whether for a day or for generations, will experience the vestiges of
slavery and the consequences of white privilege, making the question of whether
one is descended from enslaved Africans or colonized and oppressed Africans
irrelevant. It is not simply the experience of that oppression, however, that
demonstrates loyalty to our community and that deserves our community's loyalty,
but rather recognition of the injustice of it and actions taken to dismantle it.
Clearly, Obama has met this test!

Let the record of each candidate speak for itself. But, for the sake of our
ancestors and, more importantly, our descendants, do not inadvertently become a
pawn of white privilege by demanding that Obama's record be scrutinized more
closely and meet a higher standard than his white counterparts simply because
some narcissistic crab in a barrel didn't find himself at the top.

B.L. Jackson

A Sister Who Unequivocably And Without Apology to Hillary, Bill or Al Supports
Barack Obama for President And Invites Other Thoughtful Brothers and Sisters To
Do the Same