Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
- John Quincy Adams
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Someone Who Gets It - Baracks Embrace of the Double Standard and Inability to Empathize With Black Folk
I was going to write a post about Barack, the Double Standard, his treatment of Wright and his treatment of The Clinton, Ayers and Ferraro but someone beat to the punch. From Jack and Jill Politics:
I can't stand black folks always going on and on about how white folks treat us and we know we can treat each other shit.
That's part of the issue I have with Obama in this whole ordeal. He's quick to dump on Black people or play that Noble Negro role. "The double-standard is real", they say, and, again, Obama is all too accepting of it.
I credit him for taking a stand when he gave his speech on race but found some profound issues where he granted all kinds of deference to OTHER people but was nowhere near as understanding when it came to Black folk and I will constantly highlight how Obama dissed a whole GENERATION of "men and women" from Rev. Wright's era and how he's quick to call White folks issues "legitimate" and not misguided or counterproductive while regurgitating that tired old narrative that it's Black folks whose "anger" and resentment is disabling and all the other derogatory things that get associated with however we are/feel while excuses are made for White folks. He should have caught more hell in the "bitter-gate" blow up for being a flip-flopping politician saying one thing in front of one croud while saying the opposite in front of the other.
In his race speech he defended White "resentment" while disparaging Black "anger" (using OTHER people's words to describe and frame the way Black people respond in society) and insisted that White "resentment" was not only "legitimate" but also not misguided. The whole "bitter-gate" stuff centered on the idea that working class Whites is vulnerable to the politics of division and often get caught up in scapegoating ... the very definition of misguided, misdirected angst.
In both cases, he tried to paint working/poor White folks as VICTIMS which, like the "bad English" Rev. Wright talked about, only seems to be a bad word when someone talks about Black VICTIMIZATION however real and legitimate because we're tired of the "politics of division"... as long as Black folks can be framed (Barack Obama included) as the source of the division (see Geraldine Ferraro and Bill Clinton's claim that Obama "played the race card").
Yes, Obama falls right in with mainstream America on that. He's big, bad and "tough" when it comes to playing the Cosby role showing "tough love" for the Black community.
When it was a Black/White thing, he essentially played the Black pathology card while being deferential to Whites to the point of saying that their misdirected angst and frustration over the diminished opportunities, etc. and, in fact, their opposition and resistance to African Americans and our historic quest for justice and equity was something we all need to understand.
That's the sacrifice mentality and worn-out narrative I'm talking about. Rev. Wright didn't fit any of the criteria in Obama's disparaging remarks about "Black anger" but then again... That didn't matter. Politicians and public figures have a long tradition of dogging Black folks and getting away with it.
In the Nevada debate, Obama confronted a Black woman's question about immigration in the strongest (pejorative) of terms, labeled it as "scapegoating" (I agreed with him and defended him on that, btw), but the second HIS POLITICAL ENEMIES made an issue out of him applying that same kind of idea to White folk, even in the most genteel of tones, explaining "why" poor Whites are "bitter" and happen to (vote against their economic interest and) "scapegoat", he's willing to offer very public apologies for something that he was right about... just like Rev. Wright was RIGHT about the things he said -- no strawmen counterarguments ("he said AIDS was invented by the gov't") allowed -- AND just like there was absolutely NOTHING wrong with what Michelle Obama said about being "proud of her country."
That's the sacrifice mentality I'm talking about. And the second HIS POLITICAL ENEMIES told him to dance to the tune of the Farrakhan (let alone Israel) broken-record...
Well, you know what happened and all of that FOR WHAT??? It's not like this kind of stuff is going to end January 21, 2009 when he becomes president. The very basis of the cooperation he could ever hope to get is now, more than ever, bought with the price of how much he is willing to sacrifice right now in the campaign.
It's the whole history of this double-standard and Obama's ready acceptance of it that has me at a crossroads in terms of how much support I'm willing to give Obama.
Just like Obama feels betrayed by Rev. Wright (because somehow the Rev. was supposed to understand how much he had to be sacrificed and surprised Obama because he got tired of being the Obama's convenient villain as well as the villain of Obama's POLITICAL ENEMIES)... I can no longer stomach the way Obama behaves. I understand the politics of it all but I also understand the sorry history of this double-standard Obama has accepted.
Obama always has an excuse that he "didn't hear" all of what Rev. Wright said... but that didn't stop him from doing the very thing his political enemies did... reduce Rev. Wright to a convenient stereotype of the "Angry Black Man."
Me, I can't stand people who can't be honest. Obama framed his issue and disagreement with Rev. Wright as one about the different worldviews they have particularly as it relates Rev. Wright "spoke as if" there was no progress. Well, again, Rev. Wright fully acknowledge how "governments change (for the good, etc.)", including our own.
So, Obama has no room to talk about being "insulted." Whatever Rev. Wright "did to him", Obama had it coming. Obama was willing to let people frame Rev. Wright as a "racist" (no press conference on that) even as he's defended Hillary, Bill, etc. and said none of them or the things they've done or said were racist or race-baiting.
To whatever extent Rev. Wright was the teacher to Obama's pupil... one lesson Obama hasn't learned is how unity can't exist with subordination and in the presence of asymmetrical deference.
I think it's that kind of naive notion MLK had to come to grips with and dispensed with. Maybe one day our beloved brother Barack Obama will progressed to that point instead of staying in the holding pattern of this idiotic Rodney King like simplistic and problematic race narrative.
There are a few more lessons in nuance and depth Obama is lacking. He'd be wise to catch a clue and understand how the difference in the way he sees things and the way Rev. Wright sees things don't make his superior to Rev. Wright's and, by extension, Rev. Wright's views, somehow, deficient or wrong.
And his idea that Wright's so-called "anger" is "generational" is about as dumb as anything I've ever heard. I'm sick and tired of people who use idiotic rhetoric like that.
Obama very public acceptance of the double-standard especially his remarks about Min. Farrakhan the other day really shows the fault lines and just how eager Obama, even if he begrudgingly did it first, is to satisfy White people's anxiety and "Your name is Toby" tests.
He can disagree, dislike and even 'hate' Min. Farrakhan but for a Black man to go out of his way to "denounce" another Black man for White folks fickle pleasure (i.e. his Farrakhan statement only shows how he's willing to answer: "TOBY!")... Well, that makes me lose respect for Obama real quick.
Again, according to reports, Obama went to the Million Man March. So exactly what was he objecting to when Rev. Wright acknowledge (get this Ms. Martin) that Farrakhan is NOT his enemy?
Obama tried to act like he can deal with and want people to talk about race in all its nuance but somehow he can't apply a nuanced view to Min. Farrakhan. Note: How Obama hasn't treated Roy Ayers someone who actually plotted to harm people in a comparable manner.
Yes. Obama is, like Cosby IMO... all too willing to treat Black people like $&1#.
I still want him to be president out of crew that's running and still believe he's a decent person committed to the Black community but I won't excuse the flaws in his thinking...
(that Rev. Wright made in a much more sincere and legitimate manner than Obama) is More than anything, it's Obama's theme of unity.
I couldn't have said it better myself.
This is a poster from The Field Negro who puts this whole bru-ha-ha in perspective:
Well, as someone whose ran in local politics before and worked as an congressional intern can say this, nothing short of a dead hooker or a live boy is going to keep Obama from getting the nomination short of Clinton/Rove dirty tricks. If the worse people can say is that your preacher is crazy says that your enemies are really on a fishing expedition.Amen.
As Christopher pointed out, what does reverend wright have to do with the litany of issues he listed above. Or Sean Bell here in New York? Or the cost of getting a college degree? A big fat nothing. And so long as Limbaugh, O'Reilly and the rest of these blown dry, combed over mannequins have jobs, its going to continue to be about nothing.
The problem for FOX News and CNN is in terms of corruption or moral quagmires, Barack Obama offers a big fat nothing. He has no love children, no known mistresses, no drug abuse (beyond experimenting in HS and the occasional Newport) and no really shady backroom deals like the Borg Queen or the Crypt Keeper. You just have a really smart, church going Black guy in his mid 40's who actually might want to change the world.
Nope, the worse they can say is that his pastor is one part Malcolm X and one part Yosemite Sam. Or that, gasp, any Ivy League educated lawyer might be smarter than most of the shit kickers in the Midwest.
As MacDaddy said, this is all shit shined up and called gold by the MSM. Yeah, Obama could have have showed a little more backbone and told the FAUX talking heads to bugger off. And Wright could have kept his mouth shut, enjoyed fishing on Lake Michigan and lied low until the election was over. Both were right and wrong in what they did, but its really not about them at it this point, its about how our media keeps us distracted on nonsense.
The MSM needs dirt on an otherwise squeaky clean guy. If they couldn't find any dirt they'll just make some. I'm suprised they didn't try to Wesley Snipes him and say he didn't pay his taxes will getting a professional from a crackhead on the South side.
Remember if the last PA debate where the 'O' man snapped and ripped into George the Judas for wasting 45 minutes on Reverend Wright and lapel pins? That's the problem, to really debate about issues not lapel pins, phantom Bosnian snipers or 5 minutes YouTube remixes of an 7 year old sermon would knock the Borg Queen, the Crypt Keeper and maybe even the O-man out of the race.
If this were about issues and not about bullshit it would a Kuicinich, Edward, Obama three way race on the Dems and the Republicans would be down to Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee. And we might actually hear some Green or Libertarian debaters. I might actually care about watching the debates instead of watching CSI or playing Xbox.
But to demand that a change in politics is to demand change in the people. The American people would have demand intelligence and dedication to truth from the Media. It would demand Americans knew more about politics and people who actually run the world and less about the NBA playoffs or American Idol.
But, then again, I wish I were a little bit taller....
A post by a commenter at Jack and Jill Politics who really understands the how Obama has been so willing to uphold the double standards by the media (and white folk in general) when it comes to his relationship with Wright and McCain's with Hagee:
Tell the truth: Barack Obama has been all too willing to uphold the double-standard. He definitely hasn't held a press conference to confront the issue. Every time he's been asked to "jump", he's really played ball like he did at UNC showing he's got more hops than Michael Jordan, Jerry Stackhouse and Vince Carter combined.I couldn't have said it beter myself.
Here it is, people calling Rev. Wright out for being selfish while Obama's response was everything selfishness is made of with his eagerness to please and appease. Selfishly, Obama and a number of his supporters, obviously, felt like his bid... HIS BID for president (remember, he's not running for president of Black America - i.e. to necessarily represent or promote Black people's issues and concerns)... He obviously felt that his bid for president had to be bought at the expense of Rev. Wright and even his own wife.
I have a serious issue with Black people in 2008 who are so quick to sacrifice other Black people and even themselves at the altar of White acceptance. All the Noble Negro and other rationales for "playing the game" fall short and flat with me. People rightly criticize Rev. Wright for HOW he said what he did in the NPC Q&A session AND I rightly see reason to criticize Obama for HOW he's been so willing to concede the double-standard and quick to denounce Rev. Wright and Min. Farrakhan whenever he's been asked to BY HIS ENEMIES!!
The whole sorry drama featured both Obama and Wright playing their roles. Wright became that "crazy uncle" Obama dismissed him as and Obama was willing to use Min. Farrakhan for personal gain. Simply put, there was no reason for him to say anything about Farrakhan in his reaction to Rev. Wright.
This self-sacrifice narrative has got to go. Somehow, after all that time in Rev. Wright's church, the whole idea of Afrocentricism was lost on Barack Obama (and I've defended Obama so much I've been labeled an uncritical supporter of Obama).
On the Farrakhan issue... according to reports, Obama was at the Million Man March.
END OF STORY.