Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jesse, Barack and everything else in between.......

If you're familiar with my underutilized blog, two years ago I got into a back and forth email exchange with a black Washington Post journalist who bought into the ridiculous belief that the African American community questioned whether "Barack was black enough."

I thought her article was poorly constructed and was based on complete untruths, as we have seen in the sizable black vote Barack has ammassed since that time.

I countered her assertions with predictions that have played out EXACTLY as I called it.

Prediction: January 2007

Black issues are passe, and the old generation poverty pimps like Al and Jesse are reminders of the past America abhors.

I for one do not want Obama to follow their old playbook, and I sense that the graybeards from yesteryear want Obama to cow-tow to them the with the same song and dance that's entertained them for years.

That is at the heart of the matter here. It is a generational issue Obama is confronting. He doesn't fit the norm they're accustomed to and isn't cut from the civil rights generation cloth


Disregarding the foolish "is Barack considered black enough" mantra promoted by a mainstream press completely out of touch about the train of thought within the Black community, and futher promulgated by this black journalist who obviously carried a chip on her shoulder about the African American community when penning that article, I was under the belief that the generational division within the black community would expose itself with Barack's rise.

And boy has it ever.

I'm sure we're all aware of the recent comments from the mainstream media's appointed black leader, the beloved Jesse Jackson.

Was Jesse's tirade born out of his lack of relevance in the ever changing world of where politics and race meet? Partially. Jesse's shine in the spotlight has been overshadowed by a young neophyte who remains an enigma to many.

Is there some merit to Jesse's belief that Barack talked down to black people? Yes, which I'll discuss later.

But the way Jesse went about it puzzled me. Not only for wanting to cut off Barack's manhood, but using a term often said within the African American community that the media opportunist in Revs clothing denounced several year ago when the words use was a hotly debated topic. Never one to shy away from the camera when the opportunity presents itself, the father of the "bury the n-word" movement found the term useful when talking about Obama.

Hypocrite anyone?

I don't know what to say about the state of black leadership. Whether it be Jesse and his camera hogging, or the rants of Bill "I father illegitimate children and sexually harass women" Cosby, the older generation of blacks have more nerve than a toothache to speak on our ills while carrying their own faults.

Some of them have to realize that their time as has passed and need to move on quietly for the good of the country AND our people.

Now back to Barack. While I've historically disagreed with Jesse's methods, his very tactless and crass rant voiced into a hot Fox News mic did have some teeth to it, and it all goes back to Barack's Father's Day Speech.

And before anyone believes I'm "afraid of the truth" as said about Barack's speech, believe me when I say I'm not. I too was rasied by an absentee father....who was African......just like Barack's. I've personally witnessed and experienced the trickle down effect a father's absence plays in the home. So believe me when I say....I CAN handle the truth because I lived it.

Now that's I've made that clear, let's take another look at my back and forth exchange where I discuss my dismay about Barack's non-appearance at the 2006 Black State of Union. As we've all witnessed in his rise, Barack is very a tactful and calculated politician. His absence to me was a deliberate move to avoid the "too black" tag he ardently fought off since his ascension to the Democratic Nomination (which the Clinton camp tried to attach to him). Alls fair in love and politics, and Barack has played the game well, displaying a political savvy we've never seen out of most politicians, let alone out of someone of his hue.

Now don't get me wrong....I'm not asking him to be all black-all the time. Nor am I tying him to the stake to be the President of Black America. But as a black man, I believe our issues deserve the same treatment and carried with the same respect given to other communities when their issues are spoken on, and Barack's Father's Day speech to me was an opportunity for him which turned out to be nothing more than his Sista Souljah moment.

A Sista Souljah moment you ask? Here's the definition (AGAIN...a Clinton MO):

In United States politics, a Sister Souljah moment is a politician's public repudiation of an allegedly extremist person or group, statement, or position perceived to have some association with the politician or their party. Such an act of repudiation is designed to signal to centrist voters that the politician is not beholden to traditional, and sometimes unpopular, interest groups associated with the party, although such a repudiation runs the risk of alienating some of the politician's allies and the party's base voters.

I believe the redeeming qualities of Barack's speech was to the benefit of white voters who believe Barack's truthful dialouge is in short supply in the African American community and needed to be said.

Excuse me? Have I, and those in the congregation Barack spoke in front of that day, who hear the word of responsibility preached to them every Sunday, been living under some rock? Have I not heard these problems talked about in Barbershops and on the streetcorners? I've lived on this earth for over 35 years and have had the truths Barack touched repeated to me over and over again. Is the cause and effect of absentee fathers NEW news to us in the Black community? It's been spoken about from here to eternity, so why should I pat anyone on the back for repeating the obvious?

What seems to be in large supply is the black community love for these "he's right" sessions.

The Million Man March "was right."
Bill Cosby "was right."

There's 20 years between both of these movements which have amounted to a little more than the crowd turning into one big amen corner. all of these feel good "Umm-hmm" sessions, did we ever come out with a PLAN?

WHAT are the things out there that works on stemming the tide of absentee fathers?

HOW do we go about bringing those solutions to the forefront?

WHEN do we put that plan in place?

Simply put, telling me we both know there's a problem isn't helping to solve it. And maybe its me being from the Adam Clayton Powell school of thought, but I will not apologize for tying expectations to our elected officials to help erect or further along what works as a way of stemming problems that effect us collectively...especially when they've gone out of their way to speak on it. And I didn't get that out of Barack's Father's Day speech. Just more of the same Nancy Reganesque "we shouldn't do it" talk that I've been hearing for years.

At the end of the day, we need a blueprint placed in front of us to follow through and to build upon. What we as the black community have been doing for years is the equivalent of pointing to an old barren landfill we've always known has been there, but instead of using our collective efforts to build over it, we constantly pat our people on the back for saying that empty patch of earth exists.

But alas....I'll continue marching along and being the responsible father I've always tried to be, minus being patted on the back for something I'm supposed to be doing. I won't pat Barack or anyone else on the back for speaking on the obvious either.


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