The Mis-Education of the Negro 2015 Part IV:
Last week’s victories for President Barack Obama go to the heart of his presidency and just like that his legacy was altered. The Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold a key provision of his signature domestic achievement—the Affordable Care Act, coupled with Congress voting Wednesday to give him broad authority to negotiate new trade deals; Thursday’s favorable ruling from the high court allowing minorities to continue using a civil-rights era statute in housing discrimination lawsuits; and finally Friday’s Supreme court decision granting LBGT couples the right to marry was a rare thunderbolt to a second-term White House that has struggled to advance its agenda.
Oh and on Wednesday in the middle of the onslaught of his crowning victories he delivered the eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney during which he said things that had not been said by The Black President that Black people had longed for and then he broke into song singing Amazing Grace. Well that floored most. I listened attentively to anyone and everyone I could on television, in our office, on the streets and it was a consistent resounding thumbs-up praise for his act of bravery. There, he had done it.
He talked about the elephant in the room called racism. He said, that slavery was wrong. He talked about discrimination in the workforce calling for America to see how racially bias we are even when we don’t know it . . . like calling back Johnny for the interview and not Jamal.” The President said, ‘For too long we were blind to the pain that the Confederate Flag has cause our people who have to bear it.” It certainly was a change from all those who before that had expressed their complaint and failed enthusiasm for the man who would be king.
That same day Dr. Cornell West said, “Can you imagine having a debate about having a Nazi Flag in the United States?” Then he referred to President Obama as the first niggerized President. Explaining that niggerized is a black person afraid to talk about the racism of White Supremacy. He was released from his position at Princeton University.
It seems to be that too many Blacks had lost faith in a man who has had a difficult walk, one that until him no other had walked. And if the hatred manifested by the extreme white supremacist throughout President Obama’s term is any indication of what sort of looming horror that would await him had he come out as The Black President as so many wanted him to do, he would not have been re-elected and his accomplishments would be nil. It would have been not only political suicide but incorrect. To his credit Barack Obama has been at all times ‘Presidential,’ you have to give him that. All the insults and disrespect he’s had to endure at the hand of racism and yet with grace and great reserve the brother remained cool.
I’ve always had faith that he knew what he was doing. I like to think he always knew it would come to this and that he was preparing all along by being the best he can be. Those of us who are Baby Boomers know what it means to know that we have to be better than our counterparts to succeed. It was never about an easy ride. If you thought that’s what ‘Affirmative Action’ was about then shame on you. Instead it was meant to merely open the door. Obama has succeeded based on his knowledge and expertise, his faith, his patience and astute insight into people, his compassion for people, his love for his people and country.
It’s hard being the spook who sits by the door and even more so the spook sitting inside the door. Any great card player knows that you can’t show your hand. Even though you have an agenda a visionary leader must also consider timing, knowing when to strike and most do so at their strongest unless circumstances dictate otherwise.
My People, my people, my people, we attacked Oprah before she revealed herself. Everybody was upset with how she did this, didn’t do that; decided they knew better than she about how to spend her money and with whom. We complained that she didn’t do anything for the American Black community. She too was the spook sitting by the door and walked through. When she retired from syndicated television and moved on to Own, Blacks along with the world discovered that she had supported so many, had given 12 million to Morehouse since 1989 to support Black males and never sought a photo opt or public praise. Did we apologize, or do mental and verbal retractions for our abusive disrespect of her? Did we even email her and say ‘great job!’ Had she been what many wanted her to be the way they wanted her to be, she never would have risen to the position that was her destiny—to introduce to the world as it listened, the first Black President of the U.S. She stepped out with an endorsement when all the Black politicians including Vernon Jordan and Chicago’s own supported Hillary for 2008 and we have the audacity to demand of him that he be the Messiah for Blacks.
My point is that some Black behavior is the residual of our slave experience. Too often it seems that Black people moan, complain and wail when we could take other actions. Black people criticize one another harshly. I love us but we have got to stop. We tend to go with the glass half empty rather than the glass half full. We want change then be the change. If you think that the CTA slighted your community by closing out a bus line then write a letter, send an email, call, contact your alderman. Do that across the board. If you feel a company insults you or your President, or doesn’t respect you then don’t support them. Don’t give them your business. Because your business does matter. Write your alderman, senators, congressmen, CEO’s, and anyone else who can help to correct things.
Guess what, the Hispanic community stepped up and Donald Trump is off NBC; he also lost retial representation of his clothing line in Macy’s due to his racist and ethnic remarks about Mexicans/brown people.
With our strong religious affiliation and the natural inclination towards a spiritual connection, Black people need to be further ahead. Do we believe that God is our deliverer or do we believe the White man is —he who put his face on the son of God? You tell me? A few weeks ago Maze Jackson, Chicago Defender political editor instructed us to “sit or get off the pot.”
I know that we have been an example to the world demonstrating leadership, tenacity, resilience, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, and unconditional love. So now is the time to love ourselves to embrace ourselves as we have others and be victorious.
E NOTES, The Mis-Education of the Negro 2015 Part IV was originally published on chicagodefender.com