Monday, August 4, 2008

AB.com Guest Post: Why The Black Community Is Willing to Give Obama A Pass.


[Editor's Note: The Uppity Negro is a frequent commenter and avid member of AverageNation™. He sends me quite a few story leads, and even though he talks extra reckless about my home county, he's a generally good dude. I feel a bit embarrassed to admit that I only recently discovered this excellent blog, The Uppity Negro Network. Peep his different PoV on the Obama candidacy, and show some love you know where.]

I actually think the answer is quite simple as to why we are giving Sen. Barack Obama a pass. We want to have a black man in office. But the question I pose is at what cost do we want a black man in office?

None of us would vote for a Clarence Thomas and Alan Keyes would receive a resounding “Hell emphatically naw” from most of us if he were running. We might think about a Colin Powell, but even if it were Condolezza Rice, we’d want to vote for her simply because she’d be a black woman, and a smart black woman, regardless of her politics. But, again, some of us would be willing to look past her very tainted track record with the black community just to have stake in that historic inauguration day where this country saw the first black woman as president.

I think it first begs the question as to whether or not this country is ready for a black man to be president, and I think it’s clear that the answer is no. This country is merely ready for a president, who happens to be black. This is what Michael Eric Dyson in his book Is Bill Cosby Right? calls “incidentally black” is evidenced when he said, “I’ve said publicly that I do not subscribe to the notion that the painfully slow response of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security was racially-based. The ineptitude was color-blind….I see no evidence of active malice, but I see a continuation of passive indifference on the part of our government towards the least of these.”

Moreover, for the record, it was Hillary Clinton, or should I say, That Woman, who publicly called for the resignation, or firing, of then FEMA head Michael Brown.

The more national that Obama has become, the more that he has distanced himself from the so-called “black events.” Yes, he’s kept a relationship with the NAACP and the National Urban League, but during the primaries, he was quite sure that he stayed away from certain colorized events. I just think that its interesting that we live in a country, and participate in a system that allows for a Sen. John McCain to stand in the pouring Memphis rain amidst hecklers and boos on April 4th, 2008 commemorating the 40 year assassination of Martin Luther King and Barack Obama has to be somewhere in New Mexico talking about illegal immigration so as not to come off as the black candidate.

“Just until he get’s elected” is what most people’s rationale is. I think that’s a cop out and it screams a disengagement of intellectualism. Are we really willing to give him a pass for some issues just because he’s black? I mean, this guy gave up his pastor and his church—is he beholden to himself, or is he only beholden to the system? I think at the end of the day, he’s going to be no better for blacks than Bill Clinton was. It’s not the end of the world, but somehow blacks are really expecting this guy to push us over in the campaign season and then all of a sudden come out for us on some key issues when he gets in office.

Blacks are giving him this pass in the campaign season simply because we want to see someone with our skin color in office. It’s really that simple. We’ve collectively (not necessarily individually) thrown out all forms of criticism and labeled them as hateration: from Rev. Jesse Jackson to Tavis Smiley who was quite clear in The Covenant that we must hold our elected officials accountable regardless of race. (Again, another instance, we gave Obama a pass on the State of the Black Union two years in a row, but if Hillary Clinton hadn’t shown up, then black folks woulda been up in arms.) Newsweek reported in 2007 that Cornel West has told Barack Obama concerning a statement in his 2004 Democratic National Convention speech that “You have to be true to yourself, but I have to be true to myself as well." And this was following West’s remarks at the 2007 SOTBU asking him “what are you willing to sacrifice for.”

So far it’s only clear that he’s only willing to sacrifice for the presidency and not specifically for black Americans. And that many blacks are willing to sacrifice intellect and critical thought on more levels than just Obama is concerned just to justify getting a black man in office. It also appears to me that we, the black community will only be, yet again, the vicarious recipients of decent education and health care policies; we won’t be the primary targets, but rather “as a result of…” then we benefit, existing merely as an afterthought. Are we only happy with scraps from the massa’s table?

It’s a conundrum that we as black folk face, at least those of us who are incidentally black or intentionally black. But Don’t get me wrong, I’m voting for the guy because I agree with most of his policies and yes he is a breath of fresh air even for liberals, but he still doesn’t have the bite, it seems so far, to challenge the system. I think Audre Lord was right, and I think it’s apropos: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL

Question: Does Obama get a free pass from the Black Community or do we need to put more pressure on him to represent our views?

Uppity Negro Network Blog

43 AverageComments™:

Shady_Grady said...

Excellent post,AB.
I don't know if Obama's gotten a 100% free ride from Black voters but I think people are muting criticisms and questions. I don't think that's ever a good idea.

There are a lot of places where I agree with Obama but his semi-support for affirmative action made me nervous and his reversal on FISA was a red line for me.

Symphony said...
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Symphony said...

Its not race its party and politics. I don't think he's getting a pass for being Black. I do acknowledge he got more of a pass later in the primaries because he was Black. But first and foremost he gets a pass for being a Democrat. If he wasn't a Democrat most Black people wouldn't give him the time of day in the first place.

Novella said...

I do not think that the Black community needs to put more pressure on Obama. I agree that American is not ready for a Black president, and the we are ready for a president that happens to be Black. I believe that Obama will represent all Americans as eqally as he can. He comes from a diverse background and that is what America needs, someone who can relate to almost everyone on some level. Black people should not expect him to spearhead just their issues when he wins the Presidency, but expect him to do what is best for the county as a whole.

Daedalus said...

All democrats, especially black ones, get a pass from blacks. That goes without saying. My brother, who is 50 said that he wishes I would have had "The Black Experience" (whatever the hell that is) and perhaps I would feel diferently and give him a pass. I told him, that Barak has proven America is ready for a black president. When we get one worthy of that office he will be voted in.

Daedalus said...

All democrats, especially black ones, get a pass from blacks. That goes without saying. My brother, who is 50 said that he wishes I would have had "The Black Experience" (whatever the hell that is) and perhaps I would feel diferently and give him a pass. I told him, that Barak has proven America is ready for a black president. When we get one worthy of that office he will be voted in.

souljonz said...

I give this post a resounding "Hell yes"! Of course Obama is recieving a pass. And we all know why, HE IS A CHARISMATIC BLACK DEMOCRACT WHO ACTUALLY COULD WIN. And for most black people the prospect of winning is able to cover a multitude of sin.

But I have a sneaking suspicion that we will regret this later, even if many of us refuse to admit it. Great post Uppity!

i.l.l. said...

I agree with the comments that he's getting a pass because he's a Democrat, more than because he's black. But, Sen. Obama has spent a huge part of his legal and political career addressing the specific concerns of the black community. I think it says more about the good ol' U. S. of A. that his campaign has, for the most part, steered clear of blatantly black politics, than it actually says about Obama.

Jazzy said...

This I the kind of rhetoric I am tried of hearing from black and white people alike. He doesn�t focus enough on the black community; he�s not showing up to black events. We are eating the scraps off the table. GROW THE F UP PEOPLE! There is not one person on this earth that is the Messiah stop looking to Obama to solve the problems of Black America. We are the problems with Black America. It begins with YOU! What are you doing lately for your community, are you at the city council meetings, are you showing up at the superintendent meetings? If not shut the F up! I am so mad I am so frustrated with my people. The fact that Dr. King has been dead for decades and we still don�t get it. He was in the trenches he did not start off at the top he worked his way up, we as a people have regressed. Change begins with you. It begins with you being accountable how many times are you giving yourselves a pass. Examine yourself fist! This was a well written post Uppity but I�m angry that Black people want to put all their hopes in one person and that person�s ability instead of examining where they are lacking. Its hard holding someone else�s feet to the fire when you are unwilling to do what you are asking of him.

spool32 said...

I won't venture to say whether or not he SHOULD be getting a pass, but I think it's pretty clear that he IS getting one.

Maybe that $1000 energy bribe he proposed today will help paper over the question until November...

Monie said...

I agree with Symphony about the blind support (most) Black people give the Democrats.

@Jazzy

"GROW THE F UP PEOPLE! There is not one person on this earth that is the Messiah stop looking to Obama to solve the problems of Black America. We are the problems with Black America. It begins with YOU!" - Jazzy


It's amazing that you have been so brainwashed that you feel that being Black is problematic.

Why is it that Jewish voters can expect the President to solve their problems in Israel and they are just looking out for their own interests. Or White Union voters expect the President to do things for them and its okay.

But when it comes to Black voters everyone says take responsibility? Everyone else can be a constituent and expect help from the next President, be it McCain or Obama, and we are told to take responsibility?

No one else is told that.

Jazzy said...

“It's amazing that you have been so brainwashed that you feel that being Black is problematic. “

I am far from being brainwashed I don’t feel that my blackness is problematic what disturbs me is that some black people want Obama to focus on Black America for what? He is not running for president of Black America but of America. White Union workers can expect for the President to do thing for them but look what good it has done them its called NAFTA. It is up to the American populace to being rectifying the problems that Presidents and congress at large has created by starting at the local and state levels. Then and only then can you expect the President cater to your needs when first your city officials do. I am saying start where it is going to count most and that’s at home

Daedalus said...

For those of you who think Barak is not spending enough time on black concerns, (Kudos to McCain for going to Memphis and even more Kudos to uppity for having the gonads to actually mention this fact) Barak is running for President of all of America, not just 12% of the population. Sorry bout that. While I do not want Barak to be president, we are blessed to be in a country where he could be.

The Dark Angel said...
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The Dark Angel said...

I guess being called sellout by your race, receiving death threats, having your wife and your faith mocked isn't enough for some black people. If that's what we call a free pass in this country then we really need help. I guess if he goes all Jesse Jackson and starts threatening to cut @#!$ off he'll be be a TRUE BLACK PRESIDENT! Oh my bad, he forgot to show up at a few conferences where nothing is ever accomplished or acted upon. Yep, that proves it...he's not black enough and we're giving him a free pass!

The funny thing is, we (black people) have held down political positions for a few decades now and things keep getting worse in areas we dominate, like my hometown Chicago, or L.A. or Detroit or Baltimore. I guess those politicians have been getting a free pass too?

The government can't solve anyone's problems. They create the problems!

@ JAZZY

Amen! Thank you Jazzy for that comment. This "Oh where, oh where is my government to save me" mentality that not just black folks have, but Americans have, is getting ridiculous. People always want to use Jewish people as some sort of pinnacle of human behavior we should aspire too. The Jews do it, why can't we? We need to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and start looking at what we can do ourselves. WE ARE NOT THE HELPLESS VICTIMS IN NEED OF SAVING BY DEMOCRATS & REPUBLICANS!

Monie said...

Jazzy and Dark Angel,

Wow what the heck was I thinking?! The two of you are right; no comparison can be made between African Americans and other groups politically.

Other groups form themselves into constituent groups and demand that their concerns are spoken too.

We, African Americans, are apparently the only group that must tell ourselves over and over to take responsibility. Also we must never expect our political concerns to be addressed, because of course we are our own problem and nobody can fix us but us.

Thanks for showing me the error of my thought!

Oh and thanks for clarifying that Obama is running to be President of the United States. I thought he was just going to be President of Black America.

(was that too sarcastic?)

spool32 said...

Historically, the Jewish population already took responsibility, three generations ago. They already rose up past religious and ethnic persecution, came up out of the urban ghettos, and succeeded as an ethnic group before integrating with the wider nation without losing their identity.

The story of Jews in this country over the last hundred years ought to be the model of personal responsibility in the face of adversity, not some sort of counterexample of a group that's "allowed" to demand something.

Monie, there are other minorities you might point at to make your case but the Jewish one was poorly chosen... their history in America supports Jazzy's point, not your own.

Monie said...

Spool32,

I understand that reading comprehension is a problem for some people so I'll try this one more time.

Jews are not the point. The point is that groups of Americans, whether they are unions, White suburban soccer moms, Latinos, airline pilots, etc. demand to be heard and their issues spoken too.

We, African Americans, seem to be the only group that will allow a candidate for President to preach to us as if we are children.

It's not the job of a Presidential candidate to point out the flaws of a particular constituency. It is their job to listen to that group and tell them what he can do to help their concerns.

Barack Obama will not go to speak in front of out of work people in Ohio or Pennsylvania and tell them they have to take responsibility for their own plight. And maybe they should start their own companies rather to expect help from the candidate.

But he seems to have no problem doing that to us when ever he speaks in front of African Americans. We deserve better, we should demand better.

Was that clear enough?

Gracie B. said...

I don't see where not participating in photo ops on landmark days means that Obama is asking for a "pass."

Am I the only black person who legitimately thinks he's a great candidate and would vote for him regardless of his race? Is it bonus that he's black? Uh, yeah. But not that much. I get chills listening to him and get even more jazzed to see the effect he has on others.

At the end of the day, I think his presidency will help ALL Americans and that will help us. If we want to be picking about electing people at all levels. We need to stop giving our black mayors (I'm talking to YOU Ron Dellums) a pass while beating the crap out of Obama for actually taking action and moving center enough to get elected and enacting change. We need to stop giving ourselves passes and get involved. And we need to stop allowing arbitrary definitions of behavior to define what does or does not make you an ally of the black community. I think we should take a page from the GLBT community and create defined metrics that will actually lead to movement.

Jazzy said...

@Monie are you discounting the value of local and state politicians these are the people that ultimately influence National politics let me reiterate begin where it counts first! Obama is an easy target for many people because he is in the spotlight right now but are you holding your local and state officials accountable for the Black plight or do they not count because they are not on the national level?

spool32 said...

@monie:

Not really. I think politicians should be telling all these groups the same thing.

You're the one who brought Jews and the unions (the "white unions", as if these groups don't have black members) into it.

Republican politicians generally tell Union voters to go back to school because the market doesn't guarantee their jobs and the government shouldn't either. The Jewish lobby is pretty well split down the middle, much like the Cubans.

I sense that you're trying to make a point, but I'm not sure what it is exactly... maybe you should vote for the guy who isn't preaching to black people as if they're children?

That'd be McCain.

WNG said...

I personally believe that if you haven't voted in your local and state elections you shouldn't be allowed to vote in national elections...but that's the kind of unConstitutional that doesn't fly in America.
Most of what affects you on a day to day basis (your schools, your roads, your cops, etc) is decided at the local level. The President paints the broad strokes, YOU fill in the details...well, the people who show up do.
In any case I don't think that Barack has gotten a pass from most Black people who wouldn't have given any Democrat a pass. As for the SOTBU and other events, when he tried to see if Michelle could speak in his place she was turned away. Why are we more upset that he was busy trying to win the nomination and wanted to send his wife to the event than we are that Tavis Smiley and others SOLD the personal information of attendees at those events. He literally sold them out, but no one cares.
I have had some problems with Obama's stance on some issues and I've called or emailed the campaign about them. He hasn't gotten a 'pass' from me, if he has from you well...

Maglet said...

I was wishing I didn't agree with every word you wrote, but alas...

I do think that some people have overlooked some things. I still have questions about him--even though he IS my candidate. I've never been one for picking a candidate because "well, one is the lesser of two evils" because that's just plain dumb! He's my candidate because I agree with most of the issues that he's going after and I couldn't agree LESS with the issues that McCain is going after.

I honestly DO wish he'd speak up a bit more at certain times. You KNOW he's cussed people out--under his breath of course. LOL I wish he'd show a little fire, I guess. The black community needs something powerful right about now and frankly, he appears so mild sometimes. I know how passionate he is about "change" but what I have to say to that is "O, Rly?".

He's so manicured, I want there to be a more real "real" side to him. That makes no sense, but I know what I mean and that's all that matters. :-P

Brown Man said...

Shaft could never be elected president.

And if you go down the list of all the other firebrands who have championed our causes for decades, there are very, very few who would even come close to fitting the bill.

There is a reason why Jackie Robinson integrated baseball, a reason why Sidney Poitier was the first moneymaking leading black man - and however much we might want to believe that white americans have learned to deal with diversity, refusing to see what is right before your eyes is foolhardy at the least.

Does Ken Chenault kick ass and take names at American Express? Hell no. He does what other chief executives do - he works through the proper channels.

I wish one of my fellow bloggers who had the time and the resources would tally all of Obama's public utterances, both pro and con, as they pertain to black people in america.

I get the sneaking suspicion that the media we depend on to boil the raw news down for us, the same media that is bored to death with the lack of fireworks between the campaigns, the lack of drama from the campaign staffs, and the general orderliness of the whole thing this time around are only sharing half the picture of Obama with you.

It is amazing, the difference in what I get from his speeches when I actually read them line by line as opposed to the liberally "interpreted" sound bites and sloppily thrown together articles that often parrot any inconsistency, any tone of the reporter who filed his story first.

The "O-Man" is a professional waffler - from his level of expertise, it looks like he's been wavering "almost" and "maybe "his whole life.

And he can have a tendency to overthink things, as if we are a captive audience like his students used to be.

But if you add up all the things that are wrong with him, they still pale in comparison to all that's right. If you consider a person's bad qualities or negative traits to be the determining factor of whether or not you can support them, then you are by definition always going to be settling for the candidate with the least faults.

I don't care about the policies, because Americans won't go for anything too far from the middle of the road, no matter how good a salesman the president is.

What I care about is our young black boys - my vote is so they see so much of that brown face in that blue suit behind that podium, or crossing that East Lawn to get into the helicopter, or huddled with the rest of the world leaders at a G-8 conference - because the reality is, too many of our young boys get the majority of their info from TV, where Shaq and Kobe and McNabb and T.O. dominate the airwaves.

the uppity negro said...

Note: I was at King's Dominion ALL day with the youth in our program--soooo, here I go:

@daedalus(1)

I think you're right, blacks to give Democrats of all shades a pass. But I think that it is a result of what are our alternatives. As a black man, I'd rather roll the dice with someone who at least says the right thing 80% of the times, and does the right thing half as much, than with someone who says what I agree with only 50% of the time and barely does anything.

All the more reason for a third party.

"that Barak has proven America is ready for a black president."

However, I think you missed my point about America NOT being ready for a black president, but rather a president who happens to be black.

@jazzy(1)

I'm not sure what exactly you pulled from this article, but the sole intent of this article was to quesiton the fact that black people, on a whole, ARE putting all of their eggs in one basket as far as Obama is concerned. Moreover, I'm suggesting that we not make the leap of faith that he will all of sudden be "the change we hope for."

the uppity negro said...

@ the dark angel

Our paths meet again, lol.

I think my hang up with you really amounts to this pathology that I think you're failing to see--as far as I see.

What you suggests is fine, if the playing field was level, but it's not and never has been, and frankly I think anyone that suggests "personal responsibility" over that of governmental aid programs is doomed from the start.

I think the fact that he left his pastor, and left his church--when it was mocked, as you say, proves my point all the more that Obama is caving in to political pressures and he's going against what Cornel West admonished as far as being true to yourself. Obama did a VERY good job of NEVER explaning how he sat in the pews of Trinity for 20 years--he had to have agreed with a good chunk of what Rev. Wright was preaching.

As far as Chicago politics are concerned, need I bring up Council Wars--once a black man was in office, then you got white council members standing on the desks hollering and causing a ruckus and Washington couldn't get through a meeting and was blocked on EVERYTHING for nearly his first whole term. I mean, it's systemic! Once black people get elected, then the good ole boy network that provided under the table funding by the rich white men, of course dries up--and dries up quickly. Moreover, it's a lot of undercover wheeling and dealing that takes place that prevents those that truly have the community's best interest at heart from doing what needs to be done. And then some black politicians think that they can do what their white predecessors did--WHO GOT AWAY WITH IT--and then of course, we're the ones who're going to get caught for it. Now in my book, a wrong is a wrong, and they should be punished for it--but that's PART of the problem as far as "when blacks elected."

@monie(2)

Yes, the sarcasm was a bit thick, lol. But I def. get your point.

@spool 32(2)

I think the Jews are a bad comparison of an ethnic group "that shows perserverance in the face of adversity" (yes, I'm being sarcastic).

I think African Americans are incomparable on the simple fact that these other groups, amongst family members, individuals, communities, took it upon themselves to VOLUNTARILY MOVE TO THE UNITED STATES.

Not one descendant of slaves in this country had the opportunity to make that decision for themselves.

Additionally, there were many laws on the books in various states and municipalities that prevented SPECIFICALLY NEGROES (or Coloreds) from doing A LOT of things. Other ethnic groups were subordinate to that of blacks as far as discrimination was concerned.

Moreover, let's be realistic, discrimination against blacks is VERY easy, a name change from Horowitz to Howard can cover up a culture, but it's MUCH harder to change skin color.

I say all that to say, the "personal responsibility" debate shouldn't enter the conversation until 1965, which was, as far as I'm concerned Congress has passed useful broad sweeping legislation.

And even after that, I think that debate needs to be two-sided, and requires a much more complex understanding of culture than what has been previously argued.

the uppity negro said...

@monie (3)

I agree wholeheartedly with that post.

@gracie B.

I think where we've gone wrong down this particular path is that we've forgotten how to be supportive AND critical at the same time. Blacks should be keen at this because of our lack of choices in this country (yes, I'd be more than happy to explain if anyone wants to know) and particularly the "double consciousness" bit from DuBois. I mean, as blacks we know what it means to be this AND that as opposed to being this OR that. We have mastered code-switching and other inter-cultural techniques that no other culture on the face of this earth, presently has done so well.

I think we've now, somewhat, crossed the line into assimilation as far as Obama is concerned.

Some of us have that "we've arrived" feeling, and I'm simply saying don't drink that "we've arrived" Kool-aid simply because there's a black man, who's a Democrat, running for president.

As far as my endorsement of him prior to the Jeremiah Wright controversy, but after I cast my primary vote in early elections in Illinois in January, I was quite clear that 50% of my endorsement for him WAS BECAUSE HE WAS BLACK. I was peacock proud that someone who would have a hard time catching a taxi cab in New York was running for president.

In the fevor of the moment, I neglected being critical of his campaign.

The Jeremiah Wright controversy knocked me back into critical mode because I'm in seminary and I was QUITE interested in the theological ramifications of how it was going to play it, as well as the existential questions surrounding "blackness."

(sorry, I'm rambling)

"At the end of the day, I think his presidency will help ALL Americans and that will help us."
(your quote)

My ultimate problem in that statement is that, as I said in the post, that we as the blacks are the afterthought when it comes to public policy. The last Congressional policy that directly affected the majority of blacks was the frigging Voting Rights Act of 1965. Don't be fooled thinking affirmative action was for us, it was for white women; and Clinton's welfare mess-up, yes, affected blacks, but clearly there are more whites on welfare roles.

I mean, we're really the victims of circumstances.

I would love to be first, or somewhere near the top of the list when things get considered at least once in a while. Trust me, blacks won the damn elections for Obama in the primary states, not so much for caucus states. You best cool believe that if we didn't vote for him, this Negro aint got a snowball's chance in hell of pulling this thing off.

the uppity negro said...

@wng

Now that's an interesting idea, making it mandatory to vote in local elections in order to vote in presidential ones.

Now, as far as SOTBU is concerned, I think it was a catch-22. I think Smiley was well within his rights to ask that he be there--Clinton clearly made time for it, and she didn't send her husband either. (But this was after Bill had made his "fairy tale" statement). However, I personally gave Obama a pass for not going because I felt that he needed not to be categorized as the "black candidate."

But hindsight is 20-20, I wish he had went. I think it has been one of the few times where there would have been a national audience, black and whites to hear his particular views countered against an opponent. Think about it, as of date, there have been limited audiences (such as the Unity conference, or local NAACP or Urban League conventions) and Obama has given speeches where he can go on uninterrupted about his viewpoints without any counter argument--essentially unchallenged on his viewpoints. What SOTBU would have done was force Obama to go up against Clinton on some tough issues.

Take Hurricane Katrina for instance. Obama was riding her coattails on those whirlwind appearances in the Houston Astrodome--them folks aint know'd who the colored man was. Prolly thought he was her assistant. Clearly Hillary took a much more hardline approach to the issue of race and class than Obama did. (And yes, I'm pulling this info from Michael Eric Dyson's "Come Hell or High Water" [I know it's supposed to be italicized, but I haven't figured out how to do it yet]). Hell, I almost don't blame Clinton for being pissed about losing the primary.

But then she made those remarks in the Pennsylvania and W. Virginia primaries--but that's a whole 'nother ball of wax.

the uppity negro said...

@daedalus

Just realised--you misspelled Obama's first name more than once.

It's B-A-R-A-C-K you forgot the "C"

@jazzy (3)

I'm all with you as far as not neglecting state and local elected officials, but I think there job description (at least in practice) is much more different. Such as:

Alderman/selectmen (or women, of course) have a lot of issues pressing on them that require money. Most major city mayors have a VERY hard time balancing budgets based on county or state allocations. And I think asking for public policy funding (think education, health care) couldn't have come at a worse time in this country.

As a whole, this country has an aging infrastructure. Take Atlanta for instance. The pipes under the street are a mess! When I got there in 2006, there was a water main break every other day it seemed like, and Franklin had to put on the back burner other NEEDED concerns to deal with the simple fact that folks need water--it was really that basic.

So, when you have a city budget that's in the red, as Atlanta's and I'm quite sure most others are hovering near that break even point (usually on the red side, take Detroit for instance, lol) what's going to come first--allocating that more money be spent per pupil or securing enough funding for public transportation?(such as that $55 million needed to operate CTA in Chicago)

Saying all of this to say, in this case, the trickle-down effect is perfect. When Congress allocates, or earmarks monies for education and health care for states, it's just for that, and that alone. If those funds get misappropriated by gubernatorial staffs or local agencies, it is the fault of them. The problem, as I've said in the other responses, is that Congress (ergo the President) have not done such--they haven't, for whatever reason, found that money.

So, if the money was there, I'd be behind you 100% in saying go to the city council members or go to the board of education meetings--but too often the problem in the black community isn't the mis-allocation of funding, but the actual LACK of funding.

I'm sure many people would say doing this would amount to a welfare society, but my response is that this is what would ultimately being to level the playing field--and THEN we can start having the "personal responsibility" conversation.

the uppity negro said...

@brown man

At the end of the day, a Jackie Robinson was chosen simply because he was safe.

Being "safe" changes things on the timetable of the one who's in control of the system. I mean, think about it, blacks were NOT clamoring, necessarily, to "play with the big dogs." Don't get me wrong, we wanted integration simply because the current way of things was just WRONG, but Robinson was hand picked because the powers that be felt it was the right time.

So far, Obama is safe. Clearly he's not about to offend white folks delicate sensibilities.

Howsumever, I more than respect your position on why you wanna see him in the White House, and right now, that's his only saving grace as far as I'm concerned.

the uppity negro said...

I'm done...this was a long day for me.

Btw, if I didn't respond to your comment, it meant I more or less agreed with it, or at least agreed with your logic or line of thought behind it. (Hmmm, I could say more about that...) I don't necessarily have to agree with you, but if one's logic makes sense to me, then I can go along with the end result. My personal frustration is when I can't get with the logic.

Mad ups to AB and the greater MoCo community **rolls eyes** and The Urreah for giving a young brotha the platform to share his thoughts.

JLL

(and yes, this was a SHAMELESS ploy to reclaim my number spot in the top 10, lol)

ebw said...

Wow.Just wow. All I've got to say is that I admire the brother's tenacity. He doesn't get a free pass from me, but he does get my respect. This brother has been through hell duting this campaign. Believe it. I mean, as I type this, CNN's Jeanie Most (sp?) is doing some puff piece on Obama's B-day and the fact that his hair has gotten increasingly more grey since his campaign began. Now they are doing a story on MCain's trip to the Sturgis bike rally. (please Ab, do a post about this!)

Anywho, all this drama..it really is "silly season". and some of ya'll are a little younger than me..maybe you don't remember the praise Hillary got when she wrote that "It takes a village" book. People want to criticize Obama for essentially saying the same thing she did. I guess it's easier to digest someone of a lighter persuasion telling you that we all must take accountability for our own actions and each one teach one.

Jazzy said...

@Uppity

"I'm sure many people would say doing this would amount to a welfare society, but my response is that this is what would ultimately being to level the playing field--and THEN we can start having the "personal responsibility" conversation."

This would led to a socialist society I gather from your lengthy response regarding the misappropriation of funds you truly don�t understand they power you wield at the local level. You elect or neglect to elect and hold accountable your officials that make decisions that DIRECTLY effect your way of living. Let me give you this example: the President is a CEO the CEO has VP�s, managers and supervisors and employees working for him/her. The employees have a chain of command when they need to report a problem that begins with your supervisors (i.e. alderman�s), then moves on to managers (mayors), moving on to VP�s (your congressman and governors) hold them accountable to what they are doing or not doing for the black community.

@ EBW
�maybe you don't remember the praise Hillary got when she wrote that "It takes a village" book. People want to criticize Obama for essentially saying the same thing she did. I guess it's easier to digest someone of a lighter persuasion telling you that we all must take accountability for our own actions and each one teach one.�

Never better said. Thank you

the uppity negro said...

@jazzy

The lower-level workers (the electorate) need to understand that they shouldn't take "NO" from those (the alderman, mayors, county presidents) from those who never had the power to say "YES" in the first place.

Meaning, the chain of command has failed the black community.

@EBW

Let the record show that "It Takes a village to raise a child" is an African proverb from a West African nation. I was teenager when Hillary came out with that bull-ish and I wanted her to shove that book so far up her...she'd be speaking Ibo or something.


Anywho...you're still right.

spool32 said...

@uppity:

I agree with your response to me :)

ebonygentleman said...

When blacks become the majority in this country, then Obama could show his "inner nigga" and his behavior doesn't matter as much.

As it is, this is the hand he is dealt, as many of us are also.

EG

Jazzy said...

@Uppity I attend city council meetings you want to know how many of our people show up 3 in my city. If you are unwilling to get up off of your behind and actually put in work in significant numbers then you can not blame that on a failed system. Get out of the victim mentality.

key-2-life said...

This is so sad. What the hell do you expect him to do for us that we are not doing for ourselves? We are never satisfied with anything expect bitching and moaning about what somebody else should be doing for us. This is why we are in the predicament that we are in! What specifically do you want Obama to do? I mean seriously, how much triumph can he puts in? Can he do any worst then Bush? Is it possible? As it is so obvious he has done such a damn good job for us! Are you kidding me? If you don’t like him, going to criticize him or better yet feel that McCain is going to “set us free”, then vote for him! It’s that simple…

Gracie B. said...

@ Uppity

You made my point for me. The last Congressional policy that directly affected the majority of blacks was the frigging Voting Rights Act of 1965. Don't be fooled thinking affirmative action was for us, it was for white women; and Clinton's welfare mess-up, yes, affected blacks, but clearly there are more whites on welfare roles.

Exactly. But the key word there is CONGRESSIONAL. And the key action needed there is for more blacks to run for lower level offices - from local on up - in order to enact the kind of change you seem to expect this one man to deliver.

I will return to the example of the GLBT community, because I think it's one that has very well organized around it's issues from every corner. The Human Rights Campaign is emphasizing the importance to GLBT voters of electing Obama, PLUS is asking supporters to give him money, PLUS is asking supporters to give to downticket races in key states, PLUS is active in state and local drives like the fight against Prop. #8 in California.

We don't do that - but we say that 1 man is supposed to suddenly make our issues #1. Really? Uh no, WE need to make our issues #1. We're the ones who stupidly voted for Bush in 2004 because we let the evangelical right convince us that voting against anything remotely near self interest made more sense than allowing 2 consenting adults to marry. We're the ones who have organizations like the NAACP who are AT LEAST 5 YEARS BEHIND any other special issues organization in using technology and the internet to build grass roots support. I think I get an email a month from the NAACP - I get at least 1 a week from NARAL, HRC, PFAW, MoveOn and the Democratic Party. Those groups learned quickly that they could mobilize for change using the internet, and (I'm assuming) pretty easy technology that allows me to email my congress people without thinking about it and voice my support or concerns. I've learned more about my representative's positions through these drives than most of the research I can do on my own in my limited free time. The NAACP and other black community groups are still trapped in the "march" mentality. And while mass demonstrations are useful - it's time to get with the program.

My point is - we're not giving Obama a "pass" on anything we haven't given ourselves a pass on. There hasn't been congressional action because we haven't asked for it. When was the last time we mobilized for a REAL purpose....not touchy-feely, woo woo purposes (unity, blah blah blah) but actual real change? To my knowledge (and I'm young and could be wrong), we haven't. So we (meaning you) need to put down the rock before you do some damage to your glass house

the uppity negro said...

@ Gracie B.

Well, you're exactly right about the NAACP being a bit behind in the times. But I will say that Congress and the President work in tandem simply because the majority leaders and whips report themselves to the party leaders and ultimately the party president who if all things go right, is the president.

Ergo, the president has the final signing power on bills presented, and also has the ability to recommend Congress to pass things.

But, yes, I think there is a lot--as far as politicking--that the black community could learn from the GLBT community.

Gracie B. said...

Yes - the President can recommend things - but it's going to be completely stalemated if either branch can't agree on the policies. We have to start someplace - and it's not at the top - as a community, we need to take responsibility and demand more of EVERYONE - starting with ourselves. As others have said, stop taking the victim perspective and believing that Obama should be doing something "for" us - and look toward building a partnership with him and other leaders that will do something WITH us

Shady_Grady said...

What do I specifically want Obama to do? There's a lot. But how about we start with having him follow the Constitution and stand up against the FISA expansion which he caved on.

After he does that he could back off muttering threats against Iran.

And if there's time left in the workday he might work to end the war in Afghanistan instead of promising to expand it.

The Dark Angel said...

@ MONIE

"It's not the job of a Presidential candidate to point out the flaws of a particular constituency. It is their job to listen to that group and tell them what he can do to help their concerns.

I'm sorry Monie, was there some Presidential job description that stated he COULDN'T DO THIS? Or is this just your personal opinion? Politicians throughout time have challenged their constituents to do better as well as expect more out of their leaders. When you find those restriction in a presidential candidates job description, get back to me. But sincerly, I apologize if I come off as sarcastic...sometimes common sense can appear that way.


@ Uppity Negro

Yep we meet again. Shouldn't you have carpal tunnel after our last meeting. LOL.

Now, I do agree with you on how politics works, especially for black politicians. Good reference points. Yes, I said I agree with you, mark that on your calendar. But you just proved my point about depending on the government. The problem is systemic. How can a system incapable or unwilling to fix itself improve lives? Do we not see the irony in this kind of thinking? If the problems in government are so systemic, wouldn't any social measure put in place merely reflect that systemic failure? They can only produce that which that are. That's why all that comes out of Washington is more of the same.

@ MONIE & THE UPPITY NEGRO

Personal responsiblity is not some political agenda exclusive to the Republicans or nut jobs like Sean Hannity. It's your obligation to yourself, your family & your community. Whether you agree with it or not is irrelevant, because at the end of the day, the only person who will tend to your well being is you.

Does the government serve a purpose? Absolutely. Provide equal education. Protect it's citizens. Maintain infrastructure & create sound economic policies. That's what government should do.

We've become so hurt by our past hurts in this country that we sabotage any earnest efforts towards our community. We're like abuse victims who become so fearful that suddenly they see everything as an attack against them. If were' not open to critique, we're not open to growing.

I'm late replying because of a bad storm that came through my area. I was moving my family to a secure location & replenishing the food we lost in the power outage. You know, not waiting for the government to do it. But the guy down the block is still waiting for the government and is currently starving to death because he wouldn't move the small branch blocking his door. Oh, but the government did tell him that help would be available when the 2010 elections came around, 08 isn't an election year in our community.

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