“Color is not a human or a personal reality; it is a political reality. But this is a distinction so extremely hard to make that the West has not been able to make it yet. And at the center of this dreadful storm, this vast confusion, stand the black people of this nation, who must now share the fate of a nation that has never accepted them, to which they were brought in chains. Well, if this is so, one has no choice but to do all in one’s power to change that fate, and at no matter what risk-eviction, imprisonment, torture, death. For the sake of one’s children, in order to minimize the bill that they must pay, one must be careful not to take refuge in any delusion-and the value placed on the color of the skin is always and everywhere and forever a delusion.” –James Baldwin
The political organization around racial identity is a political reality in America whose necessity has not abated. It is the reason for, and the continuance of, the Congressional Black Caucus. To make it as plain as I can, we are a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, pluralistic society that is economically, politically, and socially stratified by race and class. We understand the negative role race and class play in the lives of racial minorities. To pretend to believe otherwise is a simple denial of reality that is not borne out by any facts now in existence.
All of the men pictured above served as members of congress and all are black. We come in many shapes and sizes and in all colors. Barack Obama, despite the naysayers in our community is, and always shall be, a black man. The arguments about who raised him and whether or not he is a descendent of slaves are irrelevant and silly. The brotha may be running for President but stick him on a D.C. street corner late at night wearing a hoodie and some jeans and see how many cabs pass him by. He is black. Period. He understands what that means and because he does, he fuels my anger when he steps away from that reality to placate a power structure that devalues our lives and demeans our dignity.
He understands that torture is not acceptable but endorses a Mayor that allowed 192 black men to be tortured in direct contravention to the Geneva Conventions. He understands how race can be used to distort justice because he has passed a law, which mandated that murder confessions be videotaped in Illinois and passed a law requiring statistics to be complied on traffic stops to combat racial profiling. One cannot advocate legislative remedies like this without recognizing the unequal treatment and disparate sentencing inherent in our criminal injustice system.
He is running for President and anybody who does so is on a tremendously galactic ego trip. He deserves to be scrutinized and his motivations examined like any other contender. He will receive no leniency from me. The Presidency’s power to destroy is legendary. The current occupant is a great example of an unprepared, unfocused, and dangerous ideologue. I have an obligation to my readers to hold that uppermost in my thoughts as I contemplate the political landscape.
Moreover, I have no interest in using the platform of this blog to deny America’s unapologetic racism nor those who ignore and perpetuate it. Barack Obama has made several conscious decisions to step away from this reality in an effort to market himself and to “cross over.” I don’t feel any need to be quiet about it and have no obligation to muffle my disquiet to make anyone else feel comfortable.
I am sorry that my musings are unsettling to some, but I lack the capacity to whitewash torture and police brutality. I am not about to take up the delusions of my white brothas and sistahs regarding race this campaign season because I have far too many delusions of my own to contend with.