Come on, People



Reading some of the discordant grumbling in the black blogosphere about the gratuitous “haterade” on our beloved President is both amusing and disconcerting.  It is as if some of y’all have been oblivious to the feel good fiction spoon fed to a naïve public in the course of the last campaign.  Disappearing Acts is not only Terri McMillan’s best novel; it could also be the title of any serious examination of the President’s record on issues important to progressives of any stripe, especially the working class and people of color.

Cornel West, in response to a question from Rolling Stone about joining the Obama Admin said:

That’s not my calling. Yeah, brother, you find me in a crack house before you find me in the White House. I’ll go into the crack house before I ever go that far inside.

I respect Cornel for his candor, however clumsily he stated it.  Remarks like that can get a brotha’s feelings hurt in the blogosphere.   I am quite sho’ his Princeton email box got blown up by overly sensitive Negroes who equate the interests of the black community with the corporate financed agenda of Barack Obama.

There are many things I could say concern me about the direction of this Administration so far:  indefinite detention, dramatic escalation of the Afghan War, dropping cluster bombs on Afghan civilians, preventing the victims of Bush-Cheney torture from suing for redress, failing to prosecute CIA torture and those who ordered it, but I’ll just stick to the economy for simplicity’s sake.

Granted, it ain’t been but four months, and he will be president for more than three and half more years, but our Commander-In-Chief has been gettin’ busy and doing the nasty.  Not with some empty headed ho, but with the Gucci wearing corporate whores that comprise the Administration’s high-ranking financial officials and their coterie of advisors.

This Administration has thrown away trillions down a bottomless rat hole to bail out the white investor class and the financial institutions that they control. These are the people whose speculative greed and racist indifference destroyed our economy.  Ain’t y’all been paying attention?   The civil rights establishment that you gleefully malign has filed landmark class action lawsuits against the sub-prime lending industry that deliberately targeted Negroes, Latinos and anybody else deemed ignorant enough to believe that deceptively marketed exploding adjustable rate mortgages were created to help the colored working class achieve the American Dream of homeownership. What they were really meant to do is generate windfall profits for the white investor class that they could pass down generation after generation.

Our Commander-In-Chief has not directed his Justice Department to join the NAACP in the class actions against some of his more generous campaign contributors.  This goes to the heart of the reparations argument being advanced by the Black Intelligentsia—people like Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson.  Black Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, who ain’t got nothin’ but love for Barack, has written extensively and persuasively on this topic.   The President told us over a year ago in the You Tube debate that he opposed reparations.

Honest white progressives like Krugman and Stiglitz and Warren have been eloquent about what this Administration is not doing to hold crooked speculators accountable for their unconscionably racist greed.  Real reform of the banking system is not in the works.

CPL, rikyrah, I love y’all with all my heart and soul, but attacking Cornel for some insignificant off handed comment is totally off base and changes the debate to who is hatin’ on Obama instead of what he is surreptitiously doing policy wise that the black community should hate.   We should be mindful of something that Maya Angelou said.  When people tell you who they are, believe them.   The President’s adherence to an insensitive white corporate agenda will not change.  Come on, People.  Let’s act like intelligent grownfolks and not like adolescents in the throws of puppy love.

20 thoughts on “Come on, People

  1. The real outrage here is the way the wingnuts have been allowed to frame the debate for the last several decades. To paraphrase something I read somewhere recently: In the USA, right wing fanatics are called conservatives, conservatives are called mainstream, moderates are called left-wing and the true left wing is invisible.

    In this environment, Obama can be called a “socialist” by the wingnuts even as he shows no real change from the Wall Street championing of his predecessors. When it comes to foriegn policy it’s not much different. Here’s a good recent article on the Cairo speech:

    Some folks have a knee jerk reaction to defend Obama from any criticism from the right. The problem is that the right controls the noise machine to the point where no one has many opportunities to be heard critiquing Obama from the left.

    Which is where you come in SB. Welcome back! The internet was sorely lacking without you. 🙂

    • E,

      “In the USA, right wing fanatics are called conservatives, conservatives are called mainstream, moderates are called left-wing and the true left wing is invisible.”

      Exactly. Preach, brotha. Say it, State it, Teach it to your children.

  2. I’m glad you’re back, SB.

    And, in your usual form.

    Have I not expressed my disappointment with The President on certain issues? Do I not express enough how much I distrust Fredo?

    There are certain real issues that need our attention, and it’s West’s odd remark that set me off, SB.

    I accept your scolding, SB.

    • rikyrah,

      Yes, I’ve heard some of the disagreement, but I hear far more agreement. For most Negroes it is as if the brotha is related to us by blood. The love we’ve extended to Barack is greater than that we extend to most of our kith and kin. We see him as an extension of ourselves. Rejecting him is like rejecting everybody black we’ve ever loved. It’s sacreligious, like taking the Lord’s name in vain or spitting in Big Mama’s face.

      Sweetie, I hope you’re ain’t mad with me the way CPL is. I come from a place of love and respect. I realize now, aside from other more pressing concerns, why she stopped commenting here. She needs HOPE. She needs CHANGE. She has to believe or she’ll have trouble moving forward. I get it. Most Negroes are in that same place. 9% unemployment, shitty health care, no economic prospects and a fu*king mortgage you can’t pay. I feel that pain. Trust. Having said that, it still does not constitute grounds to buy what the establishment and their current spokesmodel, Barack Obama, is selling. It simply isn’t Change We Can Believe In. It is just more of the same.

  3. After four months in office, I am sad to say that I am hugely disappointed with Obama. There have been no reforms in the banking and finance sectors. The factors that led to our economic collapse have not been addressed. He won’t even discuss single payer health care. Instead he insults our intelligence by holding a press conference with health insurance execs touting how they are going to voluntarily lower prices. (Well, why the hell weren’t they doing that before?) While we’ve been running around defending Sotomayo from the likes of Pat Buchanan, have any of us actually examined her record? Yes, she is completely brilliant. But she is stunningly bad on criminal justice issues, and she is shaky of important social issues. She is a bad choice for the lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court, but you won’t hear any progressives saying this. His speech in Cairo, which blamed Palestinians for the violence in that part of the world, is being lauded as the second coming of the I Have A Dream speech. I’m not yet ready to pronounce Obama a reincarnation of the triangulating Clinton, but damn…he’s coming pretty close. How very, very, very sad.

  4. Chesapeake

    … Meanwhile, Pres. Obama has failed also to address the health care crisis that is the rising numbers of homicides around the country.

    … Labor continues its almost 30-year smashing at the expense of the bailouts, and – get this – Obama will be the management and CEO who may deal labor its death blow.

    … Despite warnings and advocacy to the administration for greater accountability for use of money aimed at stimulating jobs in low-income communities, SBA and state equivalents have done almost nothing to require the construction companies running the projects to adjust their practices.

    Frankly, Obama’s presidential priorities are not progressive, but he telegraphed all this on the campaign trail, in his fundraising, and in his cabinet selections. Selection of Sotomayor continues the trend.

    Welcome back SB.

  5. akech

    There are numerous well educated African Americans and Africans on eath.

    Other than NAACP, are there any other think tanks of African origin who are not funded or controlled by other hoodwinking and mind-bending powerful foundations or financial organizations?
    These groups are only looking out for their personal interests by using minorities. They give an appearance that they care about minority issues, but they do not!

  6. Cliff

    “The civil rights establishment that you gleefully malign has filed landmark class action lawsuits against the sub-prime lending industry that deliberately targeted Negroes, Latinos and anybody else deemed ignorant enough to believe that deceptively marketed exploding adjustable rate mortgages were created to help the colored working class achieve the American Dream of homeownership.”


    Welcome back SB. I hope all is well with you and your family, and also hope that your long hiatus was well relaxed. I would have to agree with on your criticism of President Obama. Straddling the fence on political issues which concern the left has gone far enough. I would have to intervene and say that taking a courageous stand against the powers which control the seat of the Presidency, is a move that we have yet to see him make (not even 10%).

    So I guess we’ll still have to apply pressure, continue to measure him and his actions against accountability, accountability for us.

    Let us throw a theory out there.

    How about putting us as black people and our agenda first, then by the “Trickle Down Theory,” the concerns of all other races will eventually be addressed.


    I’m glad you thought of this.

    “The President told us over a year ago in the You Tube debate that he opposed reparations.”-SB

    Well, let’s just see how they react if you say this…

    ‘I think it’s time for us to, uhhh, address the concerns of African Americans, who were affected by slavery.’

    Half of them will want you hanged and burned, the other half of them will say…

    ‘It’s about time a Negro with this type of power has the courage to fix our mess.’

    Mr. President you can still cure WS, with this type of move.

    Hey I know, I know, it’s just a theory.

    Come back Mr. President; stop making that transition from being a “Safe Negro” to an Uncle Ruckus. Do something for US, ANYTHING!

  7. Chesapeake

    Cliff, it’s a good theory with plenty of scholarship to back it up.

    But what’s “WS”?

  8. Good to see you back at it, SB.

    I haven’t seen anyone mention that Cornel’s statement, far from being an indictment of Obama, is actually more of a jab at the overall system. I think it was a very polite way of saying what many of us feel. Michael Corleone may have said it best, “Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in.” You simply can’t fix the mob from the inside. Once you get in, you are sucked into their thing. There’s no way to change their thing into our thing. That’s simply never going to happen.

    So Cornell is saying what a lot of progressive thoughtful Black folks are saying. I want to make a difference, but I cannot believe that can be done within the totally corrupted system of governance to which we find ourselves subjected. Simply put, once you become part of that system, you become part of the problem. Barak has made is patently obvious that there is no real change to be expected from the people who benefit from the status quo. Each and every member of our elected government, all of whom require campaign contributions to maintain their elected office, and all of whom have re-election as their primary objective, is part of the problem. Furthermore, they have no real motivation to change a system that has elevated them to such a lofty stature. It’s like expecting a king to overthrow his own monarchy (a situation I doubt you will find even one historical instance of having happened). I cannot fathom why more of us can’t seem to grasp these simple truths.

    Too many in the Black blogosphere don’t seem to understand that Black folks issues are everyone’s issues. I don’t see Black people complaining that Obama hasn’t gotten us reparations. I certainly hear many people, Black and White, who are rightfully upset that the promises of change are now being deferred to a better time and place. I see people complaining that America is still acting in an imperialist fashion in Brown countries all over the world. I see people complaining that the corporate interests who drove all the bad policies of the previous administration, are still in place and still free to do what they have always done, put profit over the general welfare of the nation. I don’t care if Barak was the Blackest man on the planet, his actions in these and other regards is plainly and simply a 180 degree turn from the rhetoric of his campaign.

    Few intelligent Black people think Obama could or should be a back-to-Africa, Black nationalist radical. But many fail to comprehend that the issues that Black people champion, including reparations, are issues of fundamental fairness that speak to the betterment of the entire country; that would necessarily bring about a much needed redistribution of the ill-gotten wealth in this country, and could act as a catalyst and model for the improvement of social, educational, health, and economic conditions for all of the impoverished people in this so called land of milk and honey.

    We should never be afraid to speak the truth to power, no matter how that power looks. If Barak was my blood brother, I would be kicking his ass out behind the house for being such a disappointment. Certainly he deserves, and will receive, no free pass, just because he is the new Black face in a high place.

  9. TripLBee

    How would reparations act as a catalyst for improved social, educational and health conditions?

  10. Cliff

    “Too many in the Black blogosphere don’t seem to understand that Black folks issues are everyone’s issues.”

    Okay, Exodus Mentality, I know we are the only people on the Earth who have that “WE ARE THE WORLD, WE ARE ALL GOD’S CHILDREN,” “I CAN SAVE YOU, BUT NOT MYSELF,”mindset. Every other race on the Earth looks out for their own first, but I guess we are a totally different story.

    With a totally different type of psychology.

    One theory is that this type of mind is a called Post Traumatic Slave Sydrome.

    When we receive some of the best education in the world, like degrees from Colombia University, and Harvard Law School. We may excel to high positions of authority. Then we put all of our attention in resolving the poisionous mindset of WS (White Supremacy), Chesapeake, instead of focusing of solving the problems of our own people.

    ‘I’ll put all of my attention is putting more money into your pockets, I won’t even look their way, I SWEAR!’

    We all know by now that the Bin Laden Boogie Man is just a ploy for the rich, for their increased troop deployment for continuation of their Middle East oil pipeline.

    He actually thinks that he can focus of his attention of their issues, and still maintain a median with the rest of us.

    Help US, the poor and impoversished black people first, then this effort will “trickle up” from the bottom to all other people, then that will help solve our economic issues.

  11. @TripLBee, think of reparations not in terms of a check for Black folks, but in terms of establishing all of the social, educational, and economic platforms that we need to really accomplish anything as a people. Setting up this framework would be a blueprint for how to achieve a universal equality of opportunity.

    @Cliff, what part of “Black folks issues are everyone’s issues” gives you reason to think I would put any other group’s interests above my own. You my friend may still be caught up in one of the oldest games in the book, divide and conquer.

    So what if it’s true that other groups look out for their own first? The narrow minded interests of groups are what causes conflict. When you look at it, no matter what group you are in, you have the same concerns. Everyone wants economic empowerment, better health and welfare of the least of those as well as those higher placed, proper educational and social environments for our children.

    The problem comes when any group thinks that it can only achieve these things at the expense of some other group. The zero sum game theory means everyone eventually loses. This mentality of scarcity is a throwback to our primitive evolution, when man could barely scratch an existence from the rich world around him. While our technology has brought us well past that epoch of the human condition, it seems we are less able or inclined to update our philosophical and psychological tendency to assume that there isn’t enough to go around.

    Working for Reparations for descents of American slaves should not put Black people in a position of demanding our equality at the expense of anyone else’s. Instead, it must be framed as a general recognition that the status quo was achieved be methods that cry out for redress in equity. Equity requires that everyone’s interests be brought to the table, and resolved in a fashion that leaves no one out.

  12. Cliff

    “Working for Reparations for descents of American slaves should not put Black people in a position of demanding our equality at the expense of anyone else’s.”

    When we stand up for ourselves, and make demands, others automatically fall in line.

    Prime example.

    We have limited resources, thus we enact actions which are available, for collective power. After the Rodney King verdict, the people didn’t have a court to file an appeal; they applied methods of civil unrest to draw the attention of the world to injustice. The argument that we burned and destroyed our own neighborhood was later dismissed by the fact that we didn’t even own 10% of the businesses in our community. They had resorted to one of the only means that they had available to them to draw the protest, the uprising, the insurgency. Hispanics, and other races soon followed suit, not just to loot the ravaged businesses, but to join in the fight for justice.

    Okay, I know it will be hard to make this fit, but America, and countries in Europe are also responsible for reparations for us as Black people in America.

    We have a loving and beautiful nature. We don’t hoard wealth while others starve and live in poverty. We don’t believe in the “Trickle Down Theory.” Therefore when we are repaired, we quite naturally we would repair others. We need more than a check, but also land. This will rectify the main problem in America.

    This will be the true fulfillment of CHANGE.

  13. @TripLBee. {We’re no different than anyone else}

    To me, that is often the saddest part about “us”. we of all people should know better, and do better, than anyone else. But instead we choose to follow along in the same mistake laden path of everyone else, thinking that because that’s the way “they” did it or that’s what “they” have, then that’s what we should do as well. Following them off the cliff they are running headlong towards is not my idea of sound pro-Black policy.

    I do agree heartily with your Obama post though.

  14. It looks like we have two Cliff’s here now.
    Wasup Cliff.

    SB-If you ever blog again this year, I wanted to thank you for your hard work, for the past two years.

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