Voters in the nation’s capital city rebuked the President’s homie, Mayor Adrian Fenty. Formally, we call what took place yesterday an election. I call it an orgy of ignorance. I am a race man to the core but what happened yesterday is unfathomable.
One of my home girls called me last night from D.C., and I asked her who she voted for. The answer, of course, was Vincent Gray, the aging quadroon who is Chairman of the City Council. I knew it was over without looking at a single return. I could not help berating her. Lacking conviction in her vote and stung by my attack she asked, “Why you ain’t call me?” I should have said that I thought she had better sense than to throw out a decent brotha over a vague sense of racial grievance. The crap about gentrification and Fenty’s cabinet appointments are just blackfolks venting about the common misconception that Adrian is a House Negro too beholden to whitefolks.
Fenty’s loss is a triumph of style over substance because Gray certainly had no real programmatic objections that he chose to share. Fenty lost for two reasons: 1) His hard charging and humorless style rubbed too many the wrong way. 2) The unconscious desire of the black community to crucify a scapegoat because of their economic anxiety during this brutal recession. Blackfolks convinced themselves that their black college educated Black Mayor with the black wife and kids did not care about black people.
I firmly believe that if Adrian Fenty had been caught by the FBI in a roach motel with a chickenhead and a crack pipe–he would have been re-elected in a landslide. There would have been no question that Adrian was sufficiently black enough to vote for. Functioning schools, tolerable crime, a responsive city government, and a healthy business climate are apparently anti-black instruments meant to oppress and demean black people.
I suppose having a Black Mayor who does not embarrass us with his extramarital affairs, ungrammatical profundity, and serial incompetence are a naïve expectation. I know it is unreasonable to expect that black folks would vote for a Black Mayor maniacally focused on making the city function properly by appointing people, regardless of race, who know what they are doing.
Fenty’s installation of Michelle Rhee, a Korean American, as Chancellor of the DC Schools, was a bridge too far. She single-handedly turned around one of the most catastrophically inadequate urban school systems in the country by demanding excellence and holding teachers accountable for black student success. She even had the temerity to fire bad teachers. We cannot have that. Rather than graduate school prepared for a career, it is better for the community if Black children drop out of school and remain trapped in a cycle of poverty. Politicians get bonus points if a disproportionate number of Black children end up dead or in jail.
Things were definitely better in the District during the halcyon days of the Barry Administration. Those were the days when the city was on autopilot. Nearly every city agency was under federal receivership because of gross mismanagement, and a congressionally appointed control board unaccountable to the people controlled the purse strings. At least Barry was pro-Black, whatever that is supposed to mean.