Tuesday, April 10, 2007

On Barack: An Open Letter

A friend forwarded me an open letter on Barack, written by a female black professor. My hat goes off to B.L. Jackson - I appreciate her clear statement that captures so many of my own thoughts. I've posted about Tavis Smiley before. In summary, I appreciate his voice but I have no respect or appreciation for his hypocritical digs at many "worthy of respect" true leaders. Can we skip the Al and Jesse discussion please.

B.L. Jackson ends her letter with the following feedback:

"The best thing Barack can do for us is to win, not show up at yet
another black forum simply to prove he's one of us by placating the egos who believe Barack should clear his calendar for their "ultimate black" event! There are plenty of other candidates (and so-called leaders) who warrant our scrutiny and skepticism - not to mention a host of misogynistic lyricists, child molesting musicians, and other unaccountable black-community-made millionaires. Barack, however, has proven with his excellence, his achievements, his commitments, and his life's work that he warrants our support.

Rather than using his credentials and connections to build his personal wealth, Obama chose to pursue careers like providing job training for residents of poor neighborhoods, directing voter registration drives and fighting for civil rights. Unlike other candidates in the race, Obama has been consistent in speaking against sending our black babies to murder, and to be murdered by, brown people in the Mesopotamia for the sake of multinational corporate interests. He has successfully forged coalitions with people across racial and political lines to introduce a host of legislation that would, among other things, get guns off our streets, reduce greenhouse emissions, and limit the influence of special interest lobbyist on Capital Hill.

As for whether Barack's black enough, let us not forget that race exists in America not in our biology, genetic code or even our phenotype, but rather by the institutionalization of the economic and social construct of chattel slavery and its vicious offshoots. Under that regime, "a dab'll do ya." Whiteness equates to economic and social privilege and that privilege fades as it traverses the racial spectrum. Anyone who has any black ancestry living in this country, whether for a day or for generations, will experience the vestiges of slavery and the consequences of white privilege, making the question of whether one is descended from enslaved Africans or colonized and oppressed Africans irrelevant. It is not simply the experience of that oppression, however, that demonstrates loyalty to our community and that deserves our community's loyalty, but rather recognition of the injustice of it and actions taken to dismantle it. Clearly, Obama has met this test!

Let the record of each candidate speak for itself. But, for the sake of our ancestors and, more importantly, our descendants, do not inadvertently become a pawn of white privilege by demanding that Obama's record be scrutinized more closely and meet a higher standard than his white counterparts simply because some narcissistic crab in a barrel didn't find himself at the top.


B.L. Jackson

A Sister Who Unequivocably And Without Apology to Hillary, Bill or Al Supports Barack Obama for President And Invites Other Thoughtful Brothers and Sisters To Do the Same

And on that note, I will just add, I am thankful that I do not reflect and wonder in vain. How can we talk about the future and think like the past? Barack Obama is not the second coming, but I surely believe he has the potential to change the face of this country and his time is long overdue. If he can hasten my research, investigation and action in politics - in many ways he has served to create a new landscape not before seen. Barack is a credible threat to politics as usual - without the establishment obligations to be the next public joke . Give him a chance already. Haven't we already seen what Hillary has to offer.

1 comment:

venessa said...

That was powerful to read. Thank you so much for posting this.