Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama's - 'More Perfect Union' : Some Afterthoughts

I knew that Obama would HAVE to give a speech like this one day. I believe HE knew that he would have to give a speech like this. I believe he thought it would be later on, in response to the REPUBLICANS. I don't think that he thought he'd have to give it in response to race-baiting that began with a fellow DEMOCRAT.

For me, the moment that I began to cry was this:

He (Wright) contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.

To be honest, I realize this was all I wanted from this speech.

In these two sentences Obama stood up for Black Humanity.

What was wrong with the Wright statements weren't that they were made - we have freedom of speech, he could say whatever he wanted. What was wrong with them was that White folk heard them, as Mama told me.

And, a kneejerk reaction, as is wont by those who have never wanted to understand any CONTEXT behind any Black Anger that could be considered justified. Condemn the remarks, wrap yourself in a flag, and of course, use that tried and true accusation of unpatriotic that can get thrown towards a Black person in a nanosecond. Collapsing a 36 year career of preaching into a 5 minute soundbite, AS IF that is the sum total of a man's life's work.

Obama stood up and said no, I won't let you collapse this man into this soundbite.

No, I will not let you dismiss the anger and the background from which is springs forth.

No, I will not let you turn the strength and the best of the Black Christian Tradition into something to be ashamed of, just because YOU don't understand it and have not bothered to try and understand it.

He stood up for Black Humanity - in all of its complexities.

Roland Martin (who did yoeman's work yesterday) kept on making this point: for all the talk about politics and religion, Barack Obama displayed his Christianity full force with that speech. Obama, in the above lines, mined one of the most persistent overarching themes in the Black Christian Church:


Redemption is what makes Mama welcome home Pookie, Ray Ray and Big Boy back into her home after ANOTHER stint in prison. Because Mama is hoping that the prayers of her, Big Mama, and the women in Bible Study have reached his heart, and this time, he will become The Prodigal Son.

Redemption is what makes this community so unwilling to throw away anyone...after all, some of y'all are still holding out hope for Uncle Clarence (STOP, he's lost) and OJ (though I think you've come around on that one).

Redemption is a cornerstone of the Black Christian Tradition.

Barack Obama's candidacy was always, if it lived out its potential, going to be a turning point for America. Going to be that Racial Rorschach Test. Thrown into a crucible and pushing forth. Obama could have gone safe and conventional with his speech. He didn't. He put it out there, and chose the harder road. It was the most Presidential thing I've seen in a candidate in my lifetime. I feel like I've been waiting for it my whole life.

I want to thank Senator Obama.

I thought this image was powerful and wanted to end with it:

Michelle Obama in Philadelphia Yesterday


Andre said...

Brilliantly stated, Rikyrah. Hard to top that so I won't try.

DADvocate said...

For me, the moment that I began to cry was this:

Crying over a political speech is a sure sign of insanity. Excuse me while I barf.

Constructive Feedback said...

Rikyrah - Do you believe that the racial segregation in American schools today is like that in 1956 - as Barack Obama said in his "race speech"?

For years I have been battling Liberal White Supremacist - Jonathan Kozol with his loony idea that the only way that Black children can get an education is when we sit next to WHITE FOLKS. To hear Barack Obama channel this same message was quite disturbing to me. Maybe this flew over your head in this speech?

Today there is economic/cultural and class segregation in public schools. There are Black children in a variety of different schools - some majority White or Hispanic. Most majority Black. I REFUSE to accept the link between the predominance of MY RACE and the inferiority of the schools there in.

The truth of the matter is Barack Obama, having noted the fact that Welfare has "hurt Black Families" he SHOULD HAVE gone further and called out the purveyors of this said policy upon our community in the same way that he was verbose in calling out the Conservatives, the Radio Talk Show host, the Rich people (of which he is one) and the Corporations.

Speaking up for "Black Humanity" you say? How so? Having sat in a "Liberation Theology" church for 20 years I would have figured that the man would have expressed "Black Humanity" by circling our ACTIONS with our ultimate destiny as a people. Instead he asked America - to fund our education, or health care and then said that Civil Rights Laws must be enforced and that Black kids should not be cynical as they are slapped by discrimination. If we were to investigate the average daily experience of a Black inner city student who sees few White people in person as he moves from his house, through the community, into the school house and back again - IF this picture is what amounts as the major threat to him on a daily basis - for the vast majority the answer would be NO.

How is it that Barack Obama is verbose about the Iraq War? He can call out WHO DID IT, THE COSTS IN HUMAN LIVES, and give ALTERNATIVES (though few have inspected the reasonableness of such). When it comes to the ADMITTED HARM of the "Welfare Industrial Eco-system" your guy seems to want to give details of the HUMAN COSTS but is very hesitant to POINT OUT WHO THE DELIVERY PEOPLE WERE.

Does he not know WHO they are as he knows the conservatives, corporations, radio talkshow hosts and rich people? All he needs to do is to threaten to CUT the programs - and they will identify themselves. Many of them are standing on stage in support of him. Maybe THIS is why he can enumerate the HARM that these policies have caused our people but is "bound" and thus can't call out names specifically.

This, INDEED, would make a "More Perfect Union" to call out these purveyors of harm to our SOUL.

Faith said...

I didn't get your post constructive feedback. There is a lot of criticism towards Barack Obama. He was not personally responsible for the points you are making. That is due to a combination of systemic racism and a slow build up of a lot of apathy. He is not the new Messiah to save us from ourselves. WE have to do that on our own. As far as we may have progressed socially on many levels it seems Black people are worse off. More individuals having money does not equate vast improvement. For example schools were segregated but when Black children went they were eager to learn and before that slaves were killed for knowing too much. Now quite a few people focus more on their appearance instead of acquiring knowledge. I personally recall having to defend myself to other Black kids at my school that I was "Black enough" because I was in an honors program where there were only 3 of us. They couldn't answer rudimentary questions about Black history but somehow I wanted to be white because going to college was a priority for me. Living in the projects may not be the ideal, being in an overcrowded classroom makes it difficult to learn but if I walk down a street why should I as a woman feel the need to be extra attentive when I see a few Black men hanging out on a corner in the middle of the day [or early in the evening]. Is that stereotyping? Or are they engaging in questionable activities? Is that due to racism or personal choice? I could go on here but my point is that we have our perspectives and we have means of addressing a lot of problems that still exist...but there is a limit to what we can get other people to do and what we may reasonably expect.

Anonymous said...

Brother Rikyrah, thank you for the insight that I have the opportunity to read from these blog postings. I would like to take a moment to give an addeum to one of the bloggers who asked about the segregated schools in the 50-60. I am a product of those schools and I am very bias towards them. In those days we used to get the books and supplies after the whites had used them for several years but what we didnt get in supplies-- we got much, much more in the real love and attention from our teachers, who were all Black. Discipline was meted out in a fashion wereby your parents didnt run to the school to complain as if your child could do no wrong. With integration punishment was taken out because the white race would not allow teachers of other races to discipline their children. Today the schools have mostly white females that may have problems with the pushing/pulling black kids in the right direction. This is one problem that we have to address. In the old days we had two parent household which helped calm the male students. If I had my druthers I would like for the schools that are segregated now to raise up and meet the challenges that are now present. We did it before.

susan marie said...

BRAVO! Beautifully stated. "Obama stood up and said, 'No, I won't let you collapse this man into this soundbite'. . . " I agree with all my heart, that this constitutes Obama's greatness, his peculiar task, perhaps even his genius. The fact that he can view his beloved mentor as "containing within him all the contradictions" of the accumulated black experience of his generation - rather than reducing him to the stereotype of the ranting preacher: therein lies his superiority, his caliber as a lofty man of many qualities, and not a mere politician. And Obama himself, beautiful as an expression of overcoming the dichtomies; he himself containing the two races, and so masculine ih his voice and gestures. He is a signpost to an alternative route for America, and woe if we do not take this juncture seriously, and make the choice in earnest.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]I didn't get your post constructive feedback. There is a lot of criticism towards Barack Obama. He was not personally responsible for the points you are making. That is due to a combination of systemic racism and a slow build up of a lot of apathy. He is not the new Messiah to save us from ourselves. WE have to do that on our own. As far as we may have progressed socially on many levels it seems Black people are worse off.[/quote]

Faith - your message needs to be directed at the vast number of people who are inclined to read and post on this and other Black themed blogs - far more than you need to address this to ME.

Mr. Obama was "responsible" for what he actually SAID IN HIS SPEECH and this is all that I was pointing out.

School Segregation 2008 IS NOTHING LIKE the FORCES that crafted Segregation circa 1948.

DESPITE SOME PEOPLE NOT BELIEVING THIS - I am striving to have the BLACK BEST INTERESTS defined and then REALIZED. Many other Blacks SIMPLY WANT A BLACK PRESIDENT who has policies that are POPULAR WITH THEM..........all the while the Black community is in an aggrieved state. Clearly there is a difference between what is POPULARLY ASSUMED to be in our best interests as measured by OPINION POLLS and then what is PROVABLY IN OUR BEST INTERESTS as measured by FACTS ON THE STREET.

How is it Faith that you can talk about SOME Blacks being in a condition that is worse off than ever but not mention that we have MORE PEOPLE OF OUR OWN CHOOSING IN ELECTIVE OFFICE NOW than ever in our history in America?

Does this square with you?

To ask questions and resist walking with the pack gets a Black man labeled a "sellout" in some people's eyes.