Friday, February 15, 2008

Hope.


If you are white you probably already know this joke: A black bum is trying to hustle and goes up to a white man and begs him for a dollar. "Why do you need it?" The white man asks. "Well I am trying to save up enough money to go back to Africa" the bum replies. The white man then says; here, this is two dollars, why don't you take one of your friends with you?


Don't ask me why, but today while shooting the breeze with one of my white friends, I thought of that joke. " Field" he said to me. "I am voting for that Barack fellow, you know why?" "Why?" I asked him. "Because then I won't have to hear you rip the white man anymore, and you will quit 'busting my chops' about white privilege."


That was a crystallizing moment for me--one of many I have had with this Obama phenomenon--, I realized that I don't want to let whitey off the hook just yet. Obama winning would do that. And I suspect that there are a few white folks like my buddy who just wants Obama to win to shut folks like me up. In spite of my admiration for this new movement and all the "O" man has accomplished, a part of me is still saying that it's a typical A-merry-can marketing ploy to make us forget what really matters. This is why I am not an Obamaholic (Well that and not drinking anything in the house that I don't open myself. Gotta watch Mrs. Field and that Obama Aid). I don't want to let A-merry-ca off the hook.


Not that the Obamaholics would mind. I am sure that they will take a win anyway they can get it. Not me. If a win for the "O" man would totally relieve white folks of their sense of accountability and guilt for past injustices I am not sure I would welcome it with the same enthusiasm as the Obamaholics.

But I understand why folks like Christopher, for instance, would support the "O" man. He belongs to a class of people that has suffered from discrimination at the hands of many other fellow A-merry-cans. And the "O" man offers hope that this will stop happening to him and similar people. Hope. It's why so many black folks support the "O" man as well. His message of hope. Black folks love to hope. We hope there is a heaven. We hope we will live forever and have eternal life. It's why we love church so much, because of hope.


Obama gives us that hope. He makes us believe that there is something much better right around the corner, and when we see that something, we can make it work for us. "Yes we can" .

White folks are hoping too. Hoping that the "O" man can make us all forget the past and just move forward. Sorry, but for me, that gives the "O" man's book title, "The Audacity Of Hope", a whole different meaning.

59 comments:

Lolo said...

I don't for one minute think that this man gives us anything that isn't ours to start with. No.

Is he speaking to something that has been waiting to be given a chance to express itself? It would seem so.

"Leadership first, politics second." is the line that I'm using to any more people who give over with the "Obama is fillintheblankwithblahblah" with me from now on.

Oh, and your colleague? That kind of talk is the reason that I "don't play well with others".

rikyrah said...

FN,

That's been the accusation against plenty of Obama supporters.

You are right...I could care less why folks vote for him...I only want more people to vote for him than her.

rikyrah said...

LMAO at the picture of Nagin with a gun...what's wrong with that?

Just exercising a man's right to bear arms...LOL

field negro said...

lolo, I can usually make nice with others unless they cross that line. Fortunately, most people don't do that with me.

"Leadership first, politics second." is the line that I'm using to any more people who give over with the "Obama is fillintheblankwithblahblah" with me from now on."

Don't the two (leadership and politics) go hand in hand. At least they should, no?

rikyrah, New Orleans is running us (Killadelphia) hard for the number one city for murders in A-merry-ca. I don't think the good Mayor should be posing with an automatic weapon do you? The imagery just kind of sucks :)

Bob said...

I don't much care why anyone votes for Obama. "Why" isn't on the ballot.My hope is that he starts out in office by firing or demoting to airless sub-basement cubicles thousands of the reactionary bureaucrats & functionaries Bush stacked up in Federal agencies. That's how you change the damned government.

Robster said...

I'm voting for Obama because I think he's the best person for the job, and yes, I'll admit he's the least likely to throw me under the bus after November 4th.

Anonymous said...

Brother Field, I feel you on the mindset of 'letting them off the hook". Do you think that now the younger/others have no knowledge of why "they should be on the hook"? We have a generation that was taught by a white man with a sweater- "we love everybody"- on the TV every morning. Unfortunately, his ethnic was the perp for a lot of misery then, as well as now on this globe. I too would like to see some unique suffering so when we get all of these hollow apologies/holidays- they too can feel the error of their past/present. Brother Obama can/may represent many things to many people- which is a good thing. I only "hope" that my young Black brothers can see Brother O as an exaample that the Man can be beat at the game he designed and have been using it to suppress worldwide. I have personally been a part of this game. There is good and bad in the universe...why would ANYBODY play with guns in that manner. Brother Nagin did not have good strong foundation in his upbringing- or he is about to crack from being in a pressure cooker job. StillaPanther2. Good topic-- I know you are bracing from the blast for the 'hook" comment. You are not alone

ZACK said...

Great post! (As usual)

IAMTHAT said...

Field:

"Black folks love to hope. We hope there is a heaven. We hope we will live forever and have eternal life."

Not all black folks are accepting these things on the basis of "hope."

Some know these things to be so based, for them, on indisputable experience.

Anonymous said...

Yo Field,
Everytime I think the Kool Aid tastes good. I cannot finish the drink. Obama does give whites some kind of get out of racial guilt card that they want to play real bad. It is hard to find constructive critiques of Obama without someone going postal on you about read his website, listen to his speeches. It is almost comical the way people are reacting to a politician who cannot and will not go against the larger forces at work in this country. Obama, Clinton, McCain are all part of the same bs and people do not see this three card monty game. Hell, who do black folks think is running the Obama campaign. Surely, not black advisors. Oops, I forgot you cannot question Jesus(Obama). Yes the symbolism of a black president will be great, but he does not absolve whites of their racist pasts. I will say again black people were never monolithic at anytime in our history. If someone does not drink the Kool Aid does not make them a sellout or a traitor. Obama wears a mask and most black folks are cool with it. I am not because it means that he is only acceptable by making whites comfortable. Remember something about unity, you need to mindful who is calling for it and how will this unity be used. For what ends? A racial harmony that negates the historical past. I want no part of forgetting to go along just to get along.

Mithras said...

If a win for the "O" man would totally relieve white folks of their sense of accountability and guilt for past injustices I am not sure I would welcome it with the same enthusiasm as the Obamaholics.

I don't know, field. I think you're looking for reasons not to get enthusiastic about Obama so you don't get disappointed if he loses. Any white people who think electing a multiethnic president lets them off the hook weren't really on the hook to begin with.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

Field, nobody is letting white America off the hook by electing Obama, just as we wouldn't be letting men off the hook by electing Hillary Clinton. Instead, electing someone who is NOT a white man as president for the first time in American history is but one first step toward the equality that all of us are seeking.

You seem to be saying, 'maybe we should oppose all steps toward equality, because whites will those steps to insist that equality has already been achieved.

Maybe we should have opposed the end of slavery because it gave whites the impression that America was more just than it had been previously?

First we have to do what is right substantively, which is to end the 43-term white male monopoly of the presidency and all of the other privileges that have been dependent upon that monopoly.

Then, if white believe the country has become more just, they will be right.

Yes, if white elect Barack Obama as president now, then we will have to begin to forgive whites for monopolizing the presidency in the past. Making amends and forgiveness are two sides of the same coin.

Leota2 said...

Hey Field,
Not thinking about hope here.
Not thinking about letting anybody off any hook or
opening hearts and minds to change and hope. Don't care if Obama makes people feel . . . (I'd say that should be something personal and not based on love of a politician.)

I just don't want a warmonger, poor people hater,
panderer, liar, nut ball, divisive panderer, corporate whore, scary religious idiot, brain damaged demigod or anyone who cracks jokes older than my 110 year old domicile in office.

Hell. . .that knocks out most of the field of candidates. But If Obama is still standing after that . . . .I guess I'll have to take my kool aid grape flavored-- please . . . .

Ya know--Mrs. Field could get that kool aid to you in another food stuff! I'm just saying . .

golden star said...

leota2,

i luv ya! It's either the kind of prez that we want or the kind of prez we would never ever want!

And why should I spend my time AND my vote in accordance to the disorders of white privilege. Oh, no, no, no.

I will vote for the candidate who will do the job. from day one. coming correctly. to the people. from the people.

Hathor said...

I wrote to the Obama's campaign about such accusations as in your side bar. I didn't get any response, except to join the campaign and other campaign stuff. It is not that I needed to be addressed personally, but I would have like to have known if they take those kinds of allegations seriously.

I have written two post about slurs that I've objected to; this post and a post about this article, Confirmed: Barack Obama Practiced Islam. The article at DanielPipes.org is more serious. If you read the comments there, you see how Barack Obama is being accused of treason and being an Al Queda agent. A Carl Rove personality could run with these innuendos and succeed in a national campaign. It might not only cost Obama the presidency, but his ability to remain a senator. I do not think it is a given, but I think other influential bloggers should try to counteract these maligned beliefs surfacing on the internet and that Obama's campaign should fight back now, instead of later.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. As a black woman I started to like Obama recently, like this week. I posted something about this earlier and black people came out in droves to put me in my place.

Obama will do little for black folks. And that's exactly why he's so appealing to everybody. Historically, black people are always quick to get behind a black man that offers nothing and gives nothing. I don't think Obama is the messiah. He WILL not stop racial discrimination. But white folks will use his candidacy to say that it doesn't exist. Listen to the conservative talk shows it's just unreal.

I could also make the same argument about Hiliary. Even if she gets elected it will not end discrimination against women. Men will still behave in a mysoginistic and sexist manner. Ain't nothing gonna change. I've got a friend right now who is dealing with some serious sexual harrassment on the job. So, Hiliary's candidacy has not hit this man or changed his nasty behind. Nor will it bring about more promotions for women. People are already saying her rise in politics is because of her husband and not her hard work.

Like Barak, Hiliary will give a few crumbs to appease folks. Namely the feminist groups. They'll jump for joy until they realize they've been bamboozled. Black folks will have a similar reaction we won't even get the crumbs.

Hiliary & Barak are symbolic tokens at best. White women look to Hiliary as the avenger and someone who has broken through the glass wall. They won't realize that she is an exception and not the rule. Take away Hiliary's husband and you see a big question mark. Would she be where she is today without him?

Hiliary Clinton has a shot at the White House but would Hiliary Rodham?

La ~ msviswan said...

”And I suspect that there are a few white folks like my buddy who just wants Obama to win to shut folks like me up.

Field, didn't I tell you something like that on the other post thread? LOL

I also suspect this is why a lot of folks in white society want Obama to win, so THEY could also continue their everyday racism under radar and use an elected black president to deny it. I just summed it up in that perspective, but I won't be surprised it's that deep and twisted.

The white denial and black hysteria plan is always on the rise.

La ~ msviswan said...

Anonymous said:

"Obama will do little for black folks. And that's exactly why he's so appealing to everybody. Historically, black people are always quick to get behind a black man that offers nothing and gives nothing. I don't think Obama is the messiah. He WILL not stop racial discrimination. But white folks will use his candidacy to say that it doesn't exist. Listen to the conservative talk shows it's just unreal."


Well said! I prefer Obama, but I'm not holding my breath. Rule of thumb: When so much white people seem to like that one black person, he or she should be a red flag for the black society. I've seen this time and time with the same sad outcome for black folks. Just my opi..

jose said...

I dig this. That's why i'm starting to feel a serious cynicism against voting. It's one of the laziest forms of political action out there. Many of us don't hold these politicos accountable so even after we vote for them, they'll still do some underhanded stuff to diss us. When we look at Obama, he might be a very intelligent and articulate black man, but will he help deconstruct the pyramid structure? I mean, when we knock off the tip, does the structure change much? no. And just because we may even have the possibility of having a Black president, it doesn't mean our country has come to a place where we can have true and honest unity amongst the "races", whatever that means at this point.

Kellybelle said...

Field: I like your post and agree with many points, but I think a step in the right direction is better than no forward movement at all.
Anonymous:
"Obama will do little for Black folks"?
What do you want him to do? He can't make you parent your children or value education, or act like you have home-training. Change starts with us. I was watching Skip Gates' African American Lives II on PBS with my Angry Black Man and we both were moved by how Black people, in the face of ridiculous obstacles (come on, Don Cheadle's ancestors were owned by Indians? I mean, damn!), fought to define themselves and maintain a semblance of control over their lives, however limited that control might have been. Now, even though things are not perfect by any means, we have more freedom, more opportunity, more influence (culturally at least) globally, and we are, arguably, worse off than ever. That's because we are waiting on somebody other than ourselves to do something for ourselves. Don't look to Obama (vote for him, though!), mentor a child, go back to school, start a business, pray, dance, holler, whatever you can do to change your life and the lives of those around you.
Oh, and while in the Illinois Senate, he helped pass the state's first anti-racial profiling law.

As they say in Kenya "Wuod Kogelo dwaro golo Clinton e kom."

field negro said...

"That's because we are waiting on somebody other than ourselves to do something for ourselves. Don't look to Obama (vote for him, though!), mentor a child, go back to school, start a business, pray, dance, holler, whatever you can do to change your life and the lives of those around you.
Oh, and while in the Illinois Senate, he helped pass the state's first anti-racial profiling law.

As they say in Kenya "Wuod Kogelo dwaro golo Clinton e kom."

kellybelle, that pretty much sums it up.

leota2, I feel you, and at the end of the day I will vote for just that reason. I can't take four more years of a rethuglican war lover (Too many lives are at stake). But it doesn't mean that the system doesn't suck.

anon 9:41AM. Domn't worry about the haters. Always speak your mind no matter what. F**k them!

MacDaddy said...

Whatup, field?

Every time I come to your blog, I don't read your post first. I check the "Killadelphia" count. In a weird kind of way, it's Black America's count. We know violence is rampant all over the nation. But the press doesn't give a damn unless a group of white people die, like at a college. But your count tells the story of blacks who die one or two at a time, almost always by a gun. That's why the photo of a gun-toting Mayor Nagin so incredible. So stupid. And i've been defending his ass for two years!

And, field, I hear you about not letting whites who support the "O" off the hook so easy. But after listening to my so-called white friends, i've come to the conclusion that their support for Obama is much deeper than we think, that it has nothing to do with black people or even white America but is rather their individual white psyche.

Specifically, I believe their support for Obama is a part of a cleansing process toward the elimination, or significant eradication of racism, for them as white individuals. Before Obama, many whites, especially phoney white liberals, had been saying, "I'm not racist...I didn't enslave you people. That was my great, great grandfather...I don't use the N word...I once dated a black guy in college...Why, there's a black girl on my daughter's soccer team..One of my best friends..." Guess what? Deep down, even they knew this was all b.s. But after hearing a black and white Obama speak, or after attending one of his rallies, they've decided to take their last stand against racism or at least to hope to get rid of it from their minds for good. So, in their minds, when they pull a lever for the "O" man, they are pulling a lever to dump, or to eradicate, racism in all of its forms from their minds, saying, "That's it. I'm through with racism once and for all."

Now, I know a lot of folks on this blog are going to say, "That's bullshit too. You can't just stop racism that easily. For one thing, racism has been institutionalized. White folks deny us jobs and bank loans to start a business and rationalize that shit as routine business practice. They racially profile us and rationalize as "a suspicious black male in that new escalade with spinning rims." All true. But all missing the point, I think. Because they're not looking at this as some great day in the sky for America really. They're looking at voting for Obama as a way of beginning a cleansing process for getting rid of their racism, not creating heaven on earth. I'm not impressed, but to them it's important, at least it seems to be with the so-called white friends I know.

Execuse me, field. Now i'm going to send that stupid Nagin an e-mail. Blessings.

WNG said...

First I get stuck behind a truck with one of those "Never Apologize For Being White" bumper stickers on my way to get my morning coffee and now your idiot colleague. Sometimes I feel like gathering all of White America together and giving them a good hard shake. No matter who is Pres I and people like me will be taking it to the racist asses on a daily basis. That's not a good enough reason to vote for Hillary. I'm nbot sure that there is one of those.

burpster said...

First I get stuck behind a truck with one of those "Never Apologize For Being White" bumper stickers on my way to get my morning coffee and now your idiot colleague.

What if the bumper sticker had said "Black is Beautiful"?

This comment above is why racism will never end. I always get the impression reading this blog that no amount of time will heal the divide beween black and white.

Anonymous said...

This is a good example of how anger can lead a person to act against their own interests.

Better never elect a black president, because then whitey would get off the hook.

Yes, never use the democratic process to advance our own interests! We can't have white folks thinking that things are getting better, even a little bit.

Anonymous said...

Racism has too many benefits to too many people to go away.
chamblee54

kid said...

Hey Field your sidebar about Sullivans' Hitler comparison to Obama doesn't suprise me. Remember Michelle Malkin's book "In Defense of Interment", she thought it was OK to put Japanese in camps(but not the Italians and the Germans.)She also wanted to put Middle Eastern and Muslim in concentration camps. That would mean she would have to put herself into a camp since half the muslims in the world are Asians. The people who sound like the Nazis are the Republicans. You are right about Fox something has to be done. Someone could contact the banks that Rupert do business with and do a South African type disvestment program. Look at the list of people Fox hates,blacks, immigrants, women, gays,muslims,Spain, France, and the list grows. Rupert actually owes black people we were the ones that help started his network. Well you know what they say payback is a mother.

kid said...

Hey Field your sidebar about Sullivans' Hitler comparison to Obama doesn't suprise me. Remember Michelle Malkin's book "In Defense of Interment", she thought it was OK to put Japanese in camps(but not the Italians and the Germans.)She also wanted to put Middle Eastern and Muslim in concentration camps. That would mean she would have to put herself into a camp since half the muslims in the world are Asians. The people who sound like the Nazis are the Republicans. You are right about Fox something has to be done. Someone could contact the banks that Rupert do business with and do a South African type disvestment program. Look at the list of people Fox hates,blacks, immigrants, women, gays,muslims,Spain, France, and the list grows. Rupert actually owes black people we were the ones that help started his network. Well you know what they say payback is a mother.

Christopher said...

Field,

Thanks for recognizing this.

I think, and I believe, there's always been a unique relationship between the black community and the LGBT community.

In my life, black people just don't seem freaked out to be around a gay man. There's a greater level of acceptance and I so appreciate it.

Kathy said...

Electing O wouldn't absolve white accountability or guilt, because most of us whites aren't even aware enough of the impact of white racism, including myself. I consider myself a recovering racist because I am continually trying to be conscious of my ingrained thoughts and how that affects my actions.
I like O because he's the best choice over Clinton, who I used to like.
The Republicans offer:
McCain't Get out of Iraq and Huckleberry Hound? No thanks.

hennasplace said...

I agree electing an African American will not absolve white guilt, however, as Morgan Freeman said that it is hope that black and white realize something we both survive. We have not gotten to that point yet, and I do not know when it will happen. Whites have to accept that slavery existed followed by Jim Crow laws, and blacks have to accept themselves of being fully human. It is not good enough that whites accept our full humanity that we has black people do for you cannot ask someone to recognize you when I do not recognize yourself.

classical one said...

Hmm.. well this whitey does not consider himself to be on the hook. If you want to continue to have a problem with white folks, go ahead, makes no difference to me one way or another. I''l vote for Obama based on something actually important, like my pocket book.

Christopher said...

The executive editor of the New York Times, Bill Keller, sees "unmistakable" similarities between the campaigns of Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela, he said in a podcast interview on the paper's website.

The interview, done for the New York Times Book Review, is on the subject of Keller's young adult biography of Nelson Mandela, whom he covered. Asked about Obama, Keller calls him "fascinating."

Keller said Obama and Mandela share a rhetorical style, not always riveting, but always "appealing to the higher sense of purpose and history."

And he said both "somehow rose above race while still clearly being black."

Wow!

rikyrah said...

OT:The Latest Anti-Obama Memos Circulating

Admiral Komack said...

Well Field, you could vote for Hillary to ensure that sexism dies a nasty horrible death, banished from this plane of existence.

"Don't ask me why, but today while shooting the breeze with one of my white friends, I thought of that joke. " Field" he said to me. "I am voting for that Barack fellow, you know why?" "Why?" I asked him. "Because then I won't have to hear you rip the white man anymore, and you will quit 'busting my chops' about white privilege."

Hey, one makes about just as much sense as the other...NOT!

Kellybelle said...

Oops,re: an earlier post: I wasn't making light of the current situation in Kenya, just refering to a comment Obama's relatives had made "The son of a Luo challenges Clinton for the presidency."

Rent Party said...

White folks are hoping too. Hoping that the "O" man can make us all forget the past and just move forward.

I've never doubted this and it's always been one of my main criticisms of white support for Obama. But then I was a Gravel/Kucinich person, then an Edwards person, before becoming the Obamaholic I am now. We've had Black Presidential candidates in the past I was more enthusiastic about and voted for with more conviction than I did for Obama in this primary. BUT: I still say he's got a better chance than Hillary of beating the Republicans and that this *is* really, really important even though he's a centrist and all. I also think it will be nice to have someone in other than the Bushes and the Clintons, and good to have someone in whose personal experience is as international as Obama's has been, starting early on.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

"If you are white you probably already know this joke:"

Sorry, never heard it. If I had, the person telling it would have heard from me: "Fuck you, you racist prick. . . " or something similar, perhaps gentler depending upon the deliverer.

Why would you make the assumption that all white people had probably heard that joke?

yaaaawwwwnnnnnn.

CL said...

I'm going with Obama b/c right now, he's the best thing we've got going this season.

Big complaint of the Clinton/McCain campaigns is also my pet peeve with the O-man, He can give a pretty speech but not real meat. Personally, I feel Obama's too wishy-washy on the issues that concern working class people, which is why I initially support Edwards.

But, I understand why he can't afford to come out too strong. As Bill Maher put it Obama is to the presidential race what Jackie Robinson was to baseball. If he's going to win, he realizes that he can't afford to scare white people while simultaneously gaining their trust.

It's not as if Obama's a completely empty suit with not substance. Remember, this cat turned down big shot corporate jobs to work as an organizer in the Chicago Southside. Political ambitions aside, the dude's got some liberal leanings.

But like most professional brothers and sisters trying to make in the white man's world, you know to to speak softly and not scare whitey. He if he came out like a firebrand community activist going ape shit Mau-Mau, Obama's campaign would go the direction of Jessie Jackson or Shirley Chisolm. Or worse, Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney's soon to be joke of presidential run.


Will his election let white folks off the Hook? Absolutely not -- just as Mandela's election did not erase the legacy of Apartheid. If anything, Obama's election might begin to highlight the racial undertones in our society's power structure. I'm quite sure a few crusty old white men aren't going to like some young, good looking Black guy with two Ivy League degrees calling the shots in DC.

And plenty of hankerchief heads in the CBC will probably try to undermine him to jockey for a lackey post in the next white man's administration.

And Obama presidency would make for an interesting TV movie.

Clifton said...

I mentioned this same point at work the other day and you would have thought I painted in black face and danced a jig. I can't understand how black people can't see that Obama is safe enough for white people to get rid of their guilt and pay off the racial debt.

I have lived in New Orleans my whole life and we have been under black leadership on all levels. White people turn a deaf ear to your concerns with the leader looks like you. It's amazing how many black people are not being realistic about this thing.

Anonymous said...

Barak to me does little for black folks. As a black woman, I just refuse to blame white folks for all the ills in my community. I live in DC. So, we lived through Marion Berry. Black folks elect these black officials and most of them do very little. They're like the overseers. Congress is a large plantation. It's black members are tokens and overseers who eat cake and dole out crumbs to their constituents. The congressional black caucuass is self serving and corrupt as hell. Barak has subtly alluded to that. They've done little to nothing for black folks. But are basically an elected Negro monarchy. They are easily influenced by more powerful white congress members and easily bought by lobbyists. The black electorate rarely votes these flunkies out. i.e Kwame Kilpatrick.

Honestly, Field stop blaming white people. Asians HATE, HATE, HATE blacks. Hispanics don't have a lot of love for us too. It's so easy to default on whitey. But there are other players on the field.

field negro said...

"Honestly, Field stop blaming white people.."

Honestly, some of my best friends are white.

longcurls said...

"Barack to me does little for black folks".

The man is not even President yet.
How can he even get to do anything for "black folks" if he's not elected first. He's not going to be President of just "black folks" but all Americans.

"White people turn a deaf ear to your concerns with the leader looks like you".It's amazing how many black people are not being realistic about this thing".


And since when did some whites start paying attention to black concerns, period? There will always be some white people who will turn a deaf ear to us whether or not there is a "black leader" That shouldn't discourage blacks from voting for the first viable black candidate since Jesse Jackson.

gordon gartrelle said...

Several commenters are on point here, Kellybelle in particular.

I understand black people resenting Obama because he benefits from "he's not like the others" white support, but some of his black detractors are just being silly.

One of the negative consequences of popular Civil Rights Movement narratives is that they have cemented the black leader (black follower?) mentality in mainstream black political discourse. How can a president solve black people's problems? What happened to personal and community agency?

But Field, the idea that an Obama presidency will absolve white people of responsibility for racism is misleading.

The kind of white people who say that white privilege doesn't exist don't need a black president to make their claims. They have been arguing that black people are equal (or even privileged) for decades. As an extreme current example, consider David Horowitz, who says that Oprah's success is proof that there is no racism, sexism, and "lookism" (since she's not great looking) in American society.

And the white people who are honest and reasonable enough to admit that racism exists are unlikely to say that an Obama presidency puts it to rest forever. For many white people, electing Obama would mean not that racism is dead, but simply that their generation has progressed far beyond the one that wouldn't even consider Shirley Chisolm.

Look at Obama's biggest white supporters: college kids and wealthier Boomers. Choosing Obama is young people's middle finger to the Boomers, but it also might be the more reflective Boomers' way of slaying their own inner-racism. Word to macdaddy.

Dmd said...

This whole comment thread is scary as hell, with a few exceptions (Francis Holland and Gordon Gartrelle.)

We have anonymous saying that Hillary isn't given credit for getting where she is cause people just say she got there by riding Bill's coat tails in, and then a few sentences later, anonymous says the same damn thing!!

Almost everyone else seems to have this nebulous idea that "whitey" is (as a rule) racist, and (as a fact) owes some sort of racial debt to all black people in the U.S. But that debt cannot be paid by acting to make the country more just (i.e. voting in Obama due to his qualifications). Damned if you do, damned if you don't. I could go on and on about this, but I think if we ask ourselves "what is the number one thing we need to focus on in order to help young black children succeed in America?", the answer is not "work tirelessly to make sure white people remain aware of their racial debt/undercover racism." And yet that is one of the primary themes of the comments to your blogs.

Another thing that I think is a little ridiculous is the idea that if Obama has white advisors, his legitimacy as a black candidate is somehow undermined. From the sounds of it the only way some of the commenters here would approve of a black president is if he campaigned on a platform of racial seperation and refused to employ any white people in his campaign. Of course, even then by virtue of demographics, he would have to get a lot of white votes to win, which would of course disqualify him yet again.

And what exactly is it Obama (or any other black politician) is supposed to do for black people? Isn't his job (if he is elected), to do what's best for the country? Included in that of course is finding ways to help those who need it, but to break it down on racial lines like that makes no sense, and borders on racism. Maybe I'm just naive, but I'd really like to hear what specifically the President should be doing for specific racial groups...?

Then we have another "anonymous" basically saying every racial group in America HATES black people!!!! ALL OF THEM HATE US!!!! I mean it's not even worth getting into it - just reading it on its face makes me laugh.

Then Field, you say "Honestly, some of my best friends are white"... I think that's great, but what does that mean? I quit using that as some sort of meanigful statement about my interactions or perspectives on other races years ago, because as a white person, you're racist 'cause you're white, not because of what you do. I could marry a black girl and all it would be is some sort of bargain by which I escape my "guilt" and it would be a damn good get-out-of-jail card for my "undercover" racism.

I love your blog field, and I encourage everyone I know who is concerned in any way about the state of race and class relations in this country to read it, but your disciples scare the mess out of me, cause only about 50% of em seem to critically think about what they write, and what's really scary is that the people commenting on your blog are at least concerned enough to be here. What about all the people who don't even care that much?

Anonymous said...

I can't see what the why has to do with anything. I think those of us who think of ourselves as racially conscious can lose sight of the forest for the trees. Yes, there are people out there who think they will be "off the hook", but 9 times out of 10 they do not view themselves as being on the hook to begin with. This person you speak of Field, had YOU on his back though it may not have been as aggressive as all that--you made him aware. For everyone else, their vote for Obama is for a different and probably less sinister reason. To stay away from voting in general means you become simply a talking head with no influence on the greater scale of national politics. Obama is not Moses nor is he Ghandi, but he is the freshest possible leader we have in a long list of the status quo. Why are we placing the responsibility to change the nation OVERNIGHT on his back? If he does anything at all it is a start. The fact that he has MOBILIZED a country and in particular the black vote which had been all but dead speaks volumes a to the progress made toward change.

Marenda said...

Field,

This has been a discussion in my household too lol...I've come to the conclusion that Barack winning does not let anyone off the hook...might be just the opposite :) It will show that though the 'struggle' continues progress is being made and there is Hope.

Keep speaking the truth even when Barack wins. We need more folks like you doing what you do.

Blessings Always,
Marenda

Clifton said...

I feel the need to clarify a comment I made last night. It seems to me that whenever someone says anything concerning this Obama campaign past the actual election they are looked at from a negative perspective. I love the brother. I am not certain where everyone on this thread resides but I know first hand about how things are perceived when leadership looks a certain way. This really has nothing to do with Obama or white people for that matter. It’s all about us and our agenda. We know that there are inequalities in this country. We also know that we have vilified the people who run this country for not having our interest at heart. It’s also been a built in excuse for us not to make the necessary changes in order to move the community forward. If Obama wins, that is no longer an option. That means that when he wins there has to be a serious discussion about what’s going to happen after the inauguration. We have to get some significant gain out of it because the excuses are less valid with him as the president. I live in New Orleans. I truly believe that race has allot to do with the pace of the recovery after Katrina. The problem is that whenever someone makes the case of race being as big of a problem as it is here, people look at our black mayor and our black representatives in the state legislature, and our black school board and they wonder how can it be their fault when our own people aren’t doing a damn thing. Maybe some of you have never lived in an area where black people are in the position of power but it changes the whole game and it has to affect the agenda. I'm not saying you have to do anything to push other people down but we need to have things put in place to move our own people forward.

I have no problem placing that kind of burden on Obama. Any other race of people in this country would be able to do it without any problems. Why should we have to give up our own community agenda in order to make it ok for white people to vote for him? Even if he doesn’t acknowledge it publicly and I understand why he wouldn’t, why are we wrong for wanting to expect more from him than we would from Clinton or McCain?

west coast story said...

Like I said, black people aren't ready for a black president. Obama is not running for president of black or Latino America. I don't expect him to promise anything to either group. Apparently health care, education, jobs, the war in Iraq, the need to bring a different tone to the political process only affect white people because the naysayers here dont' seem to think it has anything to do with us. We are in the dark ages politically, really, which would explain why we still have a slave mentality. All that pouting about Obama not asking for our permission to run for president, or not promising us something special is the slave talking. Go vote for your white woman. The one who's husband insulted black people just last month. I think some black people are just more comfortable with getting in the ass by white people.

Voting for someone other than Obama because you don't like the specifics of his platform (which is on his website for those who have bought Massa's lie that Obama never talks in specifics) is completely valid. Those other excuses just make you a lawn jockey.

Fahay said...

If the bumper sticker said " Black Is Beautiful", I would have been happy all day long !

You know I campaign for the Senator, and that is a very true sentiment that I abhor, and bring up every chance I get. You may find Blacks throughout the campaign, but at the top, and then the field officers are white, and they hire white even if they are hiring them as volunteers.
Now you know we could all up our game, but do you really think they could not find qualified Blacks to run and manage and win a national campaign?

Mos' Def, these folks move on to campaign, after campaign, and they get to know each other, so yeah they hire who they know.....Only they don't know no Black people. They don't really want to know none. We just don't measure up in their eyes.

They reality is, we measure up, and do those jobs quite well. They are a jealous and malicious bunch, and don't ever forget it !

Cero said...

I echo Marenda.

And: originally I thought the reason there were so many whites for Obama was that he was a centrist, non-scary Black guy who could get them off the racism hook, but then I changed my mind ... I think it's about a lot of things.

I ended up voting for Obama because only he and Hillary were left - I'd been for the leftier white guys, because they were leftier than these two. Now I have Hillaryites mad at me because their positions are so similar and I've betrayed the maligned woman (who has of course maligned Obama on race). But I really think Obama has a better chance than she does of bringing the country together and out of this Bushian nightmare.

burpster said...

The reality is, it's the same for everyone. Latino's get it, blacks not so much. If you wanna be in the game, you gotta play the game.

You can't be against the status quo and still hope to part of it, just don't work like that. I'm sure even field would admit that much?

Deb said...

Great post Field! As I've watched this primary from the sidelines since I voted in the FL primary (it seems politicians STILL get to decide whose votes count and whose don't), I've had that gnawing feeling myself.

I'm not so naive as to think if elected, he will not have to be president to ALL the people, but by the same token, given how instituionalized racism is and how deeply entrenched white privilege remains, one would hope (there's that damn word again!) he'd wield some of that veto power Shrub's been using with abandon to get SOME kind of leveling going on. But I am not hopeful.

His record of appeasement in the Senate, clearly camouflaged as consensus-building, does not bode well, especially for the Kool-Aid Kids who will still be:
-meeting flag-draped caskets of loved ones for way more than the year promised
-unemployed or not earning a living wage as job outsourcing continues and comprehensive immigration reform remains elusive
-searching for affordable housing or housing period given the sub-prime situation
-uninsured or underinsured since healthcare will not be universal or affordable
-in the 99% not benefitting from the tax breaks of the 1%
-wondering why their children are still being left behind in a public school system that reeks of graft and inattention

The list goes on and on - and will. Because no matter the level of personal responsibility, one must still deal with the machine that is politics and all the -isms in the corner that one election will not be able to wipe out any time in the near future.

Civics 101: The Executive Branch does not make laws. Charismatic as he is, he will have to one day acknowledge and speak truth to the real power - privileged whites and the Legislative Branch. And to date, I'm just not convinced that he will.

Deb said...

...and by the way, I voted for Edwards in my non-primary. At least he had the cojones to call out that big, pink elephant in the corner - out loud. Guess he was a bit too angry for most.

Gunfighter said...

I don't believe that most white people believe themselves to be "on the hook" in the first place... and Obama Presidency won't change a thing as far as race relations go.

That said, I still want him to win because I simply believe him to be orders of magnitude better than either Clinton or McCain.

affrodite said...

I'm with gunfighter on this one. White people are still in a place where inviting their black neighbors over for dinner is still a big deal.

Rather, the message of hope resonates with so many populations, and Obama delivers it so eloquently that we're all lulled into his song like the Pied Piper.

Watch out! This is just the primaries people. I still think the Republicans have something in their back pocket for Obama come election time that will shake the alarming demographic of Obama supporters out of their trance and they'll go sprinting for their comfort zone.

Maybe that's the field negro in me. Would I have felt the same way when some Harriet Tubman told me that she could get me to freedom?

I trusted America until Hurricane Katrina, and now I'm just disgusted. We'd rather build entire suburbs in 6-12 months but can't get people out of trailers 3 years after a hurricane.

I digress...but essentially I hope Obama's "yes we can" ends with "and we did".

p.s. I absolutely love your blog. Keep writing. Keep us on our toes.

Lorraine said...

cheap wedding gowns
discount bridal gowns
China wedding dresses
discount designer wedding dresses
China wedding online store
plus size wedding dresses
cheap informal wedding dresses
junior bridesmaid dresses
cheap bridesmaid dresses
maternity bridesmaid dresses
discount flower girl gowns
cheap prom dresses
party dresses
evening dresses
mother of the bride dresses
special occasion dresses
cheap quinceanera dresses
hot red wedding dresses

Anonymous said...

Replica Handbags
Fake Handbags
Knockoff Handbags

Replica Louis Vuitton Handbags
Replica Gucci Handbags
Replica Chanel Handbags
Prada Handbags
Replica Fendi Handbags
Replica Dolce Gabbana Handbags
Replica Chloe Handbags
Replica Jimmy Choo Handbags
Replica Thomas Wylde Handbags
Replica MiuMiu Handbags

Replica Balenciaga Handbags
Replica Coach Handbags
Replica Lancel Handbags
Replica Hermes Handbags
Replica Marc Jacobs Handbags
Replica Anya Hindmarch Handbags
Replica YSL Handbags
Replica Mulberry Handbags
Replica Givenchy Handbags
Replica Valentino Handbags
Replica Versace Handbags
Replica Cartier Handbags
Replica Marni Handbags
Replica Bottega Veneta Handbags
Replica Loewe Handbags
Replica Kooba Handbags

Replica Bally Handbags
Replica Burberry Handbags
Replica Christian Dior Handbags
Replica Juicy Couture Handbags
Replica Ferragamo Handbags
Replica Celine Handbags

freefun0616 said...

酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店經紀,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店工作,
專業酒店經紀,
合法酒店經紀,
酒店暑假打工,
酒店寒假打工,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店工作,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店經紀,
專業酒店經紀,
合法酒店經紀,
酒店暑假打工,
酒店寒假打工,
酒店經紀人,
菲梵酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,
禮服酒店上班,
酒店小姐兼職,
便服酒店工作,
酒店打工經紀,
制服酒店經紀,
酒店經紀,

,