Barack Obama: A Mandatory Case Study for Black Males
One statement says it all: Barack Obama is not a descendant of chattel slaves.
Poll results have found that Americans have received too much information about Democratic Presidential nominee Obama. His father was born in Africa. His former minister. Black enough? Too Black?
In pockets of Brooklyn's Black community, many Black males don't even know this much. These males see Obama as obviously Black; one of their own. But he is regarded with some suspicion. Why do so many whites support him?
Even some knowledgeable Black males, while wholeheartedly supporting Obama, deride him. "Obama threw Rev. Wright 'under the bus'." "He does not address 'Black issues' enough." "After becoming the presumptive nominee, the first special interest organization Obama gave extended time to was not a Black group, but the AIPAC convention of Jewish leaders, assuredly supporting their causes and concerns." There is fear Obama will make it hard to justify civil rights and affirmative action policies.
It is time for BMW's (Black Males Whining) to silence themselves. Stop. Breathe. Quietly listen to the genetic memory of the ancestors. They are sending a message to Black males in the form of Barack Obama. BMW's are so busy over-thinking, they risk missing the message.
The truth is, Barack Obama is a gift to Black males. He should be studied, modeled, emulated. His life story should be dissected, like a scientific experiment. “Dream From My Father,” Obama's best-selling autobiography, should be required reading for each and every African American male. Weekly study groups should be conducted in barber shops, pool halls, and after-hour spots. Wherever Black males are, Obama's memoir should be read and discussed, chapter by chapter.
Why? Barack Obama is unencumbered by the history of colonial slavery. The irrational, and quite frankly, immoral justification for de-humanizing kidnapped Africans purely for capitalistic gain is not Obama's legacy. In Kenya, the Obama ancestral home on his father's side, ownership of family land was a buffer against imperialism. Barack Obama is mentally, physically, and emotionally free. Free from not knowing his family name, family religion and family homeland. Free from the history of Black males used as farm tools and studs. Free from the imposed inability to marry a wife and raise children. Free from being denied an education upon pain of death. Free from repudiation of the ability to do for self. Free from being forcibly detached from all that makes a man. Free.
BMW's, educated and ignorant alike, should self-impose a moratorium on complaints mascarading as 'political analysis'. Complaining is what BMW's do. It was a tool utilized to recognize the injustice of slavery. It was used to throw off 2½ centuries of slave shackles, and 100 years of Jim Crow. It is the moral tool of civil rights.
The essence of Obama, and all that he is, finds complaining unnecessary. For Obama, complaining is a crutch, just as it has become for millions of African American males. In every corpuscle, synapse, and neuron of his body, Obama knows the power of freedom, and uses it.
BMW's should step back, and watch. Observe the slowly dawning realization among whites, racist and non-racist alike, of the opportunities they lost when Black men were denied freedom of thought and deed. Consider all that Obama offers this country, and the world. If Obama is this, what could millions of enslaved Africans males, and their descendants, have contributed above and beyond what has been given despite slavery and its aftermath?
Obama, of course, is not a perfect man. But he knows he is a man. And Black women are watching. Black women recognize the manhood in Obama, and want it. Not from Obama himself, but from the Black males in their lives. In the next 8 years, a significant transformation will take place in the Black community. Black women will demand men who do what Obama has done for himself. Increasingly, Black women will demand male introspection and development despite not having a father; demand the acquisition of education via academic scholarships; demand marriage before siring children; demand socially conscious behavior, instead of crime. And Black women will know that they are worth it. The process has already begun.
Barack Obama is what a Black man could be if 244 years of chattel slavery never occurred.
Originally published in Our Time Press, August 28, 2008.
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