Monday, January 29, 2007

Black enough

Roland Martin, GM and Exec. Editor of the Chicago Defender, weighs in on the issue of Obama's blackitude.

One of the insidious rituals any high-profile African American must endure in order to establish his or her credibility with some other African Americans is show that are “down with the brothers and the sisters.”

See, you can’t just be a Fortune 500 CEO, politician, civil rights activist or journalist who happens to be African American. In order to be fully accepted and embraced, you are required to show your “ghetto card” at the entrance of the black gates of Black America. Otherwise, you are forced to stand outside, proving your worthiness to the masses as if you are a sinner trying to convince Saint Peter that you are good enough to get to heaven.

This may be surprising to many of my white readers, and my black readers may get offended and accuse me of airing our dirty laundry, but this type of silliness has been seen time and time again. And as it relates to U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s decision to run for president, some are already demanding that he prove himself to the peeps. While preparing for a segment on his presidential chances on CNN’s Paula Zahn NOW, I read the transcript from a San Francisco radio show where a co-host said that Obama has to work overtime to get blacks to trust him because he doesn’t have a “hood” experience. The other co-host went on to say that because Obama didn’t grow up impoverished on the streets of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas or in the northern slums of Chicago, New York City and Boston, then he can’t truly identify with the black experience in America...

...Every black person in America doesn’t have a “hood” experience. They all don’t have the same story of their father leaving them as a child, having to grow up in a single parent home in a public housing complex, their brother on welfare and sister twice pregnant by the age of 18. We all didn’t belong to the Crips and Bloods and had to fight our way out of the gang in order to go to college. No, we all didn’t grow up in the black church, singing “Precious Lord” and memorizing the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We shouldn’t assume that every black person had to work three jobs to pay their way through college. Segregation no longer limits where we live, work and play. So if Jim Crow is dead, then why do we allow the system to continue to pervade our minds?

The day has come when we judge a black man or woman for who they are, where they stand on issues and what they believe in. If Obama offers a political agenda that speaks to the needs of African Americans, good. If he choose to offer one that is broad and more universal, that doesn’t make him any less of an African American.

(Thanks to JackJo for the link. I love you, sweetie.)

1 comment:

Spooney said...

Hey Ya'll!!

It's Vikkitikkitav's birfbay today!
give her a shout out!!