Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I’m outraged by his comments…I'm saddened by the spectacle...That's enough...…The man I saw today is not the man I knew...

These, paraphrased words from Obama today, in response to Reverend Jeremiah Wright's brilliant, hilarious, captivating, and--quite frankly--on fucking point performances on his recent media tour. Moyers was OK, but the Press Corps and the NAACP address were incredible, for real. He threw up the damn Q in the middle of a press conference!!!! I don't fuck with Black Greeks, but damn, that's black.

I usually love every kind of irony, but the irony brought about by Obama’s denunciation of Wright doesn't bring me much joy. Obama’s words of outrage describe exactly how I feel about Obama at this moment.

I officially rescind my support for Brother Barack, and throw it behind…no one. I don’t care that Obama is tap-dancing for Massa; we all knew that he had no shot of even sniffing the presidency unless he did a little bojangling. To this point, however, he has tap-danced while keeping his dignity, while maintaining an ounce of self-respect. He’s been a political Sammy Davis Jr. of sorts. Before today, however, he has refused to commit wholesale to the rules of the brain dead (white) mainstream media. Weeks ago in Philadelphia, he gave us, for the first time I can recall, an instance of a black man tap-dancing for white folks, but creating something nobler in the process, namely, not only an intelligent, nuanced piece of rhetoric on American race relations, but also a defiant black middle finger to the white people who demanded that he throw his pastor under the bus.

TAN said that in his Philly race speech, Obama threw on the do-rag; after today, it’s clear that Obama has not only ripped off that do-rag, he's replaced it with a blonde wig. It’s not his fault, really. From day one, I knew that, before accepting him, the white media would either need to blacken him up, or stamp out any modicum of blackness from him. They can only comprehend black people on their own terms: “not like the others” or nigger. In this campaign, they’ve done both.

I never thought that they’d allow Obama to win the nomination (still don’t, actually), but I thought that they’d extend him a little more leeway than they would an “authentic” African American. I feel like a damn fool for believing that.

These are the same people see nothing wrong with demanding that Obama appease their asinine fears that he will bring Al Sharpton, Farrakhan, and Reverend Wright into the White House with him, promptly nuke Israel, and mandate reparations. These are the same people who will praise Obama’s moderate stance and applaud his “Sistah Souljah moment” for a couple of weeks (just wait until they ask him how he could have been mistaken about Wright’s true feelings for two decades).

These are the same people who have next to nothing to say about white presidential candidates’ associations with Bob Jones University, Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and John Hagee.

Sure, it took a “not really black” black for them to embrace, but when push came to shove, their hackneyed racist narrative won out: black people are ungrateful, unpatriotic, exotic, abnormal, angry, stupid.

And it must have hurt Barack to stomp on his clinging mentor’s knuckles, while getting on his knees and licking Massa’s boots. I know that Michelle is fuming. Though it’s sad that the media has made it their mission to drive a wedge between Obama and his father figure Wright, it’s even sadder that Wright has had to retaliate against Obama. But what else could he do? The Reverend is an intelligent, proud, more than respectable negro. And he honestly viewed the mainstream media’s attack on his preaching as an attack on the black church. He truly saw Obama's denunciation as a slap in the face. And you know what? He was right. Again, I don’t blame Barack, but I can’t cosign that kind of bitch move, even if the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been.

I can, however, tell you this: Reverend Wright is my new favorite black man. Take away the crazy AIDS conspiracy theory shit, the bunkum about black vs. white learning styles, and the notion that we’re African, and what do you have: an unforgivably black man, a man who speaks the truths that white America never wants to hear, a man who is unwilling to conform to white norms--norms that are, when considered objectively, patently ridiculous. A truth teller derided as a charlatan and hatemonger. Wright treated the Press Corps with the mockery and contempt they deserve, and he's called a nutjob. We live in a real life racial Twilight Zone (or Bizarro World for the geeks among us--Chauncey, I’m looking at you).

I'm not a religious man, so it wouldn't make sense for me to echo Wright's “God Damn America” speech. Let me, however, offer a less controversial substitute:

Fuck the inbred rednecks who think Obama’s secretly Muslim. Fuck the anti-intellectual knuckle-draggers who see post-graduate education as a detriment. Fuck the mouth-breathers who elect people just because they look, act, and mangle language just like a regular American! Fuck the corporate media, the multimillionaire talking heads who toss about accusations of elitism while polluting the news (the fucking news!) with endless high school gossip pap and insignificant bullshit about lapel jewelry. Fuck the white liberals, who, through their participation in this Reverend Wright sham, reveal their duplicitous nature and their steadfast commitment to white privilege. Fuck the cowardly black pundits who are too scared to say what they know: that Reverend Wright is only divisive and outrageous to Panglossian fools who refuse to deal with history and current reality. In short, fuck this stupid, racist-ass country.

But…but, thank all of these people for proving Reverend Wright’s points. Now there's some irony I can appreciate.


Anonymous said...

I find it interesting how quickly you are willing to not vote for Obama because of this incident, and to paint him as an ingratiang negro. However, I think you miss one point. This latest media "spin cycle" was not for the benefit of white voters, it was for the benefit of black ones. They wanted to get the infighting started between blacks, Obama's most consistent base. I hope that after a couple of days, you won't fall into the hype, no matter who you choose to vote for.

Btw, just caught this blog for the first time. I will make sure I come back to visit.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first poster and I also just stumbled on this blog. Well maybe you're blowing off steam but I am going to share.

It is amazing how few blacks bother to vote for a black candidate as in PA and now you're saying all of this? Could you get outside of yourself for five minutes to imagine how you sound to a non-black who supports Obama, it's too sad. You are part of the reason people have doubt about a black president, do you get that?

deva said...

do you really think that obama's denunciation was a performance? it seemed to me that he was actually hurt by wright's blatant disregard of the stakes. frankly, i was surprised too. i had been impressed with his showing up until that point. i was with wright until the press club performance, which was, you have to admit completely over the top. he came out with the fruit of islam for christ's sake.

it's one thing to defend your reputation and speak truth to power (which i think he did on moyers and at the naacp minus the truly wacky, though not uncommon, claptrap you mentioned) but i was truly astonished by the way he courted contempt at the press club. i think he did, as obama said, make a caricature of himself.

and beyond that, is it really worth losing the presidency to taunt "whitey"? seriously? why on earth would we give up real political power in order to play such a lame game? talk about crabs in a barrel.

we do not have the luxury to rage unintelligibly simply because we're angry at the racist conditions and notions are one of the pillars of american society. i know it sucks but i believe most of us were raised being told that we'd have to be twice as good to get half as far. well, it's true and that means we can't take time out for public temper tantrums. we have to be careful to always be constructive because this sort of display is exactly the kind of thing that reinforces racist notions *and* allows (white) mainstream society to completely ignore the many truths that wright and other elders like him speak.

it's a lose, lose. and i for one, am really fucking tired of being on the losing team.

Anonymous said...

The son of a white woman becoming the first "black" president wouldn't change a thing for black folks on the ground, the white power structure would make sure of that.

I wouldn't want a "black" man fronting the evil stuff the American governement does anyway. Let them do their own dirty work.

Anonymous said...

An Obama presidency would enable White society to be even more racist than they are now.

"A black man can become president if he works hard enough" would be their excuse for every act of racism against us black folks without a white mother.

gordon gartrelle said...

Thank you all for these comments.

sytgrl, I never formally supported Obama, and I haven't really rejected him.

I was trying to capture my ambivalence not only about Obama's successes (and recent setbacks), but also about Reverend Wright. The post didn't quite come together. But I stand by my assertion that Wright did the right thing by mocking the media, even though it hurt Obama in the short term (the long term effects are unclear).

anonymous 1, I'm not the reason people have doubts about a black president; the reason lies within their own corrupted minds.

deva, I can't say that I disagree with you. I find it interesting that we have essentially swapped positions on the practical/symbolic argument we had over What About Our Daughters.

Since Obama's run has been serious, I've been forced to admit that my interest in him has been more symbolic than anything else.

Anonymous said...

You are too funny. Wright just finished having a 4500 square foot house built in a gated community filled with rich white people.

Ha what a laugh.