Friday, October 16, 2009

From the Mouths of Babes: A Child Asks, "Why do They Hate You Barack Obama?" or The Burden of Blackness Given to Our Children at All Too Young an Age



Another reason that I respect Barack Obama. I thought that Barack Obama's answer to this child's question was delicate, priceless, naked, and honest. Of course, naysayers and others across the partisan divide will cry "plant" or insert some other explanation. From the right-wing Populist and Palin wing of the GOP this child's question is one more data point, and by implication further proof of the indoctrination of our school children by "The Great Father" Obama as he maliciously crafts a photo op for his legions of adoring fans.

Given that I am a realist, this clip brought a little sadness to my eye. For me, the question offered by this child is the burden of race made real. It is not simply the curiosity of youth, but an understanding, even if you don't have the words to describe it, that something is amiss in how so many white Americans hold a deep, existential hatred towards Barack Obama--a hatred that goes beyond policy or politics. Quite frankly, the idea of a Black man as President frightens some to the deepest core of their being because to them the very fact of his existence constitutes a self-evident fact, one that Prima facie, is not quite right.

The young brother in this video already senses this reality, even if he does not yet have the words to describe it. He knows that he is alien to the body politic. To paraphrase Baldwin and Ellison, this young child is American while not quite being fully American...and this black journeyman senses this fact as he sees how his hero, the president of the United States of America is treated so badly--an understatement of sorts, as Obama is actually painted as a traitor against the common good--by his foes.

Sadly, it seems that our young friend has already discovered his blues sensibility. As brother Cornel West said, even at three years old black children ask, "Why am I hated so, mommy?"



Too bad, that as a matter of physical and psychic survival so many of us have to learn the answer to the above question as a rite of passage. So long for blissful childhood innocence--at least to the degree that we black and brown folks were every really allowed to indulge in it. Welcome one step closer to adulthood my young friend.

1 comment:

Rob said...

I'm not a big fan of the race card, but what other explanation is there? Obama is the 6th president in my lifetime, and i've never seen anything even remotely approaching the divisiveness, hysteria, and blind rage towards the president we are seeing today, not even close, and Obama isn't even a year in yet! It's saddening, it's sickening, but I think the silver lining is this will be the downfall of the republican party as we know it. They are becoming more and more radical every day as the rational moderates flee, leaving only the extreme far right fringe.