Saturday, December 26, 2009

How do you grade a Cultural Icon?

This ain't politically correct. This might offend my political connects. – Jay Z

No one said it was easy being the Head of the American Empire. Every two months someone is grading President Barack Obama on his performance. I can’t remember previous presidents being graded in this manner. But since he is the “First Black” President, it is of no surprise. That means he is graded on a different presidential scale. Such is life!!! But it’s well within the rights of American Citizens to critique their leaders. If you listen to the Mainstream Media, they would have you believe that “every race and gender has a bone to pick with Obama.”

If you listen to Black Talk Radio, some black folks are heated with the 1st Brother in Chief. They are upset because they feel he does not care about black folks. High unemployment rates for black men and problems with metropolitan school districts are serious points of contention. I understand the pain in their voices but I believe they forgot something important. Obama didn’t run on a black issues platform. His run for the White House was based on America being color-blind. So there is no need for black folks to be upset about something Obama didn’t promise. What we can be upset about is his philosophy of “a rising tide lifts all ships.” Uneven unemployment numbers based on race and ongoing discrimination in hiring can’t be overlooked. It’s apparent that some people are riding in motorboats and others canoes.

What bothers me is not the criticism of Obama but the complaints from black folks when he is criticized. It’s as if he can’t do wrong and if you have a problem with him you are a traitor to your race. Why do Black Folks place such blind faith in their elected leaders? These people make a living off of telling you what you want to hear. They are most effective when you hold their feet to the fire. I don’t think that Obama doesn’t care about black folks. I believe he has different people in his ear (asking for STUFF) and he has to please them all. If you look at most modern day presidents, different ethnic groups had to stay on top of them in order to push their agendas. Why do we act like because Obama is black things will be different? If you look at who is surrounding him, you can see that not much has changed since Bill Clinton was in office. He practically has the Clinton Administration working for him. And although Clinton was the originally 1st black president (Per Toni Morrison), ethnic groups had to stay on him too.

Why isn’t it possible to separate Obama the man from Obama the President? How are we supposed to keep our politicians honest when we hold allegiances to them based on race? I’m personally not pleased with some of Obama’s decisions but I don’t think he is a total failure. There is a difference between wanting someone to fail and giving them constructive feedback. As black folks we need to know the difference. We can’t have serious debates regarding the issues if we can’t accept different viewpoints. The year 2010 is around the corner and “WE” have got to do better. We have people that don’t even know what the public option is and why we need it. It’s obvious that black folks don’t understand how the political game is played. We have to hold these politicians accountable regardless of race or gender. They work for us!!! They are not celebrities!!! If we treat them as such, they gain a false sense of security. Then they become lazy and stop doing what we elected them to do. In the end, that’s when it comes back to bite us in the behind (City of Detroit anyone???).


the uppity negro said...

Couldn't agree more.

To which I ask, how doth one feel about Tavis Smiley? Or Jeremiah Wright?

I remember during the campaign season of 2008 that many individuals outright disowned Tavis Smiley and have since painted the State of the Black Union as elitist and what not. I simply charged back that many of them were either a) mad that they weren't invited to be on the panel, b) just garden variety "hatin'" or the worst c) so blinded by race, that anyone or anything that they viewed as a detriment to Obama's ascendancy to the presidency needed to be erradicated.

I'd say the black community was ambivalent about the Wright issue because they knew he was speaking truth, but they just didn't want it to affect Obama.

That being said, since Obama ran on a color-blind platform and took his sweet time to make it to the NAACP event in Cleveland that year, and DID NOT, I repeat DID NOT go to Memphis on April 4th, 2008 and both Clinton and McCain were present, and made speeches in the pouring rain, amidst boos from the Memphis' colored population, we need to view Obama as a mere politician.

I'd go so far as to say he's fading from cultural icon status, well, at least the spotlight on him isn't quite as bright as it was this time last year. I think most people now don't see him as a "black" president, but rather, a president, who happens to be black, and please be aware there is a difference between being intentionally black and incidentally black--or even being accidentally black like a Condolezza, Clarence Thomas or the likes of a Jesse Lee Peterson.

So for me, it's easy, you grade him like any other politician.

And that's kind of what he's done his whole time in office--be a politician. Granted this is the first quarter in a four quarter game, and yes he gets major kudos for the health reform bill, but as Jesse Jackson said here on WGN news the other day, this is merely step one--WE NEED A PUBLIC OPTION!! Also, the fact that I'm personally not impressed with his cabinet, it would be nice for it to be a bit more post-racial. Hopefully Eric Holder will do well in the long run.

Citizen Ojo said...

Uppity - I think Tavis played his hand by being too whiny. It made him look like a spoiled child that didn't get his way. It also shortened some of his stature. I don't have a problem with the concept of the state of the black union but he needs to make it more meaningful because it's really about folks preaching to the choir. Also it's sponsored by corporations that have been involved in the "ills" of black folks.

Jeremiah Wright was okay in the beginning but near the end he came off looking like a media hound. He has very good points but sometimes you don't know if he is playing up to the cameras.

Where is your post on being intentionally black, incidentally black or/and accidentally black?? That should be a masterpiece.

I'm not upset with Obama not going to Memphis because I knew he wasn't going to go. You knew he wasn't going to go either. Sure it would be nice but so would be a million dollars.

At this point the color in Obamas cabinet is not my problem. I would just like to see some new faces that aren't associated with any President from our past. I want to see more outside the box thinkers instead of the old guard. How can you be incharge of regulating banks when you didn't believe in it. The Foxes are in charge of the Hen House. That's all I'm saying.

Eric Holder needs to be working on these job discrimination issues currently regarding black men. Trust he has enough to keep him busy.

msladyDeborah said...

I am not totally pleased with everything that has come out of Obama's first year in office. I never expected that I would be feeling that way. If I found no fault in his judgement-that would mean that I was not paying attention to his adminstration's decisions.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote] Uneven unemployment numbers based on race and ongoing discrimination in hiring can’t be overlooked. It’s apparent that some people are riding in motorboats and others canoes.[/quote]

My Good friend Citizen Ojo:

Please accept this link as the counter-argument to your "Boil The Ocean" approach to the claim that "employment discrimination" is the root of the Black unemployment problems:

"The Strategic Consequences of Racism Chasing - Black Male Unemployment"

Executive Summary: While it is more popular to claim RACISM about the present 4.4% White male w/ degree unemployment vs the 7.8% Black male w/ Degree unemployment - the LOW HANGING FRUIT is with the 16.3% unemployment for B.M.s w/ high school diploma or the 30% for those without any sort of degree.

Constructive Feedback said...

Brother Ojo & Others:

Why does the Black community express frustration with President Obama while seemingly disconnecting him from the vertical machine that he is connected to? The areas with the highest concentrations of Black people are controlled by the very same political machine LOCALLY that Obama (and the Federal Democrats) are a part of nationally.

What made anyone think that the policies that failed to Educate Us, Protect Us, Employ Us locally were going to work wonders when scaled nationally?

Our people are more inclined to "PUT OUR ADVERSARIES ON TRIAL" and detail what we don't like about them than we are likely to hear discussion of our PERMANENT INTERESTS and how they have ACTUALLY BEEN DELIVERED UPON.

Instead we are asked to do "Portrait Worship". The presence of more Black (or favorable politicians of any race) elected serves as PROOF of our "Racial Progress". This doesn't stand testing on the streets.

It is not only Obama who should be held up for indictment. The entire BLACK ESTABLISHMENT who marketed Obama who resides in the "American Political Domain" as our RACIAL SAVIOR in the distinct domain of "Community Cultural Consciousness and Competence". This is the domain that many of these same people have abandoned.

Reggie said...

Excellent post!!!

I'm not exactly overjoyed with what I've seen thus far from the Obama Administration; yet, he didn't run on a "black issues" platform and he sure as hell didn't invent unemployment.

All in all, he's had a rather successful presidency thus far and I have high hopes for the next three years. If he had done nothing, he'd have outperformed that last oxygen thief we had for president.

He's keeping his promises and he's doing the best job that he can. I wonder where all those conservatives are that advised being patriotic meant supporting our president....where are they now?!? Oh yeah, they're the vocal opposition; the very thing they claimed was unpatriotic but a year ago.

Excellent post!!!

Citizen Ojo said...

msladydeborah - you are a wise woman..

Citizen Ojo said...

Constructive Feedback -
And your back.....My Fellow Blogger Constructive Feedback, If I had of known you were coming I would have put out some milk and cookies for you...oops...that's somebody else I'm thinking about.

I see your "Boil The Ocean" post and those numbers still give reason to question why those 7.8 percent (per the numbers you provided) are having problems finding work. If a major publication does a story on educated black men (i.e. from so called elite universities) that are having difficulties finding employment due to their names, organizations they belong to, the suprised look when they show up at the interview. Then I think it is safe to call it RACISM. I'm not in the business of throwing cover to racists. But I think if you re-read my post you will see that we are basically making some of the same argument (I know it's shocking!!).

Reggie - "Oxygen Thief" ha ha ha ha. That is funny to me. Thank you for the compliments Sir. I have to be honest. I was hoping Michael Steele was going to bring a fresh prospective to the Republican Party. Oh well...

Jay_fever said...

damn...he would bring up Detroit...smh...*Sigh*