Breaking Brown

May 18, 2011

melissa harris perry: thoughts on spooks and doors

Just when I thought we were getting down to business, putting the alleged assassination of Osama bin Laden behind us,  putting the American people back to work, and maybe even mounting a push to protect the social safety nets that those on the center and right (Obama included) aim to dismantle, it appears that yet another egoist writer has an axe to grind.

In her article entitled “Cornel West vs. Barack Obama”, Melissa Harris Perry goes “in” on Cornel West in defense of her boy Obama.  Sigh. Here we go – again.

For what it’s worth, I respect Perry, and I respected her when she wrote a scathing critique of West and Smiley before the 2008 election. However, just as it is obvious that both Smiley and West hold the same positions today that they held before the election, it is also obvious that Perry still holds her staunchly pro-Obama position.  She is now, as she was then, doing the President’s bidding. Smiley and West haven’t changed, nor has she. And Perry doesn’t get a high five from me for repeating her same pre-election talking points, nor does she win any favor by pretending as if West has committed some new offense.

Truth be told, West’s criticisms of Obama circa 2011 hold much more water than his criticisms circa 2008 in large part due to Obama’s own actions. Wasn’t it Obama who froze federal wages while writing blank checks to Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan? Wasn’t it Obama who cut discretionary spending while extending the Bush tax cuts? So if West is mad enough to spit nails – and judging from his MSNBC debate with Al “Pimptight” Sharpton, he is – then Obama has no one to blame but himself. And Perry’s maternal instincts to protect this President are misplaced.

But instead of placing blame squarely at Obama’s feet, Perry assaults West for being soft-core. Perry accuses West of letting his ego get in the way when she proclaims, “Obama did not trust his “dear brother” to keep the campaign secrets and strategies. I also suspect he was not inaccurate in his hesitancy. “

Really?!  Any President who would return Al Sharpton’s calls should certainly return Cornel West’s. Sharpton does everything but dance the jig-aboo in a clown suit and he’s considered a trusted advisor, but Obama couldn’t trust West “to keep the campaign secrets and strategies.”? As if Plouffe or anyone else of consequence would’ve even been in the room or on the line?! This for a man who campaigned and made appearances on behalf of Obama in the lead up to election ’08.  For Perry to insist that West is wrong for feeling hurt or diminished is nonsense. Sheer and utter nonsense.

And sorry Ms. Perry, going Ivy league (as you have) and growing up in a white context are not equivalents and you damn well know better. Many of our values and beliefs are molded during childhood, not in graduate school. A black man coming from a black family and going to Harvard or Yale vs. a black man growing up in a white family where he hears black people demeaned and spoken ill of create divergently different human beings. Any black man who grew up within Obama’s context would have been forced to learn how to function within that context and determine his value within it. For Obama, his method for functioning is placating whites and his value is determined by how they feel about him.  It is what is, and nothing Perry says, none of the issues she failed to address, lead me to any different conclusion. Perry is – again –doing the President’s bidding and somehow under the impression that we aren’t nuanced enough to call her out on her bullsh*t…..

Enough holes in Perry’s hyperbolic “article” (ode to Obama) to drive a truck through…


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One thought on “melissa harris perry: thoughts on spooks and doors

  1. Molly says:

    I was really confused, and this answered all my quseniots.

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