Breaking Brown

September 20, 2011

barack obama and black people (and troy davis)


Troy Davis

Troy Davis hung out to dry by White House.

The cognitive dissonance is breath taking. You can’t bemoan Troy Davis’ impending murder AND blindly support a black President who hasn’t even discussed Davis (for fear of right wing reprisal). The President’s power to pardon was made for this. But, of course, Davis’ questionable offense doesn’t stem from a federal violation, so that’s off the table.

But even if it were possible, we all know that Obama wouldn’t be issuing any pardon on behalf of Davis. Black men helping other black men irritates the right wing, and more and more, it’s apparent that those on the right and center are Obama’s base, not those who voted for him overwhelmingly in 2008. (Just as an aside, Obama did pardon an accused alligator dealer, meth dealer, and an alleged transferer of firearm who didn’t pay the necessary tax in 2008.)

This is an excellent opportunity to clarify the differences between empowered minorities and disenfranchised minorities. Take the Jewish community for example, they support their surrogates and exact payment for that support shortly after the aforementioned surrogate takes office. It’s a given. It’s how politics works.

Politics, however, is only an extension of basic human interactions among individuals. How you interact within the political sphere mirrors your relationship with yourself and with others. Unlike the Jewish community –an empowered minority-African Americans are a disenfranchised minority prone to capitulation.

We don’t approach politics as if we have a stake in it, as if we matter. We’re happy with the scraps that fall from the table because that’s what we’ve grown accustomed to.

The latest piece of scrapple to fall from the buffet was the rejection of Troy Davis’ clemency request.  Black people are wringing their hands and hanging their collective heads because, of course, collective suffering is something we do well. Soon enough, we’ll break out in unified chorus of Negro spirituals on behalf of Davis.

What we won’t do well, however, is push our brownish President to take a stand for Davis. We admire Obama’s status too much for that, even if the cost of that status is disavowing and further subduing African Americans in order to prove his obedience to America’s normalized racist structure.

Barack Obama doesn’t care about us and there’s a very good reason why. He doesn’t care because he knows that the justice department he serves is not OUR justice department. It’s not our White House (or his). Yeah, a black man works there, but he doesn’t matter. And by extension, we don’t matter. We should stop pretending that we own something that we certainly do not. And if you can’t join’em, then maybe it’s time we beat ‘em.



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25 thoughts on “barack obama and black people (and troy davis)

  1. Paul says:

    Obama cares about Obama ’12 and nothing else. No way would he grow a spine in order to stop the barbaric execution (whether Davis is innocent or not the death penalty is not what civilized cultures do). He’s always tiptoeing around for fear of “right wing reprisal” and kowtowing to blowhard pundits.

  2. Yvette says:

    Yes. Sadly, you’re right.

  3. Mark Brooks says:

    I know what you mean….Obama promised me a pony and has yet to deliver. I think I’ll vote for Rick Perry instead.

  4. Yvette says:

    Mark, I understand but if you vote for Perry, you’re still unlikely to get that pony.

  5. Afropick1 says:

    I have said B Obama doesn’t like black people soon after he threw his former Pastor Rev Jermiah Wright under the bus and then back up over him

    I pray there will be a successful outcome of the efforts by Ralph Nader and Dr Cornel West to bring forth a LIBERAL challenge for the democratic primary in 2012

    1. Yvette says:

      Jeremiah Wright, Shirley Sherrod, the list goes on… black people are “The Expendibles” in Barack Obama’s eyes.

  6. publius says:

    The death penalty is troubling for reasons presented in this case. I was pro capital punishment until many years ago, two white women were facing justice for capital crimes. One committed a heinous murder while jacked up on drugs. She had been on the streets and pimped out from age 13. She was executed. The other was an upper middle class girl who had been accepted into the Naval Academy. She planned and participated in the murder of a romantic rival. The death penalty was not even considered in her case. She got life.

    Both White. Both Women. Arbitrary application of the penalty reflecting an obvious class bias. The Death Penalty is bad social policy, and when you add the complications of race or ethnicity, it gets even worse.

  7. riceroni says:

    Sorry pal, but you’re way off and very full of crap. People like you, Tavis Smiley, and Cornell West are pathetic and are the epitome of the “bucket ‘o crabs” syndrome that too many Blacks suffer from. You’re no better than the far-right tea party troglodytes holding up racist signs, spewing epithets, and effigies of stereotypes. What the Hell did you think was going to happen? He would get sworn in and wave some magic wand and *POOF* all problems be gone? This President have been tasked with fixing problems of unprecedented epic proportions. He’s been taking crap from all sides as he’s truly tried to govern in a “bipartisan” fashion. But as we see now he’s realized that it’s time to “steamroll” govern right over the GOP (Grand Obstructionists Party) and put them front and center for the corporate shills and whores they are. You already have a cabal of people (GOP/Tea party) that would rather this country fall into an economic abyss of despair. The Governor of Georgia can’t even do anything, so what the Hell do you want the President to do? He’s THE PRESIDENT NOT THE KING! There’s a such thing as “laws” and “checks & balances” and it’s supposed to be the case that NO ONE is above them. Wake the f#@! up and take your misguided frustrations out on the Georgia board of parole & pardons who CAN actually do something.

    1. Yvette says:

      Yes, we’re a “barrel of crabs” and “haters”. The facts don’t much matter here do they? It doesn’t matter to you – or any of the Obama apologists – that Obama isn’t even governing in the spirit of his campaign, much less to the literal letter of his promises.

      Maybe you’re happy with getting ZERO in exchange for your vote. Maybe you’re o.k. with voting for a supposedly progressive candidate who kept Bush’s Secretary of defense and Bush’s military policies. Maybe you’re fine with a President who freezes federal salaries but refuses to tax the rich. And maybe, you’re happy with a President who bends to the demands of the party he’s supposed to be ideologically opposed with. If you are, then your ideological perspective seems a bit confused and out of sorts. But good for you.

      And what the hell did YOU think would happen? Did you really expect this level of timidity , this amateurish attempt at governing? Is that what got your stupid ass to the polls?

      You’re an idiot. And Obama hasn’t realized it’s time to “steamroll” anything. Check the calendar. It’s campaign season.

      1. misty says:

        Are there things he’s done that have disappointed me. Yes. But I’m tired of this ignorant crap that he hasn’t done anything for black people. None of it is true. Look at the things he’s pushed for/is pushing for. And think about how they benefit the black community (pell grants for low income students, the Affordable Care Act,etc).
        If this makes me an idiot apologist, so be it. Years ago, defending ones record when there were ignorant and counterproductive assertions made use to be journalistic integrity. The guy has done more in policies to help the poor and people of color than West and Smiley have in their photo-ops and book tours on it. It’s just a fact.

  8. MrsW says:

    I think its wrong and ignorant to say President Obama does not like Black people. Do you think he does not like himself, his wife, his children or any of his Black family? We should not take our issues with the ability of Black Americans to come together in this society and fight for a common cause out on President Obama. It is not his fault that Black Americans do not have a strong political voice with which they can demand that things are done for them. He does a lot of things that help Black Americans as well as other Americans every day. If we feel as a people that he is not doing anything to help us specifically, then we need to unite and put our votes behind our voice. Then we can get results from President Obama or anyone else.

    As for the Troy Davis situation, I am praying that something will be done to prevent this gross injustice. Should President Obama act? IMHO, yes. Will I think he’s a bad president or doesn’t like Black people if he does not? No.

  9. Yvette says:

    “Do you think he does not like himself”

    Actually, no. I don’t think Obama likes himself. I think he would be much happier in different (whiter) skin. I think he resents himself. I think he resents the expectations that African Americans have for him. Tell me, when has Obama “showed love” to black people in a way that wasn’t 100% symbolic? Don’t worry. I’ll wait. *crickets*

    “It is not his fault that Black Americans do not have a strong political voice ”

    It is absolutely his fault. We voted for him to be our voice and he said “fuck you.” You Negroes go rise on the sea that lifts all ships and some such other nonsense. He’s polling at below 40% among whites and at about 84% among blacks but he shows more love to white voters than black voters. Why do you think that is?

    1. MrsW says:

      I don’t understand your question, so I can’t really respond. Why do you feel like President Obama resents himself or African Americans? And what do you mean by him doing something that wasn’t 100% symbolic? Is marrying his Black wife symbolic or having Black children? It seems like if he resented himself or his skin color, he would have married someone much lighter than himself.

      I also disagree with your proposition that he shows more love to white voters than Black voters. President Obama is the President of all Americans, not just whites or Blacks or any other specific group. I didn’t vote for him to be my voice. I voted for him to be the President. I still have my voice just like you do. Black people have not been able to come together for a common cause since the fall of segregation. Why is that President Obama’s fault?

      1. Yvette says:

        Becoming the first black President is purely a symbolic victory. It’s all about what comes NEXT. Showing up in Harlem with Al Sharpton is symbolic. Touting your love for your African American kids, while doing nothing to help other young black boys and girls, is purely symbolic. It’s imagery. It’s not action.

        You’re making a lot of assumptions as to how a self-hater would behave. But we all know that had Obama married a white woman, or even a much lighter woman, he probably wouldn’t be President now.

        President Obama was raised by white people and that’s fine. But I understand that there are negotiations one makes with his or herself within that setting. Especially when, if you believe Obama, his grandparents said unkind things about black people. His upbringing had an impact and sadly, we’re watching it unfold.

        1. misty says:

          And it was not going to be anymore than that. He’s pushed for things like many Democrats have (public education, consumer protection, etc.), and those things benefit the black community more than anything else. Can I asked why there wasn’t this much concern when Clinton signed Welfare Reform into law? When federal incarceration of black people grew in the 90’s. When the death penalty was brought back? Why is it only now that we are ranting about black unemployment being high when it has always been higher than the national average due to decades of institutionalized racism after slavery. It seems only now the black president is suppose to bring a “black agenda”. And it’s not that I think the problems of the black community should be ignored, but I think it’s ridiculous to blame it all on on man rather that thousands of years of racial injustice that would have never ended with a guy who looks like us. And that doesn’t make him an Uncle Tom, it just makes him a politician who can be easily voted out simply because of that rather than even the economy itself. He doesn’t need to talk about it because white America already sees it when they look at him and his family, and to a white America that is uncomfortable with the issue of race (e.g. Henry Louis Gates and the decline in white support right after the incident), it’s not easy for someone who is a black politician to speak out about race w/o being called a race-baiter or a racist or being accused of playing the race card (heck it goes with every person of color, that’s why there is Tim Wise), and so when people say this it’s not to make excuses or to protest against pressure to do more for anyone. It’s to put others into the presidents shoes at the particular moment, because good things are happening for a lot of people and unfortunately it has to go through politics. But for now, let’s stop making ridiculous accusations that he hates black people. I’m not even going to do that with Clinton. Because it’s not helpful to him, nor the black community nor the country.

        2. misty says:

          And No. 2 You can’t assume that b/c he’s mixed and was raised by his white grandparents that he hates the black half of himself. Read his book Dreams of My Father. He is comfortable identifying himself as black.

    2. misty says:

      You have been listening to the racialized BS of Cornell West’s ego.

  10. Sandi says:

    Wow! I guess the “crabs in a barrel” disease is still alive and kicking. Nothing worse than an Uncle Tom.

    1. Yvette says:

      Yes, and there is a run on ignorant Negroes who think idioms are a suitable replacement for solid arguments.

  11. Charlie D says:

    Theres nothing Uncle Tom by not telling this President to stand for up for something.Be proactive not reactive. Visionary not Commentrary. So tired of folks , particularly black folks always making excuses for excuses. I swear many of you would still be on the Plantation picking cotton because you didnt want Bobo to escape. Wake UP (School Daze Reference)

  12. ShellyCooke says:

    @misty so ignore the issues then….that will fix it – I’m sorry, I don’t get it.

  13. ShellyCooke says:

    MrsW…Because he said he was everybody’s president and he doesn’t address the issues that blacks have in regards to the humongous unemployment rate among other things. He was willing to give audience and action to gays and lesbians, hispanics, and abortionists. Their agendas seemed to be more important to him. But any time someone questions him about the unusually high unemployment rate withing black communities, he claims he already addressed black issues and that he’s everybody’s president. Whatever he does will be beneficial to “all” Americans. So why the break down of other groups then? It doesnt’ matter that our circumstances within the black community are extreme. He doesn’t feel obligated to do anything about it.

    1. ShellyCooke says:

      We are expected to help ourselves. How are we going to build business with no income? As a matter of fact…why is it that he would give a bailout to those “companies” that were already established, but individuals who are oppressed within the community cannot get the same consideration. He offered them tangible funds to help them in their time of need. But the same logic doesn’t apply when it comes to us. Everybody and every other issue affecting our world today is more important. It’s so laughable that he is saying that he is everybody’s president. The only thing he likes to do with blacks is to tell us to shake it off and quit whining and complaining. It’s sad that he speaks to us that way. As if he knows us like that! Because we look like him he feels comfortable in talking to us in the raggedy fashion that he displayed when we voiced our concerns. I haven’t heard him speak to any other group that way. No professionalism whatsoever.

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