Huffpost Politics
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Shola Lynch Headshot

Less a "House Negro" and More an "HNIC" or Better Yet "The Spook"

Posted: Updated:
Print

According to the Associated Press,

"In al-Qaida's first response to the Obama victory Ayman al-Zawahri said in the message, that Obama is 'the direct opposite of honorable black Americans like Malcolm X,' the 1960s Black rights leader and went on to call the president-elect -- along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice -- 'house Negroes.'"

Coming out of a presidential primary and election where race was only skirted around, it is a bit shocking for al-Qaida to take it to the school yard. I guess that was the point. But they didn't study up and totally missed the mark.

There have been decades since Malcolm X said what he did. He wasn't talking about the world today. He also didn't live through the seventies, which give us better and more current cultural references to work with than "house negro."

It would be more accurate for al-Qaida to call president-elect Obama the HNIC. For those not in the know, the "Head Negro in Charge." Obama is not just in the big house or serving at someone else's pleasure, he is the guy in charge or, as we like to say -- the H-N-I-C. But even that does not do justice to Obama's meteoric rise or take into account his quiet revolution for change.

So if one were going to crassly try and stereotype our president elect by race, Barack Hussein Obama is more aptly slandered as "The Spook."

A "spook" is a ghost, but also a derogatory term for black person. "The Spook" is a reference to The Spook Who Sat By the Door, a book (1969) and a classic blaxploitation movie (1973). The main character, Dan Freeman, is a black man who pretends to be an "Uncle Tom." He keeps his cool despite having to endure a large serving of race based harassment and humiliation in order to be the first black to gain access to CIA training, and then uses that knowledge to plot and insight a new American Revolution. The movie ends with revolutionary rioting in the streets. We are left to wonder who wins.

While I can't really see Obama as an "Uncle Tom," he does keep his cool and has been accused of not being "aggressive" enough. While he didn't go through CIA training, he did go to prestigious predominantly white schools and has used this knowledge to plot, and execute, a new "revolution" for change. Obama's "gang" didn't take to the streets in armed revolution, ('cause we know how well that worked for folks in the sixties and seventies), but took it online and worked the electoral process. Unlike in the movie, we know that Obama won.

A word to the wise for al-Qaida, and those that wish to slander our president-elect based on race -- get it right. But really, this is a new era. The response that al-Qaida deserves for its childish press release is "sticks and stones." Like the nursery rhyme says, "sticks and stone may break our bones, but names will never hurt us." Calling him names doesn't change the fact that Barack Hussein Obama is the next president of the United States of America and that, by his name alone, al-Qaida has a big PR problem.