If you happen to have perused the latest Rolling Stone you might have come across an interesting comment by celebrated Black academic Dr. Cornell West:
That's not my calling. Yeah, brother, you find me in a crack house before you find me in the White House. I'll go into the crack house before I ever go that far inside.
Dr. West was answering a question about whether he would ever accept a position in the Obama adminstration's White House. On the surface this might seem like the rebel response. No, he won't join the institution that is holding down Black people across the land. He is a free thinker who will not be bound by a country who still doesn't take the plight of all of its citizens seriously.
Or you could see this for what it is. Sheer lunacy.
Dr. West is a part of a group of Black intelligentsia that sees it as their job to step up and police President Obama on his dealings on Blackness. West, Tavis Smiley, Michael Eric Dyson and others see themselves as the voice of the Black plight and will not allow Obama to ignore the very people that got him into office! With constant cries for racially charged fixes for issues within the black community, they stand at the sidelines with their noses held in disgust at his lack of true understanding, or better yet, lack of actual caring about the issues of, as Dyson keeps yelling, the people who put him in office.
Here's a question:
If Dr. West was offered a position in the Obama administration, why in holy hell would he not take it? Why would he turn down a direct line to the powers that be? Why would he rather do his work from a crack house than from the power base of our government? Why would he chose his current place in lieu of a position of actual power and ability to influence and change the issues that he so emphatically claims need the direct attention of higher government?
There isn't a good answer. Just like Dyson's recent rant on Obama "playing Black people," this is just as ridiculous. Dyson spoke of how he has not been invited to the White House despite being the first prominent Black person to endorse Obama. He is clearly upset at not being offered a seat at the very same table that he proceeds to criticize at length. He even went so far as to reprimand Obama for not mentioning Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s name in a speech: Obama's usage of "a young preacher from Georgia" bothered him.
Yes. Obama didn't say King's name. Does Dyson think he tried to trick America? That everyone would assume he was speaking of some other "preacher from Georgia"? Perhaps some spiritual leader from Russia! That's what people probably thought. No one would think MLK.
He is willing to sacrifice the interests of African-Americans in deference to a conception of universalism because it won't offend white people. --Michael Eric Dyson via Youtube.com
Could someone explain to me at exactly what point my interests were sacrificed? The fact that Obama hasn't stepped up to the podium and yelled, "Blackity Black Black. We gots ta get some black ish handled!" means he's some how sacrificed my interests?
A lot of people asked what would happen if America ever had a Black President. Answer? We don't know yet. It has only been a few months. Black people have neither been ignored nor suddenly revered by anyone. Perhaps instead of being so quick to throw around "Drinking the Kool-Aid" as everyone loves to say, maybe we should just deal with issues as they come. Perhaps give the man, I dunno, maybe a year or two in office before we start talking about his sacrificing of Black interests. Maybe the people sacrificing Black interest are the self-anointed saviors of it in the first place.