Just a little over a month has gone by since Barack Obama's reelection, and as I stepped out of my house this morning and took in a deep breath, the American air is as rich as ever with predetermined opinions and objections, along with both blind rejection and support of America's endearingly large eared leader.
Let me admit off the bat that the title of this article is totally polarizing and a sweeping generalization. Many white people in this country are not too mad that Barack Obama was re-elected. After all, 39 percent of voting white people voted for him in this past November's election. And contrary to popular belief, there are actually some black people that disagree that Obama is the best man for the job, and either voted against him or not at all because of that feeling.
However, there are a great entertaining and frightening bunch of people on both the black jubilation and white Obama hating trains that must be acknowledged.
Since white people got a 400-year head start on blacks, I'm going to start off with black folks to be nice...
Black People Too Happy:
Barack Obama is the first black president of the United States. Second to the return of Christ, for many black people in America it doesn't get any better than that. It seems to evoke in us (I'm black) emotionally the physical equivalent of what it feels like to eat too much chocolate cake. You are overly satisfied, a little unclear on why you made the choice to eat so much cake, and you give up a little dignity while you were stuffing your face -- but it feels awesome!
The dignity is compromised by being so excited about a candidate that represents the same party and government that turns the other way (or joins in) when your children are being murdered, schools are being shut down, and drugs run rampant in your streets. Then there's the historical context of black people's experience in America. We haven't had a good year yet!
Nonetheless, ain't no party like an Obama party! Ninety-three percent of the black people who voted in the November election voted for Obama. Again, I'm black, so I'm 'gonna' say it: That many black people don't agree on anything all at once! If you ask 10 black people the same question you will get a hundred different answers. What should be the number one thing on the black communities agenda? 100 different answers! Is hip hop music today acceptable? One hundred different answers! What's the best way to improve the education of our children? One hundred different answers! Who's better, Michael Jackson or Prince? Somehow, remarkably, 100 different answers!
So for 93 percent of the black vote to go to Obama is a telltale sign that black people's support of him is connected to something else, something that all of us regardless of race have a need for and can relate to; Acceptance. Obama and the Obama family represent acceptance into the fabric of America. Not just the respect and enjoyment that black people's entertainment and perceived noble stride through oppression has "earned" from white America, but a real sense of oneness with American identity.
I don't necessarily share this same sentiment. Black people have not overcome, and beyond sentimental and romanticized notions, Obama's presidency is not some pinnacle of Black existence in America. Many of the advancements and strides blacks have made over the last four years have little to nothing to do with this administration. However, my critique isn't as much with Obama or his administration, but more with how black folks interact with his presidency. No group of people are more feverishly supportive and zealous about Barack Obama than Black people in America. Black women wear bedazzled hats that spell out O B A M A MAMA. Facebook, Twitter, and text message trends land crafty and prideful zingers like: "They wouldn't give us 40 acres and a mule so we'll take 50 states and the White House!" Then there's the ridiculous incomparable pictures of Obama and Martin Luther King side by side, seemingly sharing the same vision. I'm not sure if MLK would have agreed with the bombs Obama has been signing off on... Furthermore, it is just plain stupid, simple, and inaccurate to group Barack Obama and Martin Luther King in the same bubble. Martin Luther King's dream was of a post-racial America. Only a total state of delirium would land one on viewing America as post-racial. Marc Philpart is a senior associate at Policy Link, a national leader in policy and equity research: "We are far from a post-racial America. We recently published a piece titled 'California's Tomorrow: Equity is the Superior Growth Model.' Even though projections show the U.S. will become majority people of color by 2042, the disparities between whites and other ethnic groups are vast."
So what are black people really asking or demanding of Obama? Latinos demand education and immigration reform. Gay people want to get married and not be discriminated against in the military. The largely white woman agenda demands fair and equal pay. But what do black people want from Obama? For him to look like them?! Well, mission accomplished! There is no black agenda in America. The black political constituency consisting of black congresswomen and congressmen, state and local elected officials, high-profile clergy, entertainment moguls, and voter registration organizers all give Obama a free support ticket without asking him for anything in return other than a little inspiration and to tell Michelle we love her dresses. So Jay-Z sells out a stadium on Obama's behalf to rally voters, but doesn't publicly advise voters on what they should be asking of Obama...
Other than racism and systematic prejudice, it is also the blind and pre-assumed support for Obama by the black community that fuels the black vote not being taken seriously. The excitement from the whopping 93 percent of blacks that voted for Obama should be partnered with some hardcore demands, namely around poverty (the black unemployment rate is nearly double that of the national unemployment rate), police brutality, mass imprisonment, and economic sustainability. Because frankly, it is embarrassing for the people of this nation with the most wretched historical experience of being abused and under-served along with deliberately attacked and neglected -- after not having those abuses even acknowledged by its government- to then stand up in full salute and support of the leader of that government and not ask for what they not only need, but deserve.
White People Too Mad:
Oh there are some mad white people out there. Within 10 days of Obama's reelection residents in over 30 states petitioned to succeed from the union in reaction to Romney's loss in the race. I doubt very many of these petitioners were black, and if they were it was because they set themselves on fire after Romney lost, but when they survived the self-torching they walked down to city hall with dark ash and soot on their faces, only appearing to be black -- but were actually just angry, recently burnt white people.
Then there was the pregnant white woman in Arizona that ran her husband over with her truck because he didn't vote for Romney. Crazy! Of course, Fox News and other relatable news sources were filled with contentious banter after Obama's re election, and I bet that guy who tattooed Romney's campaign symbol on the side of his face (like a jackass) was pretty mad too.
Just as black Americans furiously support Obama with no real objective analysis, many white Americans oppose him on the same (non)basis. Just as numbers and facts show that black people in America are the same or worse off than they were four years ago, numbers show that white America is on the same foot as they were four years ago as well. However, if this side of things really wants to stress the claim that Obama's presidency is such a travesty, they have to ditch the amnesia they have of good ol' George Bush. But they won't. Bush, arguably the worse president in U.S. history was embraced and loved by this same oddball mass that has been reduced to tantrum-throwing adults at the site of Barack's success. And while they claim Obama is ruining the job economy, the fact is Obama's job gap is at about 251,000 versus Bush's 856,000.
The sons and daughters of white American history -- some trust fund babies, some working middle class, and others poverty stricken -- normally wouldn't share the same spaces. Until a black guy gets behind a presidential podium and Mexicans start voting...
A subgroup of them converge and both overtly and covertly climb on a common ground of baseless slandering and attacking of the president. It ranges from real heady and academic talk about the GOP and economic indicators, to "Obama is a terrorist Muslim nigger." The Daily Telegraph, a popular global UK-based news source, reports that President Obama receives 30 death threats a day.
Black and White Ivory:
Get real. We're all so focused on biased-driven pressure to pick a side, a side that if you're honest with yourself was probably determined for you before you ever had a political opinion and you just joined your assigned band. The root of America's issue is not an issue of red or blue parties, economics, race, or class. At the core of America's plight lies an issue of morality and standard. Incompetence and deceit run rampant through every political party and system that operates our country. It is so normalized that it is even expected for our government to function foully or even not function at all. These two groups disagree and fight about whose the better presidential candidate and who is less American, but all seem to agree on Walmart, feeding our children fast food poison, the Kardashians and Real Atlanta Housewives existing, fatness, and inaction in general.
I met a man in Kansas City once. His name was Bau. Bau told me that as a child he and his brother would break into the local scrapyard to steal parts for their bicycles. There was an obstacle though: two junkyard dogs. Both of the dogs were loyal guards of the scrapyard and surely wouldn't allow Bau and his brother to just walk in and take anything. So Bau came up with an idea! For two nights straight he and his brother tucked away scraps of meat and potatoes from breakfast, lunch, and dinner when their mother wasn't looking. When the time was right they'd tie the ball of food scraps up in string and head down to the scrapyard. They'd find an optimum space in the corner of the yard and start banging on the fence and yelling to get the dogs attention. The dogs would charge at the fence in unison towards Bau and his brother, barking and snarling in defense of the yard. Until Bau threw the food scrap package into the yard, that is. The dogs' attention would leave the boys and instead they began to tug at the opposite ends of the food scraps, snarling and biting at each other instead. No chase, not even a bark. Bau and his brother would climb the gate, steal, and ride off with whatever they wanted.
Whatever they wanted...