Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Joe Scarborough Ruined the Moment for Me!

Well, not really. His statement that there was no "affirmative action" in this campaign upset me. We all know, or at least should know that affirmative action isn't about giving black folks opportunities over white folks; it's about ensure black folks have equal opportunity with white folks.

Now, Chris Matthews just quoted part of a speech by Hubert Humphrey from the 1948 Democratic convention. That makes me feel better.

And finally, in 2008, we have our first official black nominee of a major party. It's quite historically ironic that that party happens to be the Democratic party. But it's the Republicans party for using the Southern strategy during the 1960s and turning lily white during Counter-Reconstruction. To be perfectly intellectually and historically honest, the entire South had been Democratic. Activists didn't turn to the Democratic party because they felt they'd best represent them socially, though economically, the Dems had quite an argument on their side.

So, just for historical accuracy, the reason blacks "turned" to the Democratic party wasn't because of its stance, but more because we were in the position to change its stance.

And that's basically how I feel about this historic occasion. As far as Barack Obama's historic achievement, my feelings are more, "It's about time!" than, "I never thought I'd see the day." And honestly, I did think I'd be older before this day came. Uh, much older. But from the beginning, I felt Obama was the best candidate. At first, I didn't feel like he had the experience Hillary Clinton had and did like the thought of the first woman president; but, she and Mr. Bill ran off at the mouth and they have no one to blame but themselves.

But here's the thing black people. We can't let this moment past. We can't afford to become as delusional as the rest of America about the state of race relations. I mean, sure Barack's done something stupendous, but his achievement had as much to do with his lack of "blackness" than anything else. And seriously, the struggle for equal rights wasn't about the equal "right to be white."

And let's be honest. Barack group up in white surroundings. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, my mom was a teacher and I grew up seeing white people a lot. I thought they were just like us except their were pink. But there's a privilege in growing up in white surroundings, and this is it: when you get in trouble, you don't get punished like the white kids do. Barack used to drink and do drugs. Do you really think if he grew up in a black neighborhood, he still wouldn't either still be drinking and doing drugs or be in jail for drinking and doing drugs?

This country has a long way to go. My generation can't ease up. We can't take a candidate or hopefully President Obama for granted. We have to keep fighting for better schools in our neighborhoods. We have to keep fighting so that our youth who stumble onto the wrong track have the same chance to right themselves as white youth do. We have to fight so that our single mothers can go to school and live on food stamps, too, without their blackness or sexuality being a barrier.

And lastly, full disclosure, I love segregated Sundays. Call me racist for it, I don't care. Call me narrow-minded. We both know I'm not. I love and treasure segregated Sundays because it gives black folks peace. Peace from the racism and arrogance, from the denials and delusions, and from the judgement of white people. In our churches, jumping up and clapping like your favorite team just won the game on the final buzzer is encouraged. It's space where we can release all the anger and disappointments, all the hurts and pains of the week past. Space where we can hold on to hope in the face of an uncertain week to come. And white, er, person, if you're not going to come and enjoy the service and spirit, but instead come and accuse us of having a victim's mentality or chips on our shoulders, just stay at home! We won't miss you. In fact, we haven't missed you.

But here's my last point, the activists of my generation must keep fighting until the truth we know as expressed by Rev. Jeremiah Wright isn't castigated. We must fight until we're judged as individuals and not by the worst of us. And even then, we have to keep fighting until even those we call the "underclass" has the same opportunities and chances as those we call the "upper class." Even if they aren't athletes.

So all in all, this is a good win. Put the plaque on your wall, the trophy on your mantle. But this is only one win, and there are many more battles to win before we've won the war.

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But Don't Jack My Genuis