Are Blacks Feeling Unattached to Their Black President?
First off this is not a bashing but a serious look into the theory of having our first black president and blacks being able to “claim” him as their own.
This past weekend I watched my usual Sunday morning political shows and one comment stood out to me. Are blacks relating less to this “black” president because he lives a life that is surreal to them. I thought this to be an interesting topic for a few reasons.
1- He is not really black; He is biracial and was raised by a white mother.
President Obama describes himself as “African American of mixed heritage” which is offensive to me as a biracial person who embraces both heritages. To me that is a slap in the face of the heritage you are equally prescribed to. Yet this is very revealing. Is he truly biracial or is he using the African “card” to confuse voters, give black folks the “wink wink,” or win someone over? How much influence did his mom have in his life if he does not claim her ethnicity prominently? I wish he would define this term more clearly for me. You don’t get to be one or the other if you are fully aware of all you are.
As a biracial person with a more outspoken white mother, I can understand some of his background. We never feel quite complete around blacks and the same rings true when around whites. Not to say we love either one less but we don’t really seem to “fit in” on either side. I could not leave out my German heritage mostly in tribute to my mom and the impact her and her culture had on my life. I am thinking this must be true of Barack Obama? Or is it?
Many biracial people struggle with identity crisis, but we eventually grow to embrace who we are. Growing up learning of my African and German cultures was unique and we had the pleasure to enjoy a life of participating in more than one culture. We get to have our cake and eat it too!
There are those of us who grow up to resent one or all of the cultures we are “mixed” with and that can lead to chaos because disowning a part of who you are leads to a dislike of your entire self. There are some things I do that are very German and wouldn’t change them if I had to, same for my African heritage. They complete me and keep me whole and grounded.
So for blacks wanting to claim this president as black, well that is the physical thing you are responding to. His inner workings are far from that of the typical black man. On face value, yes he experienced some racism and treatment as a black man would, but he also may have processed it differently as he was guided through these occurrences mainly by a white woman who could not relate to this specific problem.
Our view of the world is more inclusive and undefined as we have learned to join and blend in even when becoming part of something was not always easy and the group not always inviting. Biracial people can certainly identify to the family reunion and standing out. That is a lot for a child to grow up in and it shapes us and stays with us forever. It is motional baggage you either overcome or keep attached to you.
For an exceptional article on this issue please visit:
Identity Wars: I’m Biracial … Not Confused Damn It!
“While biracial isn’t confined by definition to half black and half white, that seems to be a common point of reference in this country. When it comes to the quest for identity and the struggle for labels that answer more questions than they raise, what does the sum of black and white equal in America today? When do two halves blend into one or the other, and when do they stand on their own? And do all biracial people want to be viewed the same way?”
2-The Obama’s Live A Privileged Life.
The First Family vacations in Connecticut, Martha’s Vineyard, Spain, and all over the world. Blacks don’t live this life! Most blacks live in the working poor sector of America and within our race even we have different levels. We got light-skinned versus dark-skinned, the haves and have not’s, college educated, ghetto, jigaboos and the wannabees, the one percenters, naturals versus creamy crack, and the list goes on.
When we see the First Family enjoying their “well-deserved” trip to wherever, we may be happy for them to some degree, but somewhere lingering in a majority of the minority is the reality of struggling and living check to check. Are they really connected to us, or are they using us like so many have before? We got Jesse and Al who never had to work real jobs but made their living publically whining about black issues, not really moving us forward, yet we support them. Democrats, the NAACP, and the CBC (Congressional Black Caucus) have used blacks to fund their campaigns, programs, protests, and received major tax dollars but yet we see no real changes, just more handouts while the same people who promise to help us disappear until voting season.
Mr. President while enjoying your trips to whatever fancy get-a-way you wish, we are still here supporting and defending you! We are still in the hood waiting for the hope and change you promised to us. We are here fighting crime, drugs, poverty, gangs, and hopelessness. Our kids are in horrible education systems, while Malia and Sasha attend the best of the best. No fights on the buss, no gunfights at the games, no drama. Michelle looks amazing, she really does. She is amazing to listen to and I love the idea of getting behind growing and supporting American made foods and farmers. However she once said she would not go the Sarah Palin route and be so fancy in unaffordable outfits, yet I see her in special designer fits and geared way up. I can’t do that!
The president smokes, he should come to Wisconsin and try to finance a pack of cigs, he plays golf, he has “beer summits” and many things our kings just don’t do. Sure he plays ball but he still eats fancy dinners of organic foods. There is no soul food served at the White House!
3-The Presidential Appointments
This president rarely appoints blacks to his cabinets and just appointed yet another non-black Pete Rouse to an important position. When is the cabinet and secretary staff going to start reflecting more of us? When will we start to see some kente cloth, black statues and signs of blackness in the backdrop of your next media engagement?
Is it important that this president get more of us in places we once had restricted access too? Why not let someone else get a piece of the pie? Why no black Supreme Court Appointee, no new black press person. The previous two presidents employed more blacks on their staffs. I would love to know what his answer is to this.
So after absorbing all of this, do blacks start to feel some resentment and anger? Where is my 40 acres and a mule? I helped you get yours, now it’s my turn! During this election season will blacks secretly unleash these sentiments or will we “keep hope alive” and give this president more time to remember those he forgot. Or is it time to form our own reform group. No, not another tea party, let’s try kool-aide instead! Here Mr. President, just in case you forgot what it tastes like, freshly made from the people you promised would see a better day. I hope for all our sakes he remembers us in the next coming years!
Presently as I write this the president will have spent more time campaigning then he has on homelessness, education, and race-related issues. That is very powerful and needs to be changed. Which is more important?
Peace My Family!!
Well WW you went and did it again! Not bashing but isn’t it? We can’t afford to have any attacks on this president, hell he is under enough fire in this election season. Even our own Russ “backstabber” Feingold sold him out and ran some stupid football commercial calling himself “independent!” Dude for real, how can you diss the prez like that? You had his back for the last 2 years homey!
While I agree, the prez and fam are hi-maintenance, it’s about time we got ours! Somebody made it and that’s most important!
Just to see a black face, just to hear black voices, just to see black expressions and swagga that is 100% ours, is enough for me. As Arie Spears once said, “I am voting for him just to get a black person in there, the next time, I will vote for the black person based on issues!”
My president is black and that is enough for me, enough for the lil kings who see his face and see the president of the USA as something they can be besides ballas. So for all that you talkin WW, it may be true, but the effects “EFFECTS” of just his sheer presence outweigh that mess above. We got to start somewhere right?!? Right!