There are few things that resonate in my life as strongly as my identity as a black man in America. Reared in an inner-city environment, the affinity that I have for my culture has shaped every aspect of my being. We are by our very nature a people of faith, pride and inner strength, thus the reason we have risen from the depths of slavery to the very leadership of our country.
Despite these great strides, we still unfortunately suffer as a race from that “Guns and Butter” syndrome that Melvin so eloquently taught Jody about in the film, Baby Boy. Blacks as a group disproportionately underachieve in areas of education, personal wealth, home and business ownership, while we embarrassingly lap the rest of the field in areas of personal debt, single-parent households, and arrest records. While some of this can be written off to social biases, a larger portion of it is due to what I believe is the primary problem with our community, an almost innate susceptibility to complacency.
Yes, for a moment in time, we united to elect Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, and I, like many others, shed my fistful of tears, as Maxwell would say. However, as a people, what major strides have we seen in our community except pictures of President Obama going up on the walls of black homes next to Jesus and Martin Luther King? For some reason, we came to believe that we had “made it” on Election Night 2008, and were more than happy with settling with the fact that “the President is Black and my Lambo’s blue“. It is this same illogical willingness for us to settle, that America’s latest up-and-coming political entity, The Tea Party Patriots, are betting their house on.
Under a very pseudo conservative platform of tax reform and opposition to President Obama’s stimulus bill, the Tea Party, as they are commonly known, formed in 2009 to conduct a series of highly publicized protests, which appeared to be a lot more like Klan rallies than political events. Protesters at these events donned repulsive t-shirts and wielded signage that illustrated President Obama as Osama Bin Laden, Hitler, a witch doctor and even a caricatured Stepin Fetchit-type character. Not surprisingly, the Confederate flag and the word “Nigger” were also in full attendance for all of these get-togethers. Immigrants, homosexuals and the poor were not spared the rod either. What is scariest of all about these rallies is the fact that one too many of those faces out there had that “permanent tan” similar to my own.
While all of this may seem been-there-done-that in many segments of our society, the Tea Party adopts a mainstream populist approach. They don’t have any sheets nor meet in the dark like thieves. They host Tea Party events on Carnival Cruise Lines and its first National Tea Party Convention last week (sold out with a $500+ ticket price), with “luminary” Sarah Palin was its keynote speaker.
All of these events have been leveraged through Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and of course, our “friends” at Fox News. The Tea Party has also given platform to many B-List radical conservatives, like Tom Tancredo, best known for his loathsome views on immigration and literacy tests for voting rights, as well as Uncle Tom Hall of Famer Alan Keyes, a man whose mere image on my television once prompted me to spit on the screen.
While this group is still clearly in its infancy stages, I have asked around at work, the barbershop, the hood, etc., and as I unfortunately expected, 75% of people were none-the-wiser about this group’s existence. While many view this movement as a short-term fad, please let us not forget about how President Obama himself was a fad, until he won the Iowa Caucus. How did that work out for that man?
Black folks, please let me tell you that as a people, we have not arrived at any “final destinations”, so to speak. It is absolutely imperative that we keep our heads up and our eyes open when it comes to issues that threaten the very fabric of our society. Bossip and MediaTakeOut will be the f**k alright for a few minutes if you minimize them and go check the latest headlines on CNN or MSNBC.
We are out here worrying about what new weave Rihanna has, or how Trey Songz was looking at the BET Honors, when we need to be worrying about how we are going to create a better quality of life for our families! We better wake the f**k up, before a President Palin wakes our a$$es up!
A Negro and A Keyboard
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