The second term was supposed to be different. He no longer had to worry about being “too Black.” He didn’t have to campaign for another term. This was when many who had soured on Barack Obama’s first term but didn’t want to stop the Black reign thought that after serving so many agendas from an assortment of constituents that the President would, in the words of my father, hopefully do something Black.
The President was elected on the idea that he was change. The world had gotten tired of the wars and the old white man diplomacy of brinksmanship. The young came out and voted for Barack Obama thinking they would be part of a sweeping wave of new ideas and new ways to deal with the same old problems. So far though, it has been more of the same: big talk and nothing to really show for it but Obamacare.
It has been a tough week for El Presidente with the I.R.S. scandal that isn’t one and the Bengazi issue that won’t go away. Surprisingly, it hasn’t hurt the Obama at all if you look at the polls, which have actually gone further to his favor as far as approval ratings are concerned. Maybe the Republicans have cried wolf so many times about Obama that regular people are tired of that shit, or perhaps ABC’s Scandal has raised the bar on such incidents so high that if it isn’t a dead hooker in a seedy motel, it doesn’t rate with Joe Public.
So Obama speaks at Morehouse College commencement. A Black President speaking at a predominantly Black school would be a cause celebre under normal circumstances. Unfortunately, Obama got on his soapbox again, as he always seems to do when his audience is Black, and made his speech about responsibility, race and manhood. Black men no longer have any excuse (how could they in Obama’s post-racial America) and they should be better fathers. For those who were really paying close attention however, his speech was not all it was cracked up to be.
It would be different if Obama was speaking at Riker’s Island. Or some other house of ill repute filled with shiftless negroes. We’re talking the college graduation of a select group of Black men who have vaulted the mythical odds and have begun their journey of life in earnest. I’m sure a few of them have kids. A few may even have arrests on their records. But every last one of those men and their families have made the commitment to give themselves a chance to win in this country. Imagine, the highlight of your young life, your family is there, your girl is there, you’re not in jail, you’re not a drug addict and in your finest hour…and President Obama shits all over your moment. You’re getting lectured by a man who should have a real understanding about what this moment means to Black families.
The President threw the boys a bone when he spoke of “the bitter legacies or slavery and segregation” but then snatched it back later when he returned to too many young black men making bad choices and detracting from the Black struggle by melding it with those of his pet groups immigrants and gays. Not that they haven’t suffered their own indignities, but this wasn’t the time or the place for that.
So with the clock ticking on the not so Pax Obama, when will the President actually champion Black people? Not because they are Black, but because they are his voting constituency? His homie Rahm Emmanuel is busy closing over 50 Chicago schools in mostly minority neighborhoods while Tiger Woods can’t even escape fried chicken jokes with a blonde on his arm and a victory in tow. The post racial America is a myth. We aren’t asking for anything that any other constituent expects: the big payback for that big turnout. The words or the immortal Donnie Hathaway said it best: be real Black for me. Or at least learn how to speak to a group of Black men who are doing the right thing without wagging your finger.