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Thursday, November 06, 2008

What Obama means to African Americans

I received this email from a friend of mine who is an African American. (He's also a libertarian):

"It's been a tough and exciting time for me. It's tough because I remain as skeptical of Government today as I ever was. The mere nature of what politics has become in this country conflicts with my deepest moral convictions about freedom and individual liberty. Fighting over whether we should elect a Republican or a Democrat is like fighting over whether my Mom or my Dad should be my Black jack dealer at a Vegas Casino. It really doesn't matter who the dealer is. He can be a really nice person that has my best interest in mind, but none of that really matters because I'm still playing against the house and the odds are always stacked against me when I'm playing against the house. I suppose I might want an honest dealer who at least wont screw me over by deliberately handing me bad cards, but it's still a little naive to think that the honesty of my dealer gives me a realistic chance at winning. The dealer is still part of that system. He must still play by the rules of a system that does not favor me. This is true even if the black jack dealer openly criticizes the system that employs him. Politicians always tell us that the system is corrupt in order to win our trust, but they never promise to get rid of the system. They try to get us to believe that their uniquely loving personalities are going to somehow negate the effects of a system whose very structure is designed for failure. These beliefs of mine are what make it tough for me to be excited about ANY candidate.

However, for personal, social, familial, and philosophical reasons, I must admit that THIS election has inspired me in a unique way.

Yesterday was the most emotional day of my life. I've always felt a moral obligation to be successful at a really high level because I believe that there are people in this world who are incapable of excercising any faith in themselves until they see someone else achieve great things first. When you've argued all your life with African American family members and friends about whether or not its possible for a Black person in America to go far and succeed, it becomes really tiring after awhile. I've ALWAYS believed that a person of any background can do the impossible so long as they have faith in God and themselves. Apparently, this belief has not always been strong enough in my culture to overcome the sense of powerlessness that many Black people feel.

It was not an uncommon experience for me as a child to hear sermons at Church about Faith and Miracles only to have people live as if those spiritual principles did not apply in the "real world". We would get all pumped up on Sundays about Daniel escaping the Lion's Den unscathed and then go to work on Monday and complain that "it's impossible to get ahead in a White man's world." I have cried many nights, lost a great deal of sleep, and came close to abandoning my own dreams because I've felt that people will always believe in negativity, self defeat, and powerlessness, no matter what examples of success are set before them. Why should I try to inspire people when all they do is just find another reason to believe in failure and hopelessness?

Last night, that all changed for me. Within an hour of the election results, I received a flurry of phone calls from some family members and old friends. Every single one of them had a powerful story to tell me about how their attitudes were starting to change because of Obama's election. I spoke to a Black man who works as a teacher in the inner city and he told me he would never discourage a child's dream again as he had done in the past. "If a Black man can become president in the same country that wouldn't even allow him to drink from a "white's only" water fountain 50 yrs ago, then who am I to tell a little child that something can't happen?"

I even heard word from individuals who had stated many times in the past that they had felt that all white people were fundamentally racist towards Blacks. These same individuals were so moved by the way that Blacks and Whites worked together to support a common cause, that they have openly began to question the views they had concerning White attitudes towards Blacks.

I could go on and on giving examples like this, but my point is that Obama's election has given so many people hope, that he has renewed my sense of inspiration as well. This hope that he gives others is not a political issue for me. Obama is now perceived as a "successful" Black man, whether his policies are good or not. That fact alone convinces a lot of people whom I love that they can be successful and achieve their dreams too. To know that many of my loved ones have awakened to a belief in possibility makes this the best day of my life. To know that many of my loved ones are willing to be honest with themselves and start setting aside their hate for the sake of "the bigger picture" makes this the best day of my life. I have literally been in tears over this victory. Not the victory of Obama over McCain, but the victory of hope over skepticism, of open mindedness over hatred, and of faith over self doubt.

I don't believe in politics. I believe in humanity and their capacity to manifest dreams. If Obama has managed to inspire some people to believe in themselves again, then I am encouraged by that. I suppose the next step is to arrive at a place where we can believe in our own power without having to worship another's. The most revolutionary leader will always have the same name; Self."

Posted by Isaac Morehouse on November 6, 2008 in U.S. politics | Permalink

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Comments

Isaac,

If you think black people are going to stop their whining now that they have a black president in the USA, ... consider the never-ending whining from Quebec, the province that has produced more Canadian prime ministers than any other province.

Some people just see them selves as losers and victims and there is little you can do other than give them more free 'other peoples money' or (preferably) a good whack upside the head along with a stern warning that it's time to grow up.

If Obama doesn't win the next election that will be interpreted as a slap in the face to black people and the whining will be intensified and more bold.

Multiculturalism does not work in any situation. Like socialism, it fails everywhere it is tried. Human nature dictates that likes attract and others will always be mistrusted. That is in our genes. Of course on the Left science is a matter of consensus and not reality.

America has three distinct cultures competing right now, Black, Hispanic and what's left of the sorry white American culture. To make a weakened case for whitey, there is the San Francisco culture that is spreading on both coasts clashing heavily against what's left of the traditional free god fearing, hard working freedom loving and well-armed folk who are everywhere but mostly in fly over country.

The American society is a mess from top to bottom and we have liberalism to blame for most of it.

I smell an eventual second civil war.

Posted by: John V | 2008-11-06 9:05:06 AM


Isaac,

Very nice letter. Hard to argue with it.

By the way, if many whites were racist for voting Clinton instead of Obama (at least according to the media) then why aren't black american more racist? 96% of the black voters, voted Obama.

Posted by: TM | 2008-11-06 9:53:38 AM


TM,

Perhaps you missed this .... ONLY WHITE PEOPLE ARE RACIST.

Posted by: John V | 2008-11-06 10:00:54 AM


Watch for the next wave of carpetbaggers. Let the re-construction begin.

I heard that Nebraska voted to eliminate affirmative action. It looks like some of the other items on the ballot will create a stir on the local scenes.

Posted by: dp | 2008-11-06 10:09:58 AM


This is a powerful story, Isaac. I agree with much of what he wrote, and I like the distinctions he makes.

Obama does serve as a symbol, regardless of his politics. That symbol is important, and significant, even if the man himself has the wrong opinion of the role and function of the government. For that reason alone, there's at least one good thing to be said about Obama, and we should say it.

He really has broken the back of a particular storyline -- that America is a racist and sexist country, full of bigots.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-11-06 10:12:25 AM


Toronto could be in for trouble. As much as whites like Obama, the city's non-whites do to. They'll see this as a sign of equality. What a shame that Toronto's whites never could or would see it that way. They'll see any moves towards equality as signs of "uppitiness" and disobedience against Toronto's idyllic social order.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-11-06 10:23:30 AM


I agree Peter.

Of course, there is a danger with powerful symbols; the symbol can replace what it is supposed to stand for. The symbol can be viewed as the end, as the achievement, the fulfillment, as the good thing itself rather than just a symbol for that good. When that happens, things can get dangerous.

If the Obama is the sole source of inspiration, than anything he does can be considered good, and any criticism of anything he does can be considered anti-hope, etc.

There is a danger in that. However, there is no denying that his victory has forced many people to shed a great many self-defeating ideas. I hope that inspires people while not allowing them to let him off the hook for things he does that are anti-liberty.

It's up to us to continue to communicate a positive message of freedom, and to bring criticisms of anti-freedom ideas without including personal or hateful attacks.

Posted by: Isaac | 2008-11-06 10:24:07 AM


He really has broken the back of a particular storyline -- that America is a racist and sexist country, full of bigots.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 6-Nov-08 10:12:25 AM

Give it a month and see what crawls out of the woodwork. It's going to get ugly out there. A lot of the racist behaviour will come from the black community (at first), but the backlash will take your breath away.

Posted by: dp | 2008-11-06 10:34:19 AM


Ralph Nader this morning:

“Will Obama serve Uncle Sam or Uncle Tom."

The stupid rhetoric continues.

Posted by: set you free | 2008-11-06 10:36:59 AM


Toronto could be in for trouble. As much as whites like Obama, the city's non-whites do to.
Posted by: Zebulon Punk | 6-Nov-08 10:23:30 AM

Bwahahahahahahahahaha. If Toronto's black immigrants are so intent on being governed by a black they could easily have stayed in their Caribbean / African paradises. There's nothing stopping them from returning there if they don't like it here.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-11-06 11:39:09 AM


Stig- We can't let them leave now, they're our only hope for olympic medals.

Posted by: dp | 2008-11-06 12:03:27 PM


Stig- We can't let them leave now, they're our only hope for olympic medals.
Posted by: dp | 6-Nov-08 12:03:27 PM

You're right in some sports, but have you ever seen a black swimmer or black downhill skier?

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-11-06 12:21:50 PM


They have skiing at the olympics? To be honest, I haven't watched a lot of either sport lately. I'll take your word that they're white dominated. I've heard there are some black hockey players.

I was recently accused of being a racist (and worse) for acknowledging differences between races. I hope this doesn't take me down that same road.

Posted by: dp | 2008-11-06 12:39:24 PM


I was recently accused of being a racist (and worse) for acknowledging differences between races. I hope this doesn't take me down that same road.
Posted by: dp | 6-Nov-08 12:39:24 PM

I personally don't consider you a racist. There's a lot of thin skinned naive PC types who like to bury their heads in the sand on this blog.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-11-06 1:41:26 PM


"If a Black man can become president in the same country that wouldn't even allow him to drink from a "white's only" water fountain 50 yrs ago, then who am I to tell a little child that something can't happen?"

This is puzzling. Why did black men covet a white man's fountain when he was provided with a perfectly good fountain of his own?

"I even heard word from individuals who had stated many times in the past that they had felt that all white people were fundamentally racist towards Blacks."

Interesting considering the following;

* 1868

First African-American mayor of a US town: Pierre Caliste Landry, Donaldsonville, Louisiana[1]

* 1888

First African-American mayor of a predominately white US town, and of a Western US town: Edward Duplex, Wheatland, California[2]

* 1953

First African-American mayor of a US town: B.T. Woodard, Grambling, Louisiana[1]

* 1966

First African-American mayor of a U.S. city: Robert C. Henry, (Springfield, Ohio, appointed by city commission)
First African-American elected mayor of a California city: Thomas Yarborough, (Lake Elsinore, Ca)

* 1967

First African-American elected mayor of a large U.S. city: Carl B. Stokes (Cleveland, Ohio)
First African-American elected mayor of Gary, Indiana: Richard G. Hatcher

* 1968

First African American elected mayor of a predominantly white southern city: Howard Nathaniel Lee, Chapel Hill, North Carolina[3]

* 1970

First African-American elected mayor of Newark, New Jersey: Kenneth A. Gibson
First African-American elected mayor, Dayton, Ohio: James H. McGee

* 1972

First African-American mayor of Tallahassee, Florida and first black mayor of any state capital: James R. Ford

* 1973

First African American elected mayor of a southern state capital: Clarence Lightner, Raleigh, North Carolina
First African American elected mayor of a major southern city: Maynard Jackson, Atlanta, Georgia. Every mayor elected since 1973 has been black.[4]
First African American elected mayor of a major western city: Tom Bradley, Los Angeles, California
First African-American woman mayor of a U.S. metropolitan city: Doris A. Davis, Compton, California

* 1975

First African-American elected mayor, and first elected mayor, of Washington, D.C.: Walter Washington
First African-American elected mayor of Detroit, Michigan: Coleman Young


* 1978

First African-American elected mayor of Oakland, California: Lionel J. Wilson
First African-American elected mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana: Ernest Nathan Morial

* 1982

First African-American elected Mayor of Augusta, Maine and first black mayor in Maine: William Burney

* 1983

First African-American elected mayor of Chicago: Harold Washington
First African-American elected mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina: Harvey Gantt

* 1984

First African-American elected mayor of Atlantic City, New Jersey: James Usry
First African-American elected mayor of Philadelphia, PA: Wilson Goode
First African-American elected mayor of Portsmouth, Virginia: James W. Holley, III

* 1988

First African-American elected mayor of Baltimore, Maryland: Kurt Schmoke

* 1989

First African-American elected mayor of New York City: David Dinkins
First African-American elected mayor of Seattle, Washington: Norm Rice

* 1990

First African-American elected mayor of Trenton, New Jersey: Douglas Palmer

* 1991

First African-American elected mayor of Memphis, Tennessee: W.W. Herenton
First African-American elected mayor of Denver, Colorado: Wellington Webb
First African-American elected mayor of Kansas City, Missouri: Emanuel Cleaver

* 1993

First African-American elected mayor of St. Louis, Missouri: Freeman Bosley, Jr.

* 1993

First African-American elected mayor of Dallas, Texas: Ron Kirk
First African-American elected mayor of Rochester, New York: William A. Johnson, Jr.

* 1994

First African-American elected mayor of Lewiston, Maine: John Jenkins
First African-American and first woman elected mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota: Sharon Sayles Belton

* 1996

First African-American elected mayor of San Francisco: Willie Brown

* 1997

First African-American elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi: Harvey Johnson, Jr.
First African-American elected mayor of Houston, Texas: Dr. Lee P. Brown

* 2000

First African-American elected mayor of Columbus, Ohio: Michael B. Coleman
First African-American elected mayor of Selma, Alabama: James Perkins, Jr.
First African-American elected mayor of South Ogden, Utah and first African-American mayor in Utah: George Garwood

* 2001

First African-American woman mayor of major southern city: Shirley Franklin, Atlanta, Georgia, also the first woman to be elected mayor of Atlanta[5]
First African-American and first woman elected mayor of Southfield, Michigan: Brenda L. Lawrence

* 2002'

First African-American woman elected mayor of Dayton, Ohio: Rhine McLin

* 2003

First African-American and first woman elected mayor of Greenville, Mississippi: Heather McTeer-Hudson
First African-American elected mayor of Tallahassee, Florida: John Marks

* 2004

First African-American elected mayor of Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Kip Holden

* 2005

First African-American elected mayor of Buffalo, New York: Byron Brown
First African-American elected mayor of Richmond, Virginia: Douglas Wilder
First African-American elected mayor of Mobile, Alabama: Sam Jones
First African-American elected mayor of Asheville, North Carolina: Terry Bellamy
First African-American elected mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio: Mark Mallory
First African-American elected mayor of Youngstown, Ohio: Jay Williams

* 2006

First African-American elected mayor of Auburn, Maine: John Jenkins
First African-American elected mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana: Cedric Glover
First African-American elected mayor of Anderson, South Carolina: Terence Roberts

* 2007

First African-American woman and first woman elected mayor of Baltimore, Maryland: Sheila Dixon
First African-American elected mayor of Greensboro, North Carolina: Yvonne Johnson
First African-American elected mayor of Vallejo, California: Osby Davis
First African-American elected mayor of Wichita, Kansas: Carl Brewer

* 2008

First African-American elected mayor of Blue Springs, Missouri: Carson Ross
First African-American elected mayor of Lancaster, Texas: Marcus Knight
First African-American elected mayor of Mansfield, Ohio: Donald Culliver

No inspiration from the accomplishment of theses African-Americans apparently. Possibly the problem isn't the white man. Will Obama work to end the disproportionate level of black-on-white crime?

http://mensnewsdaily.com/blog/stix/2005/10/color-of-crime.html

Posted by: DJ | 2008-11-06 3:00:11 PM


http://mensnewsdaily.com/blog/stix/2005/10/color-of-crime.html
Posted by: DJ | 6-Nov-08 3:00:11 PM

Interesting article and a subject that needs more investigation. Zubulon Punk will find some way to attributable it to Toronto and state "more white people need to be killed".

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-11-06 3:18:40 PM



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