Sunday, November 23, 2008
Eating Dinner At A Black Banquet w/ A Room Full Of Obama Supporters
"If you didn't vote for Obama.....there's still room for you at the inn". So said the MC for the night after his third reference to Barack Obama intertwined into his speech.
For some context - we must go back 4 years. I recall being at a fund raiser for a majority Black private school just a week after George W. Bush beat John Kerry. The spoken word artist who was at the mic said something to the effect of "I know that all of you share the same sadness that I do over the events of this week.......". I looked around the room and saw complete agreement. Not wanting to be the lone Pepsi drinker in a room full of Coca Cola drinkers who was not unhappy as I was told I should be - I stayed quiet. I noticed from this point that certain Black folks are presumptuous regarding the views of Black folks. Last night was no different.
My wife is a great provocateur when it comes to getting me started. In response to the mc's comments a lady sitting next to her started talking about her overwhelming joy about the Obama presidency and how great it will be for America. She made reference to George Bush, saying that upon hearing Obama talk she knew that he was night and day more articulate than Bush. My wife added some negative reference to Sarah Pailin. After their exchange my wife looked at me and said "I am surprised that this hasn't provoked my husband to say anything. I said nothing because I prefer to listen rather than confront at such a gathering. I learn far more about how people think by allowing a conversation to take its natural course absent attempts at redirection.
When my wife left the table I then responded to the woman. I asked her "Is there anything about the state of the nation after 4 years of Obama where your GOALS, having not been delivered upon you come to the conclusion that Obama has in fact not been that which you have built him up to be?". I then followed "When I say goals I mean educational improvements, employment, national security and related things."
She replied "Well George Bush failed on all of these points and yet Republicans still supported him.".
I countered "Well that's my point. First I am asking you about you and Black people, not what Whites and Republicans are inclined to do. I have to believe that you have GOALS that are independent of Democrats and Barack Obama? I have been doing research where various cities - Chicago, Baltimore, Milwaukee will have no Republicans anywhere from local office up through to the President come January 20th. Many other areas where we live in the highest concentrations have an overwhelmingly dominate Democratic control - yet these are the places where the GOALS of Black people have not been fulfilled. At what point do you shift from your excitement over Barack Obama and the Democrats over to consideration that your goals have not been fulfilled?". With my repeated references to "Democrat" I started to notice that other people at the table started tuning into the conversation.
She started to reply "Well Ronald Reagan............". Just then the MC got back on the mic and she never completed her words.
Unfortunately - as long as she and others see themselves as "Democrats" rather than as Black people with PERMANENT INTERESTS she and others will always live vicariously though Democratic growth in power that doesn't quite extend into her own community.
In the next segment of the banquet which was a fund raiser for a Caribbean youth foundation - the same Pro-Obama MC noted that their main university has 75% females in attendance signifying the great problem with our young Black males. He noted that the same challenges that we see there with Black males are also seen here in the United States with our Black men.
I am only wondering when my people will begin to see that being "Motivated By Obama" should not be mistaken as a real LOGISTICAL PLAN to actually fix the problem.
I have a challenge as a person who dares to walk against the tide. Where no doubt people have a right to be happy and proud - as they should - I am always working to translate it all into "So what does this mean in regards to actually ADDRESSING the problems that we have?".
I am forced to not go on the attack, but instead to listen, to analyze and then respond. I am not attempting to CONVERT anyone, only to force them to EXPECT and DEMAND more rather than look for the victory that "the team" is getting and mistake it for their own.
(Ironically - on the computer that I am typing this on is playing a television commercial about an Obama Victory plate. www.victoryplate.com.
We need to purchase a Victory plate for every Black male in America. If he eats upon the image of Obama every day - he too will CHANGE.)