George Curry; Ostracizing Black Leaders Who Criticize Obama… : ThyBlackMan

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George Curry; Ostracizing Black Leaders Who Criticize Obama…

June 28, 2011 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( The Bible is filled with characters who started out on shaky ground – Paul, David and Solomon, among them – before being transformed into epic figures. But it seems that Black leaders who dare to criticize President Obama don’t get second chances. Instead, they are the object of widespread ridicule and condemnation.

I spent some time last week with two such leaders – Cornel West and Jesse Jackson – at the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) national convention in Chicago. Although their standing among African-Americans has slipped, their analysis of where Blacks have been and need to go is as incisive as ever.

Neither Jackson nor West should be viewed in isolation. The Black community does not want to hear anything bad about Barack Obama, even if it’s true. If a White president had been as dismissive of African-Americans’   interests as Obama has been, Blacks would have been ready to march on the White House. As Michael Eric Dyson says, “This president runs from race like a Black man runs from a cop.”

Even so, Blacks treat him like royalty.

My friend Roland Martin is quick to insist that guests on his television program refer to the man who occupies the White House as President Obama. I refuse to play this game. Obama – yes, I said it – is a president, not head of some monarchy. I have called Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush by their last names. I am not going to say President Obama every time I refer to him. Sometimes he is President Obama, sometimes he is Obama. I refuse to treat him like King Obama.

The problem with West and Jackson is their critiques, however valid, were wrapped in language that was offensive to many African-Americans. To call Obama the Black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs – a term most people hadn’t heard since their last high school civics class – is over the edge in this instance. Don’t get me wrong: there are some Black Anglo-Saxons who deserve to be called mascots and worse – and I’ve called them that. But Obama is not in that category.

When I gave Cornel West a chance to soften his description of the president during a discussion I moderated at the NNPA convention between him and Al Sharpton, he declined. He could have said, “I stand by everything I said about the president but not how I said it.” That would have gone a long way toward refocusing the discussion on real issues, not the Al Sharpton-Cornel West sideshow.

In Jesse Jackson’s case, he has been largely excommunicated from the race for a comment that reeked of envy. After an interview on Fox News in 2008, he told a fellow guest that he wanted to cut Obama’s private parts off. He also used the N-word in a conversation that he did not know was being picked up by the microphones.

Jackson later apologized, saying his comments were “hurtful and wrong.” By then, however, the damage had been done. At the time, Obama was making a credible bid to become president of the United States. And Blacks did not want to hear anything disparaging about the man who went on to win the nation’s highest elected office. Many, if not most, Blacks haven’t forgiven Jackson for his crude remarks.

Notwithstanding Jackson’s expressed desire to dismember Obama or West’s deeply personal attack on the president, each made valid critiques of President Obama. Jackson was correct to point out that sometimes Obama speaks down to African-Americans. That is particularly true when he lectures Blacks on moral responsibility but does not make similar speeches to White audiences. Cornel West is correct in stating that the administration does not pay enough attention to the needs of the poor and African-Americans.

Despite overwhelming evidence of disproportionate Black suffering during this recession, Obama refuses to target the specific needs of African-Americans. His response is: “It’s a mistake to start thinking in terms of particular ethnic segments of the United States rather than to think that we are all in this together and we are all going to get out of this together.”

Yet, it was not a mistake to address the specific needs of Wall Street. He can speak to the specific agenda of gays and Lesbians without it being considered a mistake. It was not a mistake in Obama’s mind to speak to the specific needs of the automobile industry. It was not a mistake to speak to the special interests of banks. But when it comes to the needs of African-Americans, we are supposed to wait for progress to trickle down to and upon us.

Yes, he is president of all of America. But all of America includes Black America.

The sad reality is that most civil rights leaders have given Obama a pass. If the unemployment rates and economic gap had widened under a White president, Al Sharpton would have been in the streets chanting, “No Justice, No Peace.” Instead, the ultimate outsider has become the ultimate insider, defending the administration with the vigor of a cabinet member.

As a group, today’s collection of civil rights leaders are ineffectual and out of touch. For example, with all of the problems facing us, the NAACP chose to spend part of its limited national, state and local resources to make sure Black motorcycle riders were not discriminated against on the Memorial Day weekend in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

We have far more serious issues facing Black America. And we need the voices and analysis of all of our national leaders, even after they have put their foot in their mouth.

Written By George Curry

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7 Responses to “George Curry; Ostracizing Black Leaders Who Criticize Obama…”
  1. Nicholas says:

    hoodgirl is a plant.

  2. hoodgirl says:

    We should stop ideolizing crooked politicians that ask taxpayers to tighten their belt buckle while living high off taxpayers’ dollars. Also, college is not the key to success but knowledge is the main ingredient. There are too many examples of successful people who do not have a college degree ie. Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey…..and others who don’t even have a high school or grade school diploma ie. Larry King, Simon Cowell…..It is up to each individual to take interest in their own self development and not fall in line behind crooked politicians that harbor wealth for themselves and their cronies at the expense of the very people they were hired to represent.

    As for standards, Obama is a career politician who did nothing for his constituents on the southside of Chicago who he was elected to serve. These poor victims of the housing projects were even made homeless while he allowed Tony Rezko to assist him with the purchase of a million dollar mansion in Chicago’s prestigious Hyde Park where his neighbor is none other than the Who’s Who of terrorists…..Bill Ayers.

    Our standards are too low and there needs to be some accountability because if there are not policies for everyone to “EARN INCOME”…..then we cannot build wealth to change family trees!

    As for as a grandiose speech “HOPE-CHANGE” was nothing more than a pipe dream bestowed unto mankind by mainstream media, hollywood eletes, local politicians and many others who decided to interject race rather than allow a man’s work to speak for himself.

    Obama’s handlers sure worked hard for “PO-US” title which may explain why the stimulus money went to bail out Wall Street rather than Main Street!

    No one should be sitting around waiting on the government to do for them what they could be doing for themselves! Everyone should be acquiring knowledge to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and stop following crooked politicans who have nothing in their past to suggest that they will do anything remotely like the speeches they deliver by way of teleprompter.

  3. bmo says:

    I think we as a people need to understand its on us to dig ourselves out of this ditch we are in. There isn’t a president that is going to do it for us. Talking is overrated. We as a people have to stop idolizing rapper and ball players and start graduating from college not high school but college and notice I didn’t say we need to start going to college but graduating from college.

    Our standards are too low. When Obama is speaking to us on moral standards its because those are problems we have. We are the ones with our pants hanging below our butts, having kids out of wedlock, celebrating artists that think its cool to get drunk and go drive (lil wayne, gucci mane etc..), glorify killing each other, dancing half naked on videos, and getting tattoos like bballers and rappers and wondering why we can’t get a job. If whites have this problem its not as prevalent and if it is like I said he is speaking to us about it because he expects more from us. It would be nice to hear some grand ol speech where everything he says is uplifting but to be completely honest the African Americans he needs to talk to have those problems and they are the ones he is speaking to. But people get angry when you KEEP IT REAL with them nobody wants to hear that kind of stuff so they say “he talking down on us, who he think he is.” The man is president and he has high standards for US. HIS PEOPLE, BLACK PEOPLE. Its not talking down its asking you to do better PERIOD.
    hE came from a single parent home so that excuse doesn’t work on him.

    And why not pay him the respect of calling him President Obama. That’s not making him out to be some king its just giving him the title he has worked for and earned. Its respect.

    I can’t speak for what Obama should or shouldn’t do. All I know is we don’t need to wait for him or any president to do anything for us. I am from a single parent home and I have seen friends who came from better who just chose to make ignorant decisions because it was the cool thing to do and now they are paying for it. THEY ALSO SAID THE SAME THING WHENEVER SOMEONE SPOKE TO THEM IN A RESPECTFUL WAY ABOUT THINGS THEY CAN DO TO BETTER THEMSELVES. This is what we have to get away from.

    And I’m not saying we don’t need to hold him accountable and if you paid attention to him during his campaign he said he maynot solve all the issues when he is in office but hopefully he will get started and someone else can finish them. He has recently put a plan into action to bring the troops home and alot of the defense spending money will go towards domestic issues such as jobs. Its easy to say he hasn’t done anything and not provide any real solutions.

  4. hoodgirl says:

    The only thing we can do is practice what we preach, afterall we have very impressional youth whose listening ears are always intuned!

  5. BigBlackRod says:

    Hoodgirl: What you suggest is pure utopia, and will not exist in our lifetimes. I know less-than-honorable people that I like, and upstanding citizens that I can’t stand, and vice versa. Freedom of speech does NOT mean freedom from consequences. Ain’t nobody put these folks in jail, other folks just let them know that they didn’t like what they said. Rev. Jackson’s comments were especially nasty…PEACE.

  6. hoodgirl says:

    It’s Un-American to put a muzzle on freedom of speech! The only sticking together we can do is to move pass race and judge a man for the content of his character not the color of his skin…..anything less is pure HYPOCRISY!

  7. I think that some of us would like to see us stick together just once in our lifetimes on something. Anything. Especially this. I have lightly criticized the POTUS when angered on three occasions. However, it is always a once and done. People like Bruce Dixon are constant agitators. He’s got enough problems and doesn’t need the friendly fire. Voice your opinion, then shut up; but on most things…just shut up. Especially if you don’t know the inside game.

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