Black People Supporting Obama Because of Color – Good or Bad? : ThyBlackMan

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Black People Supporting Obama Because of Color – Good or Bad?

October 14, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( Sometimes I have random thoughts while sitting and waiting for other things to happen:  I come to a realization about politics while I’m at the grocery store, or I’ll figure out the meaning of life while doing my laundry.  I’m always thinking, probably a bit too much.  Today, the question that came to mind was the one being asked at, which is “Do black people back President Obama because he’s black?”

One could easily argue that such a question is both intriguing and insulting.  It’s intriguing because no presidential candidate has ever received the level of black support that’s been given to President Obama.  To disconnect this massive outpouring of political affection from the color of his skin would be nothing short of nonsensical.  President Obama could drop drones on little babies, back ideas that are in direct contrast to biblical principles and damn near join the KKK without losing black support (I’m sure Al Sharpton would give him credit for diversifying the Klan).  The consistent language coming from Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey and every other black public figure in Obama’s camp is not based on policy decisions or sound logic.   Instead, the message is “If you don’t support Obama, if you demand anything from him or if you question him in any way, you’re nothing but a sellout.”

The reason that the question is insulting is because it presumes that African Americans can’t think for themselves.  Both Democrats and Republicans rarely give African Americans credit for being able to make our own decisions, support our own candidates and advocate for our own issues.  It’s as if the Democratic agenda is handed to black people every year, and we’re expected to eat it up like pigs on a farm.  This is White Supremacy 101 rearing its ugly head once again.

The question being asked here reminds me of a debate I had with a wonderful judge from the south.  We were discussing the Obama presidency in an open forum during an Eastern European cruise hosted by the National  Professionals  Network.   The audience was full of Obama supporters, some of  whom (sadly) booed down a woman who said she was voting for Mitt Romney.  I don’t like Romney either, but the degree to which you value democracy is measured by your ability to tolerate ideas which differ from your own.   This test was failed miserably.

Someone asked the judge on stage with me if African Americans support President Obama because he’s black.  Her immediate answer was clearly, “No.”

The judge said, “If that were true, we would have supported Clarence Thomas and Allen West, and they’re black too.”  After hearing the thunderous applause from the audience after the judge’s remarks, I noticed that she failed to mention one important fact:   Thomas and West are both REPUBLICANS and Obama is a Democrat.

So, are black people supporting Barack Obama just because he’s black?  No, they are not.  But millions of African Americans support him because he is a black Democrat who has been given enough support from white folks to be given a chance to win.  Before President Obama defeated Hillary Clinton in the Iowa primary during the 2008 presidential election, most black people weren’t going to give him their vote.  But after he appeared to have support from white America, we felt that we had “permission” to support him.

So, in many ways, African Americans are getting their man, but their man is the top pick primarily because he’s been validated by white America.  Getting into the White House, no matter how it is accomplished, is the holy grail of black achievement for some folks who’ve been trained to believe that having access to predominantly white institutions is the key to gaining equality.   So, in some ways, we still live in a world where we are tempted to feel that validation from the descendants of our historical oppressor is necessary for us to make the choices that are best for our own lives.  This is NOT a post-racial society.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. For more information, please visit


8 Responses to “Black People Supporting Obama Because of Color – Good or Bad?”
  1. Deeann D. Mathews says:

    I know of Mr. Kiyosaki; I have number of books by him and his associates, well-thumbed and well-considered — he reminds me of the stuff my grandfather taught. Since the time that I began increasing my financial and business literacy, my course has separated from my peers and much of my parents’ generation. I thank God for some elder friends who still understood what needed to be done, and I miss them every day because of the insanity that has sunk down over our people about waiting on other folks to do for us. Most of the children of the same folks that enslaved you and then vastly underpaid you right down to the 1960s are not likely to turn around and help you achieve their standard of living; that said, I have known the descendants of the kind of white people that manned the Underground Railroad, spiritual descendants of the abolitionists. They do exist, but there aren’t nearly enough for what has to be done, and we ought not be asking anyway. We need to remember from whence we have fallen and get moving back up on having our own — NOW.

    Then there’s the whole church and party thing… once upon a time, we made up a whole body of church music (known as the Negro Spiritual today) that served the purpose of getting TOTALLY free, mind, body, and spirit (and as I have written elsewhere, almost the whole body of profit in the music industry for 100 years derives from that music we created; if we get that wealth back and use it properly, much of our poverty problem could be just about DONE). And it used to be that we used party time to at least pay some rent. Not any more; most of us our spending our talent and energy just to get things we can enjoy in the present, with no deeper sense of purpose. That we will have to get over, and the time was YESTERDAY.

  2. Pat says:

    Deeann D. Mathews,

    I experienced something very important last week which really opened my mind even more about our slave mentality. I went to a seminar (from Robert Kiyosaki’s school) of Rich Dad. It was opened to everybody in my city for free. It was announced for several weeks on hotmail. So, everybody saw the ad including our people. There were few people who came and Blacks were a minority. It speaks volume about how brainwashed we are. I am convinced if the ad was about church or a party many of our people would be there. We really don’t have our priorities at the right place. I was placed in front for the seminary. The speaker looked often at me. It was this kind of look: this one contrary to her people is looking for financial independence. She is not relying on the mainstream anymore. As Terrance Amen wrote: Black Unity means financial independence and happiness. I am certainly not masochistic like too many of our people who still expect Whites to save them even if they always exploited us and always will. It is time for our people to wake up and smell the coffee! I don’t understand also why we behave like glue jars towards White people. They never helped us. I have a great and smart Chinese friend who is giving me a lot of information about business something that I never got and never will from White people. I got a lot from the seminar which never happened with Whites. A free small business dictionary with a CD-ROM about valuable and informative chapters from the last book of Kiyosaki. Do I have to remind you that Kiyosaki is Asian?

  3. Deeann D. Mathews says:

    Patsy — thank you. My observation just comes from knowing a lot of people who lived through Jim Crow, and seeing how some of them are still afraid to speak aloud — literally — about bad things that white folks they know are doing. That pattern of avoidance has also been picked up by many of their children and grandchildren as well… thus Jim Crow is still with us in the mind. Mr. Terrance Amen below in the comment section speaks in his book of the perpetuation of the slave mind; Nojma Muhammad, another writer here, also speaks of this same problem from a slightly different perspective. I just hope we can become conscious of the mental “leftovers” that hold us back as a people and cast them off.

    Terrance — yes, I do think we as Black people seem to wait until we think someone has a chance of success before we line up behind them, but that begs the question: why do we still need so much proof that we are capable of success? Why do we need to see a White woman falter before we believe in a Black man’s ability to triumph? To you of course the question is rhetorical; you have posited an answer in your book more than worthy of consideration. But I post it anyway for the rest of us. We need to stop waiting for White validation — either in their approval or in their stumbles — to invest in our own success. I am not saying in this that the election of Barack Obama equates to wholesale Black success — by no means. But, our behavior relative to his first campaign ought to suggest some instruction for our future.

  4. I think we didn’t support the President before Iowa was because we didn’t think he had a chance to beat Hillary Clinton. Once we realized he did, we were behind him. So my point is not that whites validated him, but that he had a real chance to win. About making decisions of our own, I do agree that we as a people need to get away from always needing people outside our community to solve our problems, which are the lasting effects of slavery. But until we realize this most important fact, we will continue to accept the crumbs the Democrats give us, instead of creating the unity we need to counter the issues we have within our community and without.

    Black Unity means financial independence and happiness

  5. Patsy says:

    WOW Deeann D. Mathews, your thoughts are deep!!!

  6. Deeann D. Mathews says:

    I sometimes wonder if a lot of us are still worried that white folks will lynch us in some way if we stand up for ourselves without their approval. Of course, white reaction, even of the most violent and heinous kind, is still a real possibility… but no Black person who has ever been ruled by that fear has ever achieved anything lasting for their people. So it is with us today.

  7. Patsy says:

    I always thought it was sad that Obama didn’t get support from our people before Iowa. It seems too often we are looking for White’s permission to endorse our own. Shame on us and it is certainly not like this we will get respected! Everything has to start with us!

  8. die heart democrat says:

    Barack Obama never defeated Hillary Clinton. Every time Hillary manhandled Obama the party elites sent him on vacation and dealt with her. By the end of the primary the super delegates suppressed the voters will and selected Obama.

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