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Do blacks feel betrayed by Obama’s silence on race?

July 23, 2010 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( President Obama has become a racial enigma. When it comes to the black/white divide in America, Obama is believed to be everything from Clarence Thomas to Malcolm X, depending on whom you ask. The right-wing identifies Obama as a radical black man who hates white people, and the progressive black community sees Obama as yet another political sellout fresh off Harvard Yard.

The “great” Bill Cosby once said, “I don’t know the recipe for success. But the recipe for failure is trying to please everybody.” Therefore, in Cosby’s world, every high ranking black political figure, including Obama, is destined for certain failure.

Whether Obama will go down as a failure or success as president has yet to be determined. I personally believe that his greatest achievement occurred  when he was sworn in as the first black president in American history. Like any good marriage, things can sometimes head straight downhill after the honeymoon.

President Obama has been as silent as a church mouse on some of the most riveting and racially-traumatic events to occur in recent U.S. history. He had nothing to say about the shooting death of Oscar Grant, the wedding eve slaughter of Sean Bell or the police shooting death of 7-year old Aiyana Jones. This inactivity may be frustrating to those who thought that Obama’s election was the second-coming of Juneteenth.

The president added insult to injury by then going out of his way to speak out on the inconvenient porch fight between Henry Louis Gates and Officer James Crowley. The clear message being sent was that if you are politically connected, powerful, and wealthy, your issues might be addressed. But if you’re just a black man or woman shot in the street, you probably won’t matter very much to this president.

On the specific issue of Shirley Sherrod, the president took the noble step of speaking with Sherrod and working to have her reinstated. This was an important move for Obama, given that the Sherrod firing was one of those folded arms, pursed lips, neck-twisted, “so-what-you-gonna-do-now-Barack?” moments for black America. Black folks were angry about what happened to Shirley, because it has happened to so many of us. Fortunately, Obama passed the test and avoided appearing to be yet another black man unwilling to stand up for a black woman in distress in order to save his own rear end.

Someone asked me if I thought black America would ever grow tired of Obama’s deafening silence on matters relating to race. Let’s be clear: black America will never grow tired of President Obama, which is exactly why he will continue to be as silent as he has been to this point. Obama’s election was one of the most significant achievements in African-American history, and in a population that tends to obsessively focus on status symbols at any expense, a black man in the White House represents the ultimate in political bling.

But a more pessimistic possibility for President Obama is that his Democratic Party may be hit very hard during the mid-term elections, leaving him vulnerable to Republican extremism and obstructionism. The far left is not going to come to his defense, since many of them feel betrayed by Obama’s lack of backbone on critical issues. They will continue to cautiously support him, but probably won’t show up to the polls. Black people, who are still working to understand the most effective uses of political power, love Obama to death but feel that their job was done when we got him elected in 2008. They won’t be showing up to the polls either, at least not in the same way they did two years ago.

The explosive first half of Obama’s presidency may turn into an even more interesting and implosive second half. Therefore, anyone sitting around waiting for Obama to do things for black folks during his last two years in office may be deluding themselves. The political future of our president is uncertain, and if he isn’t addressing matters of race at this time, he probably never will do so as president of the United States.

Written By Dr. Boyce Watkins


One Response to “Do blacks feel betrayed by Obama’s silence on race?”
  1. Harry says:

    To celebrate the history of Africa and especially black history, let’s commit to memory the names of Muhammad’s slaves.
    These are the names of Muhammad’s male slaves: Yakan Abu Sharh, Aflah, ‘Ubayd, Dhakwan, Tahman, Mirwan, Hunayn, Sanad, Fadala Yamamin, Anjasha al-Hadi, Mad’am, Karkara, Abu Rafi’, Thawban, Ab Kabsha, Salih, Rabah, Yara Nubyan, Fadila, Waqid, Mabur, Abu Waqid, Kasam, Abu ‘Ayb, Abu Muwayhiba, Zayd Ibn Haritha, and Mahran.
    The female slaves are Salma Um Rafi’, Maymuna daughter of Abu Asib, Maymuna daughter of Sa’d, Khadra, Radwa, Razina, Um Damira, Rayhana, Mary the Coptic, in addition to two other maid-slaves.
    Source – Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya in “Zad al-Ma’ad” (Part I, p. 160) and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya: “Zad al-Ma’ad” (his book) (Volume One, p. 116)
    “Ham [Africans] begat all those who are black and curly-haired, while Japheth [Turks] begat all those who are full-faced with small eyes, and Shem [Arabs] begat everyone who is handsome of face with beautiful hair. Noah prayed that the hair of Ham’s descendants would not grow beyond their ears, and that whenever his descendants met Shem’s, the latter would enslave them.”
    Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 21, p. 21
    “Shem, the son of Noah was the father of the Arabs, the Persians, and the Greeks; Ham was the father of the Black Africans; and Japheth was the father of the Turks and of Gog and Magog who were cousins of the Turks. Noah prayed that the prophets and apostles would be descended from Shem and kings would be from Japheth. He prayed that the African’s color would change so that their descendants would be slaves to the Arabs and Turks.”
    Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 11, p. 11
    Muslim Arab and Persian literature depicts Blacks as “stupid, untruthful, vicious, sexually unbridled, ugly and distorted, excessively merry, and easily affected by music and drink.” Nasir al-Din Tusi, a famous Muslim scholar said of Blacks:
    “The APE is more capable of being trained than the NEGRO.”
    Ibn Khaldun, an early Muslim thinker, writes that Blacks are
    “the only humans who are closer to DUMB ANIMALS than to rational beings.”
    IBN SINA, AVICENNA 980–1037
    Muslim Arab’s most famous and influential philosopher/scientist in Islam, described BLACKS as:
    “All African women are prostitutes, and the whole race of African men, are abed (slave) stock.” He equated black people with “RATS plaguing the earth.”

    Ibn Khaldum, an Arab historian stated that:
    “Blacks are characterized by levity and excitability and great emotionalism,”
    “they are everywhere described as STUPID.”
    al-Dimashqi, an Arab pseudo scientist, wrote:
    “the Equator is inhabited by communities of BLACKS who may be numbered among the SAVAGE BEASTS. Their complexion and hair are burnt and they are PHYSICALLY & MORALLY ABNORMAL. Their brains almost boil from the sun’s heat…..”
    Ibn al-Faqih al-Hamadhani painted this no less horrid picture of black people:
    “…..the zanj (the blacks) are overdone until they are burnt, so that the child comes out between black, murky, malodorous, stinking, and crinkly-haired, with uneven limbs, DEFICIENT MINDS AND DEPRAVED PASSIONS…..”

    The Arabs were the first to enslave Africans, starting from 650 CE. Ten times more millions of African slaves were involved in the Islamic experience than in the Trans-Atlantic slavery of Africans by the West. Between 650 CE and 1905 CE, over twenty million African slaves had been delivered through the Tans-Sahara route alone to the Islamic world and a hundred million through the East African route. Dr. John Alembellah Azumah in his book, The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa, ‘estimates that over 80 million more died en-route Trans-Sahara’ and trice as many through the Eastern route.

    A text from Dr. Azumah’s book provides this quote from a Zanzibar observer, about the travails of African slaves, en-route to slave markets, around the Arabic world.
    “As they filed past, we noticed many chained together by the neck… The women, who were as numerous as the men, carried babies on their backs in addition to a tusk of ivory or other burden on their heads… It is difficult to adequately describe the filthy state of their bodies; in many instances not only scarred by [the whip], but feet and shoulders were a mass of open sores… half-starved ill-treated creatures who, weary and friendless, must have longed for death.”

    A Muslim herdsman, in Dr. Azumah’s book described the fate of those who became too ill or too weak to continue the journey as follows:
    “We speared them at once! For, if we did not, others would pretend they are ill in order to avoid carrying their loads. No! We never leave them alive on the road; they all know this custom.” When asked who carries the ivory when a mother gets too tired to carry both her baby and the ivory, the herdsman replied, “She does! We cannot leave valuable ivory on the road. We spear the child and make her burden lighter.”

    Arab enslavement of Black Africans continues to this day in the Muslim world, particularly in the Sudan, Niger, and Mauritania. Arabs act as if Islamic slavery is a favour done to the millions of unfortunate African men, women and children, still being enslaved now by them and those forcibly uprooted from their native lands earlier on, and condemned to lives of sexual and mental abuse and servitude, deep in the Islamic world.

    Arabs do not consider Black Muslims authentic or of consequence. At best, they concede to Blacks, the role of ordained slaves or SENSELESS ANIMALS, to be used as BEASTS OF BURDEN by the “superior Arab race.” The rule applies to all Blacks, whether Muslims or non-Muslims, and whether of Nigerian (Hausa/Fulani or Yoruba extractions), or Tanzanians, Ugandans, Malians, or African-Americans. A traveller in Sudan observed in 1930 that:
    “In the eyes of the Arab rulers of Sudan, the BLACK SLAVES were simply ANIMALS given by Allah to make life of Arabs comfortable.”
    [Shalom Welcome to my website. I am Rabbi Solomon Cohen and I am happy to be your host. Please feel free to browse around the different topics that I will be discussing here by clicking on the individual tabs at the top of the page. This site is currently a work in progress and it is my hope to continue adding to it in the coming days Kol Tuv, Rabbi Solomon Cohen]
    Aaron Lopez Settling in Newport, Rhode Island, where his brother had located a decade earlier. Like his uncle and future father-in-law, Aaron established himself as a whale-oil merchant and a manufacturer of spermaceti candles. In 1761, Aaron, Jacob Rodriguez Rivera, and seven other merchants formed a trust to control the price and distribution of whale oil. That same year he and Jacob Rodriguez Rivera, purchased a brigantine sailing ship named Grayhound which sailed to Africa in 1763, bringing back a cargo of 134 Africans who were sold as slaves to fellow Jew, Isaac de Costa, in South Carolina. Four captains made thirteen of the voyages to Africa, bringing back some 1,275 black slaves. Between 1761 and 1774, Aaron Lopez underwrote 21 slave ships and by the beginning of the Revolutionary War, he owned or controlled 30 vessels. Lopez soon amassed a vast fortune through shipping, the slave trade, candle making, distilling rum, producing chocolate, textiles, clothing, shoes, hats, bottles and barrels. By the early 1770s, Lopez had become the wealthiest person in Newport and his tax assessment was twice that of any other resident. THE
    John Wilkes Booth John Wilkes Booth (May 10, 1838 – April 26, 1865) a famous American stage actor was a member of the prominent 19th century Booth theatrical family from Maryland. According to the autobiography of his sister Asia Booth, their father, Junius Brutus Booth, was “born in 1796 to a highly educated clan of Jewish lawyers and silversmiths.” The Booth family were originally Sephardic Jewish wine merchants from Portugal who ran a business exporting wine through the ports of northern England as far back as 1569. John Wilkes Booth’s paternal great-great-great-grandfather was Ricardo Botha, who born in 1675 and settled in England, he changed his name from Botha to Booth. His grandson, John Booth, Jr., (1723-1787), was a silversmith established in London, England. He married Elizabeth Wilkes (1720-1801); John’s sons John and Philip founded a London distillery in 1740 and began selling Booth’s dry gin, eventually becoming the largest gin distillery in the UK; while his son Richard (John Wilkes Booth’s grandfather) was an attorney. Richard’s son, Junius Brutus Booth (1796-1852), was a well-known Shakespearean actor in England and America. In his 1865 biography of John Wilkes Booth, George Alfred Townsend writes of Junius Brutus Booth: “The elder Booth in every land was a sojourner, as all his fathers were of Hebrew descent, and by a line of actors, he united in himself that.strong Jewish physiognomy which, in its nobler phases, makes all that is dark and beautiful, and the combined vagrancy of all men of genius and all men of the stage. Fitful, powerful,- passionate, his life was a succession of vices and triumphs.” Following Lincoln’s assassination, Booth fled on horseback to southern Maryland, eventually making his way to a farm in rural northern Virginia 12 days later, where he was tracked down. Booth’s companion gave himself up, but Booth refused and was shot by a Union soldier after the barn in which he was hiding was set ablaze. Eight other conspirators or suspects were tried and convicted, and four were hanged shortly thereafter.



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