It is true that Barack Obama (BO) represents a hitherto unimaginable change in this deeply racist and imperially genocidal nation. His advent, however, was made possible only by the Machiavellian, unpunished and unaccounted-for crimes of the murderous, monstrous Bushco gang. Remember that this vile gang was so vicious, treacherous and murderous that in 2004 so many said that "a frying pan would be a better candidate than this hateful dimbulb." Thus, given the filthy corporatists and murderous military machine, with their blood-drenched affiliates McCain and the Gun-Toting boor from Wasilla- clearly, even in this pulpit-indoctrinated, thinking-bereft country- the stage was set for BO, and I am sure most, including Chris Hedges and the true Black-movement leaders in the arts and in politics, celebrated his victory.
I too had my reservations, but felt at least partly glad that MLK's dream appeared to have gone a farther step than even he had imagined in the dark 1960s.
However, as with everything, the true test for a person's identity and legacy lies in their deeds, and not their words, their charisma, or their larger-than-life portfolio. BO has achieved much, and is indeed light years ahead of the vile, prehistoric, hateful bunch that preceded him and killed or destroyed so many in this world.
The idea of the Black elitist is well-established, and I, a person from India, have long identified with the true struggles of Black and colored society, and other oppressed people worldwide, who are struggling, motivating, uniting, and dying all the time in order to throw off the imperial, elitist, profiteering, bigoted and racist juggernaut that holds humanity in a chokehold to this day.
While I have been as outraged by the unconscionable arrest of Professor Gates in front of his own home, and have been prepared to write in defense of Blacks under racist oppression- I have also learned within the past several days much about elitist Blacks spouting the same, tired, premeditated lines about Black laziness, Black racism, Black victimhood, and also such new-fangled concepts as post-racism - all this is deeply disingenuous. It is truly ironic that Prof. Gates had to learn the hard way the reality that is a daily part of Black life in this country.
I recall reading, years ago, a Black American write with great sensitivity about how he witnessed the innate sense of pride and self-identity among Black peoples in those places where the Black culture has been nurtured with care and respect. By comparison, he wrote, the Black person in the U.S. suffered an indelible sense of degraded identity, and the associated branding as a sub-human in so many quarters. In alternative parlance, this is what is described as "profiling," and I firmly believe that this is a true phenomenon, no matter how much white-washing goes on about such bigotry and racism.
Therefore, it is perfectly sensible to keep an open mind about BO in terms of what actions follow the rhetoric people heard from him during his campaign. And I must confess, the results so far have been considerably less than encouraging. To vilify someone for holding this administration to account for its many failed promises, and increasing compliance with the festering status quo, is at the very least, an ostrich-like approach to reality. It is well past time for this country to close shop in such imperial outposts as Afghanistan, Iraq, and now, more ominously, in Pakistan, and completely stop its criminal and undeterred attacks upon people and properties in those countries (the blue-sky scourge of the killer drones, among other atrocities- about which I intend to write a thing or two later). Also- no matter how compelling the evidence for the Bushco regime's war crimes and crimes against humanity- the refusal of this WH and this justice department to initiate even at minimum an independent investigation of their treasonous actions- these too are greatly disturbing. Then there is the increasing health-care debacle, with nary a word about single payer, or putting necessary leashes upon the predatory insurance and pharmaceutical companies. If anything, this administration is proving to be very much in the pocket of Wall Street (Goldman Sachs in particular), and has been overly influenced by leftovers from the Clinton administration (some of whom are entrenched elitists in the imperial mold).
I am just as skeptical about "trophy" achievers among minorities in an unfair, unbalanced system as are Harry Belafonte and others. Michael Steele, Clarence Thomas, Condi Rice, even (to perhaps a lesser degree) Henry Gates- these all represent the "trophy" achievers. Amongst Indians we similarly have the likes of Bobby Jindal and Ramesh Ponnuru. To me, these are not honorable names. If anything, these are the Judas Iscariots, Mir Jafars, Kapos and Quislings of our time. And history is replete with their kind. They sell their oppressed people to the Masters at will for a few ill-gotten pieces of silver.