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Breaking the racial ceiling

By       Message Philip Wood       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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Obama isn't Black, he is Afro American just as I am Euro-American but He isn't black, not by the "American" definition. Ken Blackwell the Ohio Secretary of State is Afro American and a much darker shade but he isn't black either nor is Condoleezza Rice. In Truth Obama may be a male Condoleezza Rice though as a human being he is several hundred rungs up the ladder from where she has managed to climb. What does being black mean in America? What comes to mind for the average white American when "Black Man" lights up their mental switchboard.  Ok, I'm white so I suppose one will judge whatever I next disclose to be MY definition and irrelevant to the actual average meaning of the word. But "Black man" has always meant one thing to me and something else to the vast majority of the white folks I have come in contact with. So, what I repeat here is the meaning I have been given by others and not my own.

            "Black Man" = Crude, lazy, dishonest, violent, angry, lacking morality, beastly, uneducated, unrefined, inferior and mentally deficient. Barack Obama is certainly anything other than these things. The man is brilliant. Yes, his biological father was a Kenyan and genetically he is of mixed blood whatever that means. His skin tone, his shade is of a lighter hue than true Ebony Black. But then I have to ask, why is it that if a person is "white," shade doesn't matter but if you're black it's a different story?  At what point does a person cease to be black and become white? At what point does this lunacy end?

            Obama isn't a Black man, not by skin shade, common definition or even MY definition, which is another matter entirely. He was raised in a white family in a white world, his culture is white, white, white, and his understanding of Black is as lacking as that of most any other white folks. I spent the early sixties in eastern North Carolina, and having migrated there from the north and not knowing any better, took up with the locals whom I worked with. Having temporarily dropped out of school the only work I could find was as a laborer, service station attendant, auto mechanic, and factory worker. So my peers were Black, my buddies, my amigos, my hommies were black. The more time I spent with them the less time the local minority white population had to spend with me. I lived with this, witnessed the living conditions, the "treatment" first hand. I sat in an oil drum armchair in the living room of a converted chicken coop, drank moonshine out of a mason jar. Read the Sunday Funny papers stapled over the flattened cardboard boxes nailed to rough-cut sawmill boards for insulation. Outside you could see the cardboard between the gaps. Rusty tin roof overhead that made for a great nights sleep when it rained and a front porch that sat high off the ground on rocks dug out of the cotton, peanut and tobacco fields. A body could sit with legs dangling over the sides high enough off the ground to make doghouses unnecessary.

The hounds that resided there were ever ready to let you know when the MAN was about.

Chickens scratching in a front yard devoid of grass. Here and there worn out cars, trucks and an old tractor or two strewn about, kept for the parts they might yield in the future. Up the road, up long concrete paved lanes the big WHITE four pillared southern gentry white folks' houses with their converted slave quarters remodeled into workshops, tool sheds, guest quarters and barbeque game rooms extravagant and luxurious compared to my friends' chicken coop house.

            And there was fear there in the 60s, an unspoken fear, bred to the bone. The nearest town--though 75% "black"--was a place where the White folk could stroll on a Saturday evening never having to meet the downcast eyes of the Black Folk. Only greeted by yesum and yesir and shy fearful grins and only if the "MAN" spoke first. What does Obama know of this?

   When he makes his speeches and layers them with the undertow directed at these people with "if you work hard and try you can accomplish anything in America" it makes me angry. Sorry, but Obama, you're full of it when you speak as an expert on a subject that you have no real knowledge of.  And it makes me wonder about some of your other expert knowledge as well.

Obama's father may have been Kenyan but he didn't stick around as a anchor hanging around Barack's neck and its a long way from Hawaii to where the JENA 6 are still being dealt hands that aren't' even in Obama's deck. He has campaigned as a Democrat, as a liberal, as a progressive but a progressive from where. The point from which he came is a million miles down the road past the places my friends no doubt still reside, they and millions of others in North and South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and all over this Nation. Hell they're even in Obama's back yard. Chicago is a city reminiscent of pre civil-war America with a Mason/Dixon line dividing the north and south sides.

What kind of response did the Black folk receive from the Great White Father in Washington when Katrina came ashore? Oh it was the hand of God washing away the undesirables, cleansing the Bayou. The joyous praise lavished on the Lord for flushing the toilet. AMEN! & Where did all the money that America donated to rescue the people go? The fortune collected to "save the people." YES, Brothers and sisters--and does it look anything like the kind of response the white folks in Florida get when the water rises in their neck of the woods? Obama insinuates that prejudice is a thing of the past that if your black, or brown or poor white trash and down and out it's your own doing.

            Its easy to sit on the hill overlooking the dump and shake ones head in disgust at those "living" there for pursuing escape in drugs and alcohol and crime when you've never been there, never been kicked back in the pit every time you tried to crawl out. When you have never had to suck it up when you watch your children--whom you love with all the intensity a mother or father feels for their babies--live in a world that abuses and condemns them for the color of their skin and never lets them stand up. The only escape to be found from the horrible emotional pain a temporary fix that puts money in the pockets of "the Man" and eventually you in one of his cages.

            Sorry again, Barack, but it seems to me that once again it's a choice of the lesser of two evils and I guess that's you but I can't say I'm thrilled. They say you have broken a color barrier but to my way of thinking you have only broken a "shade" barrier, a "hue" barrier. All I can do is hope and pray that the REAL people in this Country of all shades and hues see the difference and don't let you get away with the crimes of your predecessors. Your feet defiantly need holding to the fire.


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After 60 years I still retain enough naivete- to believe world peace is possible but being a realist have to face the fact that I won't be around to see it. In my youth some well meaning folks tried to teach me to respect my elders but my (more...)

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