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Monday, July 22, 2013

Psst President Obama! You could have been Trayvon Martin 4 years ago....

Harvard Professor Henry Gates , Arrested in ‘09 at his home

So, the white, male, dominated media is patting themselves on the back for allowing President Obama to talk about race for the second time in 5 years after being prodded/pushed to do so by black folks.  Tavis Smiley had the audacity to tell the truth on Meet the Pest, I mean, Press Sunday and got a royal beat down on twitter .

To be clear, this is WHAT Tavis said Sunday on Meet the Press:

   The media narrative now is that Obama walked to the podium for an unscripted address because he felt he needed to say something. But the truth is that “he was pushed to the podium,” Smiley said. “A week of protests outside the White House, pressure building on him inside the White House, pushed him to that podium.” Smiley noted he did“appreciate and applaud the fact that the president did finally show up.” But “the bottom line is, this is not Libya. This is America. On this issue, you cannot lead from behind. What’s lacking in this moment is moral leadership.”

And the problem is what exactly?  What did Tavis say that wasn't true?  According to an article in the New York Times, President Obama met with 5 of his closest (unnamed) advisers on Thursday evening who told him it was time for him to say something. My question is why did they have to tell him it was time to say something?  He didn't know?

Those who don't read the Washington Post weren't aware of the calls for President Obama to speak out from prominent African Americans.
In the wake of the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, President Obama has called on the American people to engage in calm reflection. Few expected the president to denounce the verdict or call upon people to take to the streets in protest, but we did expect him to speak in a way that touched the heartbreak, despair and quiet rage that so many of us feel at this moment.
On multiple occasions, Obama has asked blacks to understand the high wire he is forced to walk on the subject of race. He has pleaded that we cut him some slack. Most have done so even as conditions in the black community have become more desperate.
You won't hear writers like Cortland Maloy on TeeVee saying things like this:
In the never-ending cycle of pleas, protests and prayers over recurring injustice, we’re again approaching the quiet times. Put down the signs. Take off the hoodies. Remove the empty bags of Skittles taped over your mouths. Go in for some “calm reflection,” as President Obama put it in a statement following Saturday night’s miscarriage of justice.
The white, male, dominated media forced President Obama to walk a tight rope on race, they molded him into their vision of how the first African American President of the United States of America should act/talk/think/govern.
 I believe some whites were actually afraid President Obama was going to exact some kind of revenge for slavery and Jim Crow. So, in their zeal to shape the first African American President in their image, they turned him into a token with no power. Someone they could point to and say America is post racial. As if the emasculation of black men in America needed more assistance.
From forcing PBO to throw Rev. Jeremiah Wright under the bus because he preached truth to power, to making him host a beer summit instead of a discussion about racial profiling,  to toning down Attorney Eric Holders' Americans are cowards when it comes to discussing issues of race remarks, the mainstream media enabled the first black President to be the President of everybody but black folks

When folks like Tavis Smiley, Cornell West, Glen Ford and others tried to sound the alarm, they were called F-king retarded and the Professional Left (like that was a bad thing) which allowed them to be marginalized and  legitimate concerns/issues to be minimized.

I said it before and I will say it again, President Obama needs to fire everybody except Michelle.
I never believed Obama was going to be the the black people's President and only the the black people's President, because I believed him when he said there were no red states or blue states but the United States of America. But, his advisers were so afraid that if he showed any sympathy or empathy to the plight of blacks it would look like he was giving blacks "special treatment".
If  Barack Hussen Obama didn't have the title of President of the United States in front of his name, he could  also be, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Jordan Russell, The Jena Six , and so on, and so on.......
On Friday, Obama used the words “black” or “African American” 17 times, and the word “white” only once. At times, the president appeared to be the Explainer-in-Chief, clarifying for white folks a history and legacy that they, too, share—but in drastically different ways, and usually as benefit. Yet, by not specifically addressing this audience, by silencing whiteness and choosing to center again and again on black young men, Obama gave whiteness a pass. He gave it power by masking it, and making it silent.
While he warned black folks against violence, which he said would dishonor Trayvon Martin, he remained silent about the little violence we do know about—when a white woman attacked 73-year-old R&B legend Lester Chambers following the verdict. And rather than convening a national conversation about race—which would might mean having frank conversation about white supremacy and privilege, Obama talked about his daughters. Yes, Malia, Sasha and their friends are different, but that’s likely due to their security detail, and to the fact that they live in a world that most black schoolgirls simply do not.
I HOPE President Obama's surprise comments made white people understand what it means to be black in America, but unless he stops letting the white, male, dominated media frame the debate there is no HOPE for CHANGE  African Americans or anyone else for that matter,  can believe in.

5 comments:

havealittletalk said...

I wonder what Obama would have said, had he been president then, on the morning of September 15, 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

It's an enormous insult to every black American to warn that population alone against reacting violently. Again, remember on the afternoon of September 15, 1963, it was two black boys killed by whites in Birmingham, and not the other way around. Whites were killed in the aftermath of that event but not by blacks. Whites suspected of being informers were killed by the KKK.

Oh well, maybe in 2063 Trayvon will get a Medal of Honor too.

Redeye said...

"It's an enormous insult to every black American to warn that population alone against reacting violently. " Exactly! It's not as if African Americans have a documented history of violence and terrorism towards whites.

~Chip :) said...

"...heartbreak, despair and quiet rage that so many of us feel at this moment."

That's where I am at with the Zimmerman decision.

To me, the difficult thing about talking about race is that we are all at different levels of understanding and opinion. We are all human so we have all the foibles that go with that.

Two examples come to mind out of the Zimmerman trial.

One is when infamous Juror B37 (I'll be talking more about her in an upcoming article) said that there were "riots" in Sanford after Trayvon's murder. Demonstrations and protests are not, by definition, riots.

The other was when Rachel Jeantel repeated Trayvon's words that there was "crazy ass cracka" following him. From that comment, it was clear that Trayvon recognized he was being followed by an unstable person, and "cracka" was part of the physical description to Rachel, much like Zimmerman's description of what raised his suspicions about Trayvon.

I think that is the reason that Rachel told the defense lawyer that it wasn't racial: it was a description.

Throughout American history, there have been riots ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_riots#United_States ) by aggrieved people of all colors, so I don't see warning people against reacting violently as an insult.

I read it as an affirmation of Dr. King's legacy of change through peaceful non-violence ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_riots#United_States ), and as complying with the Martins wishes.

"The Foundation’s purpose is to create awareness of how violent crime impacts the families of the victims, and to provide support and advocacy for those families, in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin. The scope of the Foundation’s mission is to advocate that crime victims and their families not be ignored in the discussions about violent crime, to increase public awareness of all forms of racial, ethnic and gender profiling, educate youth on conflict resolution techniques, and to reduce the incidences where confrontations between strangers turn deadly.The Foundation’s purpose is to create awareness of how violent crime impacts the families of the victims, and to provide support and advocacy for those families, in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin. The scope of the Foundation’s mission is to advocate that crime victims and their families not be ignored in the discussions about violent crime, to increase public awareness of all forms of racial, ethnic and gender profiling, educate youth on conflict resolution techniques, and to reduce the incidences where confrontations between strangers turn deadly."

http://trayvonmartinfoundation.org/mission/

Redeye said...

"One is when infamous Juror B37 (I'll be talking more about her in an upcoming article) said that there were "riots" in Sanford after Trayvon's murder. Demonstrations and protests are not, by definition, riots. "

This goes back to the Slave Laws related to speech and assembly.
S37. It shall not be lawful for more than five male slaves, either with or without passes, to assemble together at any place off the proper plantation to which they belong; and if any slaves do so assemble together, the same shall be deemed an unlawful assembly.
http://users.wfu.edu/zulick/340/slavecodes.html

~Chip :) said...

Thanks, Redeye, for explaining this. I wondered why B37's statement wasn't viewed as a prejudicial statement, and why it didn't get her yanked from the jury pool.

Although given the history you showed, B37's statement might not have been considered extraordinary or a reason to pull her, it sure stood out to me as a red flag.

Thanks for directing me to such an excellent site. I'll go back there and explore some more! :)