The thing about being a Black man in America is that one lives a life of challenges that are played out in noticeable and hidden manners. It’s a battle of trying to maintain one’s identity versus the ability to survive in a world that has been cruel to its existence. We have seen it played out recently in a public arena as Barack Obama reaches closer to a historic happening in obtaining the head seat in the White House.
More times than not, Obama is forced to defer to political (i.e. white folks) correctness such as the case with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright comments. There isn’t a black person around who has knowledge of their history that should disagree with Rev. Wright’s assessment that American can be shady and its treatment of Black folks is an injustice. That’s not some made-up theory that he’s speaking of but more so its common knowledge that racism is alive and kicking. Black folks have been oppressed, are still being oppressed and will continue to be oppressed.
In addition, white folks themselves will tell you that this country can be shady in its dealings and history backs that up. The war in Iraq is costly, cruel and illegal yet it continues to go on despite objections from politicians, citizens and other countries. Then again you really can’t call this a war because that would mean the other side is fighting and in this instance that’s not the case. The Bush regime found no weapons of mass destruction but they found a way to loot the government of trillions of dollars to benefit the overthrowing of another government.
As a Black man I sit back and I watch the situation with a sense of envy for I understand that a black man could never get away with such. What one experiences as black man who strives to live right is difficult to explain. It involves a trail of struggles and revivals that one must either understand or defeat (drugs, depression, lack of hope, prison, etc…) is certain. That’s why Bob Johnson’s decision to rip Obama publicly in order to show his support for Hillary Clinton, a white woman, is not only disappointing but illogical in a sense. Here is this black billionaire who agrees with the sentiment that the first viable black candidate for the presidency that he has seen in his lifetime is only where he is because he’s black.
First of all, if a brother is able to rise to the top something regardless of why they say he is there then let’s put up a big power fist for that. History shows how countless number of black men have had their lives ended in a heap of injustices and how even more continue to live under the unfair glare of instuitions designed to stunt one’s growth of humanity. For a black man to overcome all obstacles and achieve is remarkable but for one to have a chance as president is justice served. But Mr. Johnson sees it differently. You see there is that specter of white approval that hovers over a black man’s life like a shadow that never disappears. White elitism will only accept so many of us in their circle and once in one must do as the Romans do – be a Roman.
Don’t get me wrong; despite what many outside of the black race think, we are a very diverse people with very diverse thoughts. In other words if Bob Johnson who made his money off black folks with BET wants to back a white candidate then that is his right. But what he can’t do is sell Obama short by claiming race is the determining factor of his status when Johnson benefited off of the same thing he is claiming Obama is guilty of – being Black. Johnson became the first black majority owner of a NBA team because Commissioner David Stern and the league wanted a minority owner. They were other legitimate offers including one led by Larry Bird but the league, built upon the backs of black men who make up a majority of the players, wanted a black wealthy owner and Johnson was it. That’s affirmative action at its highest level brotha. Yet, Johnson also forgets about the different financial incentives he received while owner of BET, which he later sold to white folks, because he was black.
That’s part of the dilemma that a black man faces as he has to navigate the white side while trying to remain true to the black side. The white side feeds the stomach while the black side feeds the soul but sometimes the lines get all crossed up and then so does the person. Some are able to move freely between the two without offending anyone but that rarely happens and this is one of those times when offense is taken. It’s also one of those times when a black man needs to be reminded who he really is and where he’s really from.
Love, Peace & Soul