Why Obama Can’t Escape America’s Great ‘birth defect’…
Race is EVERYWHERE…because it is the original sin of this country. And those with the power and control to stop it have ignored it while continuing to reap its benefits. I will not ignore it. I cannot.
And it seems even the President cannot escape it either…
Worse than all of this, was that just like the late baseball legend Jackie Robinson before him, President Obama has to put up with the insults, lunacy, and outright bigotry with a smile. He can’t lose his cool because he is the first. He must handle himself with grace and class or the next black candidate for president won’t stand a chance.
For many of us who are educated African-Americans of a new generation, we get it. We live it. We know what it feels like to be the first in our firms, corporations, universities, or industries. We know coded race talk when we see it. We know what it feels like to be delegitimized, and questioned, stared down in a funny way regardless of the accolades and laurels of our degrees or achievements.
And we hurt for the president yesterday.
We tweeted and Facebooked, texted and emailed in total shock and awe. I think it took a good five minutes for my younger brother, a minister, and my mom to calm me down on the phone as I was yelling at the top of my lungs about how appalled I was that the president of the United States was being treated in such a shameful manner. I truly felt off center — like I had personally been kicked. Once we stopped and prayed, I was able to put pen to paper and begin to write down my thoughts.
In a March 2008 interview with The Washington Times, former U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice said that America was still suffering from “its great birth defect”. By that she meant that the United States still has trouble dealing with race because it was founded on the backs of black slaves, who were legally denied the very opportunities of freedom and equality that our nation was founded upon. The very rights afforded to whites, and stripped from blacks for hundreds of years. You do the math. Her point: racism has vestiges, consequences, legacies.
As I have now reflected on all of the coverage and conversation I saw on television and social networking on this issue yesterday, once again race was everywhere. It is a defect — one we have yet to acknowledge truly or be brave enough to confront. I am not talking about marches or protest. I am talking about candid dialogue and sharing that opens our hearts and connects us as humans in a way that moves us forward as equals.
African-Americans could feel and see it playing out. It was so familiar. But many Americans denied it was even an issue at all. Some feel Trump and the birthers have a right to see more proof that the president is indeed a U.S. citizen. They find it okay to question “how” and “why” he got into an Ivy League school, even though he graduated Magna Cum Laude and was president of the Harvard Law Review.
I have come to conclude, sadly that we are cowards when it comes to race as Attorney General Eric Holder said because some of my fellow Americans refuse to connect that dots, even when all of the proof is right in their face. I struggle now; with how do we ever bridge the seemingly growing divide on race.
So what’s the real issue here? Barack Obama was admittedly a kid who had some challenges growing up. A biracial male who never really knew his father. He tried drugs, he rebelled a bit, and then he woke up, discovered himself and found his way. Yes, he transferred from Occidental College to Columbia University. No doubt affirmative action played a role. In the 1980s college deans were starved for promising if even somewhat wayward black males like the president. They wanted to open doors for these young men, give them the same access that generations of reckless, restless, feckless and sometimes law breaking young white men had enjoyed for centuries. Their bet–their social experiment– whatever you want to call it paid off, handsomely.
In the final analysis, at some point as the president said we will have to turn our attention to the serious issues facing America. The circus-like media atmosphere and nonsense have polluted our thinking and distorted our sense of what matters. We cannot grow stronger, richer and faster as a nation if we continue on this course of hate and prejudice. It is rooted in fear, misunderstanding and a stubborn unwillingness to confront what really ails us — race, and how it lives just beneath the surface always waiting to exact a price and press a burden on those who want to be rid of that burden most of all. – Sophia Nelson
- Why Obama can’t escape America’s great ‘birth defect’ (thegrio.com)
- Is Obama an ‘affirmative action president’? (thegrio.com)
- Is Barack Obama Finally an American? (theroot.com)
- Okay, Tell Me This Isn’t Racist (themoderatevoice.com)
This entry was posted on April 28, 2011 by ablackmanjr5. It was filed under Are you paying attention!?..., GOP/Republican smears, Politics, post racial, Race, Race & Politics and was tagged with African American, Barack Obama, Columbia University, Harvard Law Review, Latin honors, President Obama, United States, United States Secretary of State.