Monday, June 16, 2008

No Good, Shiftless, Lazy, Baby Making Black Men

According to Barack Obama, that is the sum total of the black fatherhood experience. He never mentions black men specifically without bringing all of them down to the lowest, most mean spirited stereotypes. Beating up on black men is the low hanging fruit of politics. As the New York Times put it, his speech yesterday was meant to ". . . resonate among white social conservatives in a race where these voters may be up for grabs."

Hopefully the Senator will get around to acknowledging the black men who fulfill their responsibilities, only to have states take their hard earned money away from their kids. As reported in this New York Times (sometimes they get things right) last year "Mothers Scrimp as States Take Child Support".

"The collection of child support from absent fathers is failing to help many of the poorest families, in part because the government uses fathers’ payments largely to recoup welfare costs rather than passing on the money to mothers and children.

Close to half the states pass along none of collected child support to families on welfare, while most others pay only $50 a month to a custodial parent, usually the mother, even though the father may be paying hundreds of dollars each month."

Obama did mention obliquely that money shouldn't go to bureaucrats, but that was buried well into the speech, after he referred to black adult males as "boys acting like men."

Is it possible for Obama to talk about men who are doing well, to highlight their successes in spite of struggle, or is he just going to make jokes that black men are happy with 8th grade educations and steal lines from Chris Rock? Perhaps Mr. Smart Politician can find a group of black men to praise publicly. Dream on. That doesn't make for the cheap applause line.

As for black people, what can I say? We have lost all self respect. We express unending devotion to a politician who calls black men boys. We cheer him when he brags that he will have a foreign policy like Ronald Reagan, a president few of us liked. We defend him when he states that he will continue America's violence around the world and kill people in Gaza or Iran or wherever the pro-Israeli lobby and the military industrial complex say that someone must die at the hands of Uncle Sam.

He will get applause every where he goes, from white people who will be reassured that he won't represent the needs of black people, and from black people who will be happy to see him sworn into office, no matter what he says about them. As I said in Black Agenda Report, Obama's victory will mean the end of truth telling in the black community. "It turns out that Obama's hand on the bible next January will be historic in more ways than one. Almost all of black America will have decided to sell their souls in order to witness this scene. That will certainly be a change, but it isn't anything we should believe in."