Saturday, June 09, 2012

Still Waiting for Our First Black President

Fredrick Harris is a professor at Columbia University who made news because he did nothing more than tell the truth about Barack Obama. In a Washington Post op-ed Harris explained what we at the Black Agenda Report have been saying for years.

Barack Obama is no friend to black people, nor is anyone else who succeeds in making it to the oval office. Indeed, a black president must by necessity become an enemy of black people. Our desire to see a black face in a high place and the racist foundations of American life are a toxic mix. True, Obama can’t advocate for black people without alienating white people, but that means we should never have wanted to see him or any other black person in the presidency in the first place.

We are left with nothing more than swooning over the sight of Obama presiding over state dinners, meeting the queen of England, or wearing his POTUS jacket onboard Air Force One. The pride in Obama’s accomplishment is akin to wanting a black actor to win an oscar or a black athlete to medal at the winter olympics.

Yet we are talking about politics, and our very survival. Black people have advanced the most when we made demands upon the political system. We are now left with nothing but defending Obama, regardless of his deliberate decisions to do nothing on our behalf.

History will show that the Obama era was among the worst in the political life of black America. In fact, we now have no political life. The combination of the effects of corporate cash on black politics and the Obama stand down have been absolutely disastrous.

I am looking forward to reading Harris’ new book, The Price of the Ticket: Barack Obama and the Rise and Decline of Black Politics. Black politics has been in decline for some time and for a variety of reasons, but the Obama election was the nail in the coffin.