I recently read an article in the New York Times that left me with a twist in my stomach and the bitter aftertaste of racism. In it the author analyzes Barack Obama’s political challenge of not being black enough. The article pretends to present both sides of the issue, but falls prey to the same racism that has corrupted the minds and made cowards of those who created this issue in the first place.
First I find it important to make it clear why this issue is simply a manifestation of racism, a perverted self-inflicted result of the same oppression these detractors complain that Obama is not familiar with. The reason this is racism is because the argument is made completely inside a racist oriented framework. It is based on the notion that culture is solely spawned from race, or even more non-nonsensically, that race is derived directly from culture. Obama is not black because he does not belong to African-American culture, which one can only belong to if one can trace their heritage somehow to slavery. At this point I must break this train of thought, not allowing myself to get trapped in the same logical black hole that the author of the NYTimes article and the coward black intellectuals have been ensnared in.
Rather, I’d like to highlight the fear impregnated in this line of reasoning. I would like to shine the flashlight of history on this bogey man. Have we so soon forgotten the powerful words of our greatest civil rights leaders? Black and white alike, Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy both articulated truths that ring far louder than the sniveling whining of these cowards.
In his speech introducing the Civil Rights Act of 1963 JFK made two powerful statements:
” Next week I shall ask the Congress of the United States to act, to make a commitment it has not fully made in this century to the proposition that race has no place in American life or law. ”
Is this no longer the ultimate goal? Is it not true that
“This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal”
Why is it so easy to shrink back from this bold statement? Why do we forget our multinational heritage? What makes us forsake equality, is it really for the sake of spiting inequality?
Finally, I wish to conclude with a quote from one of the most powerful speeches of the century, by the most respected civil rights leader of our country
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” -MLK