Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Selma Voting Rights March Commemoration - Barack Obama

Selma Voting Rights March Commemoration - Barack Obama

From Obama, a Map for a New March - Richar Cohen - Washington Post

Barack Obama walked a tightrope in Selma on Sunday, March 4. No, it was not in avoiding Hilary Clinton riding the coat tails of bad-boy ex-president Bill. No, it was not how Black Obama is, although he went out of his way to paint his experience in Africa as similar to being Black in America.

What he did was speak, as the first electable Black presidential candidate, to some of the medicine that African-Americans need to self-administer going forward. He spoke of Black men taking responsibility as fathers, and Black parents fostering behavior where pursuing education is not ‘acting white’. This is significant because these prescriptions are often self-inflicted wounds to Black politicians.

He paid respectful homage to the past civil rights battles and achievements, while adding the immigrant character and behavior that runs strong in his veins. In fact, he spoke very sparingly on what Blacks should expect from others compared to what they should expect from themselves. Yes, the haves should empathize with the have-nots, but self-determination is the foundation of his words.

The challenge that Mr. Obama faces is besting the traditional Democratic transaction that sells Blacks on promises of doing ‘right’ to make up for the past wrongs. Post-election follow through is missing-in-action; with the just-pimped Black clergy soon back to preaching about how White people keep ‘doing it to us’. Perhaps this election will be different - maybe Black folks will stop doing it to themselves.

James C. Collier


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