Wednesday, July 18, 2007

In 2008, we need to come together for Obama

This morning, I was listening to one of my favorite talk shows, Inside Detroit, on WCHB 1200 AM. The substitute host, Angelo Henderson, was leading a spirited discussion on whether or not blacks were going to support Sen. Barack Obama for president.

I was disturbed and dismayed by the number of people (nearly all black) who were calling in to say that either they were going to support another candidate (typically Hillary Clinton or John Edwards), or that they needed to review Obama's stances on the "issues".

While I know that folks have the freedom to support whomever they please, I think that for this race, we just need to get behind the brother this time! Obama should be receiving universal support from African-Americans in his campaign, because he is black. And while I'm the first to acknowledge that all our skinfolk ain't our kinfolk (think Clarence Thomas), I have no doubt that Obama has the best interests of African-Americans, as well as the rest of America in mind.

My goodness, what else does Obama have to do to gain black folks' support? He's earned degrees from top-notch schools, moved to the South Side of Chicago earning relatively meager wages when he could have been making substantially more money as a Harvard-trained lawyer, and is married to an elegant and intelligent black woman. He speaks well, has charisma, and seems to be on the right side of the issues that black folks seem to be concerned about these days.

I believe there are couple of things going on that are making some of us ambivalent about Obama. First, there's the "crabs in a barrel" syndrome that's clearly evident in this case. Too often, we don't want to see one of us get ahead, or to be in charge of something. In other words, playa' hatin'.

Then there are those of us who are enamored with Hillary Clinton simply because of her husband, the former president and the so-called first "black" president. Do people really think that Hillary is a carbon-copy of Bill Clinton? I'm just not sure what the appeal is, at least when compared to Obama.

Then there's the whole "blackness" issue, i.e., is Obama "black" enough? Funny, none of the other candidates are asked if they're white enough or Hispanic enough? What does Obama have to do to earn his "ghetto pass"? Learn how to do the hustle? Spit a few rhymes from his favorite hip-hop artist? Flash his NAACP lifetime membership card?

I just think that, just this once, if we could all come together on Obama, and if enough folks from other communities also come on board, the complexion of the White House could be just a little darker starting on January 20, 2009.

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