Jena 6 protesters in Washington, D.C. in 2007 and Civil Rights protesters in 1960s Seattle, Wash.
I found this comment lurking in the latest Bossip post (“JFK 2.0???“) on Obama, highlighting the Kennedy endorsement. It’s by someone going by the moniker “Crazy Black Lady.”
“Motor Mouth” Maxine Waters just (sic) endored billary clinton for president. These niggers need to get out the way and let us have our moment.
Now I respect people’s opinions but I see comments like these popping up on black topical blogs all the time, sidestepping the fact that the whole point of the Civil Rights Movement was to give people opportunities and choices. I wish Waters had backed Obama, but I respect her choice. Plus, I feel like these comments contradict the message Obama is trying to send. After all, the same people who are backing Hillary Clinton, like former NYC Mayor David Dinkins and Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York, will all, most assuredly, back Obama if he gets the nomination.
Arguing that black people should solely support Obama based on traditional black fidelity is just as ridiculous as whites backing various Republican nominees based solely on religion or whiteness. I want people to be for Obama because of his credentials, background and policy ideas along with the pride many feel about Obama being a symbol of black achievement and potential.
Also, brandishing African Americans who have fought tirelessly for the rights and concerns of African Americans as “sell-outs” is beyond ridiculous. These people aren’t Alan Keyes, JC Watts or Armstrong Williams. Although I also don’t feel like we should stamp scarlet letters on the chests of Black Republicans for going against type. Even some of the sell-out claims levied against them are unwarranted and I consider their actions and views far more dangerous than Andrew Young’s shameless defense of the Clintons.
I also think there is a degree of naivety with some young African Americans on the level of racial progress. Many were outraged and sympathetic to the plight of the Jena 6, but are now arguing that the racial conflicts that have existed since America’s inception are no longer relevant; that older blacks are still waging wars of the past. But how can racial rifts be healed when African American men make up half of the prison population when blacks are only 12 percent of the country? How can things be healed when blacks are still disenfranchised across the south, when most blacks attend inferior schools and run higher poverty rates than whites? The racial divide is deep and is felt throughout society. One can argue that the methodology of many Civil Rights Era fighters is out-of-date and inadequate (which in a lot of ways, it is), but one can’t gloss over the serious problems within the black community and the serious issues many whites still have regarding black people.
Once again, the Jena 6, are a good example of this. Young African Americans banded together and used social networking groups on the internet and radio personalities to get the message out and organize one of the largest protest marches in recent history. There’s no denial of that. When the mainstream media peppered long time activists Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton on how the protest was organized both were forthright in pointing out they largely had little to do with it and attributed the success to others. The young were able to use the media of today to update and modernize Civil Rights protests. This was a wonderful step in the right direction. But I feel like both the young and old need each other to get things done. I just don’t believe in bashing people who have fought and sacrificed on our behalf. Frustration and anger is OK and criticism is warranted and needed, but I’d rather see younger blacks try to lobby their elders to Barack Obama’s campaign than spit invective in their faces for playing it safe with Hillary Clinton.
It’s like cursing out your own grandmother because she doesn’t like your dreadlocks. Your grandmother may be woefully out of touch but she’s still your grandmother. Politely disagree with her, keep your dreds and allow love to overcome a generational divide.
I don’t know. Am I wrong because I don’t want to throw my grandparents under the bus? These people may be nuts but like it our not, they’re our nuts.