The Shift in Racial Politics (Guest Post)

Black office workers in Hempstead, TX (1935)By JD McCallum

Funny thing happened once we got a Black man in the White House.

Maybe it took one of our own to tell us, “Give the Popeye’s a rest. Turn off the TV. Try taking care of your kids.”

Who knows. On the ride around Chicago’s Southside, however, my boy Flatbush, hustler extraordinaire, made something clear: times are changing.

“Mac,” Flat began, “I’m just not trying to hear any excuses any more. We know better. We can do better. We at a point when we have to admit: One of our biggest problems is us.”

(More after the jump.)

I kept driving. Since the Obama win, everybody in the streets is on some “self help” stuff. I just want a mortgage bailout.

“Let’s be real: I was cool toein’ the line. It wasn’t until Jesse talked about cutting off the President’s nu…”

“The president? Didn’t you refer to the last guy as Ol’ Dumbo George”?

“The President. We have to have some respect for the office, Mac. Anyway, when dude started popping all this garbage, I was like, “Wait a minute, Boss. You made mad loot telling us all the stuff we got wrong with us is whitey’s fault. Now, I would be cool with that, but I don’t see where your way of thinking has done much for anybody except for you, yo’ family and yo’ homies…and come to think of it, some of this stuff we beef about ain’t got nothing to do with white folks!”


“I’ve been reading . You know what? Some of these so called Black conservatives, as long as they not on TV, they make some good sense.”

“Do tell?”

“Naw, seriously. They get on TV and all I can do is think, ‘Maaaaan, you just trying to impress whitey and keep yo’ white wife.’ You know what, though? John McWhorter ain’t saying nothin’ Obama ain’t say. Obama didn’t say nothin’ my gran’mama ain’t said. ‘Take care a ya kids!’ ‘Don’t mess with that narcotic!’ ‘Get married ‘fore you have a buncha bad ass kids…’ Now, you’d think this stuff was hidden under a rock or something. Naw. It’s like clothes. It just comes back after a while. Gotta find a good place to hide it, though. Like in a book.

“How much damage would it do us to stop just followin’ cats who only know how to preach a good sermon? Sooner or later, you gotta put in some work. You gotta do right by the people in yo’ corner. You gotta realize that if you don’t do right by you, nobody else will. Put ya kids in good schools and don’t just leave it up to the teachers. Be there to help with homework. Make dinner together, and if you know hypertension is in the family, lay off the processed stuff…I mean, how much of this is common sense? We spent too long lettin’ white folk tell us the only way we can learn is if we sit next to white kids. That’s dumb. We listen to Black leaders tell us rap is corruptin’ our kids. Like, white kids can tell the difference between fantasy and reality, but our kids? No, we need Massa to outlaw stuff cuz we too dumb to know the difference…

“So, let me get this straight: Obama has turned you into a conservative?”

“On some points. Let’s be real: a brotha still need some liberals to tell people they need whitey. My bootleg movie empire is growin’, and I need welfare to stay right where it is so I can keep getting mine on the 1st. Tell you this, though: we tried this other way for the last 30 years. Where has it gotten us?

“Think I’m just have to keep an open mind. Ain’t any one way to skin a cat. You wanna screener copy of Fast and Furious? I also got lifted copies of ‘Winning the Race’. You choose”


JD McCallum is the author of the blog Ya’ll Know Better and he is here to give you the truth according to JD — whether you want it or not. A native Chicagoan, McCallum has suffered through private sector, social service and special education employment. After enduring the ultimate indignity of graduate school, he decided writing would prove more therapeutic and less costly than counseling. A single parent, he steadfastly maintains he invented the question mark.

8 thoughts on “The Shift in Racial Politics (Guest Post)

  1. It’s so crazy to me that we are always crying down other people who consider us a monolith and stereotype accordingly, but we are so quick to do it to ourselves. We are not all a bunch of f*ckups who don’t take care of their kids, eat ourselves into comas and live off the government. Tons of white people do meth, let the tv raise their kids, suffer from obesity, live off welfare etc. yet nobody’s talking about how white people have to "do better". Matter of fact, they’re the "better" were supposed to strive to become cuz they’re white. Statistically it is the poorest amongst all racial groups that are unhealthier, lack education, and professional ambition. Why the hell does this have to be indicative of all black people???Sorry for the slightly off topic rant.

  2. @Court,I agree. Again Court, it goes back to one of my battles with blacks on every ideological side of the spectrum, why are we acting as if the words "personal responsibility" have the words "Conservative" engraved on the side. While I do not trust white liberals, I do not trust white conservatives either because traditionally it has been in the interest of both to not see us succeed as a people. Second, you are 100%. Why do we act like certain behaviors are isolated to the black community. Drugs, that’s an American issue. As a teacher, I see lost children of all races, not just black children. I see big fat kids of all races, and not just black kids.

  3. Everybody is a salesman. Filter out the bad and work with the good. Then "get to work" on all fronts.. People know what they "should" be doing. Get to work.

  4. JD, I respect and share your perspective on these issues. This post is funny, yet sad because far too many in our community are comfortable with mediocrity, when living to our full potential is never out of reach. I am not talking about riches beyond belief, but wanting better, and striving to do better.

  5. JD, that was hilarious, but true! I find it humourous how conservative and moralistic people are becoming now that President Obama is in office. Especially, when their own Pastors and black leaders have been saying the same stuff for years.

  6. Since when is being "right", being conservative? Reminds me of when I was in school and got accused by other Black students of talking "white" ! I agree with JD – what ails us ain’t white folks…its us! Great article!

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