“It is no exaggeration to say that the majority of South Africans feel an almost physical revulsion against anything that puts a native or person of colour on their level…”
R.P. Oswin, “L’homme de couleur”
Barack Obama despite vociferous arguments to the contrary is a man of diminishing dimensions. Whatever “hope and promise” his presidential campaign offered in its early days have long since faded into the predictable political abyss of enthusiastic double-talk, keyword-specific speeches and right-wing media pundit arse-kissing. Mr. Obama, while highly guilty on all these counts is not out of pocket per se for being a politician and acting as one. He is instead blameworthy for committing the greatest sin known to U.S. political principles as it applies to African representatives; he is allowing the Europocentric power structure to tear him, his wife and the hard-earned self respect of his people to shreds without a single word of significant protest in favour of American Empire.
In a world where lynching nooses are again on display in the 21st century and young, innocent and unarmed African men can be shot to death by municipal police troops to public and political approval, Mr. Obama is a mainstream closeted White racist imperialist’s dream come true.[i] He visibly absolves White racist terror publicly, gleefully and unashamedly with a sheepishly becoming “Vote for Me” smile. Shuffling dutifully with all the grace of a three-legged elephant during a GOP minstrel show, America’s newest “Favourite Negro” Barack Obama is letting “America” and the global community know in no uncertain terms that he accepts their racism, their denials of their xenophobia and that he is more than willing to keep this White supremacist gravy train rolling at home and abroad.
To deny this reality is foolish. And it is even more imprudent and more to the point embarrassing when the American African intelligentsia commissars not only give him their earnest endorsements but defend him from those within the African community that have the temerity to question his lack of dignity and personal and political integrity in the face of overwhelming racist and anti-Islamic attacks. It is proper that when forced by circumstance to confront such a situation, the African must look towards him and herself for clarification. I can find no better an analytical example than the Algerian psychiatrist Franz Fanon when he observed:
“In every country of the world there are climbers, “The ones who forget who they are,” and in contrast to them, “the ones who remember where they came from.”[ii]
The pragmatism of this statement is beyond reproach and it unfailingly deconstructs the storm of Euro-American angst surrounding the Obama presidential campaign and what it means for the United States and the world. As this writer has mentioned previously in other articles on the subject, Barack Obama, the half-White and therefore half-human politico wunderkind deeply critical of his pro-African religious mentor and brave hard-hitting apologist for White racism, represents a Get-out-of-Jail-Free playing card for those within the White power structure willing to vote for him. His candidacy is based entirely on the explicitly revisionist premise that by “allowing” him to get as far as he has in the race for the democratic party nomination, the nagging questions of xenophobia, White privilege and pro-Europocentric institutional bias have been effectively and honourably dealt with. In reality, the Obama rhetoric of “hope” and “change” only have relevance to Euro-American desires for alteration provided that White privilege and socio-political power remain concentrated within their traditional hierarchal configurations. And to date, he has not given any of us soberly conscious of who controls what, how and why any logical reason to be convinced otherwise that his presidency would be one of White power with a Brown face.
He is without debate the “Dream Candidate” that promises change without actually disturbing the European socio-political or economic status quo. His Black face with a White mask tap dance is designed to appeal emotively to slave and master alike, little more. This is possible because both are so thoroughly psychologically steeped within the historical American paradigms of acceptable class boundaries, race and the dignified acceptance of racialised power disparities that the very suggestion that a “Black” man could actually become the head-of-state of Pax Americana supposedly nullifies the historical and political realities of what makes the United States an empire in the first place.
It is something of an intellectual puzzlement to this writer that after five centuries of unceasing Aboriginal genocide and five recent years of unending and merciless violence against an innocent people already tenaciously clinging to existence because of a series of lies emanating from the Bush White House that the U.S. voting public is still willing to “stay the course.” And further, I find it an astoundingly hypocritical that a nation that shrieks peace while waging eternal war can still argue its goldenness while mothers, children, the crippled and the intrepid journalists documenting the carnage continue to litter the charnel grounds of the American consciousness. The untested perception that Mr. Obama will alter this vicious current of American imperialism after numerous media appearances and press statements affirming his determination to maintain and extend American economic and military muscle is childish as best. At its worst, it is practical confirmation of the existential fallacies that serve to illustrate the moral insincerities of American democracy, foreign policy and reactionary military engagement.
To say that I find Barack Obama troubling is to minimise the dangers I perceive in making a rush to find positivism within a decidedly restricted field of choice. Ralph Nader aside, it must be said that his call for the broadening of the American political landscape is more than laudable, it is vitally necessary if a real democracy is ever to emerge in the United States. The fact that large throngs of the U.S. public have historically never had direct access to the political process makes this abundantly clear as does the highly visible indications that a great deal of propagandistic effort and indoctrination goes into “proving” that these privileges do indeed exist. Mr. Barack Obama, for all his promising oratory of progressive Americanism, is the new poster-boy for why America “works.” He has officially added his voice to the fib that all Americans matter when one glance at the U.S. without rose coloured glasses shows a very different story. So to trust him on the basis of his skin tone alone under the assumption that he will enact a nicer, more democratic imperialism at home and abroad is dim-witted political thinking of the highest order. Especially since his reputation on these issues can only be termed as pathetically compliant to Europocentric capitalism in its most aggressive and virulent form. He differs little from his other presidential hopeful predecessors in that he talks one game and plays yet another in full view of a hopelessly gullible American public eager for some sort of change that will put more hard currency in their pockets, lower fuel and food prices and allow working people to purchase more material goods that offer an illusory upwardly mobile social advantage.
Obama and his team of sincere kingmakers are more than happy to put on a stern yet objective demeanour when discussing bombing Iran back into U.S. corporate control or how proud he is to give the Apartheid State of Israel more money, more weapons and more moral support in their zeal to effectively eliminate the existence of the Palestinian people from their ancestral territories.[iii] How this position can be reconciled with “progressivism” escapes me. He’s only willing to negotiate with Arabs suffering from western Orientalism provided they are willing to continue their function as defenceless walking targets of Arab genocide and following their inability to resist any longer, readily become captive consumer fodder for American manufactured commodities. Respect for their lives and lands are beside the point. Empires have never entertained provisions for commonsensical and justifiable resistance to their rule. Only contempt, vilification and death are accorded to those who dare speak of freedom be they intellectuals, partisans or parents simply and heroically struggling to keep their children alive in times of quarrel.
On the issue of murderous anti-African police brutality at home in light of the unconscionable acquittal of the officers that executed Sean Bell on his wedding day in yet another case of police claims of inadvertent “contagious shooting,” Mr. Obama who claims to never have suffered from American racism has offered no acknowledgement of this all too often occurring injustice.[iv] This alone says volumes about how he and his prospective administration would address ethical as well as lawful justice in the United States. As a conscious person of colour I cannot reconcile his support for empire with his promises of “change,” especially since he has yet to clearly define what that change would look like.
Admittedly, I reside outside of the political mainstream not so much by choice as much as it is a matter of personal integrity in the face of continual genocide. I stand opposed to the position of most American African intelligentsia in that I reject the choices imposed on us and actively seek actual, rather than theoretical representation from those that make claim to leadership positions within the communities to which I belong. For many of my contemporaries however, the illusion of personal and political power is sufficient primarily because such avenues are the paths of least resistance and in the short term offer an immediate return in the form of acceptance from the Europocentric power structure.
This self-defeating position is shared and promulgated by many within the American African petit-bourgeoisie who have long since adopted as their creed “Assimilation with Honour.” Sadly, the register is long of those who have cast their lot with the power structure despite the reality that the authority is on a variety of levels, classist, sexist, xenophobic and just plain wrong. Historically Madame C.J. Walker must head off this list, (she became the first female self-made millionaire in the U.S. for developing a process for “straightening” African hair) followed by Booker T. Washington who strongly argued that Africans should simply accept White racism with nobility as a fact of life while existing in self-segregated social and political “dignity.” In the modern era, former Secretary of State Colin Powell of My Lai fame ranks high on this inventory as does current secretary Condi Rice, media personality Oprah Winfrey, Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence “Uncle” Thomas, paid Bush administration propagandist Armstrong Williams and White privilege warrior Ward Anthony Connerly.
A logical extension of this dreadful paradigm can also be accorded to hypothetical counter-cultural icons such as “gangsta” rapper Snoop Dogg, ex-pimps like Don “Magic” Juan and shock-comedians such as Paul Mooney whose long term and loose usage of the racial epithet Nigger is principally responsible for its mainstreaming into the national, now international, vernacular. It wasn’t until the very public nervous breakdown of fellow actor-comedian Michael Richards wherein he responded to a group of American African hecklers by shouting the insult several times
(including threats of lynching) did Mooney finally realise his role in substantiating and justifying anti-African racism in the American consciousness.[v] He eventually came to the conclusion that the word does indeed carry the weight of 400 plus years of anti-African bias and now works against its use. One can only speculate, if Mr. Mooney were still a highly sought after mainstream performer/writer earning inflated fees for demeaning his own people along traditional White racist plotlines, would he have reversed his opinion? I ask this since he made it a point to say he would not use the epithet and then later on reneged during a show at the world famous Apollo Theatre. So much for acknowledgment of past misdeeds and his unique responsibility towards those of us highly offended by the word and are now required by popular demand to accept its use towards our people and our person as a matter of perverted political correctness. Are Kike, Chink and Spic soon to follow?[vi]
At this juncture I wish to point out that I am not in any way seeking to lay exclusive responsibility upon those I have briefly mentioned here. But it bears serious examination that the examples I listed above are defended as mainstays within American popular and political culture while the individuals and organisations actively and diametrically opposed to the philosophy of humble servility to White racialist paradigms of defamation are demonised as reverse-racist and “counter-productive.” Hence, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is honoured while the memory, teachings and the works of Malcolm X are commandingly despised. The former believed in the American system, the latter called for separation of the slave from the slave master. I ask the reader to inquire within his or her own being to decide which example appears more threatening to a nationalistic system of capitalist exploitation, Europocentric hegemony and celebrated via Manifest Destiny.
This is where Barack Obama and the rest of the Negritude assimilationist cadre enter the picture. While they all to an individual profess ethical abhorrence toward racism, exploitation and violence in any form and from any quarter, their actions and words demonstrate something else entirely. In order to accept this or any other social scheme one must also to a great degree accept and internalise its inherent values, good and bad. To accept “Americanism” one would also have to acknowledge how the country was founded and who and how many were harmed and where to make it all possible as well as the excuses and mythologies created to explain why these measures were indispensable, inevitable and honourable. Every immigrant to the U.S. that smugly adopts the designation of “American citizen” instantaneously becomes a part of a system of colonial, genocidal and racist chauvinism. It is morally inescapable to claim otherwise without slipping off a high cliff of eugenicist revisionism worthy of the Third Reich. Feigned innocence to the national disgrace of genocide and lebenstraumpolitik whilst Aboriginals and Africans still pay a heavy price for European power in the Americas at the expense of our blood, soil and misplaced labour is far from excusable. It is indisputably morally reprehensible and most deserving of any choice of levels in the Christian conception of Dante’s Hell.
From here many other unpleasant yet accurate points fall into place and do much to explain how we all arrived to this point in time. Fundamentally, this mind-set stems from a pessimistic yet much-admired hypothesis that pro-Europocentric racial discrimination is a politically embedded and morally indispensable principle of American life and social stability. It goes without saying that those of non-European heritages who have “thrived” in spite of their “barbarism” are intrinsically valuable to such a system precisely because they can be utilized as living examples of the “rightness” intrinsic within European socio-theological paradigms of living, expression and social justice. The detail that ethnic, sexual and intellectual sub-populations in the U.S. have had to resist and continue to struggle for parity are reconfigured as obvious exceptions that ultimately prove the rule that White power over non-Europeans is a “noble” power. So therefore all opposition to said power is akin to “wickedness” and rightly subject to corporal punishment at the behest of the prevailing power composition. Or to paraphrase Romans Chapter 13: “There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power.”
Like a dedicated cohors praetoria of a long bygone European imperial era, these non-European but ideological advocates for the state have repeatedly proved that they will engage in warfare with the victimised sectors of the society the “system,” by its own baroque rhetoric, is designed to protect and serve.[vii] Despite the certainty that their own power is exceedingly limited by the very same authorities and conventions they steadfastly and obediently serve.
Unsurprisingly, this cadre of professional propagandists and legislative attack dogs has extended itself to condemning legitimate demands that Mr. Obama answer to his “base.” Even American African pop artists who have gained a certain level of approval if not the silent classification as “acceptable darkies” by the Europocentric elite appear more willing to assail their own rather than the establishment power entities overtly and covertly spearheading attacks aimed not just at Mr. Obama but the African, Aboriginal, Latino, Arab, Homosexual and religious communities in the U.S. as a whole.
The much lauded “Hip-Hop Generation” isn’t much better in this regard either. Music performer 50 Cent, an accurate example of everything Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did not want for American Africans, tells the mainstream media, "I'm not sure America is ready to have a black president…I think they might kill him."[viii] So much for White fears of African solidarity in the face of historical anti-African bias and genocide. While we can send each other to the graveyard over trivial matters, we cannot seem to apply similar determination to alter the reality that makes ethnic cannibalism possible in the first place.
Acquiescence to White power for the rather dubious and defeating privilege of “livin’ large” has it would appear broadly and thoroughly replaced the humanistic and egalitarian ambitions of the Civil Rights movement. Further, this attitude should come as no surprise when one considers that this age bracket merrily rationalises their use of the anti-African epithet “Nigger” simply because they decided to spell it as “Nigga” to peddle their product.[ix] Indeed, the slave has grown quite accustomed to his chains, even if they are made of diamond encrusted gold mined under the inhuman conditions imposed on fellow Africans labouring and dying in the commodity mines of “new” South Africa. To put things in an Indigenist perspective, the murders of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse by fellow Aboriginals proud to don the badges and uniforms of the invader illustrates that this convention of traitorous servitude to European authority is nothing new. For American Africans the stabbing of Dr. King and the assassination of Malcolm X in Harlem provide a similar alarming clarity. In many cases and for a sinister variety of reasons liberation activists are often in more direct physical danger from reactionary elements of their own populace than they are from the opposing entities they stand against. What would make a victim turn against his or her champions is often a psychological confusion as to where and what is of importance, civil and ethical justice or the material gain promised by the oppressor for treason against logical common sense. Many of these Vichy reactionaries are entirely convinced that the moral rewards for subjugating themselves and their own far outweigh the pitiful and paternalistic pats on the proverbial back earned by such betrayals. So in essence, their ill-gotten gains are no greater now than they were in the past.
It’s not that there are no significant voices of opposition to the presence of an immaculate Jim Crow in the world of political machinations, far from it. But one would be hard pressed to find it presented on major mainstream corporative news media. Differing sharply from his ethnically Jewish political contemporaries who shamelessly defend their people against any and all forms of Judeophobia real or imagined including the genocidal actions of the Israeli state, Mr. Obama shows absolutely no such allegiance or empathy for his own brothers and sisters stateside or otherwise. As one of the most powerful Africans in the world, Barack Obama has never, ever used his incredible influence to address American racism as the ferociously black hearted anti-human process it really is. Instead, he has presented an olive branch to the colonial Euro-American population and his fellow lackeys by proclaiming that he “understands” their fear of non-Europeans and confirms their suspicions that they are indeed under siege by a relentless and mindless rabble.[x]
This unrelenting and self-serving drive by the Obama for President Campaign to achieve “legitimacy” along the prescribed lines of “reasonable leadership” is telling in its very simplicity. By disregarding and discouraging any and all valid disillusionment with his lack of reliability on issues that effect African people, the medically uninsured and those devastated by American imperial controls become clearer when one considers that his very public denunciation of just such an advocate.
The Reverend Doctor Jeremiah Wright, a seasoned veteran of the Black American Church tradition and a Marine who served his hitch honourably, unlike the current commander-in-chief, (including serving a term in the United States Navy as a medical technician who served on the team caring for then President Lyndon B. Johnson) has as of late been harassed to no end by reactionary and fascistic elements of the Euro-American media for his outspoken criticism of the United States in regards to its revisionist stance towards its own dark history of colonialism, violence and genocide. The questions raised by the minister are cardinal questions for the entire society but Mr. Obama and his supporters are blaming the messenger for daring to speak the truth, nor a truth as it is promoted, but the reality about the United States and its own internal and external polices of exclusion and domination of the poor, the weak and different.
While Mr. Obama alone stands to blame the most for allowing this situation to spiral out of control, (primarily because Rev. Wright was his long time personal and theological mentor) the broad condemnation lodged against the minister for being honest says more about the African in the United States than it does about the turmoil created by his sermons. Given the scope and depth of the indoctrination people of colour endure in the U.S. it stands to reason that a White backlash to his observations could be expected. But the fact that other Africans, chiefly those whose livelihoods are wholly dependent upon access to White favours are so swift to jump on the anti-Rev. Wright bandwagon in the face of continual historical racism displays how broken the African really is when faced with the reality of his and her condition. Rev. Wright’s crime is that he is an African man intelligent enough to articulate his own position and the deplorable condition of the African man and woman in America. In other words, he is what the last generation of Whites used to call a “Smart Nigger,” code words for a Black man who isn’t stupid, shiftless and willing to allow the overseer to beat him to death without an equally reciprocal rejoinder. In other words, Rev. Wright is not Uncle Tom.[xi]
Spike Lee immediately comes to mind in this regard but he is not the only one. Housewife’s choice superstar Oprah Winfrey has also come out against Mr. Obama’s critics by denouncing his former pastor, the Reverend Doctor Jeremiah Wright via proxy spokespersons on the right-wing dominated media circuit. Apparently she does not have the courage to denounce the good minister for telling the truth in person. If she did, her mostly Euro-American studio audience and ego-Oprah Magazine subscriptions would recede quicker than a spilff passed amongst the crowd of an Amsterdam coffee shop. This is hardly a original circumstance and without debate it is as depressingly deep-rooted and as old as the empire itself. As my Gullah-Indio father told me long ago, divide and conquer is a game played by White people all over the world and without that curious principle, Europeans could never have gained control of the third world nor ever have had the opportunity to construct empirical outposts wherever they decide to drop their anchors.
This reliance on psychological ju-jutsu can almost never be acknowledged by those targeted for such intrigues or expressed as anything other than frustration and self-directed angst. Its victims are by keen deception fooled into believing that their painful state of being is a natural one and that submission to external authority is the moral and intellectual equivalent of sanity and virtuosity. To state that the African is compelled to exist within two parallel states of being to survive says much about the world in which he lives. This shameful dichotomy exists whether the European in the Americas or his moral lapdogs of any ethnicity wishes to acknowledge it or not. It must also be said aloud that this duality is immediately subjective for the African and other Aboriginals residing at the bottom of the U.S. human totem pole.
No Ashkenazi Jew in the 21st century would be expected or obligated to defer to Judeophobia in any form in any nation on Earth on the basis of a moralistic purity imposed by Gentiles. The very existence and belligerently xenophobic quasi-theological narration of the modern State of Israel is empirical proof of this. Yet, the African and the Aboriginal in the Americas is expected as well as obligated to accept and defend European cultural power as the unchallenged rule of the universe as dictated the protestant version of the ancient Semitic deity. The process by which we are duty-bound to articulate this peculiar state of affairs is described as “civilisation” and it differs little in direct comparison with the pretentious Europocentric rhetoric of 1930’s NSDAP propaganda.[xii]
For as long as North America has been occupied by Europeans, the approaches to positive maintenance of Europocentric hegemony have flowed and ebbed in response to its ever-changing derma-graphic, an unwanted but unavoidable consequence of multi-national colonialism. White power defined as White power by mainstream White people is no longer ethically feasible in the 21st century. In the main, such vulgar displays of unearned privilege, despite the wordage, have been officially consigned to the lower economic-classes of White Americans the social order has authoritatively designated as “White Trash.” In today’s polite society, code terms such as “crime,” “welfare” and “immigration” have replaced the use of “Black ghettoes,” “lazy Niggers” and “Wetbacks” with the more elucidating language reserved for poor Whites who misguidedly lodge their discontent against the equally powerless rather than the actual elite capitalistic sources of their disenfranchisement.
Barack Obama, product of multi-cultural imperialism has internalised these “values” and has sworn to uphold them come Hell or high water. The “change” he offers is only cosmetic, as he has not by way of personal or political example presented anything even remotely resembling a restructuring of the existing state of affairs. As an excellent case in point, he has recently gone so far as to support the Cherokee Vichy government based in occupied Oklahoma against the Freedmen who were unceremoniously and legally dis-enrolled by its White Indian majority by standing against the Congressional Black Caucus who want to withhold funding from the tribe for its racist purge of their African members due to the Chad Smith administration’s lucid violation of the U.S. Constitution.[xiii]
In spite of the fact that many of the Freedmen are if not all, including this writer, of verifiable Aniyvwiya blood, the Cherokee Nation excuses their expulsion on the dubious grounds of tribal sovereignty. A rather questionable claim since the Cherokee fly American flags in their territories, willingly accept U.S. federal funds and law enforcement jurisdiction, aggressively describe themselves “American” and proudly serve in the U.S. colonial military forces knowingly helping those who stole our lands and dignity appropriate someone else’s. Mr. Obama’s stance on this issue should give all Aboriginals and other people of colour around the world pause. With this sort of leadership coming from an educated person of colour running for the CEO seat of the United States, why wouldn’t White folks too cowardly to join the John Birch Society or David Duke’s EURO movement not love this guy?[xiv]
But there’s much more. Like the rest of the African “leadership” in Washington D.C., he avoids questions surrounding the abuse, torture and forced labour of Aboriginals, Africans and other non-Europeans incarcerated in the United States. The rationale behind why so many are serving extensive prison terms due to non-violent drug offences in which people of colour are accorded more jail time than their White counterparts also goes unanswered as does racial profiling. The problem of disparity in home mortgages also goes unchecked in light of the rash of official findings that prove rampant racism against African and Latinos in receiving home loans including their choices on where to purchase still exists as a matter of capitalist and White racist self-indulgence. Institutional racism in employment? It’s another non-issue to the house Negro elitists who have managed to bypass the ill-mannered biases of many Euro-American human resources personnel that really believe that they are doing the White world a favour by rejecting certain applications as if we also do not need to provide for our families. I could go on but limitations of space constrain how much a can list here in a single article and I promise the reader this is far from a complete inventory of oversights by the Obama team and his legions of liberal ditto-heads.
This ‘Paradigm of neglect’ does however have its highlights. He has not to any appreciable extent called the Bush White House or White collective America to task for its willing negligence towards Hurricane Katrina’s African victims. Like his soul-sister Condoleeza Rice who was observed buying shoes and attending a Broadway musical in New York City while people drowned in New Orleans,[xv] he has given Bush and Co. a pass no politician in any other western democratic nation would have received under similar conditions. Mr. Obama has said nothing concerning the illegal purging of American African men from the Florida voting rolls in either 2000 or 2004 and we would all be idiots of the highest order to assume that the next round will be any different.
For those among us who are dismayed concerning American African inequalities but are more concerned about “all” of us as “Americans”, consider the following: Mr. Obama has yet to have a word on the horrible treatment American military personnel and their families are receiving from the current administration and even less about the homicidal rampage U.S. taxpayer mercenaries are waging on behalf of American multinationals in Iraq against its civilian Arab population.[xvi] If Barack Obama wants to be the next Commander-in-Chief of Pax Americana these questions need to be addressed seriously and without reservation. So far nothing is forthcoming and as far as I am many other astute observers can distinguish, nothing of any pragmatic substance is likely to come from him that is not preferential to the business community that really runs the United States and the mainstream Euro-American public that runs the streets.
Nor has he at any time been willing to address the level of abject racism employed by the Clinton’s in their fervour to re-take the Oval Office. From purposefully darkening his features in campaign advertising[xvii] to suggestions that he would have a hard time getting up in the morning to go to work, Hillary and Bill have pulled every racially negative code-word and tactic they can conceivably use short of calling him a Nigger in public spaces. Just this week Hillary made it a point to state that Obama simply cannot win based on the fact that she is virtually guaranteed the ‘White’ vote providing these Whites go to the polls and stick with the Democratic Party. Even if Mr. Obama were the radical Islamic African “Manchurian Candidate” the neo-conservative propagandists are so ferociously painting him as, he and his advisors would not be so stupid as to say something so blatantly racist towards Euro-Americans. The only redeeming value, if there are any to found in her remarks, is that what she said a painful, for Africans anyway, political truth. Many self-defined Whites, even liberals with lifelong subscriptions to The Nation, are not across the racial chessboard willing to vote for a Black man. Even if he is a contemporary and literal interpretation of Booker T. Washington and all that variety of obsequiousness to White supremacy entails.[xviii]
What Barack Obama truly represents is a return to the normal America but in a form and fashion that maintains hegemony in costume. Not change, but a superficial alteration to how the U.S. looks rather than how it actually functions. Talk of “change” is just that, incessant chatter repeated long enough to convince the observer that something truly different is happening when in actuality nothing has changed at all but the packaging.
What liberal Euro-Americans are unconsciously seeking is a reincarnation of Septimius Severus, the African emperor who managed to hold the Roman Empire together in wake of the chaos produced by Emperor Marcus Aurelius' ne’er do well offspring Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus.[xix] Emerging victorious at the end the Year of the Five Emperors, Severus brought needed stability to the entire empire and that included the use of military force to keep his fellow Africans and other non-European nations in line. His predecessor the boy Emperor Commodus, much like Bush the Younger, ran the imperial government into the ground via a series of erratic courses of action and questionable personal behaviour in which his massive ego held sway over sensible leadership. For many Romans fully cognisant of their leader’s acute spinelessness, Commodus’ insistence on donning gladiator garb, his slaughter of the helpless and crippled in the coliseum, economic favours to those loyal to him and his own egotistical comparisons to the legend of Hercules was just too much to bear. Following his assassination by those closest to him, various political personalities attempted to rule to no avail until Severus, supported by the military commissars claimed the imperial throne in 193 CE. He swiftly crushed resistance to his reign by killing his most prominent rival Clodius Albinus in the Battle of Lugdunum, (present day Lyon, France) and solidified his position as emperor of the Roman republic.
He is most famous for the restoration of Hadrian's Wall, the reduction of administrative and military corruption at home and successfully established a lasting calm in Roman Britannia which at the time was being severely despoiled by marauding Gaullist barbarians and warring tribes from greater Germania. An self-admitted dictator, Serverus, after eighteen years of often shrewdly brutal but logical administration passed away in Eburacum (present day York, England) on February 4th 211 CE at the age of 64 of pneumonia.
The similarities between the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, the rule of Septimius Severus, the socio-political environments in which they rose to prominence and the deep desire of the colonialist Euro-American population to maintain the global status quo are much too analogous to ignore. Both men were of mixed African parentage and believed wholeheartedly in the role and authority of the prevailing empirical power. Both men came to prominence at a point in time when the empire was on the brink of disintegration due in large part to an unrestrained egotistical leadership bordering on self-defined idolatry and unchecked colossal elitist greed at the expense of the general working population. Like Severus, Mr. Obama has clearly stated his intentions to use intimidating if not belligerent force to subdue Arabian resistance to European imperialism in Western Asia and again like Severus, he promises to expand the war making capabilities of the military at the expense of projects that should serve the general public.
Perhaps most importantly, Mr. Obama just like the Emperor Severus has made it clear to friend and foe alike that he is consciously willing to subjugate the victims of the Empire, (fellow Africans in the case of Severus and the peoples of the Third and Fourth Worlds in regards to Mr. Obama) expressly for the benefit of the Empire and those that claim ownership of it.[xx] So it stands to reason that the change Mr. Obama speaks of is actually no change at all if one is to move beyond the aesthetics of his rhetoric or the passions of his supporters.
True change must involve a serious and committed reconfiguration of the europocentrically dominated status quo and nothing less. Barack Obama sadly does not characterize that transformation. He instead symbolises like the Roman Emperor Severus the Europeanised African, a direct product of White power and domination rather than inter-cultural communication and respect as equal members of the human family. And no different to Severus, he has thrown his lot with the enemies of humanity and justice. I too was an Uncle Tom for most of my life. I learned and it is possible for him to come to grips with reality too. He needs only be brave enough to wish redemption not from a mystery God but from himself as a human being.
We need real change. We demand real change. All of us, without regard to ethnicity, national origin or theological delusion must be a part of the process, not an aspect in the landscape. Euro-Americans know this and this is why so many fight so hard to keep things as they always have been. This pointless fear of the loss of unearned entitlement chokes the mind, heart and spirit of the White public and it is ultimately their responsibility to address it. If the White American population is at all serious about change, they internally and individually must actualise that change, not just demand that the rest of us alter our reality to suit their insecurities. Our responsibility as persons of colour given this opportunity is to continue that endeavour through self-education, self-evaluation and reliance upon our own innate sense of justice and survival as recognised by Malcolm, Martin, Mumia, Leonard Peltier and a million nameless and faceless others lost in the struggle to the midst of time.
If at that point the European in the Americas still cannot accept the fact that this is the world he alone has made and is willing to reconcile himself with the negatives of his own making, then nothing is stopping him from returning to the lands of his roots. For nothing is or has prevented him from building exactly the sort of xenophobic bubble they have been griping about on his own subcontinent. He needs only to have the courage to pack his bags and go home leaving behind a more humanistic and all-encompassing vision of what may have become had he acted and lived differently when afforded the occasion.
And contrary to conventional belief, offering us Barack Obama as a substitute for justice in Pax Americana more than a day late and a dollar short of the genuine debt owed to so many by so few. It is an insult to the memories of all who have given their all just to breathe in free air on a planet that belongs to all of us.
[i] NYT: “In Bell Case, Black New Yorkers See Nuances That Temper Rage” Manny Fernandez, Published: April 27, 2008
[ii] Franz Fanon: “Black Skin, White Masks” 1967
[iii] Jerusalem Post: “Obama reaffirms support for Israel,” May 13th 2008
[iv] New York Post: “Sean Bell Detectives Found not Guilty,” April 25, 2008
[v] Associated Content: “Paul Mooney on Michael Richards: He Cured Me of Using the N-Word” published Nov 28, 2006
[vi] Ward Churchill: “Let's Spread the fun Around” (http://www.coloradoaim.org/Wardchurchillspreadthefunaround.htm)
[vii] Larry Elder: “Is Racism America's Greatest Problem?” (http://www.larryelder.com/racial/racism.html)
[viii] MTV News: “50 Cent Flip-Flops: From Hillary To Obama To 'Don't Know'” Mar 28 2008
[ix] R. Kennedy, Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word. Vintage, 2003
[x] Excised from Barack Obama’s “Race Speech” transcript: The Huffington Post, March 18, 2008:
“In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.”
[xi] Dr. David Pilgrim, Professor of Sociology Ferris State University Dec., 2000 “The Tom Caricature” (http://www.ferris.edu/news/jimcrow/tom/)
[xii] Imbleau, Martin. "Der Stürmer." Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. Ed. Dinah Shelton. Vol. 1. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005
[xiii] "Cherokee leader wants to overturn freedmen decision" published from AP story on KTEN.com, 2006
[xiv] Paul Gorksy: “Language of Closet Racism: An Illustration” (http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/papers/langofracism2.html)
[xv] Talkleft: “Condi Rice Shops for Shoes, works on backhand” Sep 01, 2005 (http://www.talkleft.com/story/2005/09/01/615/28014)
[xvi] ABC News/Brian Ross Blog: “Despite Investigations, Blackwater to Keep Working In Iraq” April 4, 2008
[xvii] AOL News/David Knowles: “Darkness Visible” March 6th 2008
[xviii] Tim Wise: “Uh-Obama: Racism, White Voters and the Myth of Color-Blindness ” March 6, 2008
[xix] Carlisle, Edward E., and Josephine E. Carlisle. "Septimius Severus (Negro Emperor of Rome)" Chapter in Historical Sketches of the Ancient Negro: A Compilation. 1920
[xx] John Jay: “Those who own the country ought to govern it.”
I read "My Stroke of Insight" in one sitting - I couldn't put it down. I laughed. I cried. It was a fantastic book (I heard it's a NYTimes Bestseller and I can see why!), but I also think it will be the start of a new, transformative Movement! No one wants to have a stroke as Jill Bolte Taylor did, but her experience can teach us all how to live better lives. Her TED.com speech was one of the most incredibly moving, stimulating, wonderful videos I've ever seen. Her Oprah Soul Series interviews were fascinating. They should make a movie of her life so everyone sees it. This is the Real Deal and gives me hope for humanity.
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