Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why I’m not voting for Barack Obama- Part Two

So, last week I wrote to you about Barack Obama, you know the man who is about to speak to like 40,000 people at INVESCO Field in Denver, Colorado. Yeah that guy. I’m not voting for him and he’s really upset with me. OK I made that up, he doesn’t know I exist. And he wouldn’t care if he did.

Anyway Today I am going to make the only, almost legitimate, case I see for voting for Mr. Obama and probably be called a reverse racist in the process.

But first, a word on Joe Biden:

Never mind.

Sorry I know you must find me cynical. I really am a very hopeful person. I’m just not optimistic. To paraphrase Cornell West, my people remain hopeful but have no logical reason to be optimistic. Or even more importantly to quote Mr. West on Mr. Obama: “He’s got folk who are talking to him, that warrant our distrust.” That’s Joe Biden in a nutshell.

Finally, the only almost legitimate reason I can find for voting for Barack Obama. Drum roll…

He is Black.

There it is. I said it. The only thing that makes me consider voting for Mr. Obama is that he is black. I know you think I’m discriminating. I’m basically making it OK for white people to vote for people because they are white. Or making it OK to tokenize people because they are brown. Except, I’m not. Power dynamics and slavery make the concept of reverse–racism non-existent. If you need me to explain, I can’t right now. It’s a long process of deconstructing the concept of racism, and explaining 400 years of colonialism. I don’t have time for it. So for now just agree or disagree with me, whichever you chose.

For the record, (Geraldine Ferraro – I’m talking to you) Black Americans as a voting bloc do not vote for someone just because they are black. If we did, Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley Braun would have scared the crap out of John Kerry.

Ok so back to voting for Barack because he is black. Now first I have to preface this concept with a few ground rules. Voting for someone because they are black does not apply to all black candidates, i.e. Alan Keyes, Clarence Thomas, and Condoleezza Rice. Such a concept contains basic requirements. Like you can’t be black and run on a platform that says “I hate Black People.” Which, in a really over-generalized nutshell, is the basic mental attitude of the aforementioned African Americans. And you can’t be a crystal meth dealer or something like that. All things being equal between candidates... vote for the black person.

I understand why someone would think like this. This rationale is really simple: “someone is gonna be in the White House anyway, why not let it be a brother or a sister.” The reality is that at least once in his life, Barack Obama was probably called a nigger and as a result you could make an inference that he might do more to help those of us that are treated like niggers every single day. I’m perfectly fine with that argument except for one thing, history has shown us that it doesn’t work out.

Now we all think that Barack Obama’s candidacy is historic. This evening he became the first African American to be nominated for president by a major party. I think some of us forget that it wasn’t that long ago that the first black mayor of a major city was elected.

His name was Carl Stokes and he was elected mayor of Cleveland on November 7, 1967. On a smaller scale, his candidacy carried the same type of hope. Since his election there have been dozens of black mayors elected in major cities across the country. Most every major metropolis has had at least one African American mayor.

And guess what? Most every major city is segregated with Black Americans living in third world conditions. One in 15 black male adults is currently incarcerated compared to 1 in 106 white male adults. The vast majority of these incarcerations happen in large cities often under the purview of Black Mayors. In fact the presence of Black Mayors has had no impact on the growth of the black prison population.
For more info on that check out:

Now I’m not trying to imply that a mayor is as powerful as the president. I’m merely analyzing the success of Black Political Executives attempting to govern in a white dominated society. The long-term success has been limited at best. Furthermore sometimes really terrible things have happened during the tenure of Black Mayors.

Two of the most racially charged and disastrous events to take place in my lifetime were the LA Riots and the bombing of the MOVE organization in Philadelphia. The LA Riots also known as the LA Rebellion, happened as a direct result of the beating of Rodney King by several white LAPD Officers. The officers were caught on videotape and the horrific brutal attack was transmitted to every household in the United States. When the trial of the Police Officers was moved to Simi Valley, the officers were acquitted by a jury made up of ten white jurors and zero black jurors. The mayor of Los Angeles at the time was a black man named Tom Bradley. In fairness to Mr. Bradley, he was adamantly opposed to the brutality of the officers and fought to have them convicted. But the point remains that this event happened on his watch and he didn’t have the authority to prevent it or the power to implement justice afterwards. In response, many people in South Central L.A., lit the city on fire. Mayor Bradley appeared to have no ability to prevent this from happening.

On May 13, 1984, another horrendous event took place, the bombing of the MOVE Organization in their home on Osage Ave. in Philadelphia, PA. MOVE is a radical organization made up of mostly black members. In 1984 they came into conflict with the city of Philadelphia. For years MOVE had been the target of brutal attacks by the Philadelphia Police Department. During this particular conflict, the city attempted to execute warrants for the arrest of several MOVE members. MOVE refused to cooperate. The city’s response was to drop a bomb on the roof of the MOVE House. Subsequently officials decided to let the house burn instead of putting out the flames; even though the fire department had poured tens of thousands of gallons of water on the house earlier in the morning. Eventually the house became fully consumed with flames. When people tried to escape the house with their children they were shot at. Six adults and five children were killed. Sixty houses were burned to the ground leaving an entire city block in rubble. The Mayor at the time was none other than Wilson Goode, Philadelphia’s first Black Mayor. Unlike Mayor Bradley, Mayor Goode ordered this brutal and unnecessary attack.

So on second thought, we can’t vote for someone simply because they are black, tempting as it may be. And even if the candidate is well intentioned the system and its powerful interests are not. I’m not voting for Barack Obama. If I can’t trust the system he represents than I can’t trust him, even if he is Black.


  1. Who will you be voting for?

  2. well put. how about that the idea that public opinion of the U.S. will go up 50% if Obama wins? luv, leen

  3. This argument traffics in a false dichotomy, which is that either a person 'represents the system,' or (s)he does not. Only through this crude lens are Obama, McCain, Barr, etc. on the same (the "system's") team.

    The argument also, interestingly, rejects the profiling of Obama on what might be considered a plus (race) while relentlessly profiling him on what are perceived minuses (he's powerful, he's a politician). What about his personal history? His qualifications (or lack thereof)? Might as well just go with the 'moral majority' and decide that a kid who is any of (a) poor, (b) multiethnic, (c) from a single parent household can never be president. I guess Obama hits the trifecta.

    This is 2000 all over again, but with the distinctions much greater and the stakes much higher. But who cares about a couple of fake wars and drowned cities when we get the endless pleasure of snickering at corrupt, boring Al Gore? Decency, intellect and life's work aside, he's just W in a fat suit, I suppose.

    We can't definitively say Obama won't invade Iran!? Jesus wept. Hell, I can't definitively say I won't get hit by a car today, or (Jesus weeping harder!) kill some kid with my bike. I guess I better stay the fuck home.

    It's true corporations are the first tier of power. How much fatter and happier they'll be when all voters of conscience decide to abstain.

  4. It is not important to consider the alternative, however little the difference may seem? What I mean is, by casting a vote FOR someone, you may, in effect, cast one AGAINST another.