Dr Boyce Watkins: Why Barack Obama was NOT the first black president
by Dr Boyce Watkins
I know this might offend some of us who have found Barack Obama worthy of worship, but the truth is that we probably worship him because we are accustomed to consistent abuse. Most of my conversations with the White House and other political leaders were infuriating because the implication was that black people have such low standards for themselves and their children that they will settle for any politician who eats barbecue chicken and does the electric slide.
With that being said, here are some reasons that Barack Obama was not the first black president:
1) He was half-white. So yes, he did receive some of that white privilege that many of us talk about. White privilege doesn’t just come from looking white (Wesley Snipes would never be elected because he is too dark), it also comes with statistical indicators of average family income, where you were raised, how well you were educated, or whether you could write a book about having tried cocaine and still become president of the United States. Had I tried cocaine in the past, I certainly wouldn’t be president, and I’d probably be in prison.
2) He was raised white. Places like Kansas and Hawaii are light years away from the places many black people tend to dwell. His white grandparents were his primary influence, along with his white, liberal, feminist mother. This is how you create a white, liberal, feminist president.
3) His great great grandparents were never on the plantation. He’s not a descendant of slaves. Therefore, when the conversation about reparations is brought to his table, he ignored it. It had nothing to do with him. Maybe it had to do with his wife, but not him. So, it’s no coincidence that this issue, along with the great depression-era levels of black unemployment and catastrophic urban violence right down the street from his house, were never high on his priority list.
Obama was the first gay president (Newsweek put this on their cover because he did so much for the gay community) He was a strong feminist president (White women loved him because he helped them to steal our affirmative action) He was a great white president and a textbook liberal.He was a man who knew how to be everything to everyone. His family looked amazing on magazine covers that the White House fed us as if it represented tangible policy. He allowed black people with low self-esteem to brag to their mothers that they performed at the White House and had Christmas dinner with the president. He made you feel like the system had finally accepted you. That’s why you loved him. He was your political Jesus. It’s also why you may hate me for telling you the truth.
Barack Obama was NOT the first black president. That man or woman won’t arrive for another 150 years. The reason is that America is not ready for a real black president. This country is not ready for a black person in the White House who will:
– Speak the truth about how trillions in wealth was stolen from black people without compensation or apology – Confront the tragedy of thousands of black babies being shot dead in the street while middle class whites live safely in neighborhoods that haven’t been strategically destroyed through decades of social engineering. – Deal with black unemployment levels that would have white people rioting in the streets. – Speak openly about America’s need to face a toxic and debilitating wealth gap that most Americans are choosing to ignore. – Stop any and all attacks by racist police and criminal justice officials who see black people as food for a machine of capitalist slavery (go read the 13th Amendment if you aren’t aware that slavery was never abolished for those the government chooses to label with a felony).
A black president is not measured by what he looks like, he’s measured by what he DOES. If Barack Obama had the same policies but had been a Republican, most black people would hate him as much as they hate Dr Ben Carson. The fact is that you end up loving who you’ve been TOLD to love. You accept whatever you think you can get. And the fact of the matter is that some of you are mad at me because you’re thinking, “What’s wrong with this ungrateful ass nigga?”
Sorry folks, but I believe we deserve a better deal. We must stop becoming accustomed to riding at the back of the bus. We must stop worshipping those who ignore us. We need to stop believing that people are our friends when behind closed doors, they talk about you like you’re a $2 prostitute. I saw this. I was invited to these meetings when I worked closely with Rev. Al Sharpton. I saw blatant disrespect for black people and it angered me to the point of no return. I’m serious. I walked out the door and told them that I was never coming back. I told the White House to stop calling me to convince me to ask black people to support policies that I knew were not good for our people. It was absolutely horrendous.
So, I end what probably sounds like a rant by saying that we deserve a real black president. But the truth is that, in order to get one, the rest of America is going to have to overcome its resistance to blackness. But the fact of the matter is that most Americans are not educated on race, racism, racial history or what it’s going to take for this country to find true healing. So, instead, we just settle for the superficial.