Stop——as they say——the presses.
We just found out the reason for high black unemployment, bad neighborhoods, and other black problems.
Too many black people think black people with “books are acting white.”
That’s what Michelle Obama just said at a graduation speech at historically black Bowie State University in Maryland.
She said she was quoting what her hubby, the POTUS, has said, and said publicly.
Yup, that would be the same POTUS, the first black one incidentally, who’s afraid to mention the word “black,” and especially “black people,” specifically having anything to do with their daily encounters with white racism. You’d never know, if you had to wait for him to say it, that black unemployment was around 14 percent, astronomically higher among young blacks. Racism, by the way, remains alive and well. You don’t have to get all scholarly and read tracts by folks like Tim Wise to, er, prove this, when you have this empirical evidence and your native common sense before you. Forget for a moment metropolises like New York, Los Angeles and, where I live now, Atlanta although they’re bad enough. Are you really prepared to say sovereign hamlets like Jenna, La., Savannah, N.Y., and my hometown of Savannah, Ga. provide equal access of its resources to all its citizenry?
But…but…his black supporters say… he’s not just a black president (although they asked you pretty much to vote for him because he is black) but that he has to represent all people.
Yeah….but it is blacks who are the lone ethnic group I’ve heard him—-and now, of course, the First Missus—-single out for criticism. ‘Chelle complained in that Bowie State speech that too many blacks listen to rap and wanna be “ballers” and such. ‘Cause, as we all know, young white people are so…well, serious. What’s that you say? You can smell the snark in that comment? You’ve read about some young white males doing their version of dropping out, like shunning academia? Well, then, where’s the white public speaker condemning them for their laziness? For that matter, where is the Hispanic speaker lodging similar criticisms about his homeys on television?
It appears as if this public self-criticism is the province only of blacks. Is it because that many of those in power want to say it themselves and can’t without being suspect? I saw the Michelle footage while watching NBC News. When they cut back to the studio, you never saw such a satisfied smile as that which was on Brian Williams.
Look, I have no prob with pointing out black pathology—-as long as we follow the line to its sources—-a trek, by the way, which could likely lead into the pathologies of other groups, one in particular.
This public self-criticism is also portrayed as a brave act. It’s not brave. It’s kicking the relative down when they’re down. All this also reminds me of all those “nigga-ain’t-shit” putdowns I, as a youth, had heard so many of the older blacks trade. It would be the same putdowns they knew whites leveled at them. I don’t see what Michelle did as being that far removed.
I suspect Michelle didn’t intend all this, but don’t think that whites don’t use those kinds of criticisms to do what they wanted to do in the first place—-and that is to not hire blacks, not give them loans for businesses, etc. “Hey, they say it themselves; they need to improve.” Well, yeah. As does everyone, I suspect. But the major thing wrong with black people is not that they rob and steal and despise intelligence. There’re enough of those folks in every group. The main thing wrong with black people is that they—-vis-à-vis those with a better support system for their falls—are not as free.
About that acting white thing, too. When black youths accuse other blacks of acting white, they’re not necessarily talking about intelligence. I read somewhere that young black males in particular highly respect intelligence. When black youths accuse other blacks of acting white, they’re talking mainly about how those besmirched with the epithet speak—-their inflection. The way they may say “Oh, my God.” Actually, it’s a package deal. The targeted may also have whites as their closest confidants and are fond of telling others about these connections, or they may —-and repeatedly—- prefer white performers over others. There are extremists in every group. But generally speaking, the accusers are talking about those fellow kids who are, well, acting white. It’s like those white kids who emulate black hip culture. There’s a name for these white people. They call them “wiggers.”
And we see what they mean; it makes sense. But for some reason, black observations and action defy logic—- and they often call into question the age-old question about the intelligence of black people. We’re the people who, you know, always vote Democratic in spite of the Dems taking advantage of us. It’s never because the alternative is to vote for the party influenced by Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. It’s never choosing the lesser of the evils. I know a lot of black conservatives, have a few in my fam, but that’s not the same thing as appearing on Fox. Speaking of that revolutionary outfit, it was something that one of its “liberal” pundits said (for as we all know, a Fox lib is, well….) that stays with me still. It was Alan Combs. The discussion was about black voting habits, and Combs wondered if white people were calling black people “stupid” for voting as they themselves had figured out what was good for them.
Yes, Alan, that’s what they’re saying—-even some black people themselves—some in some very important and influential positions.
Not everyone can pay for the news. But if you can, we need your support.
Truthout is widely read among people with lower incomes and among young people who are mired in debt. Our site is read at public libraries, among people without internet access of their own. People print out our articles and send them to family members in prison — we receive letters from behind bars regularly thanking us for our coverage. Our stories are emailed and shared around communities, sparking grassroots mobilization.
We’re committed to keeping all Truthout articles free and available to the public. But in order to do that, we need those who can afford to contribute to our work to do so — especially now, because we only have hours left to raise over $9,000 in critical funds.
We’ll never require you to give, but we can ask you from the bottom of our hearts: Will you donate what you can, so we can continue providing journalism in the service of justice and truth?