This Is Not A Test

“In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.”
-Toni Morrison

Why is it so hard for people to grasp this concept? Let me rephrase that. Why is it considered racist, wrong and absurd to highlight this reality?

The facts have always been clear. Though maybe not explicitly detailed, the truth of the founding of this country can be read in any grade school history book. The dominant culture went to various African areas, stole human beings, brought them to America and, among other ungodly atrocities, forced them to work for free. The founders enjoyed free labor of every kind, allowing this country to eventually become the wealthiest and most influential land around. After the practice of slavery was legally outlawed, there were other rules in place that ensured that people of color would never receive the keys to the kingdom, i.e., basic human rights.

Why am I thinking of this now? I’m pissed that Barack Obama has had to make constant retractions, rebuttals and tail between the legs concessions about things that are true. I’m peeved that whenever someone, politician or otherwise, says something true, they have to make a public apology. Why? The white “culture” has a distinct history of conquering, changing and creating whatever kind of world they see fit. Theirs is a bloody past, full of dead Native Americans and hanging black men from trees for sport. Do you mean to tell me that they can’t stomach hearing someone say “Goddamn America?”

The latest flack Obama is receiving over the comments of Father Pfleger is something I take issue with. To put it simply, the man was speaking “real spit.” It was true and enlightened. So, what’s the problem? By contrast, only in a very cursory sense has Senator Clinton received the same level of scrutiny over her ties with some ominous fools. If we dig deep, we’ll see a trail of very questionable characters in her and her cheatin’ hubby’s background. But, I digress.

Are folks seriously so up in arms over a white priest saying that Hillary Clinton was taken by surprise that a black man stole her spotlight, won primaries and is a serious contender for the highest office of this land? You can brand me and sell my children, by you can’t face a little mild heat that rings with “truthiness?” Give me a break.

Obama decided to leave his church home because these statements offended too many (white) people. Obama had to say sorry to the good, hard working folks of Pennsylvania when he said that a lot of people feel “bitter” about being left on the sidelines of American progress. Obama had to adjust his thoughts on diplomacy to the Arab world. Obama had to apologize on behalf of his wife for saying that for the first time in her adult life, she was proud to be an American. Obama had to apologize for existing. For being attractive. For being articulate. For accidentally running the tables on a Clinton. Sorry, sorry, sorry.

When do Hillary and white America apologize to him? When do they say they are sorry for selling him short, for making race such a major issue that each night the cable shows have a huge colorful chart detailing how many white women and white men and white dogs have said no to Obama for “reason’s unknown?” When do they apologize to us for inferring that whites are the only hard working, blue collar American’s out there? When does Hillary apologize for characterizing Obama as one Secret Service blunder away from RFK’s fate? When indeed.

Despite the heinous nature and journey of blacks being brought to this country, we are here. We have thrived. We are not your great-granddaddy’s colored folks. We are doctors, senators, teachers, congresspersons, high ranking professors, and Secretaries of State. We are soldiers and lawyers, authors and humanitarians. We are here.

Yes, we came through hell. Yes, we’re still going through hell. But unless another Marcus Garvey is coming to organize us and take us back to Africa, we’re all in this together. We’re at war. We have a leader who has the blood of countless people on his hands. This isn’t a joke or a game or some kind of popularity contest. Change is in our reach. For once white people, please stop sweating the small stuff. Please look beyond color and see yourselves, your families, the future of this country. Stop rallying around a dumb alcoholic cowboy and telling me I’m unpatriotic if I disagree with the war, with certain policy, with the idea of hope. Just stop.

Precious media time is being wasted.

I for one could care less if my president can bowl a perfect game or if he ever served a day in our armed forces. I don’t need him to be down to earth enough to have a beer with. I don’t care if he’s funny on the talk shows or if he does great “Saturday Night Live” sketches. I want him to be wise. I want him to be compassionate.