CBC accuses Tea Party of wanting to lynch blacks.
Today reports are out in the press that the Congressional Black Congress has accused the T-Party of being racist and house representative Andre Carson of Indiana went as far as to suggest that some members of the T-Party might want to string a few black folks up. Now, I’m no fan of the T-Party and I don’t doubt that there are some folks within it that harbor racist sentiment, but the fact that there exists racist people shouldn’t be exactly earth shattering for those of the blood Afric– so my thing is this—now that you’ve made the accusation, now what? Am I supposed to believe that the eradication of racist elements within the tea party is going to improve the conditions within the African-American community? If I’m a black man who’s concerned about what’s happening in black communities, where should I spend my time? Should I be convincing white folks to eradicate the racist elements and reform themselves or should I be trying to reform myself and build my own thing and my own community independently of how someone else “feels”? I choose the latter because to do otherwise is to cede power unnecessarily by allowing one’s progress to be held hostage to someone’s feelings. It sets up the paradigm that I can’t progress unless white folks change their minds. I reject that notion on its face and that’s the main reason I don’t like to bother with accusations of racism. It merely repeats what’s already known and does little to advance my agenda. I could care less about reforming racists, but I care a great deal about mitigating any effect they can have on my circumstances. That means that I need the power to do that and that never comes from begging someone else to reform their behavior. That only comes from reforming and controlling my own behavior. Ultimately, I know this–the world has to deal with you based on how you see yourself. If you deal as a victim, you’ll be treated as one. If you deal as an equal, you’ll be treated as one. And just as that works individually, so too does it work in a collective sense. Black folks need to start changing the conversation beyond accusations of racism. This has the effect of limiting our voices when we need to be weighing in on a whole host of issues.
Having said that, I think it’s useful to examine what possible outgrowth can come out of these accusations of the T-Party. Can we really expect the T-Party to find and expunge the racists among them? That’s doubtful. But assuming that they were agreeable to that, would that mitigate joblessness, marauding flash mobs and the litany of woes that plague the African-American community? That’s even more doubtful. The CBC knows this as well as I do, so what gives here?
It’s vote gathering time for the 2012 presidential elections and there’s nothing like a few scare tactics to galvanize folks to the polls and a few well placed accusations of racism is presumed to be all that’s needed to get black turnout up. This is a little like what the T-Party types pull off on the right with the scare tactics about Obama being a socialist, the birther nonsense and etc. The issue isn’t whether black folks will vote democratic as the democrats have a lock on the vote. The issue is enthusiasm or turnout which seems to be lagging across all the demographics that supported Obama in 2008.
There’s a reason for that waning enthusiasm. Obama has not attempted to do what he promised. Looking at what he could do pragmatically, most of his supporters knew that he’d be facing entrenched interests and change was the last thing these interests wanted, but they figured he’d put up a fight even if he didn’t win all of the battles. He certainly had before him an historic opportunity to do so given the crisis we were in (and remain in). So the fact that he failed at changing much isn’t really the issue, but the fact that he hasn’t tried is where the problem lies. Not only has he not tried, he’s actually bent over backwards to accommodate those same forces who’ve been the source of the problem on the economic front and he’s extended the Bush policies largely on the foreign policy front. He’s continued the neocon wet dreams of a middle east takeover with the attack on Libya, designs on Syria with Iran being the target once Syria is done. He’s not only lacked the backbone to face down those on the right, but has actually helped advance their agenda by extending the Bush tax cuts and caving on the debt ceiling negotiations by ensuring that the burden of austerity is on the backs of the people rather than those who’ve caused this mess. Most of this is just unforgivable and like I said, there’s a reason for the waning support.
To add insult to injury in the African-American community, his recent bus tour included no African-American communities, many of which have been devastated by the nation’s economic reversals. His concern is to shore up the waning white vote while deferring to the CBC and others to handle getting black folks to turn out. And because Obama has not done what he’s promised, the only thing in the CBC’s hand is T-Party racism. There’s really nothing else they can offer as a compelling reason to support Obama and rather than delve into some of the issues with Obama, they just want to change the subject. As an aside, this does a real disservice to their constituents by effectively muting the African-American community by limiting our offer to the political discourse to concerns about T-Party racism. This limits our ability to weigh in on the larger issues and virtually eliminates any political influence that could be exerted to make Obama (or anyone else) accountable. It’s this sort of positioning that leaves us powerless.
My vote or my trust does not come cheaply. To gain the support from some of us, Obama is going to need far more than racial solidarity or T-Party racism as compelling reasons. Yes, we know that there’s been some stuff set up against you, but those of us who watch closely can also see where you’ve actually helped in that regard and that opens the question as to what you’re about. Moreover, some of us are a bit too sophisticated to fall for the oki-doke being laid down by the CBC and we don’t like getting played. I’m not saying that I’m about to go over to the dark side (i.e. republicans), but I’m damn sure just considering sitting on my hands come election day. Increasingly, that’s looking like the only sensible thing to do when there’s no real choice and I’m tired of voting for the lesser of two evils.