Monday, August 06, 2007

Congratulations, You're Racist!

I saw a headline on the front page of the Chicago Sun Times yesterday that boasted: "Michelle Obama grew up on the South Side, went to public schools, got a college education, worked hard and has done well. Yet, as she and her husband make a run for the White House, she knows some question... IS SHE BLACK ENOUGH?"

If I see the face of any black woman on the cover of a news magazine, from Michelle Obama to Harriet Tubman to Lil' Kim with the words "Is she black enough?" printed in huge, boldfaced type next to it, naturally, the only thing I'm going to think is, "Oh my God, that is so racist!" As if skin color has anything to do with a person's self-worth. If I was Michelle Obama, I'd be pissed to have anyone make that assertion, not out of black pride, but because it should not matter.

Of course, I read the article because I wanted to know who was accusing Michelle Obama of being too "white," and why. Turns out, it's actually the lower income black community making the accusations about her and her husband.

Basically, the black community is being racist against itself. Apparently to them, you can't be educated and successful through hard work and determination and still be "black." Apparently, they like their successful black role models to be more like rap stars, which are akin to the Beverly Hillbillies in that they are essentially uneducated ghetto folk suddenly having millions of dollars thrust upon them simply for popularizing ignorance and laziness, and they spend it all on stupid shit like diamond-encrusted fake teeth and giant gold tire rims, then they end up shooting each other because they can't leave their gang wars in the 'hood. Apparently, that is supposed to be the picture of a successful black person to the lower income black community. It's not true success, it's nothing more than the illusion of success cast by a lot of style and no substance because the media is glamorizing the image of the uneducated black person, and certain members of the black community are buying it. It's Saturday night at the minstrel show, only the minstrels are Lil' Jon, T-Pain, and 50 Cent, and you're trying to be like them. Wake the fuck up.

No matter what you think about Barack and Michelle Obama, they are positive role models of what anyone, no matter what race, can accomplish through hard work, education, and determination. Somewhere, however, certain members of the black community equate eloquence and success with "white folk," fearing that once an educated black person becomes successful, they'll start denying that racial barriers exist. The same racial barriers that they, themselves, have had to overcome on their rise to notoriety.

Michelle Obama has handled the accusations of her lack of racial identity well, though. "He was raised in his grandmother's home and his grandmother is from Kansas, eating tuna with pickles in it," she says. "The same conversations that we had around my kitchen table, we have at her house on Christmas. We are not that far apart. It's just that it feels like certain people have benefitted from us feeling and believing that we're far apart."

This is so insanely stupid it's beyond words. I'm not going to deny that racism still does fully exist in America today, but somehow, certain black people have been able to overcome its effects. Instead of condemning those who have overcome the barriers of race simply for making the most of their lives and being truly successful, both mentally and financially, maybe you should be finding out how they've done it and emulating them. I know it's easier to emulate rappers and professional atheletes because, quite frankly, neither requires a great deal of education, but that's lazy. Look around you. Look at all the kids emulating rappers. Do they look like the models of success, or do they look like they dressed themselves like retarded children whose parents died at a very early age?

"The thing I worry most about . . . is not what it says about me and Barack. What does it say to our children? That somehow Michelle Obama is not black enough? Well, shoot, if I'm not black enough and Barack's not black enough, well who are they supposed to be in this world?"

It doesn't matter if you're black, white, yellow, red, or brown. The world gives you nothing; you have to fight for all you get. Yes, some people were born more fortunate than others, but never believe that someone along the way didn't have to fight to amass that fortune to be passed down.

The Obamas aren't successful because they had to forsake their roots. They're successful because they saw race as an obstacle, not a hinderance, and they had the drive and the passion to overcome the obstacle. Any black person can be just as successful; all they have to do is educate themselves, respect themselves, and never give up.

"I did exactly what leaders in my community told me to do. They said do your best in school, work hard, study, get into the best schools you can get into and when you do that, baby, you bring that education back and you work in your communities."


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