WE ARE: 5 women navigating our twenties in search of peace, happiness and love (or not). WE WRITE: about everything and nothing. From the insane to the mundane- you will find different paths taken, lessons learned and lives lived. WE THINK: you’ll enjoy it...Warning: Consumption of these views may leave you enlightened while intoxicated.


The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot

Friday, March 19, 2010

Forgive and Forgotten

It’s been said that Black people are a very forgiving people. For examples, you can look to the fact that we didn’t kill white people en masse because of slavery, colonialism, Jim Crow, George Bush. George W. Bush... I mean didn’t we all cheer when OJ ‘I got love for nothing but white women’ got off? Don’t we still got love for Marion Barry? And so on.

But for me the best example of Black people’s ability to “forgive” is that scene in the Five Heartbeats when they’re performing at the Apollo like theatre and the piano man is playin ‘A Heart Is a House for Love’ all slow. And the people are booing. And throwing things at the stage. And then Duck aka Robert Townsend knocks the piano man off the stool, and Eddie ‘Kaing’ Jr. (don’t know his gubment name) jumps down from the stage and holds that long ass note. And the crowd goes wild. As if Holyfield just won the fight(c) Outkast. That to me is the epitome of Black folk. Of how quickly our loyalty can shift. But then when you got our ass. You got us. I mean people still buy R. Kelly records, right? Riight.

So I simultaneously chuckled and wept when I saw this article in the Washington Post about how the CBC doesn’t want to complain too much to Obama about what he’s “not doing”. Because? Because he’s our first Black President, but he’s not a BLACK President, he’s just President who just happens to be a Black man and we can’t tell him to fix Black issues because… Because he is not just our President. M’mkay. An excerpt:

Several CBC members and aides talk derisively of an oft-quoted Obama phrase: that a "rising tide" for America will "lift all boats." They see it as rhetoric intended to justify why the administration has not focused on their communities at a time when unemployment among African Americans has climbed to 16.5 percent. "I can't pass laws that say I'm just helping black folks," Obama told the American Urban Radio Networks. "I'm the president of the United States. What I can do is make sure I'm passing laws that help people, particularly those who are most vulnerable."

Many in the 42-member, all-Democratic CBC passionately disagree.
African Americans and Latinos "bear the brunt of this economic recession," said Maxine Waters (Calif.). "We must not shy away from targeted public policy that seeks to address the specific and unique issues facing minority communities."

If Obama hears Waters's point, it is from a distance. Friends of hers say she has had no phone calls from the president and no consistent contact with other administration officials despite her position as a subcommittee chairman and a key player on the House Financial Services Committee.

WTF? And I went to hear Rev. Jeremiah Wright (heh how apropos) at a Revival last week and he told us that now means - What’s this foolishness? So, What's This Foolishness? Unemployment among African Americans is at 16.5%?!? Yo son! That’s bananas. That’s at some ignorant levels. I mean I get where Obama is coming from with his lift all boats. But we’ve got to face facts and admit that some of us are in yachts, some of us are in speed boats, some in canoes, and some are floating in the sea on a life raft tryna get to that small ass boat that rescues people. But it’s full. So word up Congresswoman Waters – targeted public policy indeed.

And when one continues reading the article, it’s revealed that approval ratings for Obama amongst African Americans is at 91% (I mean take that poll with a grain of salt – but I’m sure it’s still pretty high). Cause from my view from here, I've heard Black people be on some: He can’t do it all in his first year; he acquired these problems; give him more time; we can’t bad mouth him. Cause white people are looking at you! © Wanda Sykes. And so on.

And yet. In April 2009 Obama eased Cuba travel restrictions. And I'm sure a certain group’s eyes are on Obama and his real position on Israel and please believe if he doesn’t act accordingly, he will pay for throughout his term and into the 2012 elections. And that's just two specific groups in America who are getting their needs targeted and met. I just stopped looking for more. But we all know they exist. Right? Riiight.

I wonder why Black people are so willing to forgive. To give free passes. To let things ride. To fight for somebody who abandoned us a long time ago, for fear that if you leave 'em out in the cold where they ass belongs, then the white man will tear them apart. I’m sure there are some deep historical/psychological/social reasons for this behavior that I could research and such. But in the right now I wonder, do we just not want to to fight? Is it easier to accept what's handed to us cause they singing so sweet when they bring it to us? Is it because we don’t feel like we have anything to fight with? No “real” power, influence, deep pockets?

This makes me think that Martin n’em musta had a helluva time back in the day when they were like, “y’all we fina stop taking the bus until we can sit in the front.” Sayy whaaaat?!!? I bet nigs was mad as hell, “like yo! You trippin! How am I supposed to get to work?" Pause. Wait for it, wait for it... "You want me to what? Walk? Boy, I mean Pastor stop…” I mean can you imagine what would have happened, what could happen, if every single Black person or like a good 70% of us stood together on an issue. Stopped with this 'Black people are not monolithic' mess for like two seconds. Just one issue. Any issue. Pick an issue. Now stop. Think about it. Man, ain’t no telling where we’d be. Maybe in some yachts or something.

That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!

Black people don't be swayed by Eddie Kaing Jr.'s sweet voice! Cause if you try to take his spot, you ain't gon' get it. Cause you ain't got.


Enchantress said...

I just found this blog today while googling...I love it!!!

mint julep said...

thanks for the love enchantress! i'm just curious as to what you googled to find us. let us know.

Courvoisier said...

I expect our race's percentage to be high for unemployment given our education levels in comparison to other races.

If we have a high percentage of the lower level jobs that are laying folks off... then this is not a surprise to me. Is there something Obama can do? I am not sure.

The topic of our people being hit by unemployment the hardest speaks partially to the type of jobs the majority of us have.

I believe education has a lot to do with that.

Rum Punch said...

@ Enchantress - Welcome! Thanks for stoppin by! You come back now ya hear?

@ Courvoisier - Yeah I feel you. I can't say I was "surprised" by the number, but to see it in black and white was like whoa. I agree education is a HUGE factor - I see it in living color at work. While I don't think Obama can do it alone, I think for once we have a President who truly understands the economic, social, historical implications of it all and we need to tak advantage. Everyone else is.

Bianca's BFF said...

Attended the "We Count" forum in Chicago this weekend. Michael E. Dyson made the same point re: the tide lifting all boats. Essentially, he mentioned that some of us are in cruiseliners while others of us don't even have a boat.

It's scheduled to appear on CSPAN on 3/29.

Rum Punch said...

@ Bianca's BFF - O rly? Well rarely am I ever on the same page w/ the one only Michael Eric Dyson, so that's a lil scary. And yet if he said the same - maybe this means I can start looking for a book deal. Heh.

Keyanna said...

Hey first time commenter. I love yr guys' blog! I can feel where you all are coming from, as a singlet, educated, semi-professional living in the big city myself. In terms of Mr. Obama's action or inaction regarding the plight of black folks. I do believe he made it clear while running that he was doing so, on the grounds of being "the peoples president" not black peoples president. You cannot cater to 14% of the population and expect the majority to go along with it quietly. Shoot, health care reform was for everybody and still there were those teabaggers and such that regardless of what they changed in the bill were not happy. Personally, I think it has to do with the fact the we have a poc in the white house. Based on that alone he has to be extra super careful about the policies and measures he puts forth. While in college I fought for Affirmative Action and as clear to my eyes that such programs were painfully needed you had so much backlash. White priveldge is so complex and has been reinforced for so long that any instiutional push for equality will probably meet some mean opposition. But you are right when we are a unified front then our issues will have to be acknoweldged and addressed.

Rum Punch said...

@ Keyanna - Hey there! Welcome! thanks for commenting, and thanks for the kinds words! I agree that Obama can't just cater to Black folk - I mean they would probably impeach him for such. Heh. But as Dark n Stormy's mama remarked last week about the immigration rights march that happened - Black folk haven't marched like that since the 60s. And we haven't. And would we do it now? For what? What cause would infuriate Black people as a whole? And again we'll never get full 100%, but can like 50% of us get fired up over something. Lol. And like Bellini pointed out this week the CBC needs to do better than whine and complain. They need to motivate the masses and get us to realize that we have power to demand changes - and we can't just expect change to happen cause he said he would do it. Well the realities of politics are different than the campaign trail - and we need to stay on the administration as a whole. I think other groups will get their needs met and we will still be like, "well he's not just our President." True. But he is our President.