Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Obama, Cosby and Affirmative Action

Wassup, Y'all!

Along with energizing the country (how much of it we shall soon see) with his new jack brand of politics, Smooth Barack has energized the debate about a few issues near and dear to the hearts of southsiders, namely Affirmative Action and just exactly who has the 'right' to be called black (or a southsider in basement terminology).

I read an interesting article about Affirmative Action on the Wall Street Journal's online site with the innocent looking title, 'Fair Enough?'. The subtitle is what really caught my eye - 'Barack Obama's Rise has Americans Debating Whether Affirmative Action Has Run It's Course'. It seems Smooth's recent political success has also become another pebble on the scale on the side of 'Southsiders have arrived. The playing field is level. They don't need any more help than anybody else.' Of course ol Ty contends opponent's of Affirmative Action were already saying this back in '61 when President Kennedy first rolled it out - that's beside the point. My point is that because of who Smooth Barack is he's already found that, like the man in Aesop's fable 'The Man, The Boy and The Donkey', if you try to please everyone, you'll end up pleasing no one...

As I've said before - affirmative action in its current form should be reworked to include all people from disadvantaged backgrounds no matter their persuasion. If that segment includes more southsiders or westsiders (Hispanics) or eastsiders (Asians) or even northsiders (whites) so be it. I'm all for giving folks a hand up to help check that generational privilege that can occur among the wealthy. However, Smooth's dilemma with affirmative action as well as most 'black issues' is that he has to walk a fine line between seeming to 'care too much' about issues effecting southsiders (for fear of alienating northside voters, particularly those rural, bitter, gun clingers) vs. caring too little and alienating a voting bloc that, in no small part, helped him clinch the democratic nomination.

Don't get it twisted, now that the choice is between Citizen McCain and Smooth Barack, there's little he can do lose the southside vote short of showing up at the convention in a Klan robe, but there's a fairly large segment within the southside nation who feel that Smooth's not even black. After all he is 50% white but since the One Drop Rule only works downhill, Smooth is always referred to as a southsider instead of a northsider. Funny how completely old school racial that is, yet the false sentiment is growing that race no longer matters - after all look at Smooth! What a fine young negro! To be honest, the most surprised folks in the room that Smooth managed to be in line for the democratic nomination for President of the United States aren't northsiders (or the rest of the world for that matter). No it was southsiders. By a mile. We're still pickin' ourselves up off the floor on that one. And let Smooth win in the fall. You'll see southsiders fallin' out like those folks in 'The Happening'. I promise you.

So when Smooth busted out like Bill Cosby on Father's Day callin' our large number of absent fathers to task, he may have gotten a standing ovation from northsiders or middle class southsiders but elsewhere in the southside nation, that was affirmation that Smooth is a straight 'Uncle Tom', which is about the most foul curse you can utter to your fellow southsider since it means that you're willing to sell out your race for personal gain. But let Smooth come out and advocate for an issue near and dear to southside hearts like affirmative action and you'll hear them cheer the brother while northsiders recoil angrily and say, 'See? Didn't I tell you about this guy? He's all about the blacks. Next thing you know they'll be running the country (an ironic statement given the current circumstances, but I digress...).

No other candidate has to walk such a fine line. If Citizen McCain advocates policies that largely benefit northsiders, nary an eyelash will be batted since that's been the way of the country since Jamestown. Should Smooth try to do so with southsiders, he does so at his political peril. Up to this point, I have to give the brother credit - he's been walkin' that tightrope better than those Flying Wallendas.

Given the massive challenges that will be dropped at the next president's feet and the additional previously mentioned burdens that only a southside president would have to deal with, my boyz and I have questioned why anyone would want that job right now? I have to believe that Smooth believes in what he's talkin' about - unifying the country and turning the page. I still can't see anyone else so uniquely qualified to do so and I have to give the brother supreme dap for even steppin' up to try.



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