Thursday, November 20, 2008
As we bring 2008 to a close I'd like to reflect on some of the commentary regarding President elect Obama. The media pundits seem to have achieved a state of nirvana regarding the election of Obama to the presidency of the United States. They act as if a Black man had never run a country before. For their information I'd like to speak on this matter.
Clearly, the election of Obama to the presidency is something that many of us thought we would not see in our lifetime. However, it's not all that the media would like to make out of it.
Number One: Africa's descendants have led many great nations, down through the ages.
Number Two: Some of these great leaders have led the United States of America.
Number Three: Great nations continue to be led by Black men today.
Let's look at these three points. The word president is a title to describe the leader of a country. Many countries around the globe now use this title in emulation of the government of the United States of America. Many countries also use the title prime minister, some continue to use the word king and, or queen. However, you want to look at it, it's just a title. It conveys no more status than any other title. In fact, it conveys less status than the title emperor or king.
The descendants of Africa have ruled as many, if not more, nations as any other group of people on the globe. So, why should it be so amazing that Obama could be elected president of this nation? Well, as a matter of fact the descendants of Africa have occupied this office before. Admittedly, we were not taught this in school, but I think the facts will bear me out.
The economy of the U.S. was based on the chattel slavery of Africans for over a hundred years. During the course of this enslavement a doctrine of "white supremacy" developed. This doctrine had as one of its basic tenets the idea of the purity and sanctity of the white race. Therefore, even one drop of "Black blood" would cause one's lineage to be tainted, and would also cause all of one's progeny to no longer be of the white race, but rather of the "Black" race.
Oftentimes this led to the labeling of people that appeared to be white as Black. This was a handy device, especially in the later years of slavery, when the importation of new slaves had been outlawed. Many a "white person" was enslaved after having been accused of being Black. If they could not produce paperwork proving their "whiteness" slave-catchers could snatch them up and spirit them away to a slave state where they would be bought and sold. There are a number of well documented cases where this happened and the family eventually "proved" the person was not Black and should therefore be released.
It's also been documented and attested to by eyewitnesses that a number of presidents of the United States of America were known to have been from Black families. These presidents include Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Dwight Eisenhower. There are other prominent Americans still "passing" for white, as did Alexander Hamilton.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term "passing" as it is used in the Black community. Passing is when you cross over the color line by denying any and all association with your blood relations and create a new life out of sheer fiction. This is something that is quite common in the Black community. Examples of this phenomenon abound. Some prominent people who could and did pass, on occasion, include Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Walter White, John G. Jackson, T. John McKee, Mariah Carey, Queen Charlotte Sophia, Alexander Dumas, Alexander Leidesdorff, Alexander Pushkin and President Warren G. Harding. Many of these individuals accepted their "Blackness" and even reveled in it. But, this was not true across the board.
Alexander Leidesdorff's story was particularly tragic. He lost his first love when he informed her of his "tainted" background. Following that incident he moved to the other side of the country and kept his background in the closet. Alexander Dumas the French author of "The Three Musketeers," "The Man In the Iron Mask" and "The Count of Monte Cristo" was told, in no uncertain terms by his agent, that he should not even consider vacationing in America, for fear of losing a major market due to the endemic racism of the times.
On the other hand there were individuals like Adam Clayton Powell, Alexander Pushkin, Walter White and James G. Jackson who not only reveled in their "Blackness," but at times used their white appearance to infiltrate "white supremacist" organizations as spies.
So, when we hear of someone passing it's not far-fetched at all, because oftentimes we have people in our families who have been passing for years.
Last, but not least there should be no doubt that the descendants of Africa have been leaders in every field including cotton, since we arrived on these shores. So, why in heaven's name should it be amazing that a Black man could be elected to the presidency. There's a poem by "Straight Out Scribes," entitled "I Never Thought I'd Live To See The Day," that talks about the election of Nelson Mandela to the presidency of the unabashedly racist country of South Africa. If Mandela could be released from a life sentence for treason, after 30 years smashing rocks and then become President of South Africa, surely this could happen in the U.S.
The thing that's most "amazing" is that in spite of the racist policies still in force in this country, a Black man has risen to the top without having to deny his racial heritage. Yes, he's Black! They'll never let him forget. He's Black all right, he'll never let them forget.