a thousand words

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


There Is One Aspect Of The Obama Presidency That Could Never Fail And All He Had To Do Was Show Up.

A little boy walks along the beach and comes upon two men. Both men are holding a large rock that is protruding from the earth. The boy asks the first man what he's doing and the man says: "Isn't it obvious? I'm holding this rock." The boy asks the second man the same question. The second man responds: "Isn't it obvious? I am holding the world and this is the handle."

Perspective is the truth of its possessor.

Since Watergate, every elected President has been subjected to political and personal attacks that are designed to hobble, humiliate and destroy. Bob Woodward points this out in Shadow : Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate.

So when Obama was elected, I thought there is one thing for sure that will be good. America will finally see how deep and hard-wired racial bias is in our country and in our hearts.

And so Obama got push-back and ridicule like other Presidents but they were all too often wrapped in ugly and familiar racial insults and imagery. We witnessed people send out racist cartoons, draw monkeys with bullet holes in their heads and indulge in vile, ignorant, demeaning and dehumanizing statements we had hoped were gone forever, like the term tar baby recently used by a congressman to describe the President. Or Pat Buchannan's ignorant statement that "your boy Obama got whipped".

For some, this was politics as usual. But for others, black and white, it was an eruption of racial hatred against blacks, a long and abiding resentment of the people who embody the unrepented sin of slavery.

I guess it all depends on which rock you're holding.

I prefer to hold the rock which is the handle to the world because it offers a clear vision of the truth: that the molecules of race are scattered throughout the body of our nation and they are born of blood, death, sex, triumph and inhumanity. And part of our continuing problem, is that often none of us can tell a bad molecule from a harmless one.

Race is so embedded in our culture that over time, many words, phrases and idioms have been covered by tradition or usage and their negative pasts forgotten. If you ever heard some one call coffee a Cup of Joe, or been on a picnic. or ever referred to something as mumbo jumbo then you have brushed against it.

And so the insults continue and while well-meaning people are outraged, others just issue dishonest apologies and the media uses it to provoke and get ratings.

The last generation of men and women who really believe in the fallacy of racial inferiority are dying off. And while their sons and daughters may have a milder version of the same sickness, they at least know they are wrong and that is the beginning of enlightenment.

People always disagree with me about this. They don't want to believe that we can change. But it's because they haven't. Blacks and whites seek to move beyond race but desperately cling to it because we have in part defined ourselves by it. True equality means there is no racial priviledge. It also means there are no victims, just the circumstance of humanity and fate.

In the next two generations, we will find a true humanity emerge which will be the real start of Dr. King's coloblind society.

Because of Obama's Presidency, Ellison's legendary Invisible Man can now be seen and he is a man in full, a man of flesh and blood and mind. And the reality of his existence cannot be undone by words, or the silent resentment of hateful hearts.

Understanding this is the rock, that is the handle, that can lift the world.