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Do Black People Think that the Obama Presidency is a Reality TV Show?

Posted by The Reunion Black Family on September 9, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Do Black People Think that the Obama Presidency is a Reality TV Show?

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

This morning, I had to ask myself some hard questions, which I immediately took to my friends on Facebook: Are black people, as a collective, even capable of evaluating our political options objectively? They say that the best way to waste your vote is to stay home or choose a third party candidate. Actually, the best way to waste your vote is to give unconditional support to a candidate and then not ask him to do anything.

After president Obama laid his case out for the American people, Rev. Jesse Jackson said that he would like the Democrats to pay more attention to poverty and gun violence. But when I got to AOL Black Voices, one of the leading black online media outlets in the country, I saw a headline that says, “Malia and Sasha are seriously adorable!” Then, there is another headline next to the first one that has Michelle Obama saying to Barack, “I want to retrace our honeymoon.”

People are starving, children are dying, black people can’t find work and children suffer while their parents are incarcerated. Yet, the black middle class is living an intoxicating Negro fairytale where the only thing that matters is the color of Michelle Obama’s dress. Are we so addicted to style over substance that we have let go of the ability to engage in the act of critical thinking?

Perhaps it’s time for us to be a bit more serious about politics. This is not a reality TV show. This is not the last episode of “Basketball Wives,” nor is it the season finale of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” Ladies, Barack is never going to be your husband, and those aren’t your kids. But the fact is that many other little girls who are just as adorable as Sasha and Malia, like 7-year old Heaven Sutton, are at risk of having a stray bullet fly across their neighborhood and hit them in the head while they serve lemonade on their front porch. Yes, in case you’re wondering, that is what happened to Heaven because we refuse to demand that the Democratic Party address urban violence as part of the party platform.

This doesn’t mean that an intelligent person can’t appreciate the beauty of the first family or comment on the style and grace with which first lady Michelle Obama carries herself. But the reason that neither the Obamas nor the rest of the Democratic Party take African Americans seriously is because we’ve relegated ourselves to being cheerleaders instead of a legitimate political constituency. We no longer have objective black journalists who critically assess the policies of the administration, and are instead flooded with a pack of highly-educated groupies who are hoping to get a picture with the president when he comes to town.

While we sit back and fantasize, people are dying. While we comment on how fabulous Michelle Obama looked as she gave her speech, there is some little girl out there crying because her daddy got 10 life sentences for selling drugs. As we talk about how cute Sasha and Malia look in the crowd, there is a little boy being murdered by bullies on his way home from school.

Perhaps it’s time for us to grow up and speak up. Until we do, we’ll never be respected, even by the Obamas themselves.

by Dr. Boyce Watkins   Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.

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Reply Regina
5:03 PM on September 11, 2012 
You are very adamant that stopping violence will solve everything and make the world brighter. You make it seem as though the Obama's should be pressured into finding a solution for the violence that occurs on a daily...really? Can one President and their family solve the issue of violence that has plagued these United States from the time the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, murdering numberous Native Americans and stealing land. What about the slaves kidnapped and killed for even looking at a white person wrong? The president can't force viloent people to be docile. That task should be set upon by how parents raise their children and teenagers. They shouldn't let their 6 yr old children watch The Expendables and play Call of Duty Zombies, right? They should have those children involved in positive activities so that they may grow up and make the right decisions to NOT sell drugs and get 10 life sentences, to NOT do drive bys and accidentally kill little girls selling lemonade, to NOT take bath salts and eat the faces off of people in the middle of highways; to be law-abiding citizens. Why are you so upset that people are looking to the positive aspects of this family? They are role-models for African Americans, the way they carry themselves, the way they dress, the way they relate to other Americans...they are a beacon of positivity in this usually bleak world made even more negative by articles like these written by doctoral graduates with nothing more to do than attempt to shame African Americans for uplifting other African Americans. I say to you, Dr. Boyce Watkins...'FOR SHAME'!
Reply Tunde
12:34 PM on November 1, 2012 
Agree 100% with this article.Just an addendum.

When the presidential candidates are campaigning, usually the issues they campaign on are abortion rights, Gun rights, foreign policy, and until recently "the economy" (which 90% of Americans understand as jobs, food, gas, housing while the candidates really mean Corporate production, GDP, Unemployment levels, Fiscal policies, tax etc). Issues like Education, nation building aka economic development, Poverty, True Freedom, Racism, Immigration etc are ignored.
The action of Wall Street fat cats is what was majorly responsible for wiping out the wealth of 90% of Black households. The average income of a Black household is about $1300 while that of the White folks is around $4800. yet we are only interested in what Michelle Obama is wearing how cute the two black little girls in the white house are and other nonsenses that have no value.