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John McLaughlin: Obama fits the ‘Oreo’ stereotype

By pams
Monday, July 14, 2008 12:30 EDT
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Oh no, he didn’t. Jeebus H. Christ.

McLAUGHLIN: OK, let’s nail this thing down, and here’s a sample of what Jackson apparently sees as Obama disparaging the black community.

OBAMA : If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that too many fathers are also missing. Too many fathers are MIA. Too many fathers are AWOL. Missing from too many lives and too many homes. They’ve abandoned their responsibilities. They’re acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our family have suffered because of it. You and I know this is true everywhere, but nowhere is it more true than in the African-American community.

McLAUGHLIN: Question: Does it frost Jackson, Jesse Jackson, that someone like Obama, who fits the stereotype blacks once labeled as an Oreo — a black on the outside, a white on the inside — that an Oreo should be the beneficiary of the long civil rights struggle which Jesse Jackson spent his lifetime fighting for?

You know what, the small nugget of truth in that flaming pile of crap is that it’s pretty clear Jackson, whose massive ego cannot be contained in an airplane hangar, is seeing the race merchant power slip from his fingers.

People of color younger than Rev. Jackson’s generation of course have great respect for those who put their lives on the line for justice and equality, but that cannot and should not require fealty to the continued use of an incessant playing of the race card rather than putting the continued issues our country has regarding race into context. We have black and latino tensions, class conflicts within minority communities, and yes, continued desire (consciously and unconsciously) by the dominant culture to maintain white privilege because the browning of America is a challenging concept to contemplate with a black man poised to possibly be elected president of the country.

But back to McLaughlin. Later in the segment, Michelle Bernard, president of the Independent Women’s Forum, says this:

BERNARD: It is an oddity, but I want to go back to the point you made about whether or not Obama is an Oreo, because if Barack Obama is an Oreo, then every member of this generation of African-Americans is an Oreo, because we stand on the shoulders of the people who fought for our rights, and all of us say that you cannot blame “the man” or white racism for everything that ails the black community.

That’s right. There is no reason why we cannot talk about the internal issues and social problems (a.k.a. “dirty laundry”) in the black community as well as institutionalized racism that exacerbates those problems.

More after the jump. Asking young black men to take responsibility for the children they sire shouldn’t be controversial, nor should it be an indictment of all black men.

There is a social pathology at work that needs to be taken seriously, not overlooked for fear of stirring the pot or letting racism — and racists — off the hook. That’s what some of the old guard civil rights lions like Jackson fail to understand. It makes it difficult to engage in constructive dialogue, let alone take action because the discourse is polarizing. Obama knows this and has navigated these waters exceptionally well. Perhaps that’s part of Rev. Jackson’s problem; the senator from Illinois is succeeding using a different formula that will neuter Jackson’s approach.

I am eager to see CNN’s special, Black in America, which is coming up on July 23-24, a six-hour event. It is a welcome project given the times we are living in, and the tone and rhetoric that we have seen during this primary season.

Related:
* Obama and “acting white”
* Obama and race: our country is so confused

 
 
 
 
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