Editor’s note: This post contains mild profanity and a variation of the “N word.” We hope no one is offended; it is not our intent. But to paraphrase former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young, “Sometimes nothing says it better than a well-placed cuss word.”

Part 1 of a Series

PART 1:
THINKING BLACK,
LIVING AMERICAN


With Barack Obama closing in on the Democratic Presidential nomination, I’m reminded of a principle that every child in my neighborhood was taught and expected to live by. That was to protect home, neighborhood and community. I don’t recall anyone having to remind us of this belief because it was an inherent component of our upbringing. Foundational to this rule was the understanding that it was acceptable to have disagreements with a sibling, a friend, or associate, but you rallied to their defense when it came to external attacks. This creed informed us that an attack against the least was an attack against all. In other words they were telling us, like the youth of today say, to not be no Bitch Ass Niggas!


I don’t know if I first heard this term on The Boondocks or from Katt Williams, but I have to admit that its meaning did not sink in until recently. After witnessing a series of events – most notably Pastor Jeremiah Wright’s speech before the National Press Club and the response; Tavis Smiley’s public “criticism” of presidential candidate Barack Obama; and the Black community’s response to his open diatribes, resulting in his refusal to renew his contract on Tom Joyner’s morning radio show after 13 years – I began to wonder if African Americans were experiencing some sort of epidemic causing many of us to act like Bitch Ass Niggas!


I talked to a few minister friends after the Rev. Wright saga to get their response. Dr. Roscoe D. Cooper, pastor of the Metropolitan African American Baptist Church (MAABC), who is also a good friend of Rev. Wright and grew up with him in Philly, made a profound statement. Dr. Cooper said, “… [F]or a people who have always had to struggle to make a way, we have now become a complacent people who wants to have it both ways.” In other words, we want to maintain an afro-centric pedagogy and socio-cultural system, however, we desire acceptance into, and identification with a system that has consistently resisted our total acceptance in any form. To paraphrase Pastor Cooper, the price for an American education and employment in an American economy is total allegiance to an American way.


Although most Blacks nodded in approval when Obama talked about his candidacy transcending race, they knew that he was either naïve or simply making a politically correct statement. We even came to his defense when Smiley decided to take as a personal slight his decline to attend the State of The Black Union. Then Rev. Wright spoke at the National Press Club and brought all the combustible material he could muster to enrage a fire that had been simmering. Even though most of us agreed with a majority of what Pastor Wright said, we accepted the fact that Obama had to denounce him and sever any identifiable relationship with him. In many other circles we would have considered this to be a bitch ass move and Senator Obama to be a Bitch Ass Nigga. Yet it seems that since the stakes are so high, we must allow him the latitude to approach this without the weight of appearing as though he is catering to Blacks.


Furthermore, for all of his attempts to transcend race, the media has effectively painted (no pun intended) him as the Black candidate, while making non-college educated Whites this year’s key voting bloc. In fact, it has been stated in so many words that this bloc represents the very definition of America. This means that the die has been cast and in order to contend, Obama must identify himself with this group to garner their votes. In additon to trying to win this group over the unspoken message is that he must disassociate himself from any pro-Black person and/or causes.


America in general and African Americans specifically, will have accomplished a pivotal milestone when Senator Obama becomes the Democratic Party’s nominee. This poses a conundrum for African Americans regarding the expectations of an Obama presidency. For African Americans who came through the Civil Rights Era, it represents an accomplishment in a hard fought battle, but it is not the golden ring. For young Blacks, like my college age daughter, it represents a positive proof that they can compete effectively on a national stage if given an opportunity. And while the views of my daughter and her peers are admirable, they do come at a high price and further alienates all of us from our foundational principles.


For many of us "in denial bourgeois" Negroes, we have already made the choice and justified the reasons. We said that progress and success would not change us while we moved to the surburbs all in the name of providing our families with a better life than we had.


Making us all, in that respect, some Bitch Ass Niggas.

1 comments
  1. DP May 16, 2008 at 1:19 PM  

    pbuzz; Man, why you have to take it there? lol Interesting post and points, and I understand what you're saying to an extent. Political expediency on the part of the Black community has always been in the mix, but maybe never quite as obvious as it is during this presidential campaign.

    What do you think the results would be if Obama (and the Black community) hadn't responded in this way?