Take away the taint, the stank, the store and the whore in us, and Black people are pretty much Monolithic in their thoughts and actions. Pseudo- Black intellects and legitimate Intellectuals can argue the point and those that embrace their American Individualism over their Afrocentricity can pretend it doesn’t exist, but when the chips are down and the political, economic and social nooses are thrown over trees you’ll begin to see how homogeneous Black people can be. At times you will find that those who run the quickest from their God given tans, come marching home to their roots no matter how far the branches are from the ground.
What makes the visuals so hard for non-Blacks to comprehend is that the monolithic aspect of Black behavior hasn’t been seen, by American standards, in a long time. Not since the late 1950’s and 60’s with Civil Rights movements like the Montgomery Bus Boycott, SNCC, King’s March on Washington DC, or The Black Muslims Movement have Black people band together to show support and or challenge the status quo. Yes you can argue that not every Black person participated in the Civil Rights movement, but then you can also argue not all Whites participated in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War or World Wars I or II yet collectively as a nation were in support sharing like-mindedness for freedom and justice against their oppressors.
We know that it is not the numbers that make for a social change but the critical mass of participants that make a movement. It is the strategy in the use of that critical mass that is most important which keeps active groups from over saturating issues and becoming burdensome thus defeating the overall purpose for goal setting. Then there is the complacency factor as it relates to Blacks in America, that Black's contempt and frustration has not been collectively vocal in a long time and thus America feels that Blacks are either fully assimilated or given up and staying in line within their small pockets of society.
So why am I trumpeting the “We Are Monolithic” dialogue? We know with the media’s concentration on Barak Hussein Obama’s win of the Iowa Presidential Caucus; which by America’s standards is a historical event, there is the cloud of surprise that White’s are now comfortable with voting for a Black man for President. Over and over the pundits repeat this along with a constant reminder that Iowa is over 90% White and amazingly, the state gave the thumbs up for the “multiculturalists”.
While Whites (and I have no choice but to use the same type of references since this is the language the analyst and pundits are using) outside of Iowa are giving weak smiles and soft hand claps, young college voters who grew up on MTV and Rap lyrics, Christians seeing the possibility of a Black Political Messiah and another one of Oprah’s Favorite Things, Blacks are holding their breath seeing if this moment will be a possible social and political noose moment. All of a sudden they have a choice very much like the dilemma of choosing to support a Black produced, directed and financed film with Black actors knowing that its both a comedy and bad writing or boycotting it all together and going with another movie of better quality, reviews and not of the community? What I am referring to is “soul” support and the possibility that by doing that, we can evolve into something better or just out of spite because you have something that Black people in America rarely have as a collective; POWER to produce.
Chris Rock once said as part of his comedy routine that Black people cannot vote in a President. Black people make up less than 13% of the country and they are all concentrated on the coast. Black people aren’t the majority and won’t be any time soon. Black people are only important when it’s a political tie. As broken as Chris Rock’s political logic may sound, he does ring a substantive degree of truth through his comedy. I know I laughed when he said it and I nodded in agreement as did the audience and from my perspective, many other Blacks and in the corners and shadows, so did Whites, Asian and Latinos. In the situation of Obama, “the Black vote” is something of an enigma for the media because for so long Black people, in their minds, are monolithic in limited degrees. The images on television radio and in the tainted images of middle-class, see Blacks as being thinly spread and diverse. In the Black communities you don’t hear or even see masses of Obama’ites nor do you hear Black leaders speaking publicly for or against the political Rock Star. Personally he is more the King of Pop than a Rock Star …. I reserve that title for President Bill Clinton, since he plays the sax and was in a band.
Whites cannot gauge how Blacks will vote since we have real choices. We can vote Independent, Democratic, Republican or VOTE for the first time. Blacks can vote at the last minute and become that monolithic force and administer the “coup de gras” and break those voting ties for any one party or one person. Regardless of the thousands of incarcerated Black men and women, those ex-felons who cannot vote, the elderly who are stuck in pre-Civil Rights era thinking, apathetic or disconnect Black youth and those that procrastinate on registering on time, we are still talking about a 9 to 10% of a population that can collectively vote was as a block, when that happens, “coram populo”, the price with promises attached with strict accountability to Black issues, accountability that will benefit Black people; some. Why ”some”? Because America’s majority cannot reward the tiebreakers with all the benefits that come with a winning candidate, they'll get just enough of a gift as a thanks you gesture for doing “your job” as citizens by voting for the NEW POWER.
So if this is the case, how does the 2006 push by Tavis Smiley’s Black American Forum and his promotion of The Covenant with Black America fit into all this? Did this New York Times bestseller strike a chord with Black Americans or did it just move money from our hands into another pseudo-intellectual and added the book to our bookshelves as another dust collector? We need to know. I mean I did check out the contents and I did agree with much of the proposed goals but as all things, I did not sense a post-Covenant movement to follow up and consolidate what Blacks have achieved since then. I mean, we know that the current pro-Black groups, churches, mosques, synagogues, educational and social institutions and leaders would continue their (assumed) work in Black communities but I still ask this question after all mass Black gatherings, where is the post-accountability and would it show that we are moving forward.
We assumed that in 2006, Barak Obama would run for President and played the political cat and mouse for the possibilities until he confirmed it, and we knew that in 2006 and 2008 when the electorates would come courting, the Black vote was preordained via The Covenant for Black America and a litany of itemized demands would be presented before relinquishing the vote. But this only seemed to work when White politicians and complacent Black politicians came soliciting that thinly veiled monolithic vote. Obama is different because he has the tone and tenor of good intentions (and you all know how I feel about good intentions) but he is also a Liberal. A liberal that has pitched a wide net to captured a lot of other Liberals. In the mixture of fish caught in his political net are the wants, needs and spiritual desires of Independents and Republicans. In essence, Barak Obama has become the “Everyman” to everyone and that may define his victory as well as his defeat, thus the curse of Hope. Just ask Jesus about that burden, we all know how that story ended.
The Covenant for Black America was not written to include an Obama. Yes it can keep all the others, including a Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Ron Paul, Bill Richardson at bay but we go back to my original premise of do Blacks take this opportunity to vote as a monolith, hold Obama to a personal standard and make a statement to all others that with POWER come Race responsible? If so, do we then go back and make amendments to The Covenant? Which brings me to my next question, “What if Barak Obama isn’t the right choice?”
I can’t help but look at past Black politicians with “good intentions” like the mayors of Newark, NJ, Detroit, Michigan, Washington DC, the Southside Aldermans of Chicago, Il, Baltimore Md, Charles Rangel in Harlem, NY and many others. Black Americans have in the past been burned with their monolithic voting. Burned where they either don’t vote or are cautious to the point of paranoia and apophenia. This is the burden the Obama camp, in my opinion; they don’t see this as an issue as long as he is draped in a cloak of tasty goodness of Godliness and Black face. And that is the Black burden because deep down, I mean really deep down, Blacks know but will not speak loudly about it, Barak Obama is more of a “multiculturalists” than bi-racial or even Black in his politics and his bid for president shows this as clear as daylight. To get on board the Barak Obama train, you’ll have to leave your baggage of being Black, African-American and Afrocentric and claim your ticket as being an American and that too is a burden as well for many. It’s a shame that we can’t afford to hitchhike this one out.