On the masses of Black folks + Obama



I tend to believe that the masses of black people that flooded the national mall or shed tears on election day, are not sheep, blindly worshiping at the temple of Obama. Our folks are rational beings that delighted in the ascension of a black man to a position of institutional power in a structure that has systematically and historically oppressed them. It makes perfect sense to me.

The masses of everyday Black people, although proud of Obama, are not “Obama-maniacs.” This is why we have the ability to delight at Obama’s victory and even share in it, while struggling to survive and keep food on the table. It’s a feature of the Duboisian double consciousness that allows the oppressed to think with two minds and feel with two hearts.

As far as the “hope” thing goes. They rightfully recognize the opportunity for change, if they choose it, by working in their communities to make it. This opportunity is not a result of Obama’s campaign but rather a constant reality of people’s power. This momentous occasion, perhaps, reminded many, of their responsibilities to put in work. Black people have historically grasped the concept of shared struggle and shared victory.

Now, there will be many people who blindly follow Obama. Converesly, there will be some who will hater everything action, thought, or utterance of Obama. My suspicion is that most of the blind Obama worshipers and single minded Obama haters occupy the bourgeois intellectual, academic, and economic class of black folks. Their lack of hold on reality is born of the absence of consistent contact with the masses of everyday folks. An intellectual acknowledgment of the condition of people can’t compare with being ensconced in the reality of our people. This is not a diss. Whenever I've spent too much time in academic or political bubbles I've noticed that my analysis becomes too sleek and strident; ultimately not designed for real life application.

There’s tons of folks who recognize the Obama thing, but are hustling too hard to celebrate anything. If we were to take the word of some of the “black people are blind Obama worshipers” camp we’d assume that every black man, woman, and child is perpetually festooned with Obama perihelia, shouting “yes we can” in random delusional spasms.

I simply believe we need to give our people more credit than that. As an organizer I have seen time and time again that if given space to make their own decisions, the genius of everyday working class people of color will astonish you. Why second guess the collective genius of our people now?