Sunday, December 12, 2010

Can You Handle the Truth?

Just read an op-ed piece in the New York Times by writer Ishmael Reed entitled What Progressives Don't Understand About Obama. It was an amen article, a piece with which I nodded continuously in agreement as I read it and murmured amen under my breath. To appreciate Reed's piece, read it, no summary can do it justice. He takes on the ad nauseum criticism that Present Obama is weak, ineffectual, ball less, and not tough enough to be president. A smart guy, but too nice and too concerned about keeping the peace. Too afraid to give the Republicans the ass whipping that they deserve.

I've been accused of being "nice" as in I don't want people to dislike me. Not true. I'm going to tell you up front that some of you aren't going to understand the truth that this article speaks and you may not like my attitude. See, as a black person I'm so sick and tired of white liberals who have still enjoyed the privilege of being white trying to tell a black man how to navigate in a white world.

You don't get it and you lack the humility to simply accept that you do not. Instead you attack the President as being weak, without balls, a sellout and any other demeaning, emasculating terminology that you can devise. You don't understand what it is to be black and walk in his shoes and you're too damned arrogant to listen to those of us who try and tell you.

By now, you're all upset because I've offended you. Hey, don't you want us to show our anger? Don't you have problems with me being so nice and reasonable all the time?

Don't get hung up on the mistaken notice that I'm taking the position that the president is off limits for criticism. I don't think he's perfect and I certainly have problems with some of his decisions. He and I part company when it comes to the continuation of either of our wars.

Read carefully and understand me, I'm talking about the continued hammering at his character. I'm talking about the insulting and demeaning allegations that he is less than a man, some namby- pamby smart guy who doesn't know how to be tough. What colossal ignorance and arrogance to believe that any black person could achieve what President Obama has achieved and be weak. Until you have walked in our shoes, until you have been marginalized based on the color of your skin in a culture that continues to not only openly express racism but defend its right to do so under cockeyed readings of the 1st amendment, then don't talk to me about how you think that any black person should behave.

Now, I'm going to go back to being nice. It's survival mode because if I dwell on this crap I can't leave my house. Every day that I go out I run into racism in this "colorblind" society of ours. Some days it's just the fools with the confederate flags plastered on their pickup trucks, or the monuments to the confederate dead that litter the South, but it's always something. So I'm tough and I work hard to not lose my cool because I don't have time to waste in being angry and out of control, and neither does the President.


Gerry said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. Keep up the battle, Sheria, to be as rational and tough as you have to be to survive in this imperfect world.

unmitigated me said...

I wonder if it's yet any better where I live, and I am up north. Metro Detroit is still amazingly segregated. I can recall traveling in Virginia and West Virginia and being startled to see black and white patrons at the same upscale restaurant!

I thank you for this post. As a white woman, I have wondered these very things about our president (I am with you on the wars, but otherwise usually very supportive of his work and policies) but coming from me, these ideas not only lack power, but smack of a presumption that I have any idea of what the experience is. So, thanks.

Also, thank you for the music! I really miss Luther Vandross.

Nance said...

Reed's article was the first thing I read this morning and I thought it was timely and worthy--was hoping you'd seen it and wishing I could get your opinion on it.

This liberal is pale with anxiety. Each decision made right now seems equally likely to be the one that saves us or the one that dooms us. I'm out there actively searching, moment by moment, for reassurance that Mr. Obama has found the best available path. When Galbraith is arguing against him and Krauthammer argues for him, I get so confused that my head spins on my neck.

I actually cannot come up with an opinion on the tax deal. Me, with no settled opinion; what times we live in!

I fall back, then, on the emotional, which isn't Mr. Obama's way and I wish it weren't mine right now. I am so strongly identified with this president, it pains me to doubt him, which leaves me pulling for him doubly: May he be right for all our sakes and may he be right because I invest my loyalty in him.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Watching out president on a daily basis, exuding strength and character, I am proud. What sets my blood boiling is all the criticism as you explained. Don't put the anger totally away, we need to be just a vocal as the naysayers.

Shaw Kenawe said...


I'm with you. FWIW, I'm still on Mr. Obama's side. Yes. Yes. I've disagreed with some of his policies, but never, never, never, with the way he is governing. He makes me proud to be an American because he's shown us and the world that from time to time we actually elect adults to lead us.

Kay Dennison said...

What a gut-wrencher for you!

Thank you for what had to be a difficult and excellent post.

I respect Obama for doing what he thinks is right but I reserve (and have) the right to disagree with him respectfully and I do. I have no patience with those who base their viewpoint on his race -- which from where I sit, has nothing to do with this issue.

I don't want tax cuts for billionaires that will only make things worse and that's the bottom line. As an Ohioan, one thing I know is that if John Boehner likes it, it's not good for me or my fellow citizens of Ohio as well as millions of others across the country so I'm standing with my senators and Bernie Sanders. May God bless have mercy on my progressive, bleeding heart, liberal soul.

Yasmin said...

Without even reading aid article I sat here in complete agreement with what you've written here.

Even here across the pond were given the same message white liberals telling us how we feel and how we should be grateful that they are on my side to make things better for me, sadly they take it the wrong way when pointed out to them I am where I am and who I am because of me and they had nothing to do with it.

They have never nor ever will have to walk a mile in my shoes so like you I go into survival mode why? because I'm too tired to explain and try to get the message through and look at their own lack of friends of colour and i don't mean collegues at work I mean actual friends that are welcome in their house mix with their kids, invites to wedings BBQ's you know friends.

I see so much critisism of President Obama and from day one he's had to fight tow battles trying to make changes in the country and having to constantly face the barrage of racisim, he's always having to defend his position on colour and not what is happening in the country and the fact that people attempt and do sabotage his every move, seems people weren't ready for change the question is when will they be.

WTF do they think he's doing plotting the downfall of american whites avenging hundreds if years of wrongs it's everybodies duty to help effect change, the wrongs of the past can not be righted but the future can look brighter if all work to together instead fo being motivated by self interest under the guise of being progressive.

Great post as usual


Mauigirl said...

Fantastic post. You - and Ishmael Reed - have made great points that many liberals don't think about when they criticize the President. Well said.

Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Wow, Sheria...

You have given us all something to mull over. I, too, have been critical of the president in recent weeks. I merely wish he would take the fight to the plutocracy in the same way that Franklin Roosevelt did seventy years ago. But unlike so many on the left, I have not given up on Barack Obama.

By the way, Sinatra'd "Jingle Bells was a nice touch!


Tom Degan

Kyle said...

Sheria, I'd hope most of your followers could handle those truths.

I may not agree with the president all the time(for that matter I don't agree often with most people in postilions of power), but right now he is our/my president and I helped to put him in that position. I'm a stand by your man kind of guy, but ultimately it is our/my responsibility to help him navigate his presidency. Too many people elect someone and then divorce themselves of their civic responsibilities. Voting for someone is only the start of your civic duty.

I wish and hope for lots of things(most, sadly will never happen), but the two most important things, that transcend everything else, are making sure our progress doesn't slide backward and keeping our people's focus forward. Our republic doesn't really have time for blame, pity, anger, and retaliation. She's falling apart fast and she needs her people to pull their act together or we are really sunk.