Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil


 President Obama Enjoys a Bright Moment With Rev. Al


 Why President Obama Does not Want To Talk About Race

 Listening to the incessant chatter from the nation’s pundits and electronic chattering classes discuss the Shirley Sherrod affair – a shameful incident in which a good woman was wronged by her superiors in the Obama administration – everybody seems in a hurry to place the weight of blame for this fiasco on the Administration; even the President himself.  Not the dangerous machinations of a racist wing media in concert with their Grand Obstructionist Party  allies and enablers.  Whether from the left or the right this is the dominant theme of the conversation.  Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows!

The most persistent questions we hear is why did the administration act so precipitously?  Why didn’t they take their time and properly investigate the authenticity of the report?  And why won’t President Obama initiate a national conversation about race?  My response to these queries is …Duh?  Anyone who is asking these questions seriously, rather than rhetorically, probably  shouldn’t be in the position of clarifying issues for the public – which is what pundits, editorialists and expert witnesses are supposed to do. We need only look at the news/talk programs this morning to recognize the answer to these questions.

President Obama has just shepherded through congress and signed into law the most sweeping regulations governing financial activities on Wall Street and the nation’s banking system since the Great Depression in the early decades of the last century.  At over two thousand four hundred pages, it dwarfs the critical Depression era legislation which was only thirty pages.  This is big news indeed, yet all the talk the morning after is about the race problem in America!

And all this hoopla is over an injustice to a black woman, supposed it had been a white woman?  Imagine if this incident involved a doctored video of a white female official in the Agricultural Department who had been fired for racism – even though the US Agricultural Department has a long and shameful history of institutionalized racism against black farmers white Americans would be up in arms.  If we take the history and present realities of race relations in America as our guide, the difference in the white backlash would be like the new financial regulation Bill  compared to the Depression era legislation!

The simple fact of the matter is that Barack Obama occupies the same position in American politics that Jackie Robinson occupied as the first black player in major league baseball – which was affectionately called “The National pastime.”  Like Robinson he has to play past the race issue and keep his eye on the ball, lest the low life’s in the bleachers will throw him off his game.  In this case the low life’s are the verbal arsonists and racial provocateurs in the right wing media and their Republican enablers, who seem intent on inciting a race war in America.

In most countries what Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are doing would be considered a threat to national security if not treason.  Such is the putrid incendiary bile that flows from their mouths into the ears of psychologically wounded poor whites; I am convinced they are literally trying to forment an insurrection against the government,  and I also  believe they are trying get the President of these United States assassinated!  Yet, as a pugnacious pundit with and acid tongue and poison pen I am glad the government can’t imprison writers for what they say because I would surely be doing life!   But the broadcast corporations who provide these malevolent cretins with a platform ought to restrain them, to demand that what they say can be supported by facts; to put the tranquility of the nation ahead of  their profit margins. 

Instead the behavior of these corporations supply compelling evidence that Karl Marx was right – in their case for sure – when he observed that capitalists are so greedy  they will sell the hangman the rope to hang them with if they can make a profit!   The failure of the media corporations to muzzle these malicious maggots is a most egregious example of placing the private over the public interests.  And there ought to be a price to pay for such a treacherous betrayal of the public interests; alas too much of the electorate is far too ignorant or apathetic to chastise them by boycotting their incendiary product.

Barack Obama is both a serious student of history and a highly perceptive analyst of contemporary events.  His brilliance as a politician has been demonstrated repeatedly – beginning with getting his black self elected president of a white racist country and becoming the most powerful man in the world!  That’s why he well understands that the race issue is both toxic and infectious. And it could prove deadly for his presidency if he allows the racists to embroil him in endless arguments about race.  It is like the tar baby in the Uncle Rhemus stories, the more you attack it the deeper you get stuck.  President Obama is a man of vision who can see the big picture, something this nation has too often been deprived of in our leaders, especially for the last eight years.  And we have witnessed the evidence of the old adage “Where there is no vision the people will perish” in the mess the Bushmen made of  the world.  

 Hence President Obama is right to keep his eyes on the big prize: building a better world than can sustain and enhance life, making manifest William Faulkner’s prediction  that “man will endure,” and Chairman Mao’s axiom that “The Atomic bomb will not destroy man; man will destroy the bomb.”  Viewed from the perspective of these cosmic issues regarding the fate of the earth and the destiny of mankind, the race question is a secondary problem.  Hence he should leave the debate about it to the academics, pundits, preachers, philosophers, talk radio hosts, and even members of Congress.  So if  there are any racist out there who fancy themselves intellectuals and are spoiling for a fight……try me!




Playthell Benjamin

Commentaries On The Times

Harlem, New York 

July 22, 2010

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