Earlier today I posted the following quote on my Facebook page, which was generally well-received:
The construct of “race” was specifically created by the minority white elite for the purposes of justifying their false notions of having superior intellect, ethics, and abilities. It was also used to keep poor Blacks and whites fighting among each other and allowing the elite whites to maintain their power and wealth, unscathed. That this strategy has been overwhelmingly effective is perhaps best illustrated by the alarmingly uncritical support AND rejection the American public shows for president Obama despite his actual record. Therefore, many whites reject him simply because he’s Black, and many Blacks support him because he’s Black, and BOTH are wrong to do so. Our sincere support or rejection of ANY elected official should stem from an accurate analysis of his/her policies and practices and the manner in which they affect us. Being duped by a Black man vs. being duped by a white man is in the end, the same thing: You’ve been duped….
Furthermore I noted:
For example, the brothers and sisters that attack me for criticizing the president become very upset and take great offense…..but they cannot logically disagree with or counter my position. Most of their time is spent defending why he can’t take a certain position, or how he’s trying to do his best, or why we are being disloyal. But they can provide little to no evidence to defend their position in terms of his policy and actions. I’ve even heard people say, “He’s just the president, you can’t bring your problems to him.” Well if this is true, why did so many of us vote for him in the first place? Go figure….
I have written a number of articles which are critical of Obama’s policies, actions, or statements. I have labored to show and prove that president Obama has for the most part, not delivered on the promises he made during his first run for office, and that in certain cases, has directly contradicted them. In one article, I exhaustively listed and provided links to approximately 15 such examples. Because I’ve arrived at these positions based on researching both independent and establishment sources, I stand unequivocally by my conclusions.
Yet, there are still some Black folks that not only defend Obama, but attack me and worse, do so without being able to support their positions or refute mine! As suggested in my quote above, our “support” of an elected official cannot be based on the president’s racial designation, charm, dance moves, humor or any other incidental characteristic. Blindly supporting someone despite overwhelming evidence of their misdeeds is not a sign of patriotism or loyalty, but of cowardice and ignorance. This lack of critical analysis is disturbing because it suggests that many of our people have been duped and lack the honesty and integrity to admit it and move forward.
Those people who disagree with my perspective on Obama often write in exasperation, “Well what do you want the president to do?” Others insist that we should stop taking our complaint to the president because it’s not his job to address our issues, or that he cannot do so because he would risk being perceived as partial to Black interests. Such logic begs the question, “Then why did we spend so much energy to elect a man whom we cannot address issues to, seek relief from, or help solve our problems?” Aren’t these the reasons why we elect candidates for president or any elected office? Or have my beloved Black people become so desperate and hopeless that we will blindly support those who make themselves unaccountable to us?
Well unlike my critics, I hold the president accountable for helping to lead this nation and helping to address its problems. As many like to say, “He’s the president of all American citizens.” This is true, but Black people comprise a part of American citizenry as well. As far as I can tell, Obama is not afraid to throw serious support behind Jews, the gay community, and big business. It would be nice if Black people and poor people got a little bit or presidential love as well! So in light of the question “What do you want the president to do?” I’ve come up with some specific answers addressing a range of issues:
- Close all military bases in foreign countries
- Use federal authority/pressure to end the “stand your ground” law or its equivalent in all states
- Remove all troops from foreign lands within 6 months and end all wars or military actions abroad
- Revamp federal college student loan procedures to ensure that students/families are not denied loans because of their parents’ credit history or score
- Stop giving billions of dollars of aid to support totalitarian regimes or any regimes for that matter.
- Bring an immediate end to drone strikes against foreign people and U.S. citizens
- Immediately destroy your “kill list” and instead support the right of people to be tried or punished in their native country
- Push for legal reforms that will challenge the way America disproportionately criminalizes Black and Latino men, often imprisoning them for victimless crimes.
- Push to end the practice of imprisoning people addicted to drugs; Instead steer them to rehabilitation
- Push for legislation to make it illegal for American corporations to base headquarters or operations overseas. This unethical practice leads to high American unemployment, allows corporations to work around labor laws, and contributes to sweatshop labor characterized by horrendous work conditions and low wages for foreign workers
- As a former constitutional law professor, you are well aware of how your attempts at surveillance of citizen’s phone calls, emails, and social media activities infringe upon their right to privacy. Bring an immediate end to these efforts and programs
- Given the outrageously high frequency of murder in your hometown of Chicago and other urban areas, along with vast levels of unemployment and deprivation, declare such places national disaster areas (modify the law if necessary) which will free up federal money to aid in gang prevention, teacher recruitment/school development, social services and job training/development
Now back to my beloved brothers and sisters: WAKE UP, CLEAN UP, and STAND UP!
Agyei Tyehimba is a former NYC public schoolteacher, co-founder of KAPPA Middle School 215 in the Bronx, NY, and co-author of the Essence Bestselling book, Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler, published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster. Agyei has appeared on C-Span, NY1 News, and most recently on the A&E documentary, “The Mayor of Harlem: Alberto ‘Alpo’ Martinez.” Mr. Tyehimba is a professional consultant and public speaker providing political advice and direction for Black college student organizations, community activist groups, and nonprofit organizations. If you are interested in bringing Agyei to speak to your organization, please visit his page at the Great Black Speaker’s Bureau.