"The Man's" Morse Code and the Continuing Blight of White Racism

| Thu Jan. 24, 2008 2:40 PM EST

Well, all my subliminal advertising worked: I'll be on Colbert today, barring death, famine, or a Britney Spears sighting.

If Tuesday's show is any indication, Colbert has still got it, writerless or not. If you didn't see it, you missed something sweet, wonderful and daring. I had extreme fun the first time last year and am determined to do so again. Here's hoping that I actually speak, given Colbert's nonstop high jinx. If I do, here's what I hope to get around to saying: Barack, don't let The Man force you to pull a Sister Souljah and apologize for being black.

In Slate, Mickey Kaus gallantly provides a primer for Barack to "escape the ghetto." Here's the thinking of no doubt many oh-so-post-racial white politicos (though Kaus doesn't endorse the entire idea; he just pubs it up): The moment Barack allowed the dreaded Reverend Al Sharpton to defend him against criticism for his past drug use, Obama became a race hustler, dealing the (oh dear, not this again) race card from the bottom of the deck. Sharpton is the embodiment of black perfidy, and to align oneself with him is to reject any claims of race transcendence or racial fair dealing, no matter whom whites ally themselves with. In other words, Caught ya being black, Obama! And we thought you were different. Funny how playing the race card is something only liberal blacks can do (though Secretary Rice's frequent invocation of girlhood segregation and knowing one of the Four Little Girls in Birmingham, not to mention Thomas' "high tech lynching," are never invoked as examples).

One of the things I didn't want to accept in Hillary's "it took a President to get the job done" was that she was sending The Man's Morse code—for President, read "white person," and for MLK, read "nice sermon, oratory boy, now step aside so the grown ups take over." Now I'm beginning to wonder. Are white folks calling up their new and improved inner night riders? SUVs instead of horses, but the demand, the expectation, of supremacy, remains the same.

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Check out good old Dick Morris at Townhall neatly summing it up whilst simultaneously giving whites their marching orders. A victory for Obama in South Carolina will actually equal his eventual defeat, inevitable black defeat, as nature intended:

The run-up to South Carolina and the primary itself will feature constant focus on the African-American vote. Analysts and pundits will wonder if the wife of the "first black president" will lose to the real thing. She will. But, in a curious way, this will hurt Obama more than it will help him. It will create a racial subtext to a campaign that, until Iowa, didn't have one. Watching blacks block vote for Obama will trigger a white backlash that will help Hillary win Florida and to prevail the week after.

A racial subtext that didn't exist before? Lord, the psychic energy it takes to maintain a belief in one's own innate superiority and everlasting innocence. But you can't say he's wrong in his prediction, though it might be nice if we could agree that it's, you know, morally wrong. In any event, Kaus suggests that Obama might want to get his Souljah on. If he does that, he will definitely lose my vote, not to mention my respect. When Bill did it, it was exactly the same as apologizing for being liked by blacks. If Obama does it, it will be exactly the same as apologizing for being black. It will be announcing that he's "different," better than the Negro hordes and should be forgiven his melanin. After all, its been purified by white blood. See how articulate and clean I am! No gold tee-fuses here. And my kids' names don't have any apostrophes or end in -ita. I did drugs, but hey, I did them with your kids in an Ivy League school.

The idea that Obama should feel the need to find something or someone black to denounce (Kaus, sincerely trying to be helpful, I believe, suggests affirmative action as the least offensive of Obama's choices) is pure insult, pure racism. Hillary Clinton can deploy Bob Johnson, purveyor of anti-black filth so vile his own mother should disown him, but Obama has to set up black targets of opportunity? I'm with Robert George. Instead of going Souljah, Obama should "tell the truth and shame the devil" of the black miscreants who align herself with him. His advice on Johnson was dead on:

Obama needs to turn this around: The response to Johnson's crack that Obama is taking racial cues from "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" is to say, "Well, I'd rather my daughters learned about race from a movie like that—giving an optimistic view of society—than from the trash Mr. Johnson's BET often inflicts on Black America with scantily-clad women shaking their behinds and gangstas rappers using N-, B- and H- words gratuitously. Does Mr. Johnson believe that is "real life"? Does Mrs. Clinton associate herself with the images of women that Mr. Johnson's network has been spewing for years now?"

These are some questions to which many of the women of South Carolina might appreciate hearing some answers.

Obama: Confront the racism and white supremacy head on. Not with whining and overt denunciations of racism, but with the facts. Fact number one must be: Black is beautiful.

None of this is to say, of course, that there are no black problems to be dealt with, but if Obama isn't going to be the one to deal with them as constructively as possible—a la his gentle but firm rebuke of black homophobia, xenophobia and antisemitism—who will? (And, by the way, who's telling the truth on white folks?) I'd like to see him talk with blacks about the root causes (yeah, I went there) of black violence, poor educational and health outcomes, the war between black men and black women. Not denounce them. Try to heal them.

Who but Obama will treat blacks as free and equal human beings, deserving of the nation's time, attention and investment? If he goes Souljah, no one.

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