Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Well, no.

For the record, I actually like Cary Clack.  I read his columns most of the time when I buy the paper.  He's written eloquently on the plight of the East Side, on difficulties growing up poor and black, and a variety of other subjects.  I vehemently disagree with him as far as politics goes, but he nearly always presents his point of view cogently and never, ever falls to name-calling.

That said, he's a bit off the mark with today's column:

It is. But (Spike)Lee knows as well as anyone that even if it was Obama's nature, he couldn't "go off" - at least not publicly. He knows what Obama and most African American males learn through counsel and experience while coming of age: The "angry black man" scares people and doesn't negotiate his way through society and climb his way through the professional ranks as easily as one not seen that way.
 (The emphasis, of course, is mine.)

I am struck again by the disconnect many in the media and on the Left in general seem to have between what they perceive Barack Obama's background to be and what it actually is.  As those of us who've been awake the past few years know, not only is Obama half-white, but he was raised exclusively by white people.  Not only that, but he was raised by white people in a state with a minute black population.  SA's black population is only 7%, but Honolulu's is much smaller; in the year and a half I lived there I saw a black person exactly once when not on a military installation.  I can pretty much guarantee that Barack Obama, when growing up, did not learn the "right" way for black people to act from other black people...The only thing he was likely to have learned in the part of his childhood spent in Honolulu was the beginnings of a dislike of white people (and honestly, other than his bizarre repudiation of half of his heritage and family, I haven't seen any evidence of that)--remember that haole, the pejorative Hawaiian word for a white person, literally means soulless

When Obama came to the Mainland, he went right from one privileged social stratum to another--from Punahou to the Ivy League.  Once again, he was surrounded only by the "right" people.  Quite frankly, I probably have more first-hand knowledge and experience with poor blacks in America than our esteemed President, given that I grew up on the East Side.  (And let's not forget that when he came to visit San Antonio during his Presidential campaign, his black side o' town speech had a $20 entry fee and was during working hours, thereby ensuring that no poor black people would get within sight of him.  Unless they were serving canapés.)

So, Obama knows he can't be an Angry Black Man because he was counseled against it?  Yeah, no.

That's almost as amusing as saying that Spike Lee--whose entire career is based upon being an Angry Black Man--knows he can't be one.

Um, yeah.  And Russell Simmons cares about the little guy.

Now, to be frank, I don't give a damn whether Obama gets angry or not.  Like I said earlier, I lived in Hawaii for a year and a half.  Some level of reticence is precisely what I expect from a Hawaiian.  (Hell, some level of condescension would also fit--there's no "aloha spirit" unless they're trying to sell you overpriced tourist crap.)   Clack is 100% correct to say the demands that the Big O hit some random level of anger are out of place; this is the only thing I can think of offhand that explains this breathtaking bit of racism from Bill Maher.

But, hey, we Republicans are the racists, right?


Dave said...

Like you, I'm a big fan of Cary Clack but he certainly missed the mark on this one. Unless of course, the counsel and experience he refers to was during Mr. Obama's formative years in the church of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Oh wait, that was some pretty angry counsel there.

Albatross said...

I've met Clack, and I've actually had a one-on-one conversation with him. He's a nice guy, and he's honest. I truly believe he stands by every word of his carefully crafted writings. Like you, I don't really agree with some of his politics, but he writes well, and he makes me nod my head from time to time.

Joseph said...

Clack is a good writer. Usually I like his columns. I don't always agree with him, but he has a right to his opinions and ideas.