Proud of Obama? No Question. But Black Folk Won't Vote for Just Any Black Candidate
White pundits miss the point on Powell's endorsement
By Malik Bell
October 31, 2012
I am proud of Barack Obama and I am sure Powell is as well. What I find interesting is that such an accusation could be made from White politicians, perhaps signifying a White population that is projecting its own voting habits onto Black people.
For, without contextualizing each election and their individual natures, all the empirical evidence suggests that prior to Barack Obama’s election, White people only vote for White people, if for no other reason, by default. For Whites to make this assertion about Black people’s voting habits is at best erroneous, again mostly by default. This type of thinking reduces the complexity and marginalizes the importance of Black intelligence, as if the concerns of Black people are and should remain confined to Black politics, Black justice, Black history, and Black America.
Again, all empirical evidence would have to support the contrary. The Republican establishment of the last twelve years has produced more African-American presidential candidates and high level cabinet members than any time that I can recall. From Michael Steele, Condoleeza Rice, Rod Paige, Alan Keyes, Herman Cain and back to Powell himself.
None can claim to be widely popular among Black voters. They help to dispel the mythology being espoused by the Sununus of the world. For clearly, as Jon Stewart pointed out to Republicans some time ago, “…it can’t just be any Black person.”
This is the simple part of the equation.
The more difficult, and insidious thing that all of this implies is that Black people are somehow unaware that White people enjoy the fact that other White people sit atop the power structures of the country. And that by virtue of their White commonality this ensures at some general social level that White people will care for and look to improve the lot of other White people.
By pointing out that somehow Powell’s vote is a suggestion of hidden fraternity that by contrast does not exist in White America is fallacious. It is yet another projection of a White American social history which clearly espouses preferences by White people for White people.
This is why I enjoy the symbolism of the term “Obamacare” because it literally amounts to Barack Obama caring for all American people. It helps me to understand that the rejection of such a policy of health care reform has little to do with doctors, single payers, taxes or costs. It has to do with a break in the tradition of White people having the power to care, or make the ultimate decision about what is good for White people. Evidently it is not the election of a Black president, but the irony that a Black man; the recipient of so much undo punishment at the hands of White institutions, could present us with such a spiritual challenge. That he could have power, the gall no less to care for White people may be too much for the American psyche to bear.
It is the one pill that may be too hard to swallow.