Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Fatal Flaw

It's not that he successfully suppressed his inner Angry Ni**er, it's that he never had one to begin with.

For all his intimacies with his white mother and white grandparents, my first black president doesn’t appear to know his whites.
There’s no other way to explain Obama’s inability to imagine that this nation could elect Donald Trump. Those of us who know our whites know one thing above all else: whiteness defends itself. Against change, against progress, against hope, against black dignity, against black lives, against reason, against truth, against facts, against native claims, against its own laws and customs. Even after Donald Trump was elected, Obama told Coates that all is not lost. He is still hopeful about the soul of white America. He said nothing about the soul of black America. That is where my hope resides. It is where my faith has always resided.
The anger that David Axelrod says was so a part of Harold Washington and that Barack Obama wonderfully did not have is also the hope that defends against America’s worst impulses.* To think Obama is commended for not being angry, for not having the fortitude of deep knowledge about how white identity politics sustains and circumscribes black lives is enough to make me cry.
Barack Obama never seemed to really understand the nature of his opposition, from his early years of being Grand Bargain curious to the rise of Trump. This may be why his response to Trump in the last month has been near silence. I am strongly hoping Obama takes a major leadership role in the fight against Trump to come, not retiring like most presidents, but rather becoming a modern John Quincy Adams, fighting against injustice quite publicly. But it may take Obama coming to terms with the true depths of American racism to do this. And somehow, maybe he doesn’t quite get that.

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