Black People Who “Be Hatin On” President Obama

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One thing I love about “our” people is that we like to keep things simple: Since the Obama presidency began, there has been a “stop snitching” code enforced on anyone who has the audacity to ask the White House to do a better job.  Tough love is not allowed, only a coddling, protective voice of unconditional, relentless support.  This support must be granted with a perpetual hope that the White House bureaucrats will do the right thing.   We don’t give our agenda to the White House, the White House gives their agenda to us.

The new code of black politics in America is that anytime one critiques the White House, about anything, for any reason, they are automatically reduced to being a hater. If Yvette Carnell writes an article critiquing Al Sharpton’s cozy relationship with Obama, she must be doing so because she’s jealous of Sharpton. When Cornel West speaks of poverty, which he’s done for the last 30 years, he must be “hatin on Obama cause he’s flossing” in the White House.  Even if you voted for Obama, you obviously did so because you hated him and are jealous of his “presidential swag.”  You just don’t want to see a black man succeed.

The next time my doctor tells me that I need to lower my cholesterol, I’m going to tell him that he’s just a hater and then maybe he’ll shut up. In fact, anyone who ever criticizes anything that I ever say must be doing so because they’re just mad and want to get what I got. I should have used that argument with my mama when she told me that my grades weren’t good enough in elementary school: “Mama, you’re just hater and mad because I didn’t give you tickets to my inaugural birthday party.”  That would have set her butt straight.

The fact of the matter is that the Obama presidency belongs to all of us, and not just those determined to be unconditional cheerleaders.  Those who voted for the president deserve respect, even if they choose to use their democratic voice.  The antiquated and awkward notion that supporting a politician means that you should sit to the side and just hope for the best is clearly an invention that came out of some pimp-in-the-pulpit dictatorship.  President Obama is not Pastor Jackson with the collection plate; he is a candidate elected for the people, by the people and beholden to accountability that must come directly from the people.

Martin Luther King said that when it comes to politics, ‎”I feel someone must remain in the position of non-alignment, so that he can look objectively at both parties and be the conscience of both—not the servant or master of either.”  The translation is that giving too much loyalty, too easily is a flawed way to use you democratic power.  Even if you give a politician your support, you are supposed to evaluate their choices critically and ensure that the politician is doing work on behalf of those whom you care about.

Dr. King wasn’t the only politician who would have been considered to be a “hater” by Obama cheerleaders today.  Another black public figure of the past, WEB Dubois, actually said that he refused to vote until a politician earned his support by advocating policy that clearly pursued racial equality in America.  So, black people do not have to think in lockstep, we don’t all have to see the world in the  same way, and your decision to use your voice doesn’t mean that you’re somehow jealous of those in power.

Maybe one day we can elevate the discussion…..Black politics should not be discussed like a hip hop music video. Defending your points with sound logic, reason, research and facts is far more valid than presuming that anyone who disagrees with you is only doing so because they are jealous.  All that’s just silly and it’s time for our community to grow up.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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