|From President Obama's college years|
I think the Black male is often associated with violence, and it's difficult for people to see a mixed race President (named Barack Hussein Obama) who doesn't live up to that age-old stereotype. I think one of our readers mentioned in an earlier post how people like to categorize one another. Clearly, people don't know what to make of him 'cause he is cool. Just think about that strut across the lawn at Pennsylvania Ave. and the calmness he exuded during the debates that led him to the presidency. He's a BAD man! But no matter what he does, it won't be right in the eyes of everyone else. Long after he's out of office, people will still be talking. Guess what, they aren't the President either! So why should it matter? To me, Obama is doing just what he should be doing, which is all he absolutely can do in his power.
You're right, Ms. Mashari, he IS a "BAD" man (shut yo mouth!). But, see the problem is, he's not bad in that Shaft/Gangsta/Samuel L. Jackson sort of way. Obama ain't the kind of negro that's going to snap all of a sudden on the Republicans and be like, "Look, muthaf@%kers, I don said it once and I ain't saying it twice! Ya'll gon pass this health care bill!" I admit, even I am guilty of wanting Obama to get angry once in a while, to display some emotion, to be a little less cerebral and a little more emotional. (It's not because I have no other way of understanding black masculinity, however. It's more so because I understand people in general better when I see them display emotion. People who are always always level-headed, no matter what the crisis, simply vex me; I feel like I can never really understand such a person).
White America (and maybe even black America) is used to the angry black man image I just mentioned: white Americans both love it and fear it. Unfortunately, the worse thing President Obama could do politically is get angry, because it's a guarantee he'll lose some much-needed support from whites (while he might regain some steadily waning support from brown and black folks in this country). It's a guarantee that you'll have white America shouting several things:
1) "That's right! That's right!," white liberals will shout, and from then on expect the angry Obama to make appearances occasionally, especially in favor of their causes.
2) "That's just incredibly unprofessional and not a good look for our country," white moderates will groan, from then on expecting the man to never ever exhibit the slightest emotion, for even the slightest emotion will hark back to angry Obama,
3) "See, I told you they are all angry and violent," white conservatives will say, and proceed to search for violent past behavior from Obama's youth in order to further invalidate his humanity and turn him into a stereotype of black masculinity
Sigh. The man is in a precarious situation. If I were him, I would choose my moments carefully, but I would not choose to remain always completely calm so as to avoid the stereotype. Ultimately, being stereotyped as a black person is unavoidable. Any wise person knows that, and I would hope that he knows it. Look, his wife merely said she was for once proud to be an American, when he won the primaries, and they painted her as a fist-in-the-air-afro-wearing black panther sort (I wish) and Michelle couldn't be further from that.
Is it just me...or aren't there more important things at the White House (and in the world) to worry about?? Clinton was known for his charm, Bush was known for his, well...lack of intelligence, and now, Obama is known for being “cool.” What's the big deal? I happen to appreciate and have mad respect for anyone who can remain tactful under extreme scrutiny and pressure...
Although Obama DOES seem to keep his cool, I wouldn't expect anything otherwise from a person with his leadership responsibility of ANY race...
Though it WOULD be funny to me if he gave the masses what they were looking for one day!
LOL, Miss Berneta! I remind you that Obama's campaign slogan was a "Change We Can Believe In," and that change meant a new attitude, a new swag, and a "NEW BAD." Think about it, he's mixed race and was raised by his Caucasian mother, having been exposed to a multitude of cultures and raised in Hawaii and overseas until middle school or so, and people really want to see Obama go Black Dynamite a time or two. Yeah, right! It seems like some of us signed up for the change, but weren't quite ready for just what the change meant. A cool dude that just happens to be brown skinned, wears his trousers a little high but looks just dandy doing it, and remains calm under a world of pressure. Miss Qui, like you, I'm enamored by the man we call Mr. President and I applaud him for what LL Cool J calls "doin' it well.”