The question posed to a lot of black people these days is, are you going to vote for Barack Obama? It is a fair bet that many black people will have some form of allegiance to the black community by voting for the black candidate regardless if he is truly the best candidate. The fact that Mr. Obama is black is all the proof many black people need to know without a doubt that he is the candidate for them. We want to support a candidate that is part of our clan. So it really is a no brainer that many black people will vote for him.
This isn’t to say that all black people will. Although many black people are willing to give him the benefit of doubt, others are more discerning and want to apply more meticulous measurements to assure that the black candidate is the best one for the black community. After all, somebody like Clarence Thomas is obviously black, but this black tom is like black community kryptonite. No matter the issue if Mr. Thomas is involved, the black community is going to lose. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. So in order to avoid a similar situation of supporting the black candidate only to have the black candidate do his best to undermine black people and support the status quo, some people will actually make sure that the policies of the candidate are good for the black community.
And then again some black people wouldn’t vote for the black candidate no matter what. Any affiliation with other blacks is just too much a burden for their senses to bear. So unfortunately, many black people will avoid looking like they support anybody black in order to demonstrate their devotion to the status quo.
The bottom line is that black people run the gamut of political affiliation. But the question posed to many black people is, are you going to vote for Barack Obama? Of course there are a lot of people expecting and promoting black people to vote for the black candidate because he is black. Some people hear these for black community unity and are instantly appalled. Black people voting for black people simply because they are black demonstrate black people’s racist nature. The claim is made that these same black people would loose their mind if they heard white people say something like white people should support members of the white community. The barrel of the propaganda machine that is pointed at the black community is kicking into high gear.
Obviously many people don’t recognize the dominance of the white culture here in America. For centuries the American people had no choice but to vote white in the race for President. Nobody had to say vote white because it was going to happen no matter what. So after centuries of white people voting white, now that there is a black candidate, people want to point to the segment of the black community that strongly supports other black people as something unfair, sinister, and/or underhanded. Why would black people do such a thing and exhibit such unified behavior?
But like other people with other community affiliations black people cover a broad spectrum of behavior from support to disdain. So why do some people with a white mindset focus only on the black people with such strong black affiliations? Would it be safe to assume that there are white people who would vote for a white candidate if there was only one in a sea of non white candidates? There are political races at the state and local level where the final two candidates is a white guy and the black guy and the racial tones of the race will become very sharp and glaring. A white political candidate for United States Senate will see a minority worker from his opponent’s camp, get on stage, and tell everyone to say hello to macaca. But so many people believe that only black people are quick to play the race card.
The black community is no different than any other community of people who finds themselves in the minority. There are people who support the black community just like there are people who would who are most likely to turn their back. The same is true for people of any other racial affiliation, gender affiliations, ethnic affiliation, spiritual affiliation, geographical affiliation, sports team affiliations, or whatever segment you may have.
There are black people who are totally unsophisticated in their support of black politicians. But then again there are white people who are totally unsophisticated in their support of people from the white community. There have been calls for white people to protect their white privilege. There have been calls for white people to have more babies to keep their superior numbers over any other race of people. Let’s not forget that white people are totally in to supporting other white people that will help keep the traditional family values. Traditional family values, another euphemism for the status quo.
For me, getting Baba Orunmila to do anything before he is ready to do it is like getting a brick to jump through a hoop before it was ready to do it. It’s not going to happen, at least no time soon. So it amazes me that some people can get Baba to give them the reading for the year like clockwork. Back in December of 2007 I started asking Orunmila for the word. Baba would respond asking me why I wanted the reading for the following year when the year wasn’t even over yet. I replied something to the affect that I was anxious and ready to demonstrate my special connection with the spirituality of Ifa. But Baba isn’t so easily persuaded. Baba would ask, demonstrate it to whom and for what purpose? And all I can say is never mind!
Come New Years Day of 2008 I was back with pen and paper ready to get that reading from Orunmila. Again, what’s the rush? Well, in the Orisa houses I experienced as an early practitioner, I was taught that people received a reading for the year at the beginning of the year. And Baba would respond that I was also taught that people who were initiated into Ifa were more significant than people who were not initiated. I was taught that people had to shave their heads when they were initiated. I was also taught that people who wanted to practice Ifa had to spend tremendous amounts of money and must adhere to traditional Yoruba culture. Okay, you win! But when will I get the reading for the year? Baba’s answer was that I will get the reading of the year when I was ready to get the reading for the year.
For weeks I had to put up with this circular, yoyo, Yoda logic. Baba didn’t give me the reading until sometime in March. So when I see just about everybody else in the Ifa community post the reading for the year according to Orunmila like clockwork on the first of January, or even a little late like the first week of January, I have to wonder, what’s up?
Last year there were a variety of readings for the year from a lot of people. Not a single one of these readings matched what anyone else had to say about the coming year. Again I went to Baba for an understanding of what’s happening. When did I ever hear Baba say that all of these people were speaking for him? Why would I take their word that they were speaking for him? A lot of people feel like they are speaking on behalf of Orunmila. They get out their divination tools and use them according to the instruction manual. Say a few prayers, throw the ipwele chain or ikin or whatever, do a little math to see if the answer is in the left hand or the right, look up the result in a book of odu verses, and there you have the reading for the year.
But spiritual readings should be much more involved than a lucky throw to lookup an odu in a reference book. Imagine trying to convey a message about how someone should live their life using nothing but an odu verse that has a rather convoluted story about praising a babalawo and the babalawo praising Ifa with ten thousand cowry shells as payment. Now the odu has to be interpreted and interpretation is only as good as the practitioner and there are so many ways a very important communication can be misinterpreted. And that’s only part of the problem of the practitioner whose relationship with Orunmila is in good standing.
People whose standing with Baba Orunmila is on the outs have no chance of even pulling up the correct odu. These people might think they are communicating with Orunmila by going through the motions or the drama of doing readings. But in all honesty these diviners are doing nothing but making random stabs at luck. A divination tool in the hands of a practitioner of poor character or on the outs with Orunmila for some other reason could be better used as a doorstop. Baba doesn’t work with people who manipulate readings intended for others to the alleged diviner’s benefit.
So I had to ask, how are people supposed to believe what you are telling them through me when there is so much spiritual clutter out there? What distinguishes me from the others? Well, the fact that I don’t publish a reading for the year right on schedule like everyone else should give people a hint that something here might be different. I’d rather do without than just put anything up there.
When people read the word of Orunmila here, they can rest assured it is straight from the Orisa and not out of a book of odu verses. Baba and I will sit down and we will discuss the word so that I can get it from him without spin and without interpretation and without having to do some ciphering to get a number so I can pull an odu out of a reference book written by some other diviner. Baba will explain exactly what he means. And if later on, if I ever have a question about the reading that I didn’t think of earlier, I can always go back and start a new conversation with Orunmila. That’s just one of the reasons why I take extra care to stay in good standing with Orunmila. I might not be the first with a reading for the year. But trust that when I am ready for the reading, it will come straight from the Baba’s mouth.