Is This Thing On?
Jesse Jackson should have known better. He whispered over to his co-guest, Doctor Reed Tuckson, making a few choice words about Barack Obama. Mr. Jackson knows better than most how some people would love nothing more than to catch him in an unguarded moment. His voice was low. He knew what he was saying could be very embarrassing if it was ever made public. He knew his words would come back to haunt him if the cat was let out the bag. But Mr. Jackson could not help himself. After going on record to give his politically correct assessment of Mr. Obama’s comments about the black community and about black men in particular, when he thought the camera and microphone were off line, Mr. Jackson made a rather base comment about Mr. Obama talking down to black people and how Mr. Jackson wanted to castrate the presumptive Democratic nominee.
Now, everybody who’s anybody is coming down on Mr. Jackson and his hate of Mr. Obama. One black pundit made the comment that Mr. Obama’s sermon on black fathers must have hit a little close to Mr. Jackson’s home since he has his own child born out of wedlock. Somebody else made the comment that Mr. Jackson is simply jealous of Mr. Obama’s popularity or his ability to actually become the nation’s first black president when Jesse Jackson’s campaign fell insignificantly short. Other people made the comment that this is just more evidence of the dysfunctional nature of the black community and/or the Democratic Party. Even Mr. Jackson’s son has distanced himself from his father’s comments. But is anybody thinking that this is just the latest off the cuff opinion of a black man who happened to have been offended by another black man who made disparaging remarks about the black community?
Mr. Obama and his wife Michelle have two beautiful girls, Sasha and Malia. I can imagine the Obamas throwing a birthday party for one of their daughters and asking some high profile person that their girls admire to make an appearance and say something to commemorate the occasion. I can also imagine that high profile person going to the birthday party and saying something about how little black girls need to learn responsibility and quit getting pregnant without getting married. Any little girl can be a fool and become a mother. But getting knocked up doesn’t make a black girl a black woman. All it will do is ruin her life and the lives of her family members. We don’t need to contribute to the statistics that say black girls are known for their whorish behavior. Black girls need to be focused on their future and the future of the black community.
Chances are pretty good that Mr. and Ms. Obama wouldn’t appreciate someone making such statements at his daughter’s birthday party. Although there is a popular belief that black girls are more likely to get pregnant and be somebody’s baby mama, why in the world would someone make such accusations of the Obama girls? Mr. Obama would be offended and would probably make a statement expressing his outrage and disappointment with such a topic at what should have been a happy occasion. And Mr. Jackson, a black man who does not work hard to distance himself from the black community, probably took offense that Mr. Obama reinforces such assumptions about black men and their irresponsibility to their children.
Ever since Mr. Obama made his infamous statements about the irresponsibility of black men and their lack of a commitment to their children, I have made it a point to notice all the black men in my black neighborhood who have taken responsibility for children in their lives. There was the black man who was walking through the alley holding a toddler’s hand. There was the black man carrying a bag of groceries in his left hand, holding a little girl’s hand with his right hand, while another slightly older girl skipped along behind them. There was the brother sitting at the bus stop with a baby in a stroller. In all these examples, it was a black man with a child or with children. But instead of these men being used to define the black experience, instead of the role of the black father being acknowledged, we prefer to focus our attention on the malfeasant.
It angers me to see the malfeasant that is the definition of black fathers on Father’s Day. It angers me that a former community organizer who happens to be black and should have an idea of the diversity of the black experience, is focused on the politically popular negative stereotypes of the black community while he panders to the wholesome image of the white community. And if it angers me, a black man who takes his responsibility to his black children, family, neighborhood, community, etcetera, it should not be too hard to imagine that it angers other black people as well. It should not be hard to imagine that it angers other black men such as Mr. Jackson.
Personally, I’m glad to see Mr. Jackson react strongly enough to make a suggestion, when he thought he was off camera, that he wanted to castrate Mr. Obama. Honestly, sometimes I feel like I would like to castrate him as well. But whether or not we agree with Mr. Jackson or not, instead of the black community supporting another black man caught on tape reacting to the negative image of black people promoted by the dominant community, we again turn away and utterly condemn another man who demonstrates a sincere concern of the black community. Mr. Jackson may have been vulgar and the vast majority of us would like to take him out back to the political tool shed. A lot of people are disappointed and are saying that the Reverend Jesse Jackson, like the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, is just a bitter old man unable to let go of a bygone era. But personally, I understand Mr. Jackson’s frustration with Mr. Obama enough to say, at least off camera, that I’d like to buy him a set of heavy duty scissors.