It's about our community and our spirituality!

I Know What King Would Think


It is an exciting time.  In a few hours the world will get its first United States President that is not a white male.  Barack Hussein Obama will be the first African American to serve as President of the United States.  It is an exciting time indeed.  The authorities estimate that as many as two million people will crowd into the small strip of open space known as the National Mall.  Some people are paying outrageous sums of good money and jumping through all kinds of flaming hoops so they can experience the event first hand even though more than likely they’d need a telescope with the optics of the Hubble to make out Mr. Obama’s person as he takes the oath on the steps of the United States Capitol Building.

A lot of people are asking the question what would Dr. King think of all this.  Truly, what would arguably the greatest symbol of the civil rights movement think?  What would the man who worked tirelessly for the black community think about a black politician achieving what for many is considered the highest political office in the land?  Not surprisingly, I see it as a simple question to answer.

When Dr. King instituted passive resistance against the raging institutionalized racism of America, there were a number of individual black Americans who were doing surprisingly well at the time.  People like Sidney Portier and Diane Carroll were making careers as Hollywood actors.  People like Redd Foxx and Bill Cosby were doing very well as comedians.  Berry Gordy and Earl Graves were making a name in the corporate world.  And a number of other black professionals were doing well as doctors and lawyers and whatever you may have had at the time.

But Dr. King wasn’t fighting for civil rights for a handful of black people.  His struggle was for the black community at large.  Mr. King never said that we needed a black President or a black corporate executive or the first black whatever.  Mr. King was fighting for the black community in general and not for that one black individual who has been able to overcome and reach their goals.

Thinking of Dr. King I am reminded of the story where he made a personal request to Nichelle Nichols who played Lieutenant Uhura on the then brand new science fiction phenomenon Star Trek.  For sometime, Ms. Nichols had felt that she was being mistreated by the show’s producers and wanted to quit the franchise.  When she had discovered that while other actors were enjoying their notoriety her fan mail was being withheld it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  She wanted to quit.  But Dr. King appealed to her saying that it would inspire future generations of black people to achieve.  Dr. Mae Jamison, the first black woman to go to space, admitted that it was Lieutenant Uhura at the futuristic switchboard of the Enterprise that inspired her to become an astronaut.

I’d like to imagine that Dr. King would be proud of Mr. Obama just as much as he would have been proud of any and every person of African decent who achieves and who wants to maintain their affiliation with the black community without selling their soul to do it.  The election of Mr. Obama to the presidency is a great achievement for him.  But the election of Mr. Obama is not tantamount to the evaporation of inequality.  Mr. Obama’s achievement is not the end all or be all of the black community.

A lot of people like to talk in the most simplistic of terms that Mr. Obama’s election is now an indication that racism is over and that the people in the black community no longer have an excuse for the under achievement that permeates the black community relative to other communities.  But then people turn around and see Mr. Obama as the rare exception instead of the general rule of black people.  He speaks so well.  Black people are indeed inferior.  It’s just that every now and then you will find that rare black person that can transcend his or her inherent black inferiorities.

Bottom line is that from Dr. King’s perspective, it wasn’t about the individual.  It wasn’t about the achievements of a few black people.  It was about the black community.  We can celebrate the fact that Mr. Obama is the latest member of an extremely small, elite fraternity.  We can support him in his endeavors as he tries to bring something that resembles respectable leadership back to the oval office.  The black community should be very proud of this moment.

But on the flipside, this is not a time to rest on laurels.  The proportion of education and employment opportunities for young black people falls short.  The only area when opportunities for black people excel relative to others is when we have an opportunity to fall under the harsh judgment of the public’s eye such as when we are brought before the judicial system or law enforcement.  And we still suffer from a mindset that when something negative is perpetrated by one black person, all black people suffer the consequences.  The whole fate of future black Presidents rest on Mr. Obama’s broad shoulders.  However, the fate of future white Presidents is hardly impacted by the less than stellar performance of George Bush.

And what does an Obama presidency hold for the black community?  Would he be a black President in the vein of Thurgood Marshall, the first black appointment to the Supreme Court?  Or is Mr. Obama’s relationship with the black community will be better defined in the vein of Clarence Thomas, Mr. Marshall’s less than illustrious successor?  Generally speaking will Mr. Obama be someone welcomed by the vast majority of black people who will judge as a good thing for everyone including the black community or will he be judged as an anathema heavily despised by black people?

Like most black people who have a vision and are more socially oriented, I imagine Dr. King would hope for the best for the entire community.  But he would not assume anything.  He would be proud, but he would stay vigilant.  He would say that this was a great achievement for a black man.  Obviously, the fact that a black man is becoming President is a sign that we have made significant progress.  But the fight for racial equality is far from over.  I believe Dr. King would know that we must continue this long and arduous journey resisting all manners of distractions along the way, even the distractions that would lead us to believe we have arrived when it’s really nothing more than the next logical step in a very long process.

Monday, January 19, 2009 - Posted by | African Americans, Barack Obama, Black Community, Black Culture, Black History, Black Men, Black People, Life, News, Politics, Racism, Thoughts


  1. Excellent post! Please consider sharing it at Afrospear.


    Comment by Asabagna | Monday, January 19, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback Asabagna,

      I shall!


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, January 19, 2009 | Reply

  2. [Comment on hold until further notice]

    Comment by Charlie | Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback Charlie,

      But based on what I have seen of your comments with theblacksentinel I really don’t think I should allow your baseless comments here. For example, you said Mr. Obama’s main campaign focus was the fact that he was black. I have never seen Mr. Obama do anything of the sort. Therefore, before I will allow your comment to go up, I must ask that you please provide some kind of evidence or reference to support your position. Otherwise, I will have to reject your comment.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | Reply

  3. [Comment on hold until further notice]

    Comment by Charlie | Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | Reply

    • Charlie,

      In one of your recent unpublished comments here you wrote:

      brotherpeacemaker said: You will hold on to your insistence that young blacks will lead a life of crime while young white people will become outstanding citizens despite the fact that they break laws.

      Now you are putting words into my mouth, I didn’t say that.

      Let me direct you to this comment you made to theblacksentinel on December 30, 2008:

      These kids may be getting drunk, but they aren’t committing other crimes, they are also likely to go on to good careers and be respectable members of soceity.

      With half of black kids dropping out of high school it is a fair bet that most are either carrying illegal weapons or living off criminal earnings. The loose trousers are just a sign of the gang culture and probably a good indicator that the person is not an up and coming member of society. Would you let your kids dress that way?

      And just in case you need more, this is another comment of yours left the same day:

      As for searching, if one group accounts for a disproportionately high percentage of crimes, then in my view they should be searched regularly anyway, using fashion as an excuse is pointless.

      This is the problem I have with trying to engage you in an honest conversation. Not only do you deny facts, you even deny your own rhetoric. And right after you deny it, you’ll come back and rephrase it saying whatever all over again. It is okay if white kids break laws and get drunk, even though the consumption of alcohol may be a crime in itself, but black kids are prone to crime and therefore should be subject to having their rights trampled. I may have paraphrased it, you may not want to claim it, but it doesn’t dismiss the fact that it is a partial glimpse into your racially biased thought patterns.

      I will continue to save your comments. One day I may be so inclined to publish them. But right now, you are trying to justify your racial prejudices with more prejudices. You wrote:

      I don’t believe that they are inherently more racist no, but they are surrounded by and in some cases brought up by people who constantly tell them that white people will hold them back, therefore it doesn’t take much to go wrong in their life before they start blaming white people.

      But you would never admit that white people are constantly spreading the propaganda that black people are criminals and it doesn’t take much for a white person to look at a black person and accuse him or her of being a criminal based on nothing but per capita statistics and propaganda.

      If it happens with black people, then it must be happening with white people as well. The only difference is that the constant propaganda from white people that black people are criminals actually supports black people’s propaganda that white people see us as less than and will therefore make choices to hold black people back.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, January 21, 2009 | Reply

  4. [Comment on hold until further notice]

    Comment by Charlie | Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | Reply

  5. [Comment on hold until further notice]

    Comment by Charlie | Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | Reply

  6. [Comment on hold until further notice]

    Comment by Charlie | Wednesday, January 21, 2009 | Reply

    • Charlie,

      In your last unpublished comment, amongst your usual blather, you wrote:

      This from someone who, like theblacksentinel, refuses to publish anything that shows black people in a bad light.

      On the faint hope that you might understand, it is not that I do not publish anything that shows black people in a bad light. Lord knows there are a number of articles here that take the black community to task. I simply refuse to allow my blog to be used to propagate baseless facts about black people. If this is what theblacksentinel did with your diatribes, then I consider myself in good company.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, January 21, 2009 | Reply

  7. I thought this was a great post. I decided to read the comments because I was wondering if anyone was able to expand on your ideas. Instead I learn that some guy is picking a stupid fight with you. I would suggest that you shouldn’t waste time addressing his no-class comments.

    Comment by Jon | Wednesday, January 21, 2009 | Reply

  8. Thanks for the feedback Jon,

    If I may toot my own horn, I thought it was a pretty good article as well. I was hoping to get more feedback from various sources. But I got what I got. Trust me, the choice to reject Charlie’s comments was not a hard one. I think it is time to move on and leave Charlie behind. And I think he got the point. Only time will tell.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, January 22, 2009 | Reply

  9. great article.could be a lil more optimistic but it made a true point. as for blocking charlie i know it must be a strong temptation.but there is no better way to clear the air then to answer a white mans questions so that he may understand..i think charlie is looking for truth,and feels that you are avoiding the explaination of his question, all of his questions…we could all argue tillwe all blue..even a black person would turn i think instead of seeing eachothers writing as attacks or dissagreements, we should see them as questions and answer them witha sound solid answer.Even if the answer is in the other colors called me out for taking your writing as a disagreement or attck of some kind, i appologised for my ignorant language. Although Charlie, you do need to open your white midleclass mind up and we need to come together like loving family and explain to eachother like family a loving tone..I am sorry for my ignorant and angry posts and i humble myself to the people who read them..however i meant every word of it and expect detailed explaination…

    Comment by John | Sunday, February 1, 2009 | Reply

    • John,

      While it is helpful to answer questions from people who have a serious interest to understand the issue, some people, like Charlie, are not interested in learning anything but defending the status quo. The status quo means keeping things exactly as they are without change. Charlie, who lives in England and, as far as I know, has never lived in the United States, pulls race statistics from sites frequently visited by David Duke. When I try to educate Charlie with statistics from the Bureau of Justice, he quickly dismisses them as incorrect or misrepresented. I don’t have a problem with engaging people of a different opinion. But engaging people without any intention of seeing an issue from the other side is a waste of time. I don’t owe Charlie or you an explanation on anything.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Sunday, February 1, 2009 | Reply

  10. my god brotha you hit the nail on the head i just read that post again…that is exactly what isaid to this one kid on who is to blame and how we stop it..we need to stop the positive image of”black gangsters” this way the suburb and poor blacks wont think its cool and shit and that will change almost these kids see we have money, women, and we the alpha dog..but gangbabgin is scum and its propaganda needs to stop ( i say we b/c of my previous involvement in a gang)

    Comment by John | Sunday, February 1, 2009 | Reply

  11. thabkk you for the much needed definition..another steryotye killed(whites are smarter than blacks) lol..nobody owes anything here we established that.. but do not put me alongside charlie i never said blacks are criminal or worse than whites like he is doing..and though you owe me nothing…what is the point of your site if you are not willing to explain my questions..isnt that the only way misunderstandings can be will i get your point if you cannot first remove the questions that are keeping me from your point…Why would you not..i would think you would love to explain for your race..isnt that the whole point of your site?

    NOte: is said i EXPECT an explanation, not DEMAND..plz dont get it twisted i meant EXPECTED in its most literal sense

    I know you dont OWE it to me i just thought that in the spirite of killing would be nice?

    Comment by John | Sunday, February 1, 2009 | Reply

  12. Charlie…..pulls race statistics from sites frequently visited by David Duke. When I try to educate Charlie with statistics from the Bureau of Justice, he quickly dismisses them as incorrect or misrepresented.

    What absolute rubbish!

    I have no idea who David Duke is but I admitted that after a Google search (I only know of British statistics so had to search) I found a particular study that was mentioned on several websites, which turned out to be biased, and I apologised for that. When you pointed me to the Bureau of Justice, I used only their statistics from thereon, it was you who then dismissed them.

    The comments in question are still there, or at least most of them are.

    I never claimed to be American, or to have lived in America but the problems with the black community in the US are the same in Britain, i.e. gang culture, disproportionate crime rate and unemployment, low graduation rate and so on.

    Comment by Charlie | Sunday, February 1, 2009 | Reply

    • Charlie,

      Well, I do know who David Duke is. And you are either neck deep in denial or a blatant liar. I’d like to remind you of this comment posted to theblacksentinel’s article titled What’s Wrong With Being White? In it, you clearly made a reference to The Color of Crime: Race, Crime, and Justice in America, a publication by the New Century Foundation, an organization founded by Jared Taylor who David Duke wrote was “a man of immense ability and the courage commensurate and necessary for telling the long-suppressed truths of race.” It is you who is full of rubbish.

      As I said before:

      This is the problem I have with trying to engage you in an honest conversation. Not only do you deny facts, you even deny your own rhetoric. And right after you deny it, you’ll come back and rephrase it saying whatever all over again.

      And I bet you still wonder why your comments continue to get rejected.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Sunday, February 1, 2009 | Reply

  13. OK I have taken the trouble to read these comments and those of your tormentor – Charlie, but I don’t understand your point. Admittedly I could only read those that you have allowed us to read – so I may be missing something.

    You accused him of denying and lying, after he admitted his mistake – which is kind of odd.

    I looked at the comments on the other site, some of them anyway – there are a lot! Having read them I am still not sure of your anger against this guy.

    It is just odd reading this as it looks as though you are mostly having an argument with yourself, picking up on points that the other person hasn’t made (or we can’t see) and giving us snippets we can’t reconcile.

    Anyway some good points about King, but the comments are a little distracting.

    Comment by Samuel | Tuesday, February 10, 2009 | Reply

  14. Thanks for the feedback Samuel,

    But a person who refers to black people as little more than criminals, apologizes for it, and then calls black people criminals is probably not all that sincere about his apology. Yes, it is true that he apologized for using unsubstantiated statistics from a racist reference intent on proving black people as less than. But then he comes back and says that based on per capita rates from the DOJ black people commit more crime than white people. Even when the DOJ prints numbers that show white people committing more than twice the number of crimes of black people, Charlie insists that the numbers are immaterial and that rates prove black people commit more crime.

    If you find that hard to understand then I must apologize for not being able to clear things up for you. I think it is pretty clear. Maybe it would help if you read some more of Charlie’s history on theblacksentinel’s site. Or, maybe, you simply agree with Charlie and have difficulty assimilating information that refutes your opinion. Just a possibility.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Reply

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