“That’s why I chose you. See . . . you one a ‘dem!!”
– Samuel L. Jackson in “A Time to Kill”
So the hubbub has finally subsided. The King of Black People (Jesse Jackson) and the Prime Minister (Al Sharpton) have officially knighted Senator Obama as black enough. Of course it took a gang of white people in Iowa voting for him before anyone felt comfortable anointing him, but it happened none the less. I personally take credit for Obama solidifying the black vote because every time someone asked me that asinine “is he black enough” question, I would quip “what do you expect the first black president to be? A dashiki wearing, afro with a black fist pick having ex-black panther?”
Since that question seems to be settled, it’s time for Barack to switch gears. Okay, maybe not Barack himself, he does a good job of appearing to be above the political and racial fray. But his supporters need to start pushing the idea of how white he is. Yes, that’s right; Barack Obama is as white as he is black. The one drop rule is not a genetic law or a social fact; it is a construct of this countries racist imagination. For Christ sake, he’s distant cousins with Dick Cheney. We need to start stressing the idea that his universal appeal is partly due to him being white, like all the presidents before him.
“But Bomani, we need to appeal to the historic significance of him being black, or try to make him non-racial!”
Nothing is further from the truth. In all honesty, the more I watch him talk and interact with people, the more I’m convinced that he is a “soul brother”. He walks with a rhythm, slaps skin when he shakes hands with even the most white-bread politician, and speaks in a cadence that would make Rudy Ray Moore proud. Even though these attributes are part of the reason he has garnered support in the important blocks of voters like African Americans, liberals, anti-war activists, and the highly educated, it will also serve to galvanize a voting block that hasn’t had to come together in the history of our country. That is the all important “Aw Hell No!” voting block.
That’s right; the “Aw Hell No!” political block in our society has lain dormant for 200 years, waiting for a moment to flex its political muscle. Don’t forget that this country is over well over 60% white and well under half of the population votes. That means there are a lot of white people who could care less about the political process. They believe that national politics are really out of their reach and that it’s not worth taking off work to participate. As long as the Federal government stays within some superficial norms, they aren’t worried about who does what in November. That’s until a black man (and to be honest a, woman) had a chance to be president. This attack on the laws of the universe is destined to cause a spike in once apathetic voters.
This is the part of the editorial where I resist the temptation to stereotype all the members of the “Aw Hell No” voting block as backwoods, tobacco chewing, and cousin screwing hicks. That would be too easy and probably in accurate. This group has young and old members, in the rural areas and urban communities. “A.H.N.” members are comfortable in their existence and just aren’t ready for such a dramatic change. Most surprisingly, some members of this block have spoken glowingly of Senator Obama, maybe even attended his rallies. They won’t realize they are members of this group until the curtain is closed behind them in the voting booth.
For this reason, Barrack’s white heritage needs to be played up as much as possible. He needs to start posing with his mother’s family a lot more, not the United Nations crew of brothers and cousins he’s normally seen running with. Staffers need to start snapping as many pictures as possible of him putting mayonnaise on his sandwiches and shaking hands straight up and down (no more low fives that evolve into a shake with that pat on the back). He should also be banned from speaking at any kind of Baptist church, just churches that have only a pipe organ as an instrument and sing their songs solemnly and straight from a hymnal. Barrack should be given diction lessons so he can stop cutting of his y’s (like “li-ber-teh” and “e-kwa-li-teh”). And for heavens sake, when he’s campaigning this summer, avoid outdoor rallies!! We can’t afford him getting any darker. (Is there some cute, anglo sounding nick name that we can use as short for Barrack? I’m open to suggestions.)
“But Bomani, playing into racial stereotypes has to be counter productive! And having him fake anything takes away from the realness that gives him such broad appeal!”
Look, after he wins the presidential election I will personal show up on Pennsylvania Ave during his inauguration procession to the White House, wearing red, black and green and screaming “Barrack, Bomaye!!”. Until them I am not taking any more chances acknowledging him as a black man. If you want him to win the election I suggest you do the same.