Originally, as I heard the story of a group of 200 black protestors marching on the White House, my sense of interested became elevated. Contrary to popular belief, not all black people like President Obama (as you will see below). Perhaps naturally, I wanted to learn a little more about the topic to try and understand the motives of these protestors. It was at that point I saw an Associated Press story that described the protestors as seeing President Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States of America, as “white power in black face.” So, like a good number of people, I shook my head in disappointment. I was not shocked, but I was fairly disappointed with such a march (even though there are marches of all kinds that take place in Washington D.C.) as the one that took place on Saturday.
This group views the president as largely continuing policies it deems to be “imperialist” by nature and symbolic of the way this group seems to view the United States of America.
Here is one quote (of many) that grabs attention from the story:
“We recognize that Barack Hussein Obama is white power in black face,” civil rights activist Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black is Back coalition which arranged the protest, called into a megaphone as the group marched outside the mansion’s gates.
“He is a tool of our imperialist enemies and we demand our freedom. And we demand that Obama withdraw all the troops from Afghanistan right now.”
The story goes on to talk about how protestors want the president to pull troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan (among other issues members of this group were upset about). Now, these individuals representing extremist groups are entitled to their Constitutionally-protected opinion, but they are not entitled to our approval.
Here is another passage that is amazing:
Charles Baron, a New York city councilman and former member of the Black Panthers, a Black Power movement in the mid-1960s and 1970s, attacked the president for turning a cold shoulder to the plight of African-Americans.
“We’re not satisfied with him, and… this hope and change rap has not been a reality for black people,” Baron told AFP during the demonstration.
“We are glad that Barack Obama broke up the white male monopoly on the White House, but we were not looking for a change in the occupant of the White House from white to black, we were looking for change in foreign policies and domestic policies,” he added.
“To have a black person exploiting me just like a white person, that’s no easier pain.”
Wow, that is enough to make you want to shake your head and wonder what if anything could possibly satisfy some people.
So, what about the reaction of some people who read this story (people who might have had a different take on the issue). So, I stumbled upon this headline from the blog Booker Rising:
Black Leftist Protesters: “Obama Is White Power In Blackface”
So, again, I became curious. By the way, we should be cautious with those kinds of labels.
The blog entry starts off with this passage:
Decrying U.S. President Barack Obama as “white power in blackface,” hundreds of leftist African-Americans marched on the White House today to protest policies of America’s first black president, and demand that he bring U.S. troops home (hat tip: Robert Oliver). More than 200 people gathered for the first public demonstration by African-Americans against the Obama administration since his historic inauguration in January, and slammed the president for continuing what they described as Washington, D.C’s “imperialist” agenda around the world.
In the words of the ESPN Monday Night NFL Countdown crew, “C’mon, man!”
This is not about left or right. Is a Ku Klux Klan march or a neo-Nazi rally automatically symbolic of right-wing values (because they may share some basic beliefs)? Of course not. I realize there are some who want to desperately show that not all black people love President Obama, but this was the wrong case at the wrong time to make such a disappointing statement.