With today’s inauguration, it’s only right that we reflect on what President Obama did right. (Tangent: I’m mad at how they tripped him up during the oath though!)
There’s something we can learn from Barack, and it ain’t got nothing to do with running for the presidency. He’s the “new” black. The way he talks, moves, and positions himself is something he has used since his days at Harvard. He has this “thing” about him that makes “others” feel comfortable. He does this without seeming sambo-ish or like he’s surfing for white people’s acceptance. He remains who he is. This is something that many folks, especially black men, can learn from. Black women, well, we have Michelle (link to my 10 Things We Can Learn From Michelle Obama post). Here are the things Barack rocked:
1. He didn’t talk to Black People. He turned down Tavis Smiley’s The State of the Black Union for the much safer, quieter, inclusive forum of the NAACP. Though other reasons were stated for him skipping Tavis’ conference, talking to the NAACP is not the same as talking to a room of regular folks. This was a smart move. He gave a general speech not necessarily about being Black, and skipped talking about black issues. Slick willie. He skipped Jena Six. Too messy, too loud. Skipped Sharpton. He keeps his slate clean and focused.
2. He’s not fat. According to stats, the majority of Black Americans are overweight. I cannot tell you how many overweight black men over 40 I see walking up and down the streets like it’s 1993 and Biggie was back. It’s not cute anymore. It’s unhealthy. And no, you’re not built “like a football player”. Barack looks lean, fit, and of good genetic make up.
3. He isn’t easily offended like most black people, or so it seems. There were several times Barack could have blasted the negative comments about him, took out op-eds in the blackest of black newspapers and radio commentary but he didn’t. And he could have, and no white person would have done anything about it for fear of being called a “racist”. Too many black people are crippled by what white people say and think about them. They show it too much. They flinch too fast. Not Barack.
4. He’s a bargainer. He’s a man who was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. This isn’t a man who is used to pissing people off. He bargains for his position. This is his stance: Don’t fuck with me, and I won’t fuck with you. And he means it, when others don’t. Let’s just get along, to play along.” He’s not stuck on what’s right or wrong for “black” Obama, he’s about winning.
5. He dated…Michelle. He didn’t drag her along on some merciless 10 year relationship until he got his career together. He saw her as part of the journey, not the destination. Too bad, too many folks don’t know that it’s okay not to have it all at once.
6. He went to Hawaii and not Martha’s Vineyard for the summer. We know Hawaii is where his fam is from. The Vineyard is where about 75% of bourgeoisie black folk go for the summer. He didn’t go. Because if he did, he would have made the bourgeosie black folk who go even snobbier. I could hear it at Nancy’s, “Girl, Barack was just here and he don’t look the same in person…”
7. He wrote a few books and didn’t name it anything “black.” It wasn’t named The Audacity of a Brother.
8. He’s affectionate. On stage you can see the intimacy Michelle and he have. The way his hand rests on the arch of her lower back, or his arms around her shoulders, and the kisses on her cheek. He’s not afraid to show it. Makes us think he’s still putting it down in the bedroom. Must be nice. To run the country, you want a president who is taking his medicine. There’s nothing scarier than an un-sexed man, they are capable of anything.
9. He has no children out of wedlock. Thanks to Barack, the Black out of wedlock rate is only 68%, instead of 69%.
10. He’s never been shot. At all.