Studying Obama representation

I found on email a refreshingly different critique on Barack Obama by Malik Al-Arkam. The self-adulation must stop, the author hints. And the same person cannot serve the oppressed and the oppressors at the same time, for the interests will clash eventually, Al-Arkam emphatically states.

This may be politically incorrect, but it is politically very relevant.
Mr. Obama’s rosy rhetoric ignores American apartheid:

To be sure Mr. Barack Obama has many admirable qualities. He is a Black man who has worked long and hard to elevate himself in an intensely racist society. He loves his wife and daughters. He has a social conscience. He has worked to secure civil rights for the downtrodden in Chicago. As a African-American who also beat the odds by fighting my way out of the segregated South and going on to earn an honors degree at Harvard College and as one who lived in East Africa, I can identify with Mr. Obama in several ways. However, an objective analysis of Mr. Obama’s well-crafted keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention reveals that there is a huge gap between his rosy rhetoric and the harsh realities of American apartheid.

He stated: “It’s that fundamental belief–I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper–that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family….There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America, there’s the United States of America.” How sharply do those words contrast with the findings of the 1968 Kerner Commission Report: “Our nation is moving towards two societies, one black, one white–separate and unequal.” For those of you who are too young to remember what was really going on in the 1960s, here is a brief summary from History Matters: “President Lyndon Johnson formed an 11-member National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders in July 1967 to explain the riots that plagued cities each summer since 1964 and to provide recommendations for the future.

The Commission’s 1968 report concluded that unless racial oppression was remedied, the USA faced a ‘system of apartheid’ in its major cities. The Kerner report delivered an indictment of white society for isolating and neglecting African Americans and urged legislation to promote racial integration and to enrich slums– primarily through the creation of jobs, job training programs and decent housing.” In 1998, three decades after the report, former Senator and Commission member Fred R. Harris co-authored a study which concluded that “the racial divide had grown in the ensuing years with inner-city unemployment at crisis levels.”
On a personal note, I was in the White House on June 13th 1967 when President Johnson Lyndon Johnson enthusiastically announced the appointment of Mr. Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court. I happened to be standing just a few feet away from Johnson and Marshall, close enough to see the pupils of their eyes. I was there to receive a Presidential Scholar Award.

At that moment so many of us thought that we were finally moving up in America, after centuries of brutal slavery and decades of violent discrimination. How naive we were and how expert was the American ruling class at manipulating us with symbols and rhetoric.
As a political scientist and scholar who has lived in the inner cities of New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago and Boston, I am one of many who knows that in 2004 the masses of Afro-Descendants are suffering more from mal-education, high unemployment, drug addiction and Black-on-Black violence than they ever did in the 1960s. Since I have lived in Boston for the past ten years and witnessed the deterioration of so many of our youth, despite the sincere efforts of some educators, activists and organizations, I find it very ironic that Mr. Obama portrays Senator Kerry as a saviour for a “united” America which is now more divided along race and class lines than ever before in recent decades. The truth is that during all the years that Kerry and Kennedy have been in the Senate, the living conditions of most of our people have sharply declined.

If you want detailed scholarly confirmation of today’s worsening racial oppression, please visit www.blackcommentator.com and read its excellent current series entitled “The New American Apartheid.” Then visit www.AllForReparations.org and learn more about the hidden Reparations Movement which has been unfolding inside the United Nations for the past twelve years, a Movement which the U.S. government has worked hard to strangle and which the white mass media, including the Boston Globe, has arrogantly refused to cover. On the AFRE website you can read the interventions of activists who have testified before the Human Rights Commission about the devastating effects of long-term and on-going U.S. policies of ethnocide and forced assimilation.

According to Mr. Obama “the true genius of America (is) a faith in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles. “No, sir. The evil genius of the white American ruling class is its ability to be the world’s greatest human rights violator while hiding behind the facade of liberal democracy. President Bush and Senator Kerry are both members of the top one percent of the U.S. population which owns close to 50% of all private wealth. They lose no sleep at night over the fact that in the richest country on Earth nine million people are unemployed and forty-three million have no health insurance. Nor are they ashamed about the fact that 60% of all the prisoners in America’s jails are Afro-Descendants. Like President Bush, Mr. Kerry fiercely opposes Reparations for African-Americans while fiercely supporting both broad Reparations and massive military aid for white Israel. In conclusion, I hope that one day Mr. Obama will learn that no man can serve the oppressor and the oppressed at the same time. And that if profits no man to sell his soul for the sake of mere riches
and fame.

Peace Be Unto The Righteous,
Malik Al-Arkam
www.AllForReparations.org

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Author: Saswat Pattanayak

Journalist, Generalist, Atheist, Poet, Lover, Photographer, Communist, Third wave Feminist, LGBT ally, Black power comrade, Peacenik, Anti-capitalist, Critical media theorist, Radical film critic, Academic non-elite…

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