Friday, March 7, 2008

Should We Walk to Montgomery or Park Place, Barack?

Is Obama Black Enough? or better yet:
Was "Bloody Sunday" Bloody Enough?

The current Presidential race is a case study of "how much" the candidates must be to gain endorsements and votes:

How Christian John McCain must be.

How un-female Hillary Clinton must be.

And how Black (and blue) Barack Obama must be.

Some of us are pretty clear about the first two but still wondering about the third. Obama just doesn't seem to fit the profile. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. certainly seemed fit, but then again he was also against type in many ways: he was a Baptist minister with a doctorate in systematic religion. It is important to note, however, that HE WAS NOT A SOUTHERN BAPTIST MINISTER. No SBC members (I think) ever took part in Bloody Sunday or the other Montgomery marches (unless, of course, they wore police uniforms). When MLK took the last march into his own hands, he was still playing against type because respectable ministers in the Deep South did not challenge Jim Crow no matter what their affiliation or denomination was.

I was bothered about Obama until I read the speech he gave exactly 1 year ago today:

"It's because they marched that we elected councilmen, congressmen. It is because they marched that we have Artur Davis and Keith Ellison. It is because they marched that I got the kind of education I got, a law degree, a seat in the Illinois senate and ultimately in the United States senate.

In response to the question of his "blackness":

"'... well, you know, your father was from Africa, your mother, she's a white woman from Kansas. I’m not sure that you have the same experience.'

And I tried to explain, you don't understand. You see, my Grandfather was a cook to the British in Kenya. Grew up in a small village and all his life, that's all he was -- a cook and a house boy. And that's what they called him, even when he was 60 years old. They called him a house boy. They wouldn't call him by his last name.

Sound familiar?"