“The faint echoes of Sister Souljah rattling around American racial politics”
I’m basically a Barack Obama fan, albeit less of one than I was 5 years ago (who isn’t?), but I am so, so, so sick of this shit:
And then, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that during the course of 50 years, there were times when some of us claiming to push for change lost our way. The anguish of assassinations set off self-defeating riots. Legitimate grievances against police brutality tipped into excuse-making for criminal behavior. Racial politics could cut both ways, as the transformative message of unity and brotherhood was drowned out by the language of recrimination. And what had once been a call for equality of opportunity, the chance for all Americans to work hard and get ahead was too often framed as a mere desire for government support — as if we had no agency in our own liberation, as if poverty was an excuse for not raising your child, and the bigotry of others was reason to give up on yourself.
As Matt Yglesias jokes, this is the portion of Obama’s MLK speech wherein he assures certain kinds of white voters that he’s not “one of those” kind of black politicians. He’s been doing it since day 1 of his career as a national politician. I’m willing to grant that, for a time, it was a necessity. America’s a racist country, after all. But at this point? There are no more elections to be won, Mr. President. Give it a rest.