My Friend Bob: The Limits of Liberalism
"Beware of the hand when it's comin' from the left
I ain't trippin' just watch your step."
Can't Trust It- Public Enemy
You know Bob. He's the cool white dude that can quote the latest rap lyrics. He's the one marshmallow in a sea of Coco at the annual Kwanzaa Festival. Bob is always down to start a water cooler monologue about how well the black quarterbacks are playing in the NFL this year. Yeah, Bob's an alright dude. That is until that one day you bring up the subject of black self empowerment. Then mild mannered "Bruce Banner" Bob morphs into an Incredible Hulk of indignant rage.
With Liberals you can do anything that you wanna do but when you start talking about black folks acting and thinking for themselves it's like you just stepped on their liberal blue suede shoes with football cleats on.
The relationship between the Left and African Americans has been like the relationship between Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. As long as black folks parrot the party line they will always have a spot on the stage. However, they will never control the dialogue.
Evidence of this is when the Liberals got their panties in a bunch over the California Proposition 8 vote. The Left's confusion over the support of Proposition 8 by black church folks is an indication of ignorance of black culture and the black religious experience. It is a known fact that is constantly ignored by Liberals that, the race issue aside, most black folks are more conservative in their theology than white Evangelical Christians. While Aunt Ruth may not have studied Marx's theories on class struggle, she does know her Bible and a bunch of yahoos holding up protest signs on television ain't gonna change her mind about what Pastor Jones says on Sunday morning.
And you're not going to win any friends among black folks by making threats or insulting the "First Baptist Methodist Pentecostal African Church." You will just find yourself headed for a "Bible beatdown" courtesy of the usher board and senior choir.
And the idea that theologically conservative Rev. Martin Luther King Jr would have taken a pro same sex marriage stance at the risk of alienating his power base made up of millions of black folks just like Aunt Ruth is the same faulty historical revisionism that the Left is infamous for using to manipulate African Americans who have not studied their history.
No matter how many times a Liberal watches Roots he will never truly understand what it means to be an African in America.
What most folks on the Left fail to realize is that the college educated, community organizer with whom they had breakfast at Starbucks, this morning, does not represent the entire black community. We are not monolithic but there are certain cultural norms that black people have just because of shared life experiences. This is something that most white people don't understand.
Historically, there has always been a division between the Left/Liberals and the masses of black people going back as far as the Harlem Renaissance. While this period is hailed by many as one of the greatest periods of black cultural expression, it is seen by others as a plot by the Left to undermine black nationalist movements such as that of Marcus Garvey. Many people are not familiar with Marcus Garvey because his Universal Negro Improvement Association did not allow white entry. This is why any mention of his name is excluded form history. Anyone whose message does not have color blind, universal love as its centerpiece is usually considered persona non grata by the Left. This is not limited to Garvey but any black person who has dared to speak honestly about the race issue in this country. Although James Baldwin's alternative lifestyle may be celebrated by the Left, his harsh critiques of Liberalism are not.
For further historical documentation of this division, I suggest you read Harold Cruse's "The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual" and Kwame Ture's (Stokley Carmichael) speech "The Pitfalls of Liberalism" as well as his Berkeley speech.
For most black folks there is little difference between a right wing Conservative and a left wing Liberal. They are both after one thing:
The control of resources (ie social, political, economic power.)
To borrow from Kwame Ture' the bottom line is white people (even the most Liberal) are fighting for power. Black people are fighting for survival.
Paul Scott's blog is http://www.nowarningshotsfired.com/