Imperialism With a Black Face
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"The time for blindly rooting for the Brother will be over."
If Barack Obama succeeds in winning the presidency, Black America will be put to a test that will define its political and moral character for generations. We will discover if African Americans are really the kind of progressive, compassionate, humanity-loving people that Martin Luther King thought we were, that Malcolm X was so confident we were, and that the political record up to this juncture in history seems to indicate we are.
The African American reputation as the most consistently progressive ethnic group in the United States will stand or fall according to how Blacks comport themselves, politically, under a Barack Obama administration. Obama has not earned the Black vote; he has in fact treated African Americans very shabbily, singling them out for cultural criticisms that he would never direct against whites, Latinos or Asians. So-called Black "leadership" has abdicated all claim to the title, by failing to make even the most modest demands of Obama. As a consequence, Obama owes Blacks nothing, having promised them nothing. But that has not mattered for the vast majority of African Americans, who, like their timid leaders, have paid little attention to issues of substance during this campaign. Rather, they are consumed by centuries of pent-up aspirations to see a Black face in the highest place in the land.
"The world will come to hate him as they have other American presidents."
If that day comes, as conventional wisdom says is likely, the test of African American morality, good character and collective wisdom, begins. The time for blindly rooting for The Brother will be over. The many voices of an evolving planet will suddenly intervene to make their own demands on the American presidency. And unless Obama turns out to be the fictional "Spook Who Sat by the Door" - a closet progressive and Race Man whose been fooling the Imperialists and Warmongers and Lords of Capital and Reagan Democrats and all the other bagmen for corruption he's been sucking up to - he will respond as the corporate politician and military expansionist that he is. He will close ranks with the same finance capitalists that are cannibalizing the last remnants of American industry, as he has many times publicly promised to do. He will leave the Bush Gang's multitudinous crimes uninvestigated and unpunished - a promise repeated just days ago - thus leaving intact a veritable pirates' map for future criminality. (Why not in his own administration?) And he will rush to maintain the momentum of American Manifest Destiny, just as he has repeatedly said he would, had only Blacks and progressives been listening.
Barack Obama has given his solemn word that he will substantially increase the U.S. military budget, and will follow the Bush Doctrine of preemptive attack if he deems it in U.S. interests. He will continue to militarize Africa through the U.S. Africa Command, Africom, which he heartily endorses. He will spread America's grasping tentacles deeper and further around the planet - and the world will come to hate him as they have other American presidents.
It is at this point, and it won't be long, that African Americans will have to decide: Are they prouder that there is a Black face in the nation's highest place, than they are ashamed that imperialism's face is Black?
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.comT