Recently The Freshxpress posted an article that struck a chord with me and went hand-in-hand with CNN’s article that looked at Obama as the hero in Osama’s capture and killing and what that meant to the black male stereotype. You can read an excerpt of that article here. Urban Politico’s piece titled “The Impossibility of Black Achievement” (found here), looked even closer at stereotypes that say that Black people cannot reach high levels of academic or professional success.
A few years after my graduation I came across another Black female attorney who had stellar credentials. Every type of honor you can think of, she had it. She was senior in experience to most of the associates at her law firm and the firm used her quite frequently to do legal research for some of its largest and most prestigious clients. Yet, when it came time to give credit where credit was due, the firm consistently credited any legal victories to the other White males on her team. In some cases, even giving credit to White males who were several years her junior who barely had a grasp of what the case was about. To the partners at her firm, it was simply incomprehensible that the winning argument that they had relied upon in court to their benefit was actually developed by one of their Black attorneys. In other words, no Black person is capable of such a feat.
Of course nobody wants to say that directly. To do so would clearly be racist and if there’s one thing we know that mainstream America hates it is being labeled with the “R”-word. But much like the ostrich sticking its head in the sand, hiding from the problem in your own little world does very little to address the problem in reality. Indeed, it is America’s collective failure to address its race problem that continues to color our actions, decisions, and beliefs everyday.
-The Impossibility of Black Achievement
As far as we have come and as much as we do the President is fighting an uphill battle against the type of covert racism that analysts tend to like to ignore but that President Obama’s tenure as commander-in-chief has seemed to pull out in people. In other words, he’s fighting the same fight that black professionals and those in academia deal with all of the time but for the most part learn to deal with as simply being “a part of the game.”
The Urban Politco pulls out the correlation between some of the overt disrespect that Obama has dealt with and that fact that as a Black man, there is simply no possible way that he could achieve Presidency on merit alone.
While 71% of Americans think President Obama should receive credit for killing bin Laden, that still leaves 29% of Americans (almost a third) who feel that this great accomplishment cannot possibly be attributable to Barack Obama. Likewise, 52% of Americans believe that the credit for an event this historic must surely lie with a White male President, even if said President has been out of office for nearly 3 years. The fact that people can literally believe that Obama does not deserve credit for an act that he did almost defies belief…that is until you consider the perspective of where those people are coming from. In other words, no Black person is capable of such a feat.
Indeed, there still remains a significant swath of Americans who continue to act out of their disbelief over the fact that we actually have a Black man sitting in the highest office of the land. They’ll concede that there are some jobs that Blacks can actually earn on their own, but the Presidency of the United States is not one of them. The Presidency, by their view, is a position that no Black person could possibly attain and until it returns to its rightful owner they are fully justified in asking for his birth records, asking for his college transcripts, calling him a liar on the House floor, mitigating his role in the assassination of the most notorious terrorist the world has ever seen, questioning his motives to visit Ground Zero, denying his authority, and depriving him of any other right or privilege that would be (and has been) afforded to any other similarly situated White male President throughout our nation’s history. In short, as far as this crowd is concerned, Barack Obama is not the President of the United States. We’re simply going through a transitional phase right now until the real President comes along.
-The Impossibility of Black Achievement
The choice to attend a Historically Black College for me was in part due to the type of prejudices that I though I may have experienced in a different environment. Having attended a primarily White high school I saw what a little friendly competition from a Black, and not just Black but female counterpart could bring. The good thing about President Obama’s tenure as President is, as has been stated many times before, that it opens up a whole new conversation on race for an America that had closed the book on any racal disparities in the 21st century. To be honest, I think I’ve heard more overt racism more now than ever before but that, like with anything else, is a part of change.