I really enjoyed reading this article in the Washington Post this morning, mostly because it’s the first time I’ve ever agreed with Barack Obama on anything.
I’m not a personal fan of being politically correct, especially when that means sugar-coating reality to appease some groups. When Bill Cosby spoke up against what he perceived as a prevalent and self-defeating victimologist mindset in the black community (in tones reminiscent of John McWhorter’s “Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America”), it struck me that he had just joined a very elite (and by that I mean miniature) group of high-profile African-Americans daring to be critical of their own culture because, frankly, that criticism is widely deserved. Cosby was the first black iconic figure (in my memory) that dared to “tell it like it is,” knowing he’d be opening himself up to cries of being a “sell-out.” I was not at all surprised at how many members in the black community took offense to his words… the truth can be a terrible thing.
Despite his misinformed liberal views and lack of any real experience that would qualify him to be leader of the greatest nation in the world, I consider Barack Obama to be an iconic figure in the black community, or at least an iconic figure in the making. He’s well-educated, well-spoken, and such a refreshing change from the kinds of “role models” for young black children to emulate that we see in the hip hop community at large, with its racist, violent, and sexist undertones, or controversial personalities like Al Sharpton, though as a native Chelsea girl, I can personally vouch that most New Yorkers have come to regard Sharpton with a fair amount of fondness, much like a village adopts the "local idiot ."
And this week, Obama joined Bill Cosby in offering a sobering critique of black America – a truly daring move, given that he is trying to court black voters at the same time that he is being critical of their mainstream culture. So despite my opposition to his politics, I have to acknowledge a new found respect for the junior senator from Illinois.