Jackson, Sr.’s “live mike” comments about Barack Obama remind
us that there’s always someone laying in the cut to divide
and conquer black America. For once, Black America seems to
be all on the same page in Obama’s quest to become the nation’s
(real) first black President. Remember, the only reason the
statements even came to light in the first place was because
conservative talk show host, Bill O’Reilly, intended to out
Jesse (and swiftboat Barack) on his show last week - but Jesse
came forward first with the apology and it became a non-story.
For O’Reilly, who has made it a full time occupation to sink
Obama’s election chances, it would have been the “bomb of
all bombs” and it would have been dropped - not out of his
mouth but - from a credible black leader’s mouth. It’s the
kind of bomb that the Republicans are praying would come out
against Barack who Rush Limbaugh continues to call, “the Magic
Negro.” Had this kind of bomb dropped two months ago, Hillary
might still be in the race and Jesse would be an honorary
Clinton today. Thank God for bad timing. Loose lips, even
today, still sink ships. All you say is, Damn, come on, Jesse!!??
Don’t hate the playa - hate the game, the same game that has
been run on your daddy and your grand-daddy. Divide-conquer.
This game of divide and conquer of black people at the leadership level
is not new. We’ve seen it so many times that, like a re-run
on television, we can tell what’s going to come next. After
150 years, we should know the game by now. 150 years ago,
Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany had a very ugly public
debate about Lincoln’s proposed colonization plan (Should
we stay or should we go). For those of you who still purport
that Lincoln freed the slaves, know that every abolition plan
Lincoln considered had a colonization component - voluntary
at first, but permanent in Lincoln’s mind to resolve America
of its “Negro problem.” Lincoln was killed before it could
be fleshed out, but Delany’s position was that Blacks should
leave, while Douglass maintained we stay and it ruined their
half century later, Booker T. Washington suggested we accept
segregation as a phase-in to equality. Like Jesse - the other
day - W.E.B DuBois thought that Booker T. had lost his mind,
and he said so. It started a fifteen year feud where Washington
refused to participate in the Niagara Movement and the founding
of the NAACP because of DuBois’ presence. Booker T. almost
single-handedly shut down the NAACP, choking off its funding.
The NAACP only grew and prospered after Washington died in
1915. DuBois would have a similar public feud with Marcus
Garvey, where Garvey called DuBois a “rabid mulatto.” Almost
a half century later, civil rights leaders Thurgood Marshall,
Roy Wilkins and Whitney Young thought direct action protest
in the South was suicide, and thought that Martin Luther King,
Jr. was crazy, and that Malcolm X was even crazier. But twenty
years later when a student of King’s ran for President, Black
America was determined not to play that game. Malcolm protégé,
Louis Farrakhan came to Jesse’s aid in the middle of Reagan
madness, helped bring back hostage, Robert Goodman, from Syria,
defended Jesse’s “Hymietown” comments, registered to vote
for the first time and took on the wrath of the Jewish community
- over his solidarity with Jesse, even in the light of a later
repudiation. Jesse has had his own “divide and conquer” struggles,
first with Al Sharpton, and now with Barack Obama. And he
knows the media is always looking to fan the flames of discontent
and disunity throughout our community. Jesse is a student
of the struggle, now a patriarch in the struggle, who has
navigated many a trap. Why fall into this one?
troublesome than the timing of Jesse’s comments is the crudeness
of his comments. Of all people, Jesse Jackson should know
the historical connotations of castration and the role it
has played in the emasculation of black men. “Cutting off
his nuts” was usually the crowning glory of a lynching, the
aftermath of which led to the dismemberment of their black
victim. It wasn’t uncommon to see penises and testicles displayed
in the offices of civic leaders just 50 short years ago. I
saw it for myself some 25 years ago on a trip to the South.
The symbolism of castration is every bit as painful as the
act itself - to know that someone’s manhood was trophied for
social sport. Why would Jesse even suggest such a thing -
in the middle of the nation’s political “hunting season”?
If you disagree with Barack on a certain point, just say so
- not suggest harm to the man.
While many people have their views about what Jesse is (or ain’t), I
like him and give him mad credit for getting us to this point
in the struggle for political equality in America. For real,
y’all - do you really think Barack Obama would be as far as
he is if Jesse had not done what he did 20 years ago? We can’t
forget that. On
the other hand, there’s no reason for Jesse Jackson to continue
to step on his d*ck like he has over the past few years. But
don’t throw him away yet. He can be the elder statesman of
the movement, and play a lesser role with dignity and credibility.
However, in his senility, he can’t afford to get caught up
in a game so many of us have hated for so long. We have to
remind Jesse that this is 2008, not 1988, and there’s a new
player on the field.
Jesse should be shoutin’, “Play on, Playa!!” Instead, he’s acting as
Jill Scott suggested, “Hate on, Hater.” That’s
not a good fit for someone who done so much for black people
and the nation. Barack Obama is not a threat to Jesse Jackson,
or his legacy. Divide and conquer is the biggest threat to
Jesse Jackson and his legacy. If Jesse can’t control his hateration,
the game wins.
BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad, is a national columnist, managing
director of the Urban Issues Forum and author of Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom.
His Website is AnthonySamad.com.
to contact Dr. Samad.