The Obama Tour

“One of the most incredible things that has arisen through [Barack Obama’s] campaign has been the vision of mass numbers of white people at each of the Obama [rallies] showing great love and support for this credible, intelligent, gifted, strong leader who happens to also be black. It has been incredibly eye-opening and uplifting, and it, for the first time, shows us blacks that we have actually been wrong in our assumption that most whites are prejudiced toward us. Although you do have the exceptions to the rule, the fact is most whites are not racist toward blacks. This is a very important revelation.” – Greg “Peace Song” Jones

At the top of his game, Eddie Murphy was asked if he had ever experienced racism. As an answer he shared an interesting personal observation. Mr. Murphy said he was standing outside of a grocery store or a restaurant or something of that nature looking down at a newspaper article waiting for someone to get the car and pick him up. Some white kids were driving by and yelled a racial slur at him from their car. They didn’t know it was Eddie Murphy. With his head down and dressed casually he appeared like any other black man on the street. Mr. Murphy said that with his popularity being what it was at the time he had little doubt that if the white kids had known it was Eddie Murphy they would have sang a different tune or even stopped and asked for an autograph or something.

No doubt about it. White people would treat well known black stars differently than they would treat a black person from the other side of town. Black people with notoriety are assumed to have earned the respect of the dominant white culture. The black person on the corner with his or her head down looking at a magazine is just a low down subhuman that needs to be reminded of their place in the social structure of America. Barack Obama may enjoy rock star like status and white people may come out in droves to his campaign rallies. But would this automatically translate to white people treating the common black person as well?

The praise that the vast majority of the white community gives to black people is not rare. It happens quite often. It happens when white people go to the Oprah Winfrey show and help make her arguably the most popular talk show host in the history of humanity. It happened with virtually every basketball thrown through a hoop by Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neil, Julius Irving, or Earvin “Magic” Johnson. White people’s admiration of black people was demonstrated with every round of applause for the golf prodigy Tiger Woods and the tennis sisters Venus and Serena Williams. We see white peoples applaud the words of Maya Angelou. White people show their support for black people when they support black philosophers and writers like Bill Cosby and Alvin Possaint.

And the plethora of black actors and actresses that enjoy the favor of the white community is a long list indeed. Black actors like Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Morgan “The Organ” Freeman, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Chris Tucker can make box office hits on nothing but their name alone. And the fact that Queen Latifah and Halle Berry have been made the spokesperson for cosmetic conglomerates speaks volumes. We see white people’s admiration for blacks when so many people from the white community supported the appointment of Clarence Thomas. It was also shown when white people made the comment over and over again that Colin Powell speaks so well. It shows every time we watch CNN and see Don Lemon and Tony Harris. White people have a long history of supporting notable black people.

However, it would be rather foolhardy to judge the white community by the way it worships and praises black stars. It’s easy to pay close attention to the famous entertainers, politicians, and socialites. It’s easy to pay respects to the black people that are propped up by the various media outlets as pillars of the black community. Everybody is willing to overlook the fact that black stars just so happen to be black. The public at large wants to be seen with stars, black as well as white, because it helps to show how important we are. We treat them like royalty in order to try and be treated like royalty. But the common black people don’t deserve such consideration. Indeed, common black people should consider themselves fortunate just to be tolerated here in this culture dominated so completely by the white mindset.

An accurate measure of a culture isn’t how well it treats the people who don’t find themselves in need of help. A true measure of a community is how well it goes out of its way to help those who are not in a position to help themselves. The best example of a character of a people isn’t about how well they treat their king. People should be judged by how well they treat the least of their own. To make the assertion that racism is on the wane because white people voted to make Barack Obama their primary choice for the Democratic caucus in Iowa ranks right up there with the notion that racism is dead because white people like to watch Oprah. The idea that this proves that the majority of white people would support their black neighbors is rather imprudent and irresponsible.