Obama: A black man in the White House?

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Zafar Bangash

Safar 05, 1430 2009-02-01


by Zafar Bangash (Reflections, Crescent International Vol. 37, No. 12, Safar, 1430)

Barack Obama’s election on November 4th and his inauguration as the 44th president of the United States on January 20th have led to misplaced optimism even among those who should know better. Obama’s claims to America’s “greatness” because it afforded him — son of a cattle-herder from Africa — the opportunity to rise to the highest office in the land should not mislead anyone. He is a beneficiary of the American system, but is he right? His skin color may be black but has he gone through the black experience?

Being black is not just about skin color; it is about a historical experience etched in memory that was forged in the anvil of slave history, of being dragged from one’s ancestral homeland in chains and leg irons, and put on a slave ship to be hauled like cargo to America. Millions perished in the filth of their own excreta; only the most-hardy ones survived the slave master’s whip and the harrowing ordeal of hunger and thirst. In the US, they were subjected to more cruel punishments including sexual abuse; their names, religion, culture and language were obliterated. They were turned into non-persons. Those rebelling against such cruelty were lynched. Humiliation and segregation were their lot; protesting such mistreatment resulted in dogs being set upon them and worse. In the celebrated words of El-Haj Malik Shabazz better known as Malcolm X, two types of African-Americans emerged from this experience: the House Slave and the Field Slave (he used the word “negro”). The House Slave identified with the slave master while the Field Slave was the quintessential rebel, forever trying to escape captivity.

If he can be called black at all, Obama falls in the category of the House Slave. Obama has never experienced being black. His entire life-experience has been with whites — white mother and white grandmother. His schooling and law degrees from Harvard are experiences that few blacks can ever aspire to in racist America. Obama may be black on the outside but he is completely white on the inside, essentially an Oreo cookie! For the average black man, if he escapes prison, he would probably get sucked into the US military where the percentage of black enlistees exceeds their representation in the general population. This is not by chance; the US system is loaded against them. Recruitment in the military offers the few job opportunities open to them. For many, the choice is between dying for America abroad or being humiliated and oppressed at home.

Obama’s election as president is meant to convey the message that America has turned the page on George Bush’s brutal policies. This is nonsense. America’s elites thrive on wars, plunder and exploitation. Obama could never have been elected president if he were not a slave of the American establishment. Malcolm X refused to call himself an American, preferring to characterize himself as the victim of Americanism. Under Obama, there is a greater chance that the US would now launch wars in Africa. A black man in the white house would be better able to pacify African-American sentiment than a white man.

Both before and after his election, Obama has done what the establishment expects him to do. Immediately after winning the Democratic Party nomination for president, he went to prostrate before America’s real masters: the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. At their convention, Obama said he would not only stand by Israel regardless but also declared thatJerusalem should remain the “undivided” capital of Israel. No previous aspirant for the presidency had ever gone so far. The first appointment Obama made after winning the election was that of Rahm Israel Emmanuel as his White House chief of staff. An Israeli citizen, Emmanuel had served in the Israeli military in 1991. Further, his father, who lives in Israel, when asked whether his son would be pro-Israel, replied, “Why not? Is he an Arab or what? He will not be mopping the floors!” Such racism would be roundly condemned if uttered by someone else. Not from the Zionist crowd. Other appointments in Obama’s cabinet are equally troubling: in addition to Vice President Joe Biden who has a long history of staunchly pro-Israel positions, Hillary Clinton, Dennis Ross, Aron Miller and Daniel Kurtzer are all Israel firsters; American interests come a distant second.

Obama’s disgraceful silence during the Zionist rampage and slaughter in Ghazzah under the spurious pretext that America has only “one president” at a time is beneath contempt. One is constrained to ask: if the “one president” argument was true, why did Obama make statements during the Mumbai carnage, virtually giving India the green light to attack Pakistan if it so wished? Is it not because the accused at that time were linked to Muslim Pakistan while the crimes being perpetrated against the completely defenseless Palestinians are Zionists, his true masters?

Muslims, African-Americans and other people of conscience must get a better understanding of Obama rather than be swayed by the self-serving propaganda of the US establishment.Obama’s presidency will not usher change; it will mean more of the same: American and Zionist crimes under a different face with a smooth tongue.

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