Stoking Up The Foolishness: Interpreting Loss As Setback

Posted: September 28, 2008 in Commentary

Newsweek has become the latest rag that calls itself preparing America for a “what if Obama loses” scenario.

First, check out the headline:

What If Obama Loses?
African-Americans thought he had no chance—then they started to believe. Now they fear defeat.

Oh, the drama!!

Here are some excerpts (full article)~

Managing expectations and reactions has become Topic A in many black homes and on blogs such as Bossip, Stereohyped and Angry Black Male. “People that I know that have never cared about politics are registering to vote this time: gang members, ex-cons, you name it,” says rapper Snoop Dogg. “I hate to see a lot of that hope go down the drain, and if he loses, it will.”

Racism, naturally, plays a part in the conversation. “I’ve never forgotten that he is a smart, articulate black man with a smart, articulate black wife,” says Linda Wright, 34, a nurse’s assistant from Houston.

And he combs his hair, irons his pants and doesn’t speak in broken English…sheesh!

Let’s look at the definition of the word articulate:

divided into syllables or words meaningfully arranged : intelligible b: able to speak c: expressing oneself readily, clearly, or effectively

The fact that I am about to vomit here (bur…rrrrr…uuuuppp. Sorry, too late) has nothing to do with Obama. It has everything to do with the fact that folks act as if they have never seen a “smart, articulate Black man” or woman in their lives.

“You think white people were just going to turn over the keys to the most important job in the land without a fight?” The overriding feeling is apprehension, a vague fear of losing something people thought was theirs to keep.


There’s not a lot of anger—yet—but you can start to sense the potential for it. “I’m going to be mad, real mad, if he doesn’t win,” says Daetwon Fisher, 21, a construction worker from Long Beach, Calif. “Because for him to come this far and lose will be just shady and a slap in black people’s faces. I know there is already talk about protests and stuff if he loses, and I’m down for that.”

Obama has successfully reached the stage of a race that has never seen the presence of a Black individual. By all accounts he is running a very good campaign that has kept him within striking distance of reaching the White House. If he wins, it will be something we can all share. If he loses, it is by no means a setback for an entire race. We have achieved too much and come to far to condense our successes to just this race.

In the meantime, the race is still on.

  1. wien1938 says:

    Nice to see the old “identity politics” in action. All African-Americans MUST vote for Obama…why? What happens if you don’t agree with his policies? Or are worried by his links to the communists and extreme left?

  2. Peg says:

    I don’t get it either, Duane. In my lifetime I’ve met “smart, articulate” black folks in pretty much all aspects of my life. Engineers, architects, doctors, attorneys, judges, writers, Realtors, executives, politicians, actors . . . . Why do some act as if this is the first time a black guy has been able to walk and chew gum?

    Some seem to behave as if this is the only chance for our nation to have a black President. Ridiculous!

    Maybe Obama will win, rendering all this idiocy moot. If he does not, however, the notion that we will never have another “smart, articulate” black person is insulting AND looney!

  3. Texmom says:

    I think the media is stirring up something that isn’t there for most people. If it was, Obama would never have gotten the nomination.

    I think it is a huge mistake for anyone to choose a leader for any reason other than their values and policies. If that choice ends up being represented by someone who has not had that position before (black, woman, etc.), that’s great….but not a reason for the vote itself.

    As far as the “smart, articulate” part, I would tend to blame that on mass media as well. Many blacks on TV are portrayed as rappers and gangstas. They are underrepresented in decent, middle class positions. Reality is not being reflected.

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