I can already hear it. Believe me, the sentiment is already here. That's neither good news nor bad news, and in fact it shouldn't be news. There is a myth out there called the Obama Effect which is tantamount to Derrick Bell's Afrolantica Rising scenario. I wrote about it last year:
Many blackfolks know the fable of Afrolantica. It was written by Derrick Bell, and tells of the mystical city of Atlantis rising from the sea. It turns out that all the inhabitants of this legendary greatest civilization on earth ere black, and that when African Americans visited, all the burdens of their hearts were rolled away. In fact, the effect of this nirvana were so profound that the very knowledge that they could go there at any time gave African Americans the inner peace they had desired for generations. This was a very powerful story because it illustrates how true hope can be more important than real gain. It's lesson certainly wasn't lost on me.
A lot of shiny happy Republicans have decided that now is the time to celebrate the fact that Barack Obama has a winning style and can talk seriously about basic family values. They are sanguine about the possibilities that Obama can be once and for all the absolute positive role model for everyone. As Eddie Murphy once said, Can a black man can have a suitcase? Yes. This is what I call the Obama Effect, the idea that the success of Barack Obama marks an era of positivity for blackfolks, ie translates into posistive gain by racial affiliation.
There are two problems with this which should be readily apparent. #1 It's just role modeling and tokenism. #2. You don't know Barry and Barry don't know you.
#1 The problem with this and all black role modeling. Only people with racial hangups need black role models. And only people who want to affect people with racial hangups want to be black role models. It is one of the great temptations of my class of folks, those formerly known as the Talented Tenth.
See if you were Talented Tenth, then you already know about a litany of black role models, because you study prior role models with a bit of envy and a bit of spite. If you buy into what I call the role monkey circus, then you already know that somehow you have to overcome the same demons you intend to chase out of your followers. So you might start during Black History Month with Carter G. Woodson and get enough inspiration from him for you to be a beacon to others. And basically you need enough self-esteem to assume the task, that plus the initiative taken on Woodson, and an opportunity to play show and tell. Bam, instant role model. Do it enough times for enough media and you become a 'black leader'. Do it in a calculatedly brilliant way in front of all America in the political arena and you might even become Barack Obama. But the underlying premise never changes, you're a show off in front of people who don't have the courage and demon-shields to do for self.
In life, success has many faces and is hard to define, failure is easy to define. It whatever successful people have power to 'empower' and decide you ain't got it. Rights are the gift of the strong, and sometimes the strong aren't generous.
#2. Barry don't know you, and you don't know jack. Generally speaking, when I see military personnel they don't salute me and I don't salute back. I keep trying to tell people that I was one of Colin Powell's biggest fans, but alas it does me no good. After all these years Powell doesn't return my phone calls either. I have given up. I think anybody who hasn't contributed cash money to Barry cannot reasonably expect any phone calls back. And considering the weight of people he has completely dismissed, namely Rezko, I have no doubts whatsoever that Obama has got Pooky's back. In fact, I don't think Obama has got anybody's back.
But this argument extends to just about every other 'black leader' in the universe, including those in the annals of black history - especially those who are dead. To use an old Malcolm X quote, If you're not sitting at the table, then you're not a diner. Which is to say if you are not sitting at the table of black patronage, then you are not a diner. And considering the fleabitten dollars that black media have gotten from the Obama Campaign HQ, subscribers to black media (if you're that) are sitting at a very small Romper Room sized crumbsnatcher table.
As an aside, considering the ruckus made by Uncle Smiley and various Fox boycotters, one ought to consider exactly how much Obamafication has been provided by black owned and operated media. A congent assessment will recognize that the answer is very, very, very little. As went the network of black newspapers, so goes BET and the NAACP. But at least its leadership understands the fact that Obama's election will not change most American hearts and minds about you, whomever you are.
So in conclusion, anybody who thinks that a President Obama is going to clean up the streets of the USA should look at the streets of Chicago and ask what Senator Obama has done for the state of Illinois. Far as I've heard nothing has changed. So all who hold out hope for the Obama Effect, may as well go back to enjoying Derrick Bell's fiction.
Nothing else will change.