My friend Chris Matthews from MSNBC is in trouble for saying that he forgot President Obama was black. What he was saying, consciously or not, was that when the president does everything right, he’s perceived to be white, and when things go wrong, people remember that he’s black.
I think Chris got caught up. Remember, it was just last week that he and I co-hosted the town hall meeting, “Obama’s America: 2010 and Beyond,” on an HBCU campus, at Texas Southern University. We all have white friends who, after being around us a lot, can sometimes get too comfortable and say something crazy. I think he had one of those moments where he thought he just say anything that came to mind and would get a pass. That’s never a good idea.
One of my favorite bits on the TJMS is the “Pull-Up Pal.” It’s a friend every player should have to remind him that he’s about to do something stupid. Well, our white friends sometimes need a black pull-up pal to tell them to pull up before they say something that will be perceived as wrong and racist, even if we know they probably aren’t. If Chris Matthews had run it by me, I would have told him, “Don’t say that, man. Sure, I know what you were saying – that during the State of the Union Speech, Obama was so presidential and commanding and had done so well that you didn’t see his color, that you just saw him as the president of the United States.”
In a white person’s mind, saying they forgot a person was black or didn’t see color – or want to live in color blind society – is a very high compliment. What our white friends need to understand, though, is that it really isn’t that complimentary to most black people. It implies that we think that in order to be accepted, approved of and perceived as excellent, we have to shed our “blackness.” We can or should be able to be all that and be as black as we ever were.
People seem to think deep down inside we want to be white, and that isn’t true … at least not for most of us. The Impressions asked this question back in the late 60s: “If you had a choice of colors, which one would you choose, my brothers? If there was no day or night, which would you prefer to be right?”
What a lot of people miss is yes, we want an end to racism, but even from the beginning, it’s never been about being or acting white and losing who we are. I love everything about being black. I love the way it looks to be black. I love our history. I love our culture, our language, our humor, our swagger. I don’t want a color blind society because I want people to see my blackness.
I don’t want Chris Matthews or anyone to forget that President Obama is a black man. If forgetting he’s a black man is a compliment, then remembering that he’s a black man is an insult, and I’m not with that at all. How about appreciating what this black man has accomplished? How about respecting and being proud of this black man?
Can you respect your brother’s woman friend
And share with black folks not of kin
I said now people must prove to the people
A better day is coming for you and for me
With just a little bit more education
And love for our nation
Would make a better society
And if you had a choice of colors,
Which one would you choose, my brothers?
Our bar is not to be white or colorless. Our bar is to be the best we can be as who we are – proud, black people. What most of us would like is a post-racist society, where racism no longer exists. Forget all this rhetoric about living in a post-racial society. I WANT to live in a racial society where every culture is embraced and respected, and you and I can be as black as we want to be. Say it loud!
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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