How King Barack’s Administration Has Neutered Black Leadership


by Dr. Boyce Watkins

The Obama presidency has squeezed the vitality out of Black politics, which is now defined by obeisance to the Black resident of the White House. “There are some who feel that the value of protecting a president from any form of black accountability far exceeds the consequence of seeing millions of people suffer in poverty, death and despair.”


How King Barack’s Administration Has Neutered Black Leadership

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

This article originally appeared in Your Black World.

You should never give your vote to a politician without telling them what you expect in return.”

Let me start from the truthful beginning: I love and respect Tavis Smiley and Cornel West immensely. I don’t care who knows it, and I don’t care who gets mad. I’ve had my differences with both men in the past, but I was taught that even if you admire someone, you should still be honest when you critique them. My mama reminds me of that every time we argue over politics.  What I love most about Smiley and West is that they are among a small number of black voices that truly speak for those who are suffering the most. Rather than believing that symbolism pays the bills, they are seeking substantive evidence that any politician seeking the African American vote actually delivers what he or she promised. We can all agree that to whom much is given, much is expected; but this principle has been abandoned over the last four years.

With that being said, I can’t express how saddened I was to hear that Smiley & West, the radio show hosted by these two men, has been cut in several cities for a “lack of balance.” Boston, Chicago, and other major cities have let go of the show, likely due to the massive backlash that the two receive for disagreeing with King Obama.

I refer to Barack as “King Obama” because it appears that many African Americans don’t want a Democracy, but instead prefer an Aristocracy. We want the king to have absolute power, like Bishop Eddie Long running a vacation bible school for teenagers. Rather than living in a land that supports antiquated ideas like “freedom of speech,” we prefer a world where anyone who dares to question the will of the king should have his head cut off in public. Rev. Jesse Jackson, for example, has been cut off from the Obama White House for four years since being caught on camera saying that he wanted to remove some “critical body parts” of the president, but it is King Barack who has actually done all the neutering.

Boston, Chicago, and other major cities have let go of the show, likely due to the massive backlash that the two receive for disagreeing with King Obama.”

Not only have President Obama and his team dismantled and discredited nearly all of their African American critics (not via substantive arguments, since the black community is far worse off now than it was in 2008 – I challenge anyone to present data to the contrary), they’ve also emasculated many of their African American allies. Rev. Al Sharpton inexplicably went onto 60 Minutes and said that he would NEVER criticize President Obama, even if he was wrong or the black community was suffering (which it is). This kind of relationship is one that goes beyond the expectations of standard political support and ventures into the land of the blatantly corrupt and comically dysfunctional. Nearly every black analyst given a position on MSNBC, TheGrio or a few other outlets is expected to bow to the king at all times, or risk losing it all. This is NOT the way Democracy is supposed to work, and this is also why we continue to be disrespected as a viable political constituency.

Tavis and Cornel are important for the preservation of freedom within the black community. You don’t have to agree with them in order to appreciate their right to intelligent self-expression. If you think they’re wrong, then PROVE IT. Don’t just try to discredit them as irrelevant hacks. Any time we are more focused on suppressing inconvenient truths than confronting them, we are truly lost. It’s not as if anyone can argue that Cornel and Tavis are lying about the poverty problem in America, since every study imaginable says they are correct. It’s not as if anyone can say that they are misleading us about the depth of mass incarceration and urban violence, our children are filling up body bags and prison cells all across America. The dividing line that has emerged in black leadership today is that there are some who feel that the value of protecting a president from any form of black accountability far exceeds the consequence of seeing millions of people suffer in poverty, death and despair. I do not find this to be acceptable.

Nearly every black analyst given a position on MSNBC, TheGrio or a few other outlets is expected to bow to the king at all times, or risk losing it all.”

Where we’re getting it wrong is by believing that the best way to help President Obama is to sit and quietly wait for the administration to decide to do something for the black community. That’s like a mother who thinks she’s helping her son by not asking him to do his homework or clean his room until he feels like it. She’s not showing love for her son by behaving this way, she is making him all the more irresponsible and letting him call the shots inside the house. Similarly, a politician should not be telling you what his agenda is going to be, you should be giving him your agenda.

So, whether you support President Obama or someone else, you should never give your vote to a politician without telling them what you expect in return.  We also need a range of voices that encourage each of us to assess all relevant information and make sound decisions for ourselves. The fact is that both the Democrats nor the Republicans are threatened by free-thinking black people, and it might be time for all of us to get our butts off the plantation.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.


Looking @ This Article @ Dr Watkin's own Kulture Kritic Web-site

You can gauge just how much Black folk are hooked on /drunk on Obama-Laid. Soooo many still have NO Tolerance of any critique of Obama no matter how moderate, prinicpled or fact based it is.

IE: Fully half the comments RE this same article @ Dr Watkin's own web-site @ Kulture Kritic were negative, basically accusing Watkins [& Cornel West & Tavis Smiley] of just hating on Obama out of spite & jealousy. One person commented that referring to Obama as a king was an outrageous insult. Some claimed that Obama has no power to do anything for Black folks because 'He can't be the Black Pres - He's everybody's Pres...' -or- 'Those mean ole Repugs won't let him' [this ignores the fact that Dims also had solid control of both the senate & House of Reps up to 2011]- To which one brother who wasn't intoxicated on Obama-Laid replied - 'Then why are we voting [to the tune of 90% -95%] for a guy, just because he's Black, YET who is powerless to even try to do anything for Black people? And why the hell is he even running if he's so powerless as US Pres? Bush Jr was able to do what-ever the hell he wanted to do, even if the Dims did NOT agree...' [which often they did agree / capitulate].

It's amazing & a bit disheartening that after 4 yrs of watching Obama seemingly more willingly to reach out to & be friends w Repugs than w Blacks & progressives, yet soooo many Blacks are still intolerant of even principled critique of him- no matter how tactful it is. As Dr West says he & Tavis Smiley [& Dr Watkins] are rather mildly critical of Obama compared to BAR. But then Bro Glen Ford et-al @ BAR refused to be 'Stuck on Stupid' RE Obama back in 2007 - 08. 

Here's "my" intolerance

Your observations are correct and that's why I say, with some regret but not a lot, f***k em.  Because at the end of the day, they've f**ked themselves anyway.

Plus, they are tantamout to the House N**gga that will sell you out in a NY Minute.

I don't want to hear all their crying and screaming when Obama pushes their asses off the fiscal cliff.  They gonna probably blame the White Man for that shit regardless.  You get the government you deserve whether you are Black, White, Brown or purple.

What Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon Et-Al Here @ BAR have over Folk Like

Cornell West, Tavis Smiley, & Boyce Watkins is: They NEVER bought into Obama's 'Hope & Change' hype from the get-go, so they never got drunk on Obama-laid back in 2007 - 08- While West, Smiley & Boyce did. But they woke up from their Obama-Laiden stupor & realized 'Something ain't quite right here - This ain't the way things were supposed to go.' So then they tried to wake up other Blacks, & got labeled as turn-coats haters, ya'll just jealous of Obama because he didn't invite ya'll to the Big-House for tea & cookies served by his attractive wife [Michelle] & their 2 lovely daughters [IE: its all personal not principled]. But since the folks here @ BAR were NEVER drunk on Obama-Laid from the get-go, they can NOT be accused of suddenly turning on him out of spite, jealousy & hurt personal feelings & pride.  

But it ain't just Blacks, if you check thru articles written by alleged 'progressive' talking-heads on how progressives should vote in 2012, at-least 4 out of 5  to 9 out of 10 of them, end up urging progressives to vote for Obama [even if it means grittin their teeth & grinin & bearin it]. If you look at The Real News RE [supposedly] progressive opinion RE: the POTUS debates between Obama & RawMoney- when Paul Jay asks the question 'If you're in a swing state where your vote could make the difference, do you vote for Obama, 3rd Party, or not vote...' [it's understood that voting for RMoney AIN'T an option], only Bros Glen Ford & Bruce Dixon, & Sis Margret Kimberly said they would NOT vote for Obama [the more effective evil] under any circumstance [Ford & Dixon said they were voting for the Green Party]. Compared to every white liberal whom Jay asked replying- You must vote for Obama [One guy, who's Jewish by the way, even tried to tell Bro Ford that the Greens {in Ireland} have cut some kind of corporatist deal- like the US' lame-stream corporate imperialist Dims ain't 10Xs as guilty of that]. This is how pretzel-logical pseudo-progressives' logic has become when progressive contemplate perhaps voting for: Ron Paul [Response: That's like voting for Bush, McCain, RawMoney...], -OR- Sis Cynthia McKinney, Nader, Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson... [Response: That's like voting for the Repugs IE: Bush, McCain, RawMoney...], Well Hell maybe I just won't vote for POTUS this time around [Response: That's like voting for the Repugs IE: Bush, McCain, RawMoney...]... Yet if there's 2 things the 2000 debacle should have made clear it's 1}Whoever the power elites want in power they'll make sure they'll get in power by hook or by crook- even if they have to Hi-Jack the election in broad day-light & get their agents on the SCOTUS court to ratify a fraudulent election... -&- 2} The popular vote does NOT determine the outcome of POTUS elections- it's the secretive electorial college that does [FYI: Gore won the popular vote by 550,000 votes!]!!!

5 Things Obama's done that should have been / should be deal-breakers, for Blacks in particular & progressives in general. In fact each one could have been a deal-breaker in & of itself but putting all 5 together there should be NO doubt about it

1} RTTT Deform: That attacks the Teaching profession which employs many Black, Browns & mostly women; & negatively impacts schools in mainly Black & Brown communities, by shutting them down &/or turning them over to corporatists' interest. Especially after Obama's Sec of ED, Arne Duncan [who ain't qualified to be more than a Phys-Ed teacher / basket-ball coach] said that 'Katrina was the best thing to ever happen to New-Orleans Schools' - yet ain't thought about firing him or even making him apologize.

2} Obama offering up Social Security & Medicare to the Repugs chopping-block as part of his grand bi-partisan bargain.

3} That Obama's & AG Eric Holder's DoJ went MIA /AWOL RE Troy Davis' legalized lyching last yr. This is of-coursed related to their silence on Black mass incarceration[aka 'The New Jim-Crow'], legalized racial-profiling aka 'Stop & Frisk', & cops gunning down unarmed [or not engaged in any definitvely violent criminal activity] &/or falsely setting up Blacks & Browns- w impunity.

4} Obama slyly shepherding & then signing into law that Authorizing the US as a Police-State NDAA Act on Dec 31 / Jan 1st. This ties into Obama's & AG Holder's DoJ policy of entrapping mainly Black / Brown / African Muslims in phony terrorist plots cooked up by FBI informants- which keeps hyping the phony so-called 'War on Terror' [= a War on Muslims].

5} O-Bomb-em's role in FUK-US NATO's 8 - 9 month bombing assault on Libya last yr. He did it to back that Rebel-rousing, Racist Lynch-mob [aka the NTC] that hunted, ethnically cleansed, tormented & even lynched both Black Libyans & migrant workers from other African countries! It was/is all tied in w AFRICOM's machinations in Africa- which Khadaffi actively opposed, which is one of several reasons why they slaughtered him. The recent death of the US ambassador in Benghazi on 9-11-2012 should be a reminder of the HELL that O-Bomb-er [along w NATO & the GCC] unleashed in Libya & on Africa in the name of phony so-called R2P. Yet too many Black & psuedo-progressive talking heads have backed O-Bomb-er's treachery in Libya either by openly cheer-leading for it or implicitly justifying it.  


IMO The only possible substantive difference between Obama & RMoney is that RMoney will almost certainly go along w any plans Bibi has to attack Iran & maybe / perhaps Obama won't- if only because he & Bibi don't much like each other personally. Yet even that's not clear [IE: may be just wishful thinking] because O-Bomb-em: Refuses to take launching an unprovoked attack on Iran off the table; - Is already engaging in economic warfare & covert subversive warfare vs Iran; - Has authorized several joint US DoD  / IDF military exercises this yr including one this month; - Likudnik / AIPACer / NeoCONs in congress are pushing legislation that could obligate the US military to back Bibi vs Iran- even if Bibi launches an unprovoked attack on Iran; - & Obama has sabotaged / rejected several attempts to come to an agreement RE: Iran's {thus far Non-weaponized} Nuke Prog.   

One White Progressive Did Break the Mold @ The Real News:

 I should note there's one white progressive, thus far, that when asked by Paul Jay whether / or not one should vote for Obama in a swing state, who said un-equivocally HELL NO [IE: HE's NOT voting for Obama nor RawMoney]- That's Chris Hedges.

See: US Elections- Pick Your Poison [@ ]: } Paul JAY: 'Is there really a significant difference between Obama and Romney? I think most of the sort of liberal left opinion is that there's enough difference that it matters. That'll be one question to you.., what's your take on that..?'

Chris HEDGES: 'There are differences, but not enough that they matter. It's how you want to ingest your poison. You can get it from Romney, who will tell you to stop whining and playing the victim, or you can get it from Obama, who will tell you that it hurts him more than it hurts you. But either way you're going to get it... - We're all going to walk off the fiscal cliff in January, no matter who is president. Wall Street will continue its malfeasance and criminal activity and fraud unimpeded. The imperial wars and proxy wars will expand. Tthe chronic underemployment and unemployment will continue. The savaging of municipal, state, and federal budgets will continue. The power of the fossil fuel industry to determine our relationship to the ecosystem, in essence ultimately making life for the human species extremely precarious, will continue.... -  The assault against civil liberties—and Obama's assault against civil liberties have been worse than those carried out under George W. Bush, not only interpreting the authorization to use military force act of 2001 as giving the executive the prerogative to assassinate American citizens, but of course the FISA Amendments Act, which sees tens of millions of Americans monitored without warrants, eavesdropped, all of their communications stored in supercomputers in Utah, the use of the Espionage Act six times under the Obama administration to shut down whistleblowers, anything that challenges the government narrative, exposes corruption, crimes, including war crimes, and, of course, the National Defense Authorization Act—and I was part of a lawsuit against the president in that, which allows the U.S. military to seize American citizens, hold them without due process in military facilities until the end of hostilities, which in an age of permanent war is forever. All this is under Obama... -  I intend to vote, but I will not vote for Barack Obama. I'll vote for a third-party candidate: Rocky Anderson, or Jill Stein from the Green Party.'

Paul JAY: 'Would it make any difference to you if you were in a swing state where a few votes might matter?'

Chris HEDGES: 'No, because the problem is that we who care about the underclass, who care about protecting what's left of our anemic democracy, who care about battling back against corporate power, have no influence within the Democratic Party. And the policies of the Democratic Party are evidence of that. The rhetoric of the Democratic Party just does not match the actions of the Democratic PartyThe only hope we have left is to be obstructionist...'

Chris Hedges

has been in Obama's ass for the longest.

In the "Ghetto Politics" essay I mention Chris Floyd and Glenn Greenwald, I could have easily added Chris Hedges.

I was thinking about this again last night, again going back to Richard Viguerie, say what you will of Right Wingers, at least they are principled enough to lose and stick to their values.

You have to admire them more than you can admire Mittens, or Obomber.  Either we stand for something or fall for any and everything.

Okay, I was a little harsh...NOT!

Let me blunt my bluntess with some historical and metaphysical context. 

Was Harriet Tubman or Moses able to save EVERYBODY?

Can drug counselors save EVERY addict?

People are going to have to come to the painful realization that a whole lot of folks can't be enlightened, point blank.  And I for one, won't stay awake at night trying to figure out why folks refuse to equate the Obama Killing Machine with the Bush II Killing Machine, or the Romney Killing Machine if he is elected.

There's too much work and too many challenges and future hardships to come (and overcome) to lose sleep over the somnabulant, the brain dead that want to equate every Obama slight with their own slight.  Now surely hundreds of years of racism and decades of failed "integration dreams/desires" are huge contributing factors.  But the good Lord gave us all 6 senses.  Use them or loose them.

It's gonna be that simple.  If yall think I'm harsh then live to see 2013 and beyond.  We ain't witnessed or experienced nothing yet folks.  Bev talks about some predicting riots if Obama loses, I don't see that.  But I do see people rioting over bread and milk and rationing of resources and the absence of a social safety net.  Of course they won't take any accountability for their gross stupidity and moral bankruptcy in hooting and a hollering about a bigger war monger than Bush II.  They will be reflective instead of contemplative.

And the Obamabots will completely forget that Obama's Simpson-Boles Commission SIGNALED LOUD AND CLEAR the coming austerity.  They'll blame the Tea Party 10X more than they'll blame Obama and the Democrats.

Like I (we've) said a thousand times.  Do you ever hear the Right Wing vacillate their principles on the "Lesser Evil" notion.  I remember Richard Viguerie, one of the fathers of the Christian conservative movement saying several years ago unequivocally and I paraphrase.

"Who cares if the Republicans lose, it will only make the purists that much stronger."  I hear ya Richard, we ain't got much of nothing in common, but "that" we do. 

These 2 links are not the interview I saw on the web of Richard several years ago, someone will perhaps help me find it.  But you get the picture.