by Carl Dix
President Obama’s attempt to diffuse Black rage in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal is rooted in deception. “The fact is, Barack Obama has played a major role in the further demonization of Black youth.”
Obama's Trayvon Speech: Massa Trying to Keep the Slaves on the Plantation by Acknowledging Their Pain
by Carl Dix
“It is a calculated attempt to defuse a volatile political situation.”
President Obama’s July 19th speech is being hailed as a courageous and candid airing of racial disparities in the country. The story line is he is listening to Black people and communicating the experiences of Black men, so the broader society can understand.
No, the real message of this speech is that people should not lose their faith in the system. It is a calculated attempt to defuse a volatile political situation the powers-that-be are worried may spin out control.
I want to focus on two of the speech’s more outrageous deceptions.
1) “We need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African-American boys…. [a]nd give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them.”
Bolster our African-American boys my ass!
Where is the “care” shown when 1 in 9 Black males between the ages of 18 and 29 are now in prison? How are the youth “valued,” when some 600,000, mostly Black and Latino, were brutalized and humiliated each year by stop-and-frisk policies in 2011?
Where is the care shown in the epidemic of police (and vigilante) shootings of young Black men, scores of murders in the last year alone?
How does the economy “care” about young Black men when 30 percent of them cannot find jobs and when studies have shown that employers will hire a white applicant with a criminal record over a similarly qualified Black applicant with NO criminal convictions?
“Young Black males are becoming an expendable labor pool.”
This is a capitalist-imperialist economy, where manufacturing jobs have dried up as companies search for the highest profits all over the world. It’s an economy where even entry-level, minimum-wage, white-collar jobs that Black youth might have been getting a decade ago are drying up, as many white workers getting pushed out middle-class jobs can only find work here.
The cold truth is that young Black males are becoming an expendable labor pool. From the standpoint of the system: unnecessary, undesirable, not fit for schooling or to contribute to society.
Tell me about the “care” of the educational system, with its overcrowded, crumbling, underfunded schools in the ghettoes and barrios. What kind of “caring” society is it that has produced a “school-to-prison” pipeline? 1 in 3 Black male students gets suspended from school, often for minor infractions like swearing or with many falling into the clutches of the criminal (in)justice system.
This capitalist-imperialist system has created a generation of suspects. It’s the generation of Trayvon Martin, of Oscar Grant, and countless others murdered by the police, warehoused into prison, and stigmatized throughout society.
“Caring” about and “valuing” the youth? The fact is, Barack Obama has played a major role in the further demonization of Black youth. How many times has he given his Father’s Days lectures on responsibility, on not blaming anyone but yourself? Listen to him in 2008: “How many teenagers have we seen hanging around in street corners when they should be sitting in a classroom? How many are sitting in prison when they should be working, or at least looking for a job? How many in this generation are we willing to lose to poverty or violence or addiction?”
“What kind of “caring” society is it that has produced a “school-to-prison” pipeline?”
The people did not create this situation. Black youth, the people filling the prisons, the people in the gangs weren’t the ones who took the jobs and moved them away. These conditions were caused by the dynamics of capitalist accumulation in its international dimension as well as within the country and by conscious policies of ruling class politicians in line with this.
This system that Barack Obama presides over truly has no future for the masses of Black youth – other than prison, gangs and the drug economy, menial jobs for a few, or becoming a killer for the U.S. military, uniformed thugs for the very capitalist-imperialist system that oppresses them.
But there IS a future for these youth. It is in the REVOLUTION and the fight for a whole new world that gets beyond these oppressive, enslaving, and perverse relations.
The people didn’t create this situation, but they can be a crucial part of transforming it through revolution – being part of creating a world where the Trayvon Martins and Rachel Jeantels can truly flourish.
2) A More Perfect Union
Obama says: “But we should also have confidence that kids these days, I think, have more sense than we did back then, and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did, and that along this long, difficult journey, you know, we’re becoming a more perfect union. Not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.”
Obama is giving us the myth of the “more perfect union,” when the reality is that this “union” was founded on the twin crimes of genocide against the Native Americans (Indians) and the kidnapping and enslavement of Africans. Slavery was not some unfortunate flaw or defect in the “union” during its early development. It was central to what this “more perfect union” was about—inscribed into the Constitution--and central to the accumulation of great wealth in both the southern and northern US on which the power of America was founded.
“It is this system of capitalism-imperialism that is causing untold misery for the people of the world.”
Barack Obama gives us the myth of the “more perfect union,” when the reality is that the same system—the capitalist system—that arose with and nourished itself on human slavery has evolved into a worldwide system of exploitation, plunder, and brutal wars for the expansion of empire. It is this system of capitalism-imperialism that is causing untold misery for the people of the world and ravaging the ecology of the planet.
Barack Obama gives us the myth of the “more perfect union,” when the reality is that the oppression of Black people has been built into the very fabric of American society. It is built into the system. The forms of this oppression have changed: from slavery, through Jim Crow segregation and Lynch mob terror, to the new Jim Crow of mass incarceration.
America has made adjustments in the ways it has oppressed and exploited people, especially when challenged by the struggles of the people. But the fundamental character of the system remains: the defense, the extension, and the reinforcement of exploitation and oppression.
This is not a “more perfect union.” It is a nightmare and horror that must be swept away by revolution.
Carl Dix is a founding member, and a representative, of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP).