The Perils of Identity Politics

It was presumed that one of the casualties of Obama’s victory would be the black-identity politics that catapulted many Civil Rights leaders into the political arena. For over four decades these leaders have sought and secured power by airing the grievances of the black community and attaining retribution for the centuries of inequality. On November 5, the eulogies of these leaders were written. Unbeknownst to the majority community, the younger generation has been working on these eulogies for some time. Young politically astute voters in the black community have for years called for the replacement of Civil Rights leaders in the political arena as they seemed more concerned with maintaining their own statuses than with the economic empowerment of the black community.

This past week, Rep. Bobby Rush confirmed the necessity of writing this eulogy when in defense of Roland Burris, Bobby Rush equated opposition with that of segregation. Here is man that is screaming for the inclusion of a black person in the US Senate but did not support Barak Obama when he first ran for Senate. At that time there were no blacks in the Senate, yet Rep. Bobby Rush chose to support a white candidate. Can you say hypocrisy?

There are legitimate legal arguments for seating Burris and I am sure that in the near future he will become the Junior Senator from the state of Illinois, but his skin color is not one of them and a lot of young black people are upset with how this has turned into a racial issue. Black people will just have to come to grips with the reality that not every political fight requires a racial component in order to make a compelling argument.

As for Roland Burris, he should have handled this appointment differently. Rather than make a spectacle of himself, he should have worked behind the scenes to ensure a smooth transition. The law is on his side, but the political theater counts for a lot and on that front he has bombed.


7 Responses to The Perils of Identity Politics

  1. Roderick Says:
    I can't believe so many blacks in Chicago fell for the Blago's Okie Doke.

    I was listening to the Tom Joyner Morning show Tuesday morning on my way to work and this black female community leader was trying to convince TJ that the Senate's refusal to seat Burris was because of his race.

    It's too bad that she wasn't paying closer attention a couple of weeks ago when Congressional Democrats told Blago that anyone he appointed would not be seated.

    And someone please replace Reid as Majority Leader.
  2. Mr. Grey Ghost Says:
    13% of this country is black, there isn't a SINGLE Black Senator. Blago played Reid for a fool and exposed his good ol' boy network of white, liberal elitists, the idea that race shouldn't enter into play here is ludicrous.
  3. Kofi Bofah Says:
    I am just floating through blog world.

    I will be back to check you out in a bit.

    I just wanted to say hello to a fellow Chicagoan real quick...
  4. Anonymous Says:
    Mr. Grey Ghost said...
    13% of this country is black, there isn't a SINGLE Black Senator. Blago played Reid for a fool and exposed his good ol' boy network of white, liberal elitists, the idea that race shouldn't enter into play here is ludicrous.

    Wow you're such a freaking idiot.

    Those same white liberal elitists chose a bi-racial man who hadn't completed four years of his first term in the Senate over an eight-year Senator who is also the wife of the first two-term Democratic president since FDR to be their nominee for President.
  5. Roderick Says:
    That was me
  6. James Manning Says:
    i don't look at the senate being all white as an indictment on white people. there are states where the black population is more than enough to have elected an african american but we don't vote at the levels necessary.

    the law is with burris but i think they were right to fight his nomination. now, they should concede and put the attention back on blago where it belongs.
  7. MIB Says:
    My first reaction after reading this is there's still plenty of legitimate work to be done in the name of civil rights and Black empowerment. The election of Obama doesn't stand for the successful resolution of race and politics. Neither does it serve as an adequate remedy to the damage caused by the country's legacy of racism.

    OTOH, Rep. Rush was likely having a Black Panther flashback in endorsing Burris. But other than the notion a Black concession stand in the Senate is very awkward (it smacks of tokenism, at the very least), it is a powerful example of Black political power in action.

    I'm sure the CDC would have preferred Rush employ less incendiary language, but were in favor of his thinking nonetheless.