Chris Rock plays a zebra in the new movie, Madagascar 3. On the Today show he was asked by Ann Curry if he were an animal which one would he be, of course he answered “a zebra”. Then he said that we had a “zebra president” who was black and white. Rock said that “I wanted to be the lion, you know, king of the jungle and all that,” he replied, “but that didn’t work out. Snake is always good. You know, scare people. But I’ll take the zebra.”
“In honor of our zebra President. Black and white, white and black. … I love our President, but he’s black and white. He appeals to all. And that’s what I am going for,” the comedian said.
Curry wondered aloud how the President might react to such an analogy. Rock laughed and replied, “I don’t know. … We ignore the President’s whiteness, but it’s there. It’s there.”
Rock is right. We ignore the president’s whiteness. Why? His mother was white and his father was a black Kenyan making him one of the few true African-Americans. As an aside, I had a white African-American student – he was from South Africa but I have never had a black African-American in my classes.
But what about the president? He is black because of convenience. He was raised by his white grandparents, went to mostly white private schools and seemingly only became black when he decided to run for political office. To that end, he married a black woman (also a product of white “elite” schools), moved to Chicago, became a community organizer and adopted blackness for political expediency. Barack Obama is smart. He knew that this was his avenue to political office. Consider the question of would a white radical ever be elected president? If that were so Bernie Sanders would be president not Obama.
So for Obama, blackness is a matter of convenience. Unlike the vilified George Bush, you cannot find many blacks in important positions in his administration. He doesn’t even have a black official liar (press secretary). We see Axelrod and Plouffe out front in prominent roles but no blacks. Sure Valarie Jarrett is in the inner circle, but who else of color? Obama is no friend of black people. People of color have been adversely affected by Obama’s policies. If Obama were white, blacks would be rioting in the street. Yet the poverty pimps like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton know that their wealth and well being are tied to keeping the masses in line by attacking the so-called one percent (of which they are members) and the republicans rather than the democrats and Obama who are destroying jobs and preventing reforms that would redound to the benefit of their fellow persons of color. A zebra? In another time, Obama would be called an Oreo.
Harold A. Black is professor emeritus in the Department of Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville having retired after 24 years of service. He has served on the faculties of American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. His government service includes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. He also has served on the boards of directors Home Savings of America and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank, on the board of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, then the nation’s largest real estate investment trust and as director and later chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He writes an occasional article for the Knoxville News-Sentinel at http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/dr-harold-black/. His web page is haroldablackphd.com