Let me start out by saying this column is going to really piss some people off. But I am calling it how I see it. And this is how I see it.
A couple of hundred years ago, back in the old South, white folk made a distinction between "good" negroes and the not-so-good negroes. "Good" negroes stayed in line, were deferential to whites and didn't make trouble. Those were the negroes whites assigned jobs in and around their houses, rather than in the fields. They even had a term for them -- though I have to clean it up a bit: "house negroes."
White's of the old South took it for granted that their house-servant slaves were grateful, loyal and even held genuine affection for their masters. So it was a rude awakening when, after Lincoln freed the slaves, those freed house servants packed up and left to strike out on their own.
Many whites were genuinely surprised, even hurt that their former servants, nannies and groundskeepers had turned their backs on them.
A kind of grieving process then played out. First many former white slave owners were hurt at what they felt was a shocking display of ingratitude. Then came dismay. After all, who was going to raise the kids, cook and clean now?
Then, as that reality sunk in, they became angry, striking out, saying and trying whatever they could to assure that lives of freedom their former servants sought would be as miserable, unfulfilling and unsuccessful as possible.
That was then. Now, 150 years later, we're watching a similar drama play out on the political stage.
The Clintons and their institutional Democratic Party old guard shocked, insulted, even hurt that black Americans might prefer upstart Barack Obama over the next in line, Hillary Clinton. The national Democratic Party machine had other plans for this election cycle. Democratic Party insiders were fixing to put the first white woman in the White House, not the first black man.
But then guess who came to dinner. Barack Obama, a smart, attractive and inspirational young black man stepped up and announced he'd like a shot too. Imagine their chagrin when blacks, joined by millions of white Americans, started voting for the black guy.
Until then the Democratic Party pointed with pride at the Obama candidacy as proof that the party was more racially open than the all-white GOP line up. That all changed when people actually started voting for him in alarmingly high numbers. Particularly worrisome was the growing number of black voters switching from Hillary to Barack.
No machine Democrat was more hurt and dismayed by this turn of events than the party's heir apparent, Hillary Clinton. After Barack Obama beat her in Iowa, she let go of the hurt and moved straight on to anger. It was time to remind African-American voters not only which side their bread has been buttered on, and just who had buttered it "for them" in the first place.
"Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act," she said, adding that "it took a president to get it done." (Hillary Clinton)
What she left out of that remark was inferred; "and it took a white, Democrat President to get it done for y'all."
The same week Hillary dropped that bomb husband Bill took his own swipe, describing the Obama phenomena "the biggest fantasy I've ever seen."
The Clintons realized that they were losing their grip on a constituency they believed they owned. So Hillary quickly put her remaining black supporters front and center to put a black face back on the Clinton campaign, and to defend both her and Bill from the black backlash their remarks last week caused.
Black Entertainment Televsions Founder Slams Obama COLUMBIA, S.C. - Robert L. Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, who is campaigning today in South Carolina with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, just made a suggestion that raised the specter of Barack Obama's past drug use. -- And to me, as an African-American, I am frankly insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues since Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood and I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in the book when they have been involved." (Full Story )