For months we heard rumours that Obama was some kind of closet Panther, hiding his afro pick while plotting revolution. Starting around 11 PM on November 4, the same people who made these claims suddenly decided he was actually a center-rightist, that his victory reflected America’s inherant conservatism.
Obviously, this put actual black nationalists in a weird spot. Today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution featured a piece by Muhammad Yungai, a Decatur, Georgia artist and self-identified member of this group:
“As a black nationalist I have considered myself an American only as a technicality or an accident of birth. I’ve never hoisted the red, white and blue, only the red, black and green. I gave up on the American dream a longtime ago. I have worked and looked forward to autonomy and self-determination in our communities. I never imagined that I would live long enough to see an African-American president. I never even believed that I would live to see a black Miss America. But America fooled me! Even as I predicted an Obama nomination and then a presidential win, the reality of what happened on Nov. 4 still has me totally stunned.”
Yungai, whose excellant website is as aesthetically threatening as a puppy wrapped in a blanket, goes on to express his optimism at this development:
“And now we have a President Obama! The mold has been irrevocably broken! The possibilities of opportunity in American life have been exponentially expanded.”
The ongoing structural inequalities in American socioecomics keep Yungai appropriately skeptical. However, he describes the election as “psyche-shattering” and, as per the title, is “revisiting [his] stance.”
The article is here. The cynic notes of course that the Journal-Constitution would never have run this piece of Yungai had attacked Obama as a race-traitor; it’s much more palatable as an inspiring conversion to Americanism. That said, it’s a notably unique perspective. I will paypal $2 to any commenter who can find another mainstream editorial featuring the phrase: “As a black nationalist…” So good on Yungai and the Journal-Constitution for expanding the discourse on the op-ed page beyond the usual suspects.