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July 30, 2004

68 Annoying Questions

There's a lot of buzz about young black polticians and black politics these days. Or is there? I think it's just Barack Obama making a name for himself. Nothing wrong with that, of course. I will be glad to see him do well.

However it is an open question as to whether having a black Senator will be a good sign for black politics. Much of it depends upon the responsibilities he gets. Will he author any notable legislation? Will he get appointed to the right committee? You see black politics still exists in a ghetto in the public mind, and there are certainly millions of blackfolks who are asking the same annoying questions.

So I am looking forward to seeing what the bottom line is going to be after everyone has finished touching Obama's hair and remarking about his uncanny ability to orate. (You would have thought that Bryant Gumbel answered those questions a generation ago). Will he have to answer the same stupid questions?

There can be no doubt that many of these questions, which will never be directly answered given what I've seen of the ObamaBlog, will come from African Americans. And what better way to figure out what's on the minds of blackfolks than to see what questions they ask? I've stolen 68 of them from Earl Ofari Hutchinson's website because when I went there looking for some discussion about Obama, I found nothing else. To me, these are a combination of moderately interesting short answer questions, but taken together as a comprhensive sample of black political interests, they make my head hurt. Yet somehow I have to admit these are the questions people want answered.

I see a disconnect here. To call Obama a black politician, if it is to mean anything but a demographic qualification, means that he is responsible principled black questions and issues. And yet knowing that a US Senator can get to the bottom of just about anything that goes on in America, I can scarcely imagine Obama spending his newly found popularity shouting into the phone for answers or assembling a Senate Inquiry into any of the questions that follow. But I don't know Obama's direction and I admit that I find these questions mostly trifling.

So the question I am begging is not whether Obama is 'authentically black' but what kind of issues African Americans raise that deserve the attention of a Senator. Because now that everybody wants to claim Obama, he's going to have to set some priorities that sooner or later are going to cause some people to disown him. That might move black politics further up the socio-economic scale (my hope) or demonstrate that it is stuck in the basement (my fear).

OK the Questions.

  1. Will Kerry Keep The Promise He Made at the NAACP Convention to Aggressively Push Civil Rights?
  2. Why Do So Many Blacks Believe Cosby's Myths About Themselves?
  3. Are Bushs Tighter Restrictions on Cuba a Play For the Cuban-American Vote in Florida?
  4. Is Interracial Sexual Relations an Issue in the Kobe Bryant Case?
  5. Was Clinton Really A Political Genius?
  6. Did Ray Charles Crack More Than Music Barriers?
  7. Was Reagan an Enemy of Civil Rights?
  8. Did Cosby Get it Right When He Called Poor Blacks Knuckleheads for their Alleged Bad Grammar and Criminality?
  9. Does The National World War II Monument Honor The Fight of Black GIs in the War?
  10. Who Do You Blame For The Nick Berg Beheading?
  11. Are Separate Schools a Bad Thing?
  12. Was Pat Tillman hero or did he get what was coming to him?
  13. Is The Jackson Indictment About Child Sexual Molestation or Something Else?
  14. Is the Iraq War Bushs Vietnam War?
  15. Should Condi Apologize For 9/11?
  16. Are Black Athletes Dumber Than White Athletes?
  17. Will Condeleezza Rice Be the Scapegoat For Bushs 911 Failure?
  18. Is Wal-Mart Good or Bad for Black Communities?
  19. Does Rapper 50 Cents Anti-Gay Slur Represent The Sentiment of Black Men?
  20. Is Gay Marriage a Threat To The Black Family?
  21. Will U.S. Marines Help Haiti?
  22. Should California Apologize for Its Slave Past?
  23. Will Conservatives Turn on Bush?
  24. Was Janet a Victim?
  25. Race Was Inevitable in Bryants Case Why Do White Males Cheer Bush?
  26. Jackson and The Nation of IslamGood or Bad?
  27. Why Do Millions Shun The King Holiday?
  28. Should Child Killers Be Treated As Adults?
  29. Should More Blacks Support Bushs Reelection?
  30. Was Nixon A Racist?
  31. Do You Believe That Strom Thurmond Fathered A Black Child?
  32. Would You Attend and Approve A Friend's Gay Marriage Ceremony?
  33. Why Do So Many Blacks Think Jacksons a Racial Victim?
  34. Is Jackson a Target Because Hes Black and Successful or a Child Molester?
  35. Why Is the Unemployment Rate Among Young Black Males Astronomically High?
  36. Is Sharpton Off Base in Calling Blacks That Endorse A White Democratic Presidential Contender Uncle Toms?
  37. Are You Surprised That Hip-Hop Icon P. Diddy is Accused of Using Sweatshop Labor to Make His Hip Fashions?
  38. Are You Concerned That Theres a Rush to Execute Sniper Suspect John Allen Muhammad?
  39. Are the Rape Charges Against Kobe Bryant Unfounded?
  40. Does Limbaugh Deserve The Publics Overwhelming Compassion for his Drug Plight?
  41. More Blacks Than Whites Oppose Gay MarriageGood or Bad?
  42. Is Arnold Schwarzenegger a Racist?
  43. Why Has Progressive Democratic Presidential Contender Howard Dean Attracted So Few Blacks and Latinos to His Campaign?
  44. Should Blacks Demand that Clinton Do More than Preach at a Black Church for Their Support?
  45. Should Black Voters Bail Democrats Out of Recall Mess?
  46. Is there Any Merit to the Connerly Initiative?
  47. Should California Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamantes Use of the word "Nigger" be Held Against Him in His Bid To Be California Governor?
  48. Should Blacks and Latinos Vote for The Terminator?
  49. Can White Jurors in Eagle be Color-Blind Toward Kobe in a trial there?
  50. Why Is It Near Impossible To Convict Cops of Abuse Against Minorities?
  51. Should Kobe Be the New Poster Boy for The Thug Athlete?
  52. Does Bush finally Recognize the Importance of Africa?
  53. Is the NAACP Relevant To the Black Poor?
  54. Latinos Have Replaced Blacks As Americas Number One Minority. What Does That Mean For Blacks?
  55. Was The Release of 12 Blacks Unfairly Jailed on Drug Charges in Tulia A Victory over Racism in The Drug Wars?
  56. Do the Democrats Care About The Black Vote?
  57. Would Jayson Blair have gotten away with his con of the New York Times if he were white?
  58. Should Blacks Be Charged With Lynching?
  59. Why Are Americans Reluctant To Aid the Building of the Martin Luther King Monument in Washington D.C.?
  60. Why Do So Many African-Americans Support The Death Penalty?
  61. Can or Should a Democrat Beat Bush in 2004?
  62. Will the NAACPs Lawsuit Against Gun Manufacturers Stop The Spiraling Black Murder Carnage?
  63. Will a Green Party Presidential Candidate Put Bush Back in The White House?
  64. NAACP Says Oppose the War But Support The Troops Are You Tired of Hearing From Iraq War Opponents?
  65. Did Bush Attack Iraq to Guarantee His Reelection in 2004?
  66. Why Arent Blacks In The Streets Protesting The Iraq Attack?
  67. Has Colin Powell betrayed his principles and blacks?
  68. Is Clarence Thomas Cruel, Spiteful, or Even Unbalanced?

Posted by mbowen at July 30, 2004 10:38 AM

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MICHAEL BOWEN COMMENTARY: 68 Annoying Questions from Booker Rising
Observing the hoopla about rising liberal star Barack Obama, Cobb wonders whether a black Senator will be good for black politics. "Will he author any notable legislation? Will he get appointed to the right committee?...So I am looking forward to see... [Read More]

Tracked on July 31, 2004 07:16 PM



I didn't even read the list, just looked at it, and STILL damn.

Posted by: P6 at July 30, 2004 04:07 PM

I agree, Earl! Damn.

The Obama thing is going to be interesting in that his election will come from voters across racial lines -- whose interests his is promising to uphold. There will be issues that resonate and turn off voters across the board. He will have, if elected, quite the balancing act to perform -- if he wants a higher office or re-election.

Remember, he got his hat handed to him when he went up against Rush. (I think that was the name of the former BP that kicked his ass?)

If someone handed me that list of 68 questions, I think I'd lose it.

Posted by: Ward Bell at July 30, 2004 05:56 PM

he got his ass kicked by rush only because he ran away from blackness..that is to say he ignored the racial aspects of his own background and ran a heavily de-racialized campaign. he's a quick study though, and didn't make the same mistakes twice. rush didn't support him in his senate race as an aside--rush supported a white ethnic for the seat.

i don't think that he'll have a balancing act at all. at base i believe that rural whites and working class blacks share the same general concerns even though the details differ.

Posted by: Lester Spence at July 31, 2004 11:40 AM

Hey Lester, we almost agree on something! When you look at the political issues along a class or economic line, groups of blacks and groups of whites (just to name the two larger groups and not to be exclusive because you can throw in virtually every ethnic group into the mix) *do* have some issues in common and need to collaborate and join together in order to get their concerns met.

That is why you cannot look at someone like Obama as the *black* candidate representing *black* interest exclusively. And that is where the balancing act comes in: since some of his constituents are likely to look at him as being their's exclusively, he has to make certain that they understand that he represent the entire base that elected him. To do otherwise will be to guarantee one term and out and forget about those Presidential aspirations (assuming they are there in the first place).

But back to the point: It takes a sophisticated electorate to understand the balancing act I'm speaking of and the 68 questions don't represent such a sophisticated electorate. If they are, indeed, representative -- then I repeat Earl's words: damn! We've not come very far.

Posted by: Ward Bell at July 31, 2004 12:51 PM