The Magical Negro
January 16, 2017
Today the nation (the world) will mourn and honor the death my fraternity brother Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The accolades are well deserved, his leadership and ultimately his martyrdom is one of the pillars for black progress and freedom. Ironically in the same week the last popular sitting duck President since Dwight Eisenhower will be handing over the keys to the White House (nuke codes) to what data has shown the least popular President Elect in modern history-but this post is not about #45, we have four (4) years to dissect him. This is about how #44 legacy will eventually mirror Dr. Martin Luther King, but not in the hopeful way we would like.
I am going to make a bold prediction. In twenty (20) maybe twenty-five (25) years, EVERYONE will look back fondly at the Obama presidency, and not only will you have a hard time trying to find ANYONE who voted against him, you will not find one living soul who will admit to saying anything negative about his time in office or his candidacy. In fact we will ALL say how we agreed with his vision of America. However, that is not the bold prediction. The bold prediction is that in the midst of everyone remembering fondly how great Obama was as president and a leader. Yes Barack Obama was/is a special unique individual, who’s talent and focus is what drove him to attain the most powerful political position in the world. However, we cannot fall into the trap-again-of not coalescing as community simply because we cannot find the “next” Barack Obama. Ultimately, there was two problems with the post King legacy, 1. His image became whitewashed, appropriated and eventually corporately manufactured, into this gentle leader who wanted unity and peace. We forgot that towards the end of his life he began to focus on the socio economic problems (poor people campaign) of our nation, and our obsession with upholding the capitalistic hunger of our country through war and enterprise (he came out against the war. 2. We became handcuffed to thought of King, unable to move pass image as our leader, and being constantly reminded of his perfect legacy which then transferred into his perfect profile. How can leader follow Moses, who literally parted the red sea of segregation, unless you have the messiah himself, enter legacy of Barack Obama-who will soon become our black Jesus-or so he will be positioned as so. It is important too remember the remarkableness of our great president, but we also have to remind ourselves that he was not perfect and prone to miscalculations in logic and approach.
So let us celebrate the legacy of our great American Dr. Martin Luther King, but let us remember he was an imperfect man, with a perfect vision for our country. His legacy and that of #44 should be to encourage, develop, and ultimately support our next crop of leaders, because that is how you keep Dr. Kings legacy alive, not by reminiscing on the past but keeping an eye towards the future.