Syndicated radio show host Tom Joyner calls on blacks to support President Obama’s re-election based on “our blackness, pride & loyalty, and we should vote for him “because he’s a black man.”
I won’t join other black influencers to call for black Americans to vote for President Obama because he is black. Casting one’s vote is a personal and private matter that should be colorblind. I would urge black voters to support the candidate who will best meet their needs. Don’t vote for President Obama just because he’s black nor support Herman Cain in the primary for that fact as well. It’s counterproductive and, quite frankly, insulting to pull the race card. President Barack Obama’s poll numbers are in a free fall, though I often wonder who are these pollsters calling? Still, I won’t join Tom Joyner, whose radio show I listen to fairly often, in calling for blacks to rally behind President Obama solely on the basis of race can be considered racist. We don’t like it when Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck engage in such behavior.
Tom Joyner wrote on his BlackAmericaWeb.com blog on July 18, 2011, “Let’s not even deal with the facts right now. Let’s deal with just our blackness and pride — and loyalty. We have the chance to re-elect the first African-American president, and that’s what we ought to be doing. And I’m not afraid or ashamed to say that as black people, we should do it because he’s a black man. There are a great number of people who are against him because he’s a black man. That should be enough motivation for us to band together and get it done.” If a white man in a similar position said that, black activists would be screaming for his termination. These words don’t help President Obama’s cause because he leads a nation made up of many races and ethnic backgrounds. He doesn’t owe his allegiance to only the black community and to expect any kind of reciprocity is simply insulting.
Tom Joyner isn’t alone in this “rallying call.” The nation’s only black female syndicated radio show host, Bev Smith, who incidentally just lost her gig, is also calling on blacks to vote for Obama based on race. Rev. Al Sharpton, who should be impartial, given his early failures where race issues are concerned, has admonished any black who dared to criticize President Obama. The question they should pose to the black community is whether their lives have been better off since President Obama took office? By any stretch of the imagination, the answer is a resounding no. We have seen unemployment hovering around 16 percent for black men. So, how can you ask a group of people to vote for Obama just because he’s black. Granted, all that ails this great country isn’t of President Obama’s doing, but he owns this mess now. It’s time for the black community to stop falling for the same jive from the Democratic Party. It hasn’t gotten the community anywhere. Tom Joyner, Bev Smith, Rev. Al Sharpton, Warren Ballentine and all those black influencers out there calling for blacks to vote for Obama are all well-off financially and don’t have to worry about where their next pay check is coming from.
The reality is President Obama was able to win the historic election in 2008, not solely because blacks turned out in huge numbers, but because many whites, Latinos and other races supported him as well. To suggest that blacks support him just because of the color of his skin is just wrong. It’s dangerous. Tom Joyner has done a lot for the black community and I won’t throw him under a bus, but I am very disappointed by his comments rallying blacks to support President Obama on the basis of his race. Blacks should support Obama because they agree with his stance on the issues and that he best personifies their needs. I would urge each voter to take the time to do some research on where all the candidates stand on the issues that affect you the most. If President Obama is the one whose views are similar to yours, then vote for him come November 2012.
I can’t help but hear the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his “I Have a Dream” speech, in which he so eloquently stated, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” That’s what we need to tell the black community. It is a sad commentary that we are on the verge of celebrating the 50th anniversary of this historic and awe-inspiring speech, but some prominent black leaders, including Rev. Al Sharpton, are demanding that blacks judge Obama, not by the content of his policies or even his character, by solely by the color of his skin. That’s sad. I spent my formative years in Jamaica and I learned at an early age that it wasn’t about the color of your skin, but, as Dr. King said, the content of your character and what you have accomplished in life. Barack Obama said it best, during the 2004 Democratic National Convention, “there is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America – there is the United States of America.”
This article was cross-posted from The Hinterland Gazette