The Washington Times - July 9, 2008, 05:19PM

I am pleased to announce a new feature on this blog called Black on Black Thought. In partnership with two fellow former Michigan Wolverines, The Young and the Conservative will be cross-blogging with Brandon Q. White and Garlin Gilchrist II‘s SuperSpade Blog — me from the center-right perspective, Brandon and Garlin from the progressive side — on the American political scene.

As Mr. Gilchrist explained it on his page: “To date Black conservative and Black progressive have never been juxtaposed in this way. Showcasing the diversity existent in Black political thought is not only a timely experiment in ideological exploration, but it is a necessary conversation that lays the foundation for Black political pride and Black political power. We look forward to your participation in this journey with us.”


Brandon gets us started with a response to yesterday’s post on CNN’s Black in America special. In my piece I argued that Americans are worn out on “race talk.”

Brandon responds: “it’s not that Americans are not tired of talking about race, they are just really annoyed and upset when it comes up….in my opinion, if Americans are over saturated with anything, it is thinking that it is inherently unfair to correct this country’s original sin through public policy along with a severe lack of empathy for those less fortunate and/or different.”

But even this argument relies upon the fundamental premise that America’s “original sin” is up for discussion, let alone resolution. It isn’t.



Seeing all the press that resulted from Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice referring to slavery as America’s “original sin,” reminded me of when former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon referred to Israel’s occupation of the disputed territories as just that — an occupation.

A lot of people were upset with Sharon at the time, and a lot of Palestinians and their sympathizers felt vindicated — but fast-forward a few years later and what’s changed? Fundamentally, what’s changed? Nothing. People might have been disappointed or pleasantly surprised to hear Condi go there, but it didn’t fundamentally change anyone’s willingness to engage in a discussion of “America’s dark past.”

I’ll just come right out and say it: 40 Acres and a Mule wouldn’t do nearly as much for black people in America as would seeing Obama elected president.  And here’s the rub: the worse you think Obama is, the truer this is.

I remember hearing this argument at a debate, years ago, about affirmative action for faculty: plenty of white people know someone who’s black or has at least interacted with black people. But very few people have had to work under black leadership, few have had to take direction from a black person. Without getting into an affirmative action debate here, I think the basics of that point are valid. Now take that premise and apply it across 300 million Americans — and, need I remind anyone that The Whole World is Watching? — and, whether we want to or not, you have progress.

Say what you like about Obama, but America has elected plenty of mediocre, or worse, men president. And we’re still here. Electing Obama wouldn’t change that. It would just open up the floodgates for people who might not find politics relevant.

Change is in the doing, not in the consuming. The CNN special won’t move things along the same way as seeing a black man fight tooth and nail, to the end, and do whatever’s necessary to win the highest office in the land.