By Bryson Gipson
I am a huge fan of comedy of all kinds. I enjoy it all from sitcoms to stand up. Who doesn’t love to laugh? Before the election in 2008, comedian Steve Harvey put out a stand up set called “Still Trippin’”. Being the Steve Harvey fan that I am, I had to see it. During the set he tells the audience that, as black people, we have an “obligation” to vote for Barrack Obama. He goes onto say that it’s not even a choice. It’s my duty. This hit a nerve with me. But it’s Steve Harvey. You can’t put too much stock into what comes out of his mouth.
But then I heard black conservative commentator, Armstrong Williams, reiterate that same concept in an interview with Dr. Marc Lamont Hill. He confessed that he had this sense of obligation to vote for Obama. This almost made me physically angry.
So because I’m black and he’s black, I have to vote for him? What if I don’t? Am I less black? Am I neglecting my duty as a black man? What would Dr. King say about that? When he said to judge by the content of character and not by the color of the skin did he leave off “…unless they’re the same color as you in which case don’t look into character. Just go with it.”? Isn’t that racism? Aren’t you putting me in a category because of the color of my skin?
As a black man I was extremely insulted by this ridiculous premise that I don’t have a choice or opinion if one of the choices is the same color as me. Why is that? Is it because we have to level the playing field now for black folks? Has affirmative action reached as far as the white house? Hiring someone because you have a minority quota to fill may be acceptable at Office Max or Arby’s. But the leader of the free world? Although I agree with pretty much nothing Obama stands for or believes in, I do concede that he is a smart, capable man. But what if he wasn’t? What if someone as ignorant and corrupt as Jesse Jackson (Sr. or Jr.) had made it that far in the election? Am I obligated to vote for him because he’s black even though I know he’ll lead this country straight to hell? Of course not!
This ideology, that we have to right wrongs by giving those we view as “oppressed”, or in the minority, an unfair advantage, is called social justice (a euphemism for reverse racism). Much of the idea, and the actual term, can find its roots in Black Liberation Theology. (This was the doctrine that Obama’s Chicago based church was founded on… you know. Before he has to suddenly abandon it and has no clue his pastor Jeremiah Wright was teaching this).
This radical ideology manifests in the teachings of Dr. James Cone, the Marxist credited with founding Black Liberation. He preaches that the only way that white people can have “true repentance”, or be saved, is to give back what “they stole from black people.” Furthermore he teaches that our personal salvation is tied to the collective. In other words the only way I can be saved is if everybody is. Really? I’ve skimmed through the Bible once or twice, and found nothing remotely similar to that rhetoric. In fact, the Bible tells me to “work out my own soul salvation,” and that God will judge me according to my good works. Not the community’s.
So here you have a religion founded around reparations and social justice; a religion that our President studied under for 20 years. Should White people be held responsible and be made to pay for their ancestor’s mistakes? Only 20% of southern whites owned slaves. What if their ancestor was an abolitionist or one of the 80% that didn’t own slaves? Are they on the hook still because they’re white? Is this the Mountaintop or the Promised Land that Dr. King dreamed of? Of course not.
It’s ironic that the biggest advocates for social justice love to cite and quote Dr. King even though what he died for was the exact opposite of what they advocate. (I’m talking to you Rev. Sharpton, Rev. Jackson) A good litmus test for social justice is role reversal. As a minority, would it upset me if the roles were switched? If a famous white comedian, say Robin Williams or Larry the Cable Guy, said that white people had an obligation to vote for someone, not because he was smart or good for the country, but because he was white, would I be upset? You bet.
We all remember the lawsuit filed by 20 New Haven firefighters whose promotion tests got thrown out because no blacks passed it. They ended up rightly winning their lawsuit, (which was ruled against by current Justice Sotomayor …an Obama appointee) but what if it was reversed? What if only blacks passed it and the test was scrapped because no whites passed? We would be outraged! And rightly so.
Consider this. A few years back, while elaborating on his white grandmother’s racist tendencies, then candidate Obama referred to her as a “typical white person.” By contrast if John McCain ever in his life referred to anybody as a “typical black person” his career would be over. But if it’s wrong for them, shouldn’t it be wrong for us? Logic dictates that this double standard mentality will only lead us into a vicious circle of revenge. In 200 years, what if whites want reparations because they feel they feel the deck is stacked against them now? Should blacks have to deal with that? What if Jews wanted reparations and social justice from Germans? Or, God forbid, from the Egyptians who kept them in bondage for centuries? I’m sure you understand why this is an impractical, immoral, and unsustainable mentality.
My guess is that Dr. King wouldn’t stand for this politically correct “you owe me” circle that is engulfing society. He gave his life trying to ensure that when I interviewed for a job, ran for office, or applied for a loan I was judged based on my character and what I had accomplished in my life. It’s irrelevant if I’m black, white, yellow, or if I glow in the dark. If you are my employer, my constituent, or my loan officer you don’t owe me anything because of my race. My race should have no bearing on how you treat me, even if it benefits me. At one time or another in life, everyone needs a hand up. But if you should happen to extend that helping hand to me, I want it to be because God put it on your heart. Not because I’m a minority. All I need is a level playing field. I recently heard a quote from a movie that hit me as being very profound. “I don’t need easy. I just need possible.” That is the mountaintop. THAT was Dr. King’s dream.
About the Author: Bryson S. Gipson is a 22 year old student living on the Mississippi Gulf coast. He is currently pursuing a career in music business and media arts, although his passion remains in politics and economics. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org .