There is a problem with leadership in America, particularly black America. From every angle when we think of our leadership there are three main themes (i.e., the problematic, the self-aggrandizer, and the bad). Leadership is a tricky thing when you think about it. No one is at birth (here in United States of America) destined to be a leader. Particularly for African Americans, how do our leaders become ‘our leaders’ and then how do they become viewed by the larger society as leaders of black America? How does black America come to find a space in which to critique and offer guidance to ‘our leaders’?
Barack Obama is the perfect example of the problematic leader. The problematic leader is one that gains power and position through his/her work in a particular (often times minority) community without being voted to that position. As a result, he can never be checked by this community in a formal way (i.e., power of the vote). Yet and because, he gains access through the formal (i.e., power of the vote) to a majority community (read: often times white) he becomes loyal to not upsetting the apple cart of the community that will use the formal process to remove him. This is particularly, true in Obama’s case. At every turn he uses his race and the fact that there are no formal processes to check him for any transgressions (read: truth telling) against Black America. As a result he chastise black America (without fear of retribution) while white America goes unscathed (because of fear of retribution). I first became concerned of this problem in 2008 while he was on his presidential campaign trail.
I remember on June 15, 2008 when he, before being president, made the truthful Father’s Day speech. He rightful said “…too many fathers are MIA,…they have abandon there responsibilities…and the foundation of our families have suffered… no where is this more true that in the African American community.” It was the Friar Roast heard round the world, and he was praised for it unlike Bill Cosby’s speech. The Apostolic Church of God’s black people clapped for a national (read: mostly white) prime time audience to view. Moreover, His self-help message knows no bounds as it spread over to Accura, Ghana on July 11, 2009 . In both of his recent speeches (i.e., at the NAACP centennial celebration and press conferences about Professor Gates), President Obama’s panders (read: caters) to white America’s sensitivities and he blatantly disregards black America’s sensitivities.